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 (Philemon & Hebrews)
Lesson 17: Examples of Faith (2) (Heb 11:17-40)
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Lesson 17: Examples of Faith (2) (Heb -40)



Faith of Abraham (-19)

Faith of Isaac and Jacob (-21)

Faith of Joseph ()

Faith of Moses’ Parents ()

Faith of Moses (-28)

Faith of the Israelites (-30)

Faith of Rahab ()

Faith of Other Ancients (-38)

Triumph through faith (33-34)

Sufferings through faith (35-38)

Rewards of Faith (-40)

Key Words/Phrases

Faith, Abraham, promises, God was able, Isaac, blessed, things to come, Jacob, worshiped, Joseph, Moses, were not afraid, refused, choosing, suffer affliction, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches, looked to the reward, forsook, seeing Him who is invisible, Rahab, did not perish, of whom the world was not worthy, obtained a good testimony, did not receive the promise, something better, should not be made perfect apart from us.

Segment Analysis

1a.  Abraham had waited for the promise, and he finally received it. But now God tested his faith by asking him to surrender what he had received (17). It is one thing to wait for something you love very much, it is quite another to give it up after you have received it!

God’s test was also designed to see how much Abraham feared God and whether he would obey Him unconditionally (Gen ).

1b.  He believed that even if Isaac died, God would be able to raise him up from the dead (19).

2.   They believed in God’s promises to Abraham concerning having numerous descendants and possessing the land of Canaan.

3.   He believed that God would surely fulfill His promise and bring the Israelites out of Egypt back to Canaan (Gen 50:25). Joseph’s instructions are all the more remarkable when we consider the fact that he had spent most of his life living in Egypt.

4a.  Faith gave them the courage to defy the king’s command at the risk of death, for they trusted in God’s promise that He would preserve and deliver His people. Such courage is something unbelievers cannot possibly have.

5a.  Being called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter (24) vs. becoming a Hebrew slave; Enjoying the passing pleasures of sin vs. suffering affliction with the people of God (25); Inheriting the treasures of Egypt vs. enduring the reproaches of Christ (26).

5b.  He looked to the reward (26). He saw Him who is invisible (27).

5c.  It may surprise us to note that Moses, who lived before Christ, chose to suffer for Christ. But this confirms Christ’s preexistence before He birth into this world. In retrospect, the writers in the New Testament would link the events of the OT directly to Christ, for the salvation history pointed to the Savior and His salvation (cf. 1Cor 10:1-4). In this sense, Moses’ choice to suffer for God was a choice to suffer for Christ.

5d.  He esteemed it greater riches than the treasures of Egypt. In other words, he placed the highest value on suffering for Christ.

6a.  As believers God is the most important factor in all our decisions. While the people of this world make choices based only on what can be seen, we base our choices on Him who is invisible, for we walk by faith, not by sight (2Cor 5:7). Through our eyes of faith, we are able to see the the reality of God’s promises, even though others cannot see it.

6b.  If, like Moses, we can see Him who is invisible, then we would endure as we wait for God’s promises to come true. We would choose what is eternal rather than what is temporary, even if our choice means suffering.

7.   Moses had a life that the people of time could only dream of. As an heir of the most powerful king on earth, he had access to the highest education, the greatest treasures, and all forms of pleasures. But by faith he chose to suffer with the people of God because he looked to the reward. If we have faith in God, our goals in life should be different from those of the people of the world. We will consider Jesus Christ our greatest treasure, and we will forsake everything that stands between the Lord and us (Php 3:8). By faith, we will regard the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of this world.

8.   Through faith, we know that sin is passing, and that we have to stand before God’s judgment seat to give an account for our sins. This knowledge and conviction of the future enables us to make the wiser choice—suffering temporarily for obeying God in order to receive eternal glory rather than enjoying temporarily but reaping eternal condemnation.

9a.  She believed that the Lord was God in heaven above and on earth beneath, and she knew that the Lord had given the promised land to the Israelites (Josh 2:9,11).

9b.  She was a gentile and a harlot. Even a sinner and one who had no part in God’s covenant like Rahab was saved by faith along with the people of God. This tells us that God does not remember the sins of a repentant sinner who has come to Him in faith. He justifies them freely through faith regardless of their background or past.

10a. The first list is about triumph, whereas the second is about persecutions.

10b. By faith in God’s promises, we can do great things. If God has purposed to carry out something, we know that no obstacle can hinder His will. Faith gives us the strength and courage to face all odds and do the impossible in order to accomplish God’s will.

10c. Faith in God does not guarantee a favorable outcome. In fact many of the people of faith went through severe trials and even gave up their lives for the faith. Faith can cost us our comfort, popularity, possessions, and even our lives. But that is what true faith is about—being willing to give up what is seen for what is unseen. Furthermore, faith means trusting God to the end, even through the most severe sufferings. Our faith should not reside in temporary material blessings but in our heavenly inheritance.

11a. They obtained a good testimony through faith (39).

11b. They did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us (39b-40).

12.  As we have seen in previous chapters of Hebrews, “the good things to come” denote the salvation of Jesus Christ and the blessings that it brings, and to be “made perfect” refers to justification which results from the atonement of Jesus Christ. The word “we” or “us” are Christians. What the author is saying here is that the believers of the OT, although they were commended by God for their faith, did not live to see the coming of the Messiah. It is only when Christ had come to fulfill salvation that they received the promise of justification and remission of sins, and they do so with believers in the NT era.

Note: In one sense, some of the people of faith did receive the promises of God (33). But what the author has in mind in 39 is “the promise,” not promises in general. This promise, therefore, is the ultimate promise—the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

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