Hebrews 11 takes our breath away. The Faith Hall of Fame. Shhhhh. Show some respect. Here’s Noah. Look at Abraham. Moses is just around the corner. Look at these godly heroes. What amazing men and women. Shhhhh. We’re in the presence of greatness.
If the writer of Hebrews is giving us the tour, I think he probably corrects us right away. I think he turns on all the lights and raises his voice to let us know it’s OK to talk out loud in here. He touches the heroes and encourages us to do the same. He laughs at the shortcomings of these exemplars of the faith even as he admires their devotion to God.
And he points us to the verbs.
Yes, look at these men and women. But, much more than that, look at the actions they took because of their faith in God. Let’s study the verbs.
Abel offered. Noah built. Abraham went. Isaac blessed. Jacob worshiped. Joseph spoke. Moses left. God’s people marched. Rahab welcomed. The judges and prophets conquered, administered, gained, shut, quenched, escaped, and routed.
And in each case, these persons of faith acted despite being unable to perceive the fulfillment of God’s promises. All they can see is the difficulty of their present circumstances. Apparently, this is normal behavior for people of faith; great action, bold action, even when the divine promises lie on the other side of glory.
Faith in God isn’t really faith if you’re just sitting there. A life of faith is a life lived in the verbs.