Let’s rest for a minute in verse 1. Have you ever wondered what faith is? If you have, vs.1 gives us the answer. Listen to it again: “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Skip then to vs.3 and you will see that it is by faith that we believe that God created the heavens and the earth. We are not going to get into a creationist vs. evolution debate, but let’s just say that I believe that God created the heaven’s and the earth. It is much less important in how many literal days and if God created in such a way so that the earth and its inhabitants would evolve. I believe all of that is true. The earth is more than a few dozen thousands of years old, and it is proven that species do evolve. But the primary point, which vs.3 addresses, is that God created.
From here we have a listing of men of faith. Actually, strike that. Look at vs.23 and you will find that it was by faith that Moses was hidden in the bulrushes by his parents. They trusted that God would take care of him. God did. Wait, strike the men part again. We find Rahab who is mentioned as a pillar of the faith.
We come to the end of this chapter, again, another long one, thanks for hanging in there, and the author gives us a summary. Look at vs. 39, all of these people who are mentioned between verses 3-39 were faithful to God, and yet they did not receive the final prize which is promised to all of us while they were still living on this earth. They would not inherit eternal life until they were passed from this earth to the next. They were not able to taste the new covenant until the day that Jesus walked upon the earth.
The encouragement that we receive from this chapter is that we are able to receive and understand the definition of faith. But another encouragement is that in the next chapter we hear that these men and women of faith serve as a model for each one of us. Let’s hold onto that thought until we get to the next chapter.