Daily Thoughts on Hebrews: Faith Tested

By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back. By faith Isaac invoked future blessings on Jacob and Esau. By faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, bowing in worship over the head of his staff. By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his bones. (Hebrews 11:17-22, ESV)

In rapid succession the author of Hebrews continues his hall of faith, finishing up his remarks about Abraham’s faith, then touching on Isaac’s faith, Jacob’s faith and Joseph’s faith.  Abraham gave the ultimate proof of his faith in God’s promises by being willing to offer up the one aspect of these promises that he had physically received, his son Isaac.  His faith was so strong that God was going to make good on His promise that he conceived of God raising Isaac from the dead once he sacrificed him.  How could the Hebrews do any less by remaining true to Christianity instead of going back to Judaism!

Isaac’s faith looked to the future promises of God concerning his sons Jacob and Esau.  Jacob did the same with his 12 sons, prophesying over each of them in regard to God’s future kingdom (Genesis 49).  And Joseph so counted on God’s promise of return to the land promised Abraham that he left specific instructions about carrying his bones to Canaan, an instruction that Moses and the people followed 400 years later.

The Hebrews had suffered persecution and had no doubt heard many persuasive arguments from their Jewish relatives and friends who did not embrace Jesus as Messiah.  But Jesus was and is the fulfillment of all God’s promises.  These yet await a future realization when Jesus returns to finally establish his authority over all the earth.  Are you really willing to throw all that away just because you can’t see the end yet?  Don’t you feel the need of a future kingdom swelling in your soul?  You are being tested.

Few are skilled at holding themselves in a state of listening to heaven’s music.  Ordinary things – like kitchen pots clattering, telephones ringing, and TV commercials about frozen food and dishwashing detergent – drown out the song.  It is too delicate to compete against mundane things…It’s a song we never quite forget and recognize immediately whenever we catch its echo.  We recognize it because it is so full of heartbreaking beauty. (Joni Eareckson Tada, Heaven:Your Real Home)

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