I would like to start by saying that I have been a disciple for 26 years and have considered faith a strength of mine for most of that. There have been trials of many kinds over those years and usually I turned immediately to God and believed in His plan. However, there was something different about this last year, so once again I have decided to do a study on faith. I simply want to share my study, along with some of my struggles in hopes that it might encourage at least one other person to dig deeper as well.
I). Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we have not seen. (Hebrews 11:1 NIV) *Meaning of confidence = Full Trust
A). Faith is full trust in what I hope for……….
1). What do we know about Moses’ parents?
a). Amram was the grandson of Levi and he married Jochebed.
b). They had three children. Miriam who later become a great prophetess of the Jewish people. Aaron became a high priest. Last but not least Moses, who ended up leading the Israelites out of Egypt and the one that God chose to give the Ten commandments to, among many other things. It seems that Amram and Jochebed had a faith and belief in God that they passed on to their children.
2). Exodus 1:22
a). Because God had allowed the Israelites to multiple and spread, Pharaoh feared that they would someday overtake the Egyptians, so he ordered that all male babies be killed.
b). Jochebed becomes pregnant with her third child.
*I am not sure if it was after the orders were made or if Pharaoh ordered the babies killed during her pregnancy. But what I do know is they didn’t have ultrasounds where they could find out the sex of the child, so I can only imagine her prayers. I would have been begging God for a girl and when I gave birth to a son, I might have been very tempted to doubt God. We can see by Jochebeds actions that even if she was tempted, she didn’t give into them. Instead she made a plan to try and save Moses life.
3). Exodus 2:1-10
a). She hides him for three months.
b). She gets a basket lines it with tar and pitch.
c). Puts Moses in the basket.
d). Puts the basket in the reeds in the river.
e). His sister, Miriam goes to watch from a distance.
*Now let’s think about this for a moment. The mother of three takes her 3 month old baby and puts him in a basket lined with tar and pitch. Then puts the basket in the Nile river among the reeds and walks away. Whether she tells his older sister to stand at a distance or not, I am not sure, but she is there so she can see what happens. I don’t even have time to talk about what Miriam must have been feeling. I could spend the next 10 hours telling you all of the things that could have gone wrong with this plan, because that’s how I roll. Hole in the basket, alligator food, snakes crawling in the basket, sister witnessing these things, just to name a quick few. I think it is also important to note that Jochebed did her part in preparing the basket, but then let it go and left it in God’s hands. Could you have done that? Would your faith be enough to have full trust in God and be completely surrendered?
Faith is …….assurance about what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1 NIV) *Meaning of assurance = freedom from doubt
B). Faith is having the freedom from doubt to believe in what we do not see.
1). Exodus 2:5-10
a). Pharaoh’s daughter goes down to the Nile and hears Moses crying.
b). She feels sorry for him and rescues him out of the river.
c). Miriam witnesses this and asks if she would like her to go find a Hebrew woman that can nurse the baby.
*Wow, am I ever convicted! God totally blessed Jochebeds faith and action! She not only got her son back, but she had the approval of Pharaoh and his daughter. Do you think that Jochebed had this vision or hope that something like this would happen? Can you imagine how much her faith grew after this? What do you need to put in the basket and place in the river so that God can truly bless your faith and actions?
~This might seem silly to some, but for me one thing that I need to put in the basket is my parents and their health and just watch God work.
~I also need to quit doubting! I love the meaning of assurance, freedom from doubt. Sometimes I pray and ask for things (open hearts, financial stability, to be used for God’s glory) but then I doubt if God would want to do these things in my life, not that He can, but that maybe he wouldn’t want to. Yes, by nature I am a very insecure person.
II). Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1 NASB) *Meaning of assurance = freedom from doubt
A). Now faith is the freedom of doubt of things hoped for……….
1). Joshua 2:1-24
a). Joshua sends out two spies to go check out Jericho.
b). The spies end up at the house of Rahab the prostitute.
c). Verses 2-7 tells us how Rahab chose to take action to save the lives of the two spies.
* I am sure that everyone reading this understands what a prostitute is. However everyone reading this might not understand what a prostitute could feel and think. I was never actually paid for sex, but I was sexually active from age twelve. I was molested by an older brother of a boy that I called my boyfriend. I literally went from playing with dolls to having sex within a matter of a few days. This helped to create in me a very promiscuous and flirtatious behavior. Some of the feelings that came along with this behavior were shame, feeling dirty and disgusting. I felt used like a piece of merchandise, unworthy, unloved, and that guys only wanted to be around me for what I could provide sexually. I feel pretty safe in assuming that Rahab probably had some of these emotions as well and yet her house is where God chose to send the spies. Why? Because God knows our hearts!
2). Joshua 2:8-24
a). Rahab realized that these two spies were from God’s chosen people.
b). Rahab ask the spies to promise to spare her life and her family’s life.
c). Rahab provides them a way to escape safely.
* In verse 9 Rahab says, “I know that the Lord has given you this land and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you.” Not I think, but I know! She then goes on to talk about how they heard that God dried up the water of the Red Sea for them when they came out of Egypt, and what God allowed them to do to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan. Did you catch that? She only heard about these things, she did not witness any of them and yet she had such a great reverence for God. Do you see God working in other people’s lives and allow it to develop faith in your own heart? Because of these things Rahab understood that God was in heaven above and on earth below. Then Rahab goes the next step and puts her faith into action. Verses 12-13 “Now then, please swear to me by the Lord that you will show kindness to my family, because I have shown kindness to you. Give me a sure sign that you will spare the lives of my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them—and that you will save us from death.” (Joshua 2:12, 13 NIV)
Faith is…..the conviction of things not seen. *Meaning of conviction = a fixed or firm belief: No clever argument, no persuasive fact or theory could make a dent in his conviction in the rightness of his position.
B). Faith is having a fixed or firm belief of things not seen.
1). Joshua 6:24-25
a). Rahab and her family are the only humans spared.
*Wow! Remember for a moment who and what Rahab was and really think about this. In spite of how she might have felt about herself or what others may have thought about her, she boldly asks for her and her family’s lives to be spared.
Now faith is the freedom of doubt of things hoped for….. I do not detect any doubt in Rahab for what she hoped for. I do not think that she doubted that God would or could do this for her. Like I had mentioned before there have been many times where I would ask and have no trace of doubt. However, I currently find myself either asking, but having doubts or not even asking because of doubt. It could be a prayer for God to put someone in my life that desires to have a relationship with him, but then doubting that he will really do it. I have also found myself over this last year seeing opportunities for God to use me and yet pulling back, because of the fear of getting hurt or feeling pain because it might not turn out the way that I wanted to. For example, not giving my heart to others and truly investing myself and helping other women grow in their relationship with God, because they may hurt me. Another example, it has been on my heart for at least two years to write studies such as this one, but because of my fear of how I look or maybe saying something wrong, I have ignored what I truly to believe to be from God.
Rahab had a fixed and firm belief that God, whom she had never seen, did exist and would save her and her family. Do you know the outcome of Rahab’s actions? She ends up being in the lineage of Jesus (Matthew 1) and she was mentioned in the Faith Hall of Fame (Hebrews 11). There are so many things that we can learn from Rahab. What is something that you hope for, but instantly have thoughts of doubt? Ask God to increase your faith and make a decision today to have bold faith. Then step into action!
III). Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1 KJV) In the Greek language the word Hupostasis is used here. *Meaning of Hupostasis = The unseen support of what is standing in clear view; foundation.
A). Faith is the foundation of things hoped for…..
1). 1 Samuel 17:34-37
a). David grabs a lion and a bear by the hair, strikes them and kills them.
2). Verse 37
a). David gives all credit to God.
b). Volunteers to go slay the Philistine.
* I absolutely love King David. He was so very human, but yet he had such great faith and his actions backed it up over and over again. Let’s talk through this for a moment. Here is a young boy, believed to be a teenager at this time, and he is taking care of his father’s sheep. A lion shows up and grabs a sheep in its mouth. What does David do? Run, scream for help, panic? Oh no, David grabs the hair of the lion and kills it! There is no way; I would have died of a heart attack! Then we have this Philistine giant. Historians tell us that he was probably around 9 feet tall. I don’t know how that translates into how wide he was or how much he weighed, but I’m not picturing a beanpole here. David finds out that this Philistine is mocking and making fun of his God and without any doubt he volunteers to go kill him. I am so convicted right now. I am thinking of the times where I hear someone mocking or making fun of my God and I might have the thought to say something, but don’t because of fear of what they might think about me. David could have been killed, but that wasn’t even his thought process because of his faith that God would take care of him. David had a firm and fixed belief that God was there and had his back at all times!
3). Psalm 8:3-9 David writes: When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet: all flocks and herds, and the animals of the wild, the birds in the sky, and the fish in the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas. Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
*David looked around at God’s creation and knew that God was the foundation, the support and creator of what he saw. When you see a tall building do you question whether or not there is a foundation that you cannot see? I am going to assume no. However many times we look around at all of the incredible beauty surrounding us every day and still question the power of God, the Creator of it all. What is the foundation of your faith in the things that you hope for?
B). Now faith is the proof of things not seen. Meaning of evidence = proof
* Have you ever stood at the ocean and watched the waves come in and out? How do they know when to stop?
* Have you ever seen a mountain goat climb the side of the mountain that is almost at a 90° angle?
* Have you seen the birth or given birth to a baby? Have you ever really looked at a baby, their tiny little fingers and toes, thought about every thing that just took place to create this little human being from the moment of conception?
* Have you watched someone truly fall in love with God and seen their heart flourish and grow? Marriages become happy or even reunited? A person that is depressed, insecure, or hopeless become hopeful and at peace?
I challenge you to stop and take a look around. Go outside look at the sky, look at the trees, and examine the petal of a flower. Go to the mountain, go to the ocean, simply take time to look around and then ask yourself, “Is God worthy of my full trust?” “Is God powerful enough to justify me throwing away my doubts?” “Do I have a fixed or firm belief in the existence of God and all that he is?” “What are the things that I hope for and what is my foundation behind them?”
*I am not a Bible scholar. Actually, I do not claim to be much of a scholar of anything. The only degree I have is from the school of hard knocks!
*This is in no way an exhaustive study of faith, it is meant to only be an appetizer. As I stated in the beginning, I am simply sharing my thoughts with the hopes that one other person might read this and be inspired to dig deeper in the Scriptures in order to deepen their own convictions.
May we always give glory to God for everything!