Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it [faith] the elders obtained a good report. (Hebrews 11:1-2)
Verse one of this passage gives us the definition of faith. Verse two gives us the results.
Most believers have grasped hold of the thought that walking by faith requires calling for the promises of God, though we don't currently see them manifested. The dog analogy is commonly used in explanation - if the dog is at your feet, then you don't have to call it. Therefore, there's no faith involved.
We've missed an important key by skimming over verse 2, however - by faith the elders obtained a GOOD REPORT.
Good. adj. 1. morally excellent; virtuous; righteous; pious 2. satisfactory in quality, quantity, or degree 3. of high quality; excellent 4. right; proper; fit 5. well-behaved 6. kind, beneficent, or friendly 7. honorable or worthy; in good standing (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/good)
The elders didn't have a good report before they walked by faith, but walking by faith gave them a good report.
That meant they'd have enough of whatever they lacked in a high quality, that the situation they faced would be righteous and beneficial to all concerned, and the people they'd have to work with would be kind and friendly.
That's why God created the world and said, "It is good." He saw it by faith. (v3) That's why Abel offered sacrifice. He offered it in faith. (v4) That's why Enoch didn't see death. He walked in faith. (v5) Why Noah built a boat to save his house. He believed the good report they would survive. (v7) Why Abraham made a very long trip not knowing where he'd end up. He had faith in God's ability to lead him. (v8)
All of these, and the others listed in Hebrews 11, saw the GOOD REPORT of God's provision long before they ever had the actual answer. So the next time you find yourself in a difficult or distressing situation, get your head screwed on right first.
You're obtaining a GOOD REPORT so that you can follow the greatest example of faith ... Jesus Christ.
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. (Hebrews 12:1-3)
Suzanne D. Williams
Suzanne Williams Photography
Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.