A Faith That Trusts

“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. 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; for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God” …Hebrews 11:8-10

Write this down: If he did it, I can do it too!

Have you ever noticed how little the Bible gives attention to “feelings?” Mainly the discussion is around “obedience” which requires us (the servant) to obey God (the Master) by understanding His will for not only my life but for all of life. Therefore, our walk with God is a choice that is founded upon a belief in God which leads to faith in my life, a response to God’s grace.

In his book, My Daily Walk With God, Charles Hodge wrote

I need God in my life, I want God in my life, I must have God in my life!

This truly seems to be the mindset of a man named Abraham who is the focus of our attention for this study. Abraham was one focused on his faith and belief in the God of heaven and placed all of his trust in this Creator of the universe.

Many men and women have walked the face of this planet for some 6 to 10,000 years. Since the days of creation, God has desired for man to walk faithfully according to His will. Regarding this very idea D.L. Moody wrote,

The world has yet to see what God can do with and for and through a man who is fully and wholly consecrated to Him

Of course, we know that according to this statement, this refers to all but Christ. But if one did fit in this column, Abraham would be a name at the top of the list because of the faith he had to follow the Lord.

In the definition of faith found in Hebrews 11:1-3, two very important aspects of faith must be known.

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old gained approval. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible” …11:1-3

First, “the assurance (or substance) of things hoped for” is in search of the things that will happen.

  • The hope of Christ’s return…Titus 2:13
  • Jesus raising the dead…Phil. 3:21
  • The gift of eternal life…Tit. 1:2

Warren Wilcox wrote,

Faith is the reality and foundation of our hopes. Without faith we would be limited to a narrow world comprehended by the senses…Therefore faith is to be put in place of things not seen (to fill that gap as it were) and serves as full persuasion that something (Christianity) is true even though not testable by physical means”

Faith is the “substance” of “assurance” (lit. foundation) that supports our hope for these things to take place. By this we accept the conditions of God’s promises, we trust in the Word that He gives to us that provides us with those promises, we keep those commanding words to obtain God’s promises, and in doing so we are living by our faith in God and His promises.

Second, “the evidence (or conviction) of things not seen” involves the metaphysical,

  • God…Hebrews 11:27; John 1:18
  • Heaven 2 Corinthians 12:1-4
  • Hades Acts 2:31

It also involves historical things…

  • Creation…Genesis 1:1
  • Israel crossing the Red Sea…Exodus14
  • Jesus’ resurrection…Matthew. 28

Our Text: Hebrews 11:8-10

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. 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; for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.”

The individuals that are presented from v. 7 are presented with the propositional phrase, “By” unlike those before who were noted for their “demonstration” of faith. So, each member listed, they are introduced in this way…

  • By faith Noah…v. 7
  • By faith Abraham…v. 8
  • By faith Sarah…v. 11
  • By faith Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, etc…20-33

Abraham being the subject of our topic is mentioned in v. 8-10 as well as v. 17 and is the first person in the Old Testament who is specifically mentioned as having faith. This of course does not mean that those who walked before him did not, as we know they did. But Abraham is the first described in this way.

Then he believed in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness”Gen. 15:6

The totality of the story of Abraham is told in Genesis 12-25:11 and is mentioned repeatedly in the New Testament in such places as…

  • Acts 7
  • Romans 4:9-25
  • Galatians 3:7-14
  • James 2:21-23

His Demonstration of Faith…

First, Abraham’s faith was demonstrated in his READINESS TO OBEY

Upon his calling, Abraham was ready to leave because God had asked him to leave. He was going to live in a land that he had never been before. One that in his mind was not his. It was a stranger to him, and he was a stranger to it. However, due to his faith in God and his willingness to go where God would tell him to go, he went, and here is where we can truly begin to see his faith. Abraham had very little knowledge about where he was going. Everything about this provides an opportunity to question God about this journey but he didn’t. It wasn’t as if God had told him, “If you go to the land which I am telling you, I will give it to you.” That may have provided a little bit of incentive to go, especially if you knew you were going to get something out of the deal. But that wasn’t the deal. Abraham was unaware that the land he was going to was going to be given to him as an inheritance (Genesis 12:1-7). His willingness to go to this “unknown” land is remarkable and we can see his attitude which is shown by two successive verbs. He was called and he obeyed.

Second, Abraham’s faith was demonstrated in his SACRIFICIAL ATTITUDE

For many of us today, it would be very hard to give up what we have, the place where we live, the job that we work, and more. In Abraham’s story, it simply was not that way. To please God, his faith allowed him to have the attitude that Christ was looking for in the apostles. To give it all up and follow Him. Abraham sacrificed everything to follow God. He sacrificed his home, his luxury, his possessions, his connections, and his relationships. It is said of Abraham.

“he had not even a foot of ground”Acts 7:5

Here is the connection we must make. Abraham’s faith allowed him to understand that there was nothing here on earth that he needed, nothing worth holding on to. As he moved from place to place, there was never anything of stability because he was never looking to settle. His eyes were fixed on something far greater.

Third, Abraham’s faith was demonstrated in his ability to LOOK BEYOND THE TEMPORAL

Abraham wasn’t tied down to the land in which he was living because there was something greater, he was looking for. Not a great city of this world, but the great city to which the builder was God. Abraham had the mindset that the apostle Paul spoke of in Colossians 3:1-2 by setting his mind above. For Abraham, there was a much deeper spiritual meaning to life and the promises that God had given to him. He understood the fact that being with God was far greater than being with man, that being where God is, is far greater than being where God is not.

As we look back at the land of Canaan, we find that it was a type of rest for the people of God, but not the true rest for God’s people. The city Abraham was looking for was the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:2,14), the place being prepared (John 14:1-6) where Jesus is sitting on His throne (Hebrews 1:3).

We too, must live as Abraham as Aliens (1 Peter 1:1) in this world never clinging onto the things we have here. Our eyes and our minds must be focused on something far greater as we make our way toward this great country (11:16; 12:2)!

To excel in our faith, it must be a faith that trusts in what God says, acts on what God says, and relies on what God says. One that holds on to nothing here, one that goes when asked, one that obeys when commanded, one that fears nothing because our faith is stronger than our feelings. A faith that follows is a faith that knows heaven is at hand and all else is just along the way.

“Those who trust in the Lord Are as Mount Zion, which cannot be moved but abides forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, So the Lord surrounds His people from this time forth and forever”Psalm 125:1-2



Workshop In the Word, Hebrews Study, Denny Petrillo, p. 54

World Video Bible School Class Notes, Hebrews, Warren Wilcox, p. 175

Life Changing Studies with an Open Bible, Book of Hebrews, Dan Winkler, p. 97

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Garrett married his wife, Cristen, in December 2005 and has four wonderful boys! Parker is married to his beautiful wife Claire and their daughter Taytum, Cohen, Ryder, and Kamden. Garrett has directed and participated in many camps, retreats, conferences, and workshops and serves on the national staff for Lads to Leaders. He is the President of Excel Still More and an annual writer and instructor for ESM. Garrett currently serves as the pulpit minister for the Hydro Church of Christ in Hydro, Oklahoma, where he and his family reside.