Continuing to read in Hebrews 11 this morning. And a word jumps off the page. A word which I had read before in this chapter. A word that I would read again. Repeated three times, it caused me to pause and reflect.
That word? Considered. And so, I’m considering . . .
By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered Him faithful who had promised. . . .
[Abraham] considered that God was able even to raise [Isaac] from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back. . . .
[Moses] considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. . . . (Hebrews 11:11, 19, 26 ESV)
I’m reminded that while faith is the substance of things hoped for (11:1 NKJV), what we deem to be true about God is the substance of faith. What we glean concerning the Creator from creation . . . what we experience of His presence by interacting with His Spirit . . . what we learn concerning His thoughts and His ways from the Scriptures . . . all of that fuels the fires of faith. And what we consider to be true about God will influence and direct how we live our lives.
Because Sarah believed that God was faithful to His promise, she conceived when her body was naturally beyond conceiving. Yeah, I know that Sarah was impatient waiting for the promise and that she made some desperate decisions because she didn’t know how the promise was going to be fulfilled (Gen. 16). But at the end of the day, God opened her womb not because of what she did or didn’t do, but because of what she believed about God. That what God said would happen, would happen. Sarah considered God faithful and received the promise.
Abraham considered God able and saw the provision. Asked by God to sacrifice the son that Sarah had born, Abraham obeys against all reasonable thinking. Made no sense to take the life of the son through whom Abraham’s line was determined . . . no sense to cut off the miracle child whose distant descendant would become the means of blessing for all nations (Gen. 12:3). But Abraham considered that God was able to raise the dead. And so, by faith, he prepared to offer his son believing he would witness his son’s resurrection. And in a way, says the Hebrews writer, he did as God halted Abraham’s hand and
provided a substitutionary sacrifice . . . Abraham calling that place, “The LORD will provide” (Gen. 22:11-14).
Finally, while Sarah received the promise of a child and Abraham saw the provision of substitutionary sacrifice, Moses would know the prize of forsaking this world. The reward of bearing what the writer calls “the reproach of Christ,” though Christ would be born thousands of years after Moses. Moses, by faith, chose the disdain and persecution directed to those who live for another kingdom. The misunderstanding and derision directed to those who follow the law of a heavenly land. The rejection felt by those who are counter-culture and swim against the current of what the world calls normal.
Moses could of had it all . . . the treasures of Egypt . . . wealth, power, and influence in his world. But instead, he chose the reproach of Christ. Why? Because of what fueled his faith. He considered that following Jesus would lead to a better prize.
Sarah considered God faithful. Abraham considered God able. Moses considered God worth it. Sarah received the promise. Abraham witnessed the provision. Moses went home with the prize.
All by God’s grace . . . all for God’s glory.