Paul speaks in Hebrews about faith and recalls the stories of many heroes of faith in the bible. We know that we need faith to believe and serve God and our faith increases through hearing the word of God. “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (Hebrews 11:6). The stories are recalled from Abel who trusted God and offered a better sacrifice than Cain to Abraham who was the father of faith. Cain envied his brother although he was unwilling to make the same sacrifice which his brother made in order to receive from God. Although Abel died, he is still considered a hero of faith because his heart was pure before God.
God made a promise to Abraham that his children would be many as the sand of the sea. What is significant for me is that Paul pointed out that many of the promises that God shared with these men were not seen in their lifetime. Yet they died with the hope that what God had promised would come to pass. We know now that the Jews have expanded and the descendants of Abraham grew and did great exploits for God.
Abraham received the promise of Isaac and also conceived Ishmael. This was the hope for Abraham that God would keep the seed of his generation for thousands of years. All those who serve God have also been grafted into Abraham’s family. The man who was childless for over ninety years is the father of many nations. God also made covenants and promises to David concerning his children and kept his vow not to destroy his kingdom. This was despite the disobedience of his children which grieved God. When David received the prophecy concerning his family, he praised God and gave him glory. This is because he believed every word spoken.
John the Baptist was the New Testament prophet who prepared the way for Jesus. John did not live to see the work that Jesus did as he was beheaded after his arrest. Yet John lived to declare with conviction the entrance of Jesus Christ and prophesied concerning what he was here in earth to do. The faith of these prophets transcended time and they did not wait to see the physical manifestations before they took hold and believed. God is not a man that he would lie and if he has promised, it will come to pass.
“Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it” (Hebrews 4:1).