Abraham As An Illustration of Faith: Hebrews 11:8-10
“8) By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9) By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; 10) for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” Hebrews‬ ‭11:8-10‬
Abraham is the next illustration of faith. He is often referred to as the father of faith. The books of Galatians and Romans both use him as an illustration of justification by faith. But he was not a perfect man. He had battles with telling the truth about Sarah being his wife, and he wrestled trying to fulfill God will by fleshly means. That brought about the birth of Ishmael.
Why do I share those points? Because we need to understand that people of faith are not exempt from personal battles or struggles. They are not super humans. So let’s look at some characteristics of Abrahams faith journey.
First, verse 8 says that when Abraham was called he obeyed God and departed for the promised land. There is more packed into this verse than what can be gleaned from a casual glance. God called Abraham to leave Ur of the Chaldeans. Ur had become the center of pagan worship and idolatry after the flood. It was a wicked place.
A significant part of faith is leaving! God wants us to leave our past life of sin. This is called “repentance.” But we also need to leave the false ways of the world. We literally need to depart from wickedness. Turning your back on the world can be a lonely journey. It was only Terah, the father of Abraham and a few family members that decided to turn their backs away from Ur. Are you obeying God and leaving your sinful ways behind?
Second, Abraham headed for the Promised land, but it was not clearly defined. He went out not knowing where he was going. Following God seldom has all the details defined in advance. God Himself became Abrahams promised land. Let me encourage you to make knowing God your ultimate destiny.
Third, he lived as an alien in tents for the rest of his life. Isaac and Jacob followed in his footsteps. In fact, his descendants didn’t actually take possession of the Promised Land for nearly 500 years. It was Joshua who finally brought them in. Faith has a long term focus.
The full benefits of salvation and heaven are distant promises for us as well. Philippians 3:20-21 reminds us that our citizenship is not in this world. Like Abraham, we are pilgrims passing through this world.
Finally, verse 10 says; “for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” Abraham did not compromise with anything short of Gods best. He learned that godliness with contentment was great gain.
Though he never graduated from living in tents as an alien, God greatly blessed him during his life. As Hebrews 11:6 says; God can and does reward those who seek Him. Abraham established a testimony that was greatly respected and esteemed. He conquered invading kings and set captives free. He was a blessed business man and became wealthy, yet he refused to accept spoil from the Kings of Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham fixed his focus on God as his provider.
The text is not done with the faith of Abraham yet, but these three verses provide some amazing insights for our calling into a life of faith. So, are you ready to turn your back on the world and follow God? There is much to learn from Abraham about a life of faith. I am not suggesting you buy a tent, but I am encouraging you to make God your destiny.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global