Hebrews 11:39—”And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.”
This chapter of scripture focusses on ‘faith’. What it is. How we understand it and the very many examples in the Bible about people and their levels of faith which was the underlying reason for them to do the things that they did: Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab the harlot. More undescribed examples – “Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah; of David and Samuel and the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, waxed mighty in war, turned to flight armies of aliens. Women received their dead by a resurrection: and others were tortured, not accepting their deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection.” Faith drove the leaders and others. All mere mortals performed great feats and ‘the impossible’ only through their faith and therefore the backing of the Most Powerful and Able – God our Father. They pleased God with their faith and ofcourse got rewarded with His backing to perform what needed to be done. (Hebrews 11:6 – And without faith it is impossible to be well-pleasing unto him; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that seek after him.)
Here’s the twist to this. Though all of them knew their God was true and had promises for them, not all died having received their promise, rather seeing it fulfilled. Yet, they fervently held on to their faith.
(Hebrews 11:13 – These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.)
At first, they were intent on looking for their earthly promise. But having held on to their faith, their desire changed to God and His will for them. Seeking after God was pleasing to Him and the promises for this in Heaven held true. (Hebrews 11:16 – But now they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed of them, to be called their God; for he hath prepared for them a city.)
Do you know about the extent of concern God has for you? He explained the faith of these faithful people to you; tying our faiths together. (Hebrews 11:39-40 – And these all, having had witness borne to them through their faith, received not the promise, God having provided some better thing concerning us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.)
The apostle tells the Hebrews, that God had provided some better things for these faithful people and they felt He also expected as good things from them. Now we also have our advantages, with the better things God has provided for us that are beyond those of the faithful people. Shouldn’t our obedience in faith, patience in hope, and labor in love, be greater then? We must try to get true faith as these believers had. We must pray continually for the increase of our faith, that we may follow these bright examples and be with them, made perfect in holiness and happiness. With them we must shine like the sun in the kingdom of our Father for evermore.