“Faith motivated Abraham to obey God’s call and leave the familiar to discover the territory he was destined to inherit from God. So he left with only a promise and without even knowing ahead of time where he was going, Abraham stepped out in faith. He lived by faith as an immigrant in his promised land as though it belonged to someone else. He journeyed through the land living in tents with Isaac and Jacob who were persuaded that they were also co-heirs of the same promise. His eyes of faith were set on the city with unshakable foundations, whose architect and builder is God himself.” [Hebrews 11:8-10]
First things first, here’s some context. The book of Hebrews was written like a sermon in the form of a letter, addressing a group of Christians that had converted from Judaism. They weren’t entirely convinced that they could trust the words of Jesus. The entire book is fixated on the idea that God’s promises are sound, and that in the same way the Old Testament champions of our faith trusted God, we can trust Jesus. The author is encouraging these people to have bold faith—to believe that being in relationship with Jesus is worth it, despite the fact that it might not be easy. Hebrews makes reference to the Old Testament models of faith that the readers would have been really familiar with; ergo the reference to Abraham in our scripture.
Hebrews 11 calls us to come alongside the pioneers of our faith. I get excited when I realize that that Abraham was just an ordinary guy. Scripture doesn’t indicate that there was anything particularly special about him that would move God to choose him to do something big. In fact, most of the people in the Bible that God uses for great things aren’t particularly special in a worldly sense. You know what’s even crazier? Abraham, more than just being average, was actually the last guy that anyone would expect to become a father of nations. If Abraham was playing a church league kickball game, he would probably be the last one picked for a team. He was 75 years old when God asked him to leave his home, and he was 100 before his son Isaac was born. That’s wild. It would not have made any sense in the eyes of the world for Abraham to be having children at the time. How often do we think that something about us disqualifies us from God’s promises? I know I do sometimes. Abraham had faith, and that didn’t necessarily mean that he thought he was the most qualified guy, but it did mean that he acted on what God said. His faith allowed him to take action.
So what does that mean?
I think there are two big takeaways here. One being that we don’t get to decide whether or not we are good enough for the things God is calling us to do—only He gets to do that. Two, that we can be encouraged and uplifted by the testimony of others. While looking to Old Testament heroes is incredibly valuable, we can hype up one another too. Ask yourself who the champions of your personal faith walk are. Who are the people that—in this lifetime—are your heroes and role models? I am certain there are people surrounding us that walk in bold faith. We can choose to walk alongside them. They can even hold our hands and give us a pep talk every now and again. I encourage y’all to ask some of your friends about the prayers that God has answered for them. Abraham’s faith is forever documented for us to see. It is so cool that we can be encouraged by the same people that have encouraged Christians for the past two thousand years. In the same way you can be encouraged by the stories of your peers, your mentors and your heroes.
God, thank You for the people that You have given me that inspire me to chase after You. I pray that You will continue to build up a community around me that encourages me to chase after You. In turn, I pray that I am also able to lift others up by the ways that You move in my life. Thank You for being a God who allows each of our stories to matter. In Your name I pray, amen.