If there is one thing we see in the epistle to the Hebrews, that the people reading the letter needed most, it was faith. As we come to the highly anticipated chapter 11 of Hebrews, the author will furnish us with examples of those who lived by faith in the Scriptures. Some of these names are expected – Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, and Samuel; while others are quite unexpected – Rahab, Jephthah, and Samson. We will learn from these examples what it means to be a believer with a faith that pleases God. Ultimately, we find Jesus as the ultimate example of perfect faith (12:1-3).
Prior to illustrating faith from this wide array of Old Testament characters, the author begins chapter 11 by explaining how faith behaves. Faith assures that what is promised will happen; it convinces us of that which is unseen (11:1). By faith we trust what is invisible, whether in the past, as we were not there to see it, or in the present, though we cannot feel it, or in the future, because it is yet to occur. Faith is the conviction that these unseen realities are truly real, so that we build our lives upon them and base our life-decisions on them – this is what it means to live by faith. Many have walked this journey before us whose example we can follow. We are not alone; thankfully other men and women, not so different from ourselves, have endured and finished the race, so you can too!