The Faith Hall Of Fame

THE FAITH HALL OF FAME

By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead. By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death, ‘He could not be found because God had taken him away.’ For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him (Heb. 11: 4-6).

Having given his readers a concise definition of faith, the writer proceeded to give them a resume of the great heroes of faith in the history of God’s people. Faith is only true faith when it issues in action that is based on God’s instructions or in a walk of trust in Him. To the Hebrew mind, intellectual assent to information about God that does not issue in a response to Him is pointless. To them there was no such thing as “I believe there is a God,” but continue to live as I like, because my belief is irrelevant unless I recognise that I am accountable to Him.

Abel’s faith that issued in his act of worship by bringing an offering of “the fat portions of the firstborn of his flock” (gen 4: 4) is remarkable given that he did not have the Mosaic Covenant to follow. How did Abel know that the first of the increase of the flocks and herds and the produce of the land belonged to God? Was his love for God so strong that he instinctively worshipped Him with the best? It seems that he was of a different spirit to his brother Cain.

And what of Enoch? He loved and worshipped God in the midst of a corrupt and evil society. He was the sixth generation from Adam. By this time humankind had become so corrupt that God regretted that He had made man. He saved Noah, the only righteous person on earth, and his family, to preserve and rebuild the human race in the hopes that the flood would wipe out the evil so that He could begin again with a righteous man.

We are told that “Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him.” (Gen. 6: 24). What does that mean? It is another way of saying that God removed him from the earth without dying. Wow! And that in the midst of extreme wickedness! Only one other man in the Biblical record left the earth without dying – Elijah, who went up to heaven in a whirlwind. Not even Jesus, the Son of God, escaped death.

Faith and obedience – two intertwined responses to God. Faith that does not take God seriously enough to respond in obedience is not faith – it is foolishness. It is the height of insult to any person to treat him or his words as irrelevant or inconsequential. The greatest compliment any person can pay another is to listen to him and to take him and his word seriously. Only when that person proves that his word is not to be trusted can one dismiss what he says with a pinch of salt.

God takes great pleasure in those who obey Him even if they do not understand the reason for what He requires because they trust Him and know that He knows what He is doing, even if they don’t. The religious leaders crucified Jesus because they refused to take Him seriously even when He produced proof to corroborate His claims.

‘Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father. But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.’ Again they tried to seize Him, but He escaped their grasp. (John 10: 37-38).

God has left us in no doubt as to what pleases Him the most. Faith issuing in obedience – God’s pleasure. No faith – no obedience – no pleasure. It’s as simple as that!

After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David, son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’ (Acts 13: 22).

God does not only require obedience that issues from trust in Him. He also rewards those who trust Him. No response of faith and obedience goes unnoticed. He rewards those who earnestly seek Him, not always in the way we expect but always according to His will because He sees the bigger picture. This is another thing about trusting God. It’s about trusting Him, not our expectation of Him because He is God and we are not. To trust God is to allow Him to be God in our circumstances because He works according to His plan, not ours.

Trust – obey – please God – reward. This how God works with us.

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Have you read my new book, Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart (copyright 2015, Partridge Publishing)? You’ll love it!

Available on www.amazon.com in paperback, e-book or kindle version or order directly from the publisher at www.partridgepublishing.com.

 

Luella Campbell


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