Worship III Day 15 With Eyes Of Faith: Digging Deeper

Digging Deeper Days

Finding the original intent of Scripture and making good application to our everyday lives as we become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

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The Questions

1) What city did Abraham look forward to (v. 10)? Did he reach it?  

2) What has God provided that is better for than what those listed in this passage received? (v. 39-40)

3) Why is it significant that the author talks about having faith when you cannot see? (v. 13713 

Hebrews 11:1-16; 39-40

Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen. For by it our ancestors won God’s approval.
By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible.
By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was approved as a righteous man, because God approved his gifts, and even though he is dead, he still speaks through his faith.
By faith Enoch was taken away, and so he did not experience death. He was not to be found because God took him away. For before he was taken away, he was approved as one who pleased God. Now without faith it is impossible to please God, since the one who draws near to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
By faith Noah, after he was warned about what was not yet seen and motivated by godly fear, built an ark to deliver his family. By faith he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.
By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed and set out for a place that he was going to receive as an inheritance. He went out, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he stayed as a foreigner in the land of promise, living in tents as did Isaac and Jacob, coheirs of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
11 By faith even Sarah herself, when she was unable to have children, received power to conceive offspring, even though she was past the age, since she considered that the one who had promised was faithful. 12 Therefore, from one man—in fact, from one as good as dead—came offspring as numerous as the stars of the sky and as innumerable as the grains of sand along the seashore.
13 These all died in faith, although they had not received the things that were promised. But they saw them from a distance, greeted them, and confessed that they were foreigners and temporary residents on the earth. 14 Now those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15 If they were thinking about where they came from, they would have had an opportunity to return. 16 But they now desire a better place—a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
39 All these were approved through their faith, but they did not receive what was promised, 40 since God had provided something better for us, so that they would not be made perfect without us.  

Original Intent

1) What city did Abraham look forward to (v. 10)? Did he reach it?
God called Abram to leave his home and relatives and go to a new land where God would make him a great nation (Genesis 12:1-4). He sojourned through Canaan, Shechem, the Negev, and Egypt. Throughout his journeys, he was looking forward to what God had promised him: to make him a great nation in a land that God had destined for Abraham’s descendants. After Abraham’s first call, God spoke to him again about God’s plan for Abraham’s family. “Then the Lord said to Abram, “Know this for certain: Your offspring will be resident aliens for four hundred years in a land that does not belong to them and will be enslaved and oppressed….  But you will go to your fathers in peace and be buried at a good old age.” (Genesis 15:13 and 15) We learn here that Abraham would not live to see God’s covenant come to fruition, but God’s promise from Genesis 15:15 came true: Abraham “died at a good old age, old and contented, and he was gathered to his people.” (Genesis 25:8b) How was Abraham content when he didn’t live to see his people grow into a great nation in the promised land? Hebrews 11 tells us that by faith, not by sight, Abraham believed that God would fulfill his promise.  

2) What has God provided that is better for than what those listed in this passage received? (v. 39-40)  
The author of Hebrews was writing to Jewish Christians, who were deeply connected with their ancestors listed here in the “Hall of Faith”. The author tells story after story of the amazing faith of their heroes and the ways they persevered in difficult times. Then you get to verse 39: “And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promise.” A bit of a letdown, am I right?! But next comes the good news: “since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.” Jewish Christians had received something even better than their ancestors, the gift of Jesus Christ. The heroes of the Old Testament got glimpses of the redemption and salvation that God was bringing and now the Hebrews were getting to experience it in full!  

3) Why is it significant that the author talks about having faith when you cannot see? (v. 13713
God’s people knew all about what it was like to not be able to see God. In Exodus, Moses asked to see God, but God replied, “Then I will take my hand away, and you will see my back, but my face will not be seen.” (Exodus 33:23) Before Jesus, God communicated with priests, prophets, and a few other select people, but never visibly showed Himself in full. Those listed in this passage had faith without sight (v. 13713). Jesus was God in the flesh, fully God and fully man! Not since Adam, in the garden of Eden, had God interacted with His people in such a physical way!  This letter to the Hebrews was penned approximately 30 years after Jesus death, resurrection, and ascension. Many of the readers of this letter were new believers and had never met or seen Jesus, so they were able to identify with those listed in this passage. Their faith was not by sight. Like those of the Old Testament, Jewish Christians looked forward to seeing Christ in the flesh in “a better place – a heavenly one” (v. 16).

Everyday Application

1) What city did Abraham look forward to (v. 10)? Did he reach it?
Like Abraham, we also have a city to look forward to, one that has foundations and whose architect and builder is God. Like Abraham, we will not reach this city until Christ’s return or until we depart this earth in death. Like Abraham, we can look forward to this city in faith. Upon Jesus Christ’s return, there will be a new heaven and a new earth. Revelation 21:3b-5a gives us hope for the city that we look forward to: “Look, God’s dwelling is with humanity, and he will live with them. They will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them and will be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; grief, crying, and pain will be no more, because the previous things have passed away. Then the one seated on the throne said, ‘Look, I am making everything new.’” Like Abraham, may we also trust in faith that God keeps and fulfills his promises to us.  

2) What has God provided that is better for than what those listed in this passage received? (v. 39-40)  
The author of Hebrews probably didn’t know that Christians would be reading his letter 2,000 years later, but these verses are still true for us today. We also have received something better: salvation through Jesus Christ! Reading the stories of those listed in this passage brings richness to our salvation because we have the foresight to see how God was working out His plan of redemption all along. From Adam in the garden of Eden, to the Minor Prophets proclaiming repentance, to Jesus on the cross, to the growth of the early church. May we read of the faith of the people in the Bible and be strengthened in our own faith, remembering Galatians 2:16: “yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.” Faith in Jesus Christ is all that is required for our salvation!  

3) Why is it significant that the author talks about having faith when you cannot see? (v. 13713
The New Testament talks a lot about having faith without sight. Paul writes to the Corinthians: “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7). We even see this play out with Jesus’ disciple, Thomas (John 20:24-29). After hearing of Christ’s resurrection, Thomas says that he will not believe that Jesus is alive unless “he sees the mark of the nail in his hands.” When Jesus appears to Thomas, Jesus tells him, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” The New Testament addresses faith without sight so often because it is something that all Christians endure. Like the original readers of this letter, we too, walk by faith and not sight, looking forward to Christ’s return and our glorification (Colossians 3:4).   

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Digging Deeper is for Everyone!

1) Take this passage (or any other passage).
2) Read it, and the verses around it,
several times
3) Write down your questions
as you think of them.
4) Ask specific culture related questions and be ready to dig around for your answers. Google them, use www.studylight.org, or look them up in a study Bible and read the footnotes (click on the little letters next to a word and it will show you
other related verses!). (www.esvbible.org)
5) Check your applications with other trusted Christians that you are in community with and embrace the fullness of God
in your everyday!

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Why Dig Deeper?

Finding the original meaning is a huge deal when we study Scripture and can make all the difference in our understanding as we apply God’s truths to our everyday lives.

In our modern-day relationships, we want people to understand our original intention as we communicate; how much more so between God and humanity?!

Here’s a little bit more on why we take Digging Deeper so seriously.

Study Tools

We love getting help while we study and www.studylight.org is one of many excellent resources, providing the original Hebrew (Old Testament) or Greek (New Testament) with an English translation.

Want to know more about a specific word in a verse? Click on “Strong’s Interlinear Bible” then click the word you’d like to study. Discover “origin”, “definition” and hear the original pronunciation – That Is Awesome!

Want more background? Click “Study Tools”, then pick a few commentaries to read their scholarly approach, keeping in mind that just because a commentary says it, doesn’t mean it’s true. (just like the internet :-))

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