HEBREWS CHAPTER ELEVEN
1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope
For, and assured of what we do not see.
2 That’s what the ancients were commended for.
3 By faith we understand the universe
Was formed at God’s command, so what is seen
Was not made out of what was visible.
4 It was by faith that Abel offered God
A better sacrifice than Cain did. God
Accepted Abel as a righteous man,
And he spoke well of Abel’s offerings.
Even though Abel’s dead, yet by his faith
He speaks to us today of trusting God.
5 It was by faith that God took Enoch from
This life so that he did not die. He was
Not found, for God promoted him. Before
This, God had said how pleased he was with him;
6 And with no faith it is impossible
To please God, for whoever comes to him
Has to believe that he exists and he
Rewards those diligently seeking him.
7 It was by faith that Noah, when God warned
About things not yet seen, in holy fear
Prepared an ark to save his family,
And by this act of faith condemned the world.
This won for him the righteousness that comes
By faith. 8 It was by faith that Abraham
Obeyed the summons to go to a place
He would eventually receive as his
Inheritance, obeyed and went, although
His destination was a mystery.
9 And even when he reached God’s promised land,
He lived in tents, the same as Isaac and
Jacob (like strangers in a foreign land),
Co-heirs with him of the same promise, 10 for
He had his eyes upon that city of
Which the designer and the builder is
God. 11 Sarah, too, had faith. Because of this
She gained the energy to bear a child
In spite of her old age, for she believed
Him faithful who had made the promise, 12 so
From this one man, and he as good as dead,
Arose a race as countless as the stars,
As numerous as sand on ocean shores.
13 These men of faith that I have mentioned died
Without receiving all God promised them.
They saw it all awaiting them ahead,
And they were glad, for they admitted they
Were aliens and strangers on the earth.
14 For men who say that, mean they’re looking for
A country of their own. 15 If they had meant
The country they had left, they would have had
The chance to have returned. 16 Instead,
They now desire a better country, one
In heaven. Therefore God is not ashamed
That he is called their God, for he’s prepared
For them a city. 17 Abraham by faith,
While God was testing him, offered Isaac
On the altar as a sacrifice. He who’d
Received the promises was ready to
Kill him, his one and only son, 18 although
God had told him, “It is through Isaac that
Your offspring will be reckoned.” 19 Abraham
Believed that God could raise the dead, and so
To speak, he did receive his son back from
The dead. 20 It was by faith that Isaac blessed
Jacob and Esau in regard to things
To come. 21 It was by faith that Jacob, when
Old and dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons,
And worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.
22 It was by faith that Joseph, when his end
Was near, spoke confidently of how God
Would bring the Israelites from Egypt and
He gave instructions for his bones. 23 By faith
After Moses was born, his parents hid
Him for three months because they saw he was
No ordinary child and they were not
Afraid of the king’s edict. 24 By faith Moses,
When he had grown, rejected being called
The son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 but he chose
To share mistreatment with God’s people rather
Than savor sin’s delights for a short time.
26 He rated degradation for the sake
Of Christ of greater value than the whole
Of Egypt’s treasures, for he looked ahead
To his reward. 27 By faith he left the land
Of Egypt, not afraid of Pharaoh’s wrath;
He persevered because he saw him who’s
Invisible. 28 By faith he ordered them
To kill a lamb as God had told them to
And sprinkle blood upon the doorposts of
Their homes so that Death’s Angel would not touch
The firstborn in the homes of Israel.
29 By faith the people passed through the Red Sea
As on dry land; but when Egyptians tried
To do so, they were drowned. 30 By faith the walls
Of Jericho fell, after Israelites
Had marched around them seven days. 31 By faith
Rahab the harlot was not killed with those
Who disobeyed, because she welcomed spies.
32 And what more shall I say? I don’t have time
To tell of Gideon and Barak, Samson,
Jephthah and David, Samuel and the prophets,
33 Who through faith overpowered kingdoms, worked
Righteousness, gaining what was promised; who
Shut lions’ mouths 34 and quenched the violence
Of flames, and dodged the sword’s edge; who out of
Weakness were strengthened; who were given power
In battle; they made armies turn and run
Away. 35 Some women gained their loved ones back
From death, and others suffered torture, not
Accepting their release, so they might gain
A better resurrection. 36 Some faced jeers
And had their backs ripped up by whips, while others
Were chained and put in prison. 37 They were stoned,
And some were sawed in two; and some were killed
By swords. Some went about in skins of sheep
And goats, impoverished and persecuted
And mistreated− 38 the world did not deserve
To have them. They meandered in the deserts
And mountains, and in dens and caves. 39 These were
All celebrated for their faith, yet none
Of them received what had been promised. 40 God
Had planned a better thing for us, so sweet:
Only with us would they be made complete.
“Noah’s Ark,” Edward Hicks