Faith is Confidence in What We Hope For and Assurance About What We Do Not See

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EZEKIEL 24:1-26:21 | HEBREWS 11:1-16 | PSALM 110:1-7 | PROVERBS 27:14

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The time for repentance has expired for Israel.  This is what God tells Ezekiel.  There comes a time when after fair warning even grace runs out.  Such a time has come for Israel, who has been routed once already by Babylon, but has more of the same coming her way. 

Ezekiel is told these words: 14 “‘I the LORD have spoken. The time has come for me to act. I will not hold back; I will not have pity, nor will I relent. You will be judged according to your conduct and your actions, declares the Sovereign LORD.’”

Ezekiel continues with more prophecies regarding the many neighbors of Israel who will also face the same fate as Israel.  This was not a good time for these nations, nay, it was a most terrible time.

We’ll turn now to our reading of the book of Hebrews and enter into a most beautiful chapter in which the writer expounds upon the amazing quality of faith. 

For starters, he defines faith like this:  1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 

He then goes on to offer examples of several “ancients” — people of yore who exhibited such faith throughout their lives.  And in particular, the writer cites Abraham, the father of the Jewish people, and says this of him.

He says:  8 By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 9 By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11 And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12 And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.

This is faith in action, says the writer.  Faith that defies reason, and stands the test of time regardless of one’s circumstances.  He goes on to say this of the faith that is exhibited by these saints of old.

He says: 13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

Turning now to our Psalm of the day, we find shades of Ezekiel’s prophecies in these verses written by none other than David, king of Israel:

5 The Lord is at your right hand;
   he will crush kings on the day of his wrath.
6 He will judge the nations, heaping up the dead
   and crushing the rulers of the whole earth.
7 He will drink from a brook along the way,
   and so he will lift his head high.

Finally, one verse from the book of Proverbs, in which Solomon, wise king of Israel, is most likely employing a tongue-in-cheek style of sarcasm in these words:

14 If anyone loudly blesses their neighbor early in the morning,
   it will be taken as a curse.

May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word.  Amen.

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