Monday

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for... (v.1)

Hebrews 11: 1-7 Monday 26 October 2020

Psalm 5:1-8

Background

This week’s readings explore the meaning of faith, mostly through the letter to the Hebrews. It is an obvious point, but Christian faith is an individual gift to each believer. In the words of 19th-century novelist Charles Kingsley, “I do not want merely to possess a faith; I want a faith that possesses me.” This week’s reflections on faith provide a number of examples of ways in which we might all be helped in our own faith journeys.

 The whole of chapter 11 in Hebrews is a catalogue of famous figures from the Old Testament who did what they had to do 'by faith'. Whether it is Abel offering a sacrifice, Noah building an ark, Abraham uprooting from his homeland, etc, all the people mentioned clearly believed in a God with whom they had some kind of relationship. All of them believed there was something more, something better, something to hope for. Clearly, for all of them, God was real and had a plan for their lives. Even so, there was the feeling there was yet more to come!

 The prophets pick up this the theme of faith, of better times to come if only people stayed closer to God and his ways. Then the continuity of Old Testament to New Testament is provided by people such as Isaiah, introducing the promise of Emmanuel (God with us) in Isaiah 7 and 8; and Matthew 1:23 gives the, as yet unborn, Messiah the same title. The birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus show just how much God wanted people to understand his presence could be enjoyed in daily life – God with us.

 So we read, “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things unseen”(v.1), which of course Christians understand more fully through the the existence of Jesus. 'God with us', both in his life and teaching, reveals more about the kingdom of God and its rich promises. Our faith is strengthened because God became human and lived among us. Of course there is more to come in God’s kingdom, but our faith in God has been given such a boost, such assurance, by the flesh and blood of his son.  

To Ponder:

  •  Receiving Holy Communion (Eucharist) for many is a regular reminder of what our faith means to us. What other things remind you of the God who desires each day to 'be with us'?
  • In Singing the Faith the hymns 479, 480 and 481 all paraphrase Psalm 23. Is there anything more comforting and more powerful than knowing that God is with us on today’s journey of life? Give thanks.
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