Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16 (NRSV)
Chapter 11Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Verse 2Indeed, by faith our ancestors received approval. Verse 3By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible. Verse 8By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to set out for a place that he was to receive as an inheritance; and he set out, not knowing where he was going. Verse 9By faith he stayed for a time in the land he had been promised, as in a foreign land, living in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. Verse 10For he looked forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. Verse 11By faith he received power of procreation, even though he was too old-and Sarah herself was barren-because he considered him faithful who had promised. Verse 12Therefore from one person, and this one as good as dead, descendants were born, "as many as the stars of heaven and as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore." Verse 13All of these died in faith without having received the promises, but from a distance they saw and greeted them. They confessed that they were strangers and foreigners on the earth, Verse 14for people who speak in this way make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. Verse 15If they had been thinking of the land that they had left behind, they would have had opportunity to return. Verse 16But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; indeed, he has prepared a city for them.
Hebrews 11 defines faith as “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Abraham’s faith was tested, and the promise repeated by God over and over. Even after the son was born, it was generations until the rest of the promise was fulfilled. Abraham and his descendants died trusting that God’s promise was true and God’s steadfast love for all people would be fulfilled through that promise.
Sometimes we also must trust in the steadfast love of God even when life seems fearful and unsure. We struggle to live through a pandemic, we hear daily of an unjust war, the news is filled with reports of senseless shootings. It is easy to find our faith tested and ourselves in need of the assurance of God’s steadfast love and forgiveness. That assurance is found in this week’s scripture readings.
Gracious God, fill us with the assurance of your steadfast love and forgiveness found in your word of hope and promise. In the face of the fears of this life, reassure us with the gift of faith in your everlasting promise of salvation. In your holy name we pray. Amen.