Faith Directed People’s Lives
1Faith assures us of things we expect and convinces us of the existence of things we cannot see. 2God accepted our ancestors because of their faith.
3Faith convinces us that God created the world through his word. This means what can be seen was made by something that could not be seen.
4Faith led Abel to offer God a better sacrifice than Cain’s sacrifice. Through his faith Abel received God’s approval, since God accepted his sacrifices. Through his faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.
5Faith enabled Enoch to be taken instead of dying. No one could find him, because God had taken him. Scripture states that before Enoch was taken, God was pleased with him. 6No one can please God without faith. Whoever goes to God must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
7Faith led Noah to listen when God warned him about the things in the future that he could not see. He obeyed God and built a ship to save his family. Through faith Noah condemned the world and received God’s approval that comes through faith.
8Faith led Abraham to obey when God called him to go to a place that he would receive as an inheritance. Abraham left his own country without knowing where he was going.
9Faith led Abraham to live as a foreigner in the country that God had promised him. He lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who received the same promise from God. 10Abraham was waiting for the city that God had designed and built, the city with permanent foundations.
11Faith enabled Abraham to become a father, even though he was old and Sarah had never been able to have children. Abraham trusted that God would keep his promise. 12Abraham was as good as dead. Yet, from this man came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the grains of sand on the seashore.
13All these people died having faith. They didn’t receive the things that God had promised them, but they saw these things coming in the distant future and rejoiced. They acknowledged that they were living as strangers with no permanent home on earth. 14Those who say such things make it clear that they are looking for their own country. 15If they had been thinking about the country that they had left, they could have found a way to go back. 16Instead, these men were longing for a better country—a heavenly country. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God. He has prepared a city for them.
17When God tested Abraham, faith led him to offer his son Isaac. Abraham, the one who received the promises from God, was willing to offer his only son as a sacrifice. 18God had said to him, “Through Isaac your descendants will carry on your name.” 19Abraham believed that God could bring Isaac back from the dead. Abraham did receive Isaac back from the dead in a figurative sense.
20Faith led Isaac to bless Jacob and Esau.
21While Jacob was dying, faith led him to bless each of Joseph’s sons. He leaned on the top of his staff and worshiped God.
22While Joseph was dying, faith led him to speak about the Israelites leaving Egypt and give them instructions about burying his bones.
23Faith led Moses’ parents to hide him for three months after he was born. They did this because they saw that Moses was a beautiful baby and they were not afraid to disobey the king’s order.
24When Moses grew up, faith led him to refuse to be known as a son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25He chose to suffer with God’s people rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a little while. 26He thought that being insulted for Christ would be better than having the treasures of Egypt. He was looking ahead to his reward.
27Faith led Moses to leave Egypt without being afraid of the king’s anger. Moses didn’t give up but continued as if he could actually see the invisible God.
28Faith led Moses to establish the Passover and spread the blood ⌞on the doorposts⌟ so that the destroying angel would not kill the firstborn sons.
29Faith caused the people to go through the Red Sea as if it were dry land. The Egyptians also tried this, but they drowned.
30Faith caused the walls of Jericho to fall after the Israelites marched around them for seven days.
31Faith led the prostitute Rahab to welcome the spies as friends. She was not killed with those who refused to obey God.
32What more should I say? I don’t have enough time to tell you about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets. 33Through faith they conquered kingdoms, did what God approved, and received what God had promised. They shut the mouths of lions, 34put out raging fires, and escaped death. They found strength when they were weak. They were powerful in battle and defeated other armies. 35Women received their loved ones back from the dead. Other believers were brutally tortured but refused to be released so that they might gain eternal life. 36Some were made fun of and whipped, and some were chained and put in prison. 37Some were stoned to death, sawed in half, and killed with swords. Some wore the skins of sheep and goats. Some were poor, abused, and mistreated. 38The world didn’t deserve these good people. Some wandered around in deserts and mountains and lived in caves and holes in the ground.
39All these people were known for their faith, but none of them received what God had promised. 40God planned to give us something very special so that we would gain eternal life with them.