We learn more about faith by understanding what God has to say about Noah, Abraham, and Sarah who received a “good report” from God because of their faith.
7. By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.
One of the ways that people live by faith is by taking God’s warnings of coming judgement seriously and preparing for it. Noah would have been made fun of by the world for believing and acting according to God’s command. Noah was moved by fear. Fear of God’s coming judgment is a good motivator. Noah built the ark over a period of 120 years. This reminds God’s people that they often need to trust for long periods of time before God fulfills his promises. Noah had the righteousness that comes by faith that is spoken of in the New Testament.
8. By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.
9. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:
10. For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
Abraham is a great example of someone who puts their faith in God’s promises and acts accordingly. Abraham left his homeland and didn’t even know where God would lead him but he was content to know that God knew best. Even when he arrived in the promised land he couldn’t set down roots there but he kept trusting. He had his eyes on the eternal city that God speaks of in the 21st and 22nd chapter of the book of Revelation.
11. Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.
It is instructive to see that God is commending Sara for her faith despite the fact that initially, she did not believe God’s promise (and even laughed at it). Isn’t it wonderful that God provides second chances?
12. Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.
God always fulfills his promises regardless of how impossible this may seem according to our human reasoning.
13. These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
14. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.
Even now, none of these faithful people have received the final result of their faith but the day is coming when they will. No one that follows God in faith with their whole heart will feel at home in this world but will be looking forward to eternity.
15. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.
16. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.
In all three of these people’s lives they had the choice to believe God’s word or to trust in their own reasoning and the world’s wisdom. We have the same choice to make today.
Which do you choose?