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Some notes from the 2020 Bible conference
Hebrews 11: The Life of Faith
The Nature, Fruits, and Examples of Faith
January 4, 2020
First study - Early Examples of Faith | Second study - Faith Ending Well
Third study - Final Examples

First Bible study: Early Examples |
Study 2: Ending Well | Study 3: Final Examples      Top
Hebrews 11:1-19

Early Examples of Faith: Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and Sarah

Some chapters of the Bible really strike us-- 1 Corinthians 13 about love, 1 Thessalonians 4 about the coming of the Lord. This chapter focuses our attention on faith.

As a book of the Bible, Hebrews emphasizes Christ's superiority to the angels, to the Old Testament priesthood, to the offerings, and so on. Then, beginning in chapter 10, verse 19, the exhortation and practical applications come. The writer says, "Don't give up Christ! Is your profession of faith, your claim to be a Christian, genuine?"

In this first study of Hebrews 11 we will consider the earliest examples of faith and some of the patriarchs of the book of Genesis. They are "the elders" (verse 2) and "the fathers" (Hebrews 1:1). They had a good report from God because of their faith, and this is emphasized at the end of the chapter as well (verse 39).

One saying many people repeat is this: "Never say never." But in this chapter, God tells us a "never" we can rely on: Without faith, we will never please God (verse 6). That shows why this chapter is so significant. Popular culture defines faith the way an old Christmas movie did: "Faith is believing in something when common sense tells you not to." That is a terrible definition of faith! Hebrews 11:1 tells us that faith has substance and is considered evidence. Faith is the decision to act upon the knowledge that God can be trusted.

This is what Abel did (verse 4). He had learned that God accepted sinners on the basis of a sacrificial offering, just as it had happened with his parents when Adam and Eve sinned. Therefore he offered the right kind of sacrifice, and this was an example of faith in action. He believed that God's principles could be applied to his own situation.

The word "substance" in verse 1 is the same word as in Hebrews 1:3 when it says that Christ is the exact image of God's "person." Just as Jesus Christ fully represents who God is by making God visible in this world, so faith makes God visible.

Faith gives us understanding. Further, the word "framed" or "prepared" in verse 3 is the same word as when God prepared a body for Christ on this earth. He prepared "the ages," which is a different term from the word for the physical substance of the earth or the universe. By faith we understand that God has directly prepared the ages when all these patriarchs, and we, would live.

No doubt Abel had the witness of creation about God's person. Creation was recently fallen, yet he knew God as the One who both creates and interacts with His creation. We have the same testimony of Him.

We affirm that God created by His word. All the things which are seen were not made of pre-existing material but by God's creation from nothing. We can't replace God's creatorial acts with evolutionary processes. Furthermore, the fact that God spoke provides the basis for the whole chapter. God speaks, and we believe Him.

Abel's example shows that faith produces righteousness, right living; and God also declared Him to be righteous because of his faith. Enoch's example shows that faith pleases God. Noah's example shows that faith becomes a condemnation to the world but also a preservation for his family.

Faith precedes seeing. The doubting disciple, Thomas, was allowed to see the risen Lord; but "blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed" (John 20:29). Having not seen Him, still we love Him (1 Peter 1:8).

Faith is very hard to define. It's like the mind. You can define the brain but cannot easily define the mind; yet the mind is what sets apart humans from animals as we can rationalize and analyze life. In the same way, faith differentiates between natural and spiritual. Hebrews 11:1 is not exactly a definition of faith, but it shows how faith provides that kind of distinction.

Faith is not blind; the Lord said, "If you believe, you will see" (John 11:40). Faith is not stupid; it provides understanding, as here in Hebrews 11:3, which emphasizes that "we" understand-- not just the people of past generations. Faith gives us a worldview different from natural analysis.

The first readers of Hebrews were thinking, "What happened to what we believed in? Are we to give up our sacrifices, our appreciation of the temple, and all of that?" Well, says the writer, those things were never the main point, because the fathers always lived by faith.

This point is key. Faith is an internal response to God before any action of faith is ever displayed outwardly. Verse 7 says that Noah was "moved with fear" (verse 7). The grammar is important to understand. It does not say that "Noah moved with fear," using an active verb as something he did. The commas in the text show that it is a passive verb: Noah was moved, inwardly, by fear and reverence for what God had said about coming judgment. (This important point is even more easily seen in other languages which more clearly distinguish between active and passive verbs.)

What moves us inwardly? The Lord Jesus was moved with compassion inwardly; the Pharisees were moved by envy in their hearts. It's the idea of being motivated inwardly to do something outwardly. When faith is active in our hearts, we will be moved to respond to what God has said.

On the one hand, it's important to realize that faith is the gift of God. Naturally speaking, we are dead! Faith cannot be activated by natural things. We respond to God in faith when He shines His light upon us.

On the other hand, is God biased? Can we blame Him for not giving us faith, and that's why we don't believe Him? It's clear that we have a responsibility to let faith have its way. Christ did not do mighty works when the unbelief of others hindered Him (Matthew 13:58); and He rebuked the disciples who had little faith. Fear, doubt, sight, works, law... all these are the enemies of the free activity of faith.

Now, coming to the account of Abraham, we read something new: He was called. Acts 7:2 emphasizes the God of glory who called him. When Abraham became attached to such a God, then he responded. He lived in a place of idolatry, as Joshua 24:2 explains, but his ear became attuned to God's voice. Therefore we can also make a link between faith and separation, too-- separation to God and from evil.

Faith always has reverence for who God is. Abel saw it in his parents; Noah had reverence as the account here shows; and Abraham obeyed, which implies reverence and honor as well. Reverence leads to action that is based on faith.

This shows that faith is very personal, too. Not one of these men would have been able to tag along on the faith of his parents, for example. Further, the first section of this chapter emphasizes the principle of faith, and now Abraham's example emphasizes the hope of faith. He didn't know where he was going; but he had hope in God's future plans for him, which verses 17 and 19 show as well.

We are called from what is natural to something greater, and faith responds to that; but that doesn't mean it is easy. Abraham's tests were always in relation to his family. This can be very challenging.

The hope of faith is not wishful thinking. It is settled in a Person. Abraham's culture featured tall buildings (the tower of Babel) and a self-centered perspective ("make a name for ourselves," Genesis 11:4). But faith calculates the certainty of trusting the God who speaks. This is what is said about Abraham in verse 19, when he believed God for a resurrection event despite the fact that such a thing had never before happened.

Abraham had to overcome his natural preferences. God had promised the blessings of innumerable descendants, but how would this be? At one point Abraham said, "Oh, that Ishmael might live before You!" (Genesis 17:18). He would have loved to see Ishmael become the fulfillment of God's promises. Ishmael's birth itself occurred because Abraham had not corrected his wife who seems to have doubted God. It is hard to live by faith! We sing, "Father Abraham had many sons." No, he didn't!-- at least not many sons of promise in his own family. But we set natural inclinations aside and trust the God who speaks.

Even Abraham's development of faith took time. When God called him from his homeland, he did not fully obey right away. It took time to develop his response. But there was a promised inheritance, and God always rewards faith, as verse 6 also says.

Further, there were tests of Abraham's faith which he failed at first, such as lying about his wife in Egypt. Tests of faith are real. Do we choose natural things and family ties to the exclusion of obedience?

At the beginning, middle, and end of Abraham's story we can see his responses of faith. This is an application because, of course, Abraham was 75 years old when God first called him-- but it's a nice example to realize that steadfast faith can outlast and overcome any of our failures. And here, in Hebrews 11, God does not record those failures. He takes delight in the responses of faith and emphasizes those. As another passage puts it, later in his life Abraham did not hesitate or stagger through unbelief but was strengthened in faith (Romans 4:20).

We also should benefit from Sarah's faith. She assessed God to be faithful even though she waited until age 90 to have a child. Faith can persist while waiting for God's promises to be fulfilled. This is because faith is not grounded in the promise but in the Person who made the promise!

Sarah's example is different from the great acts of faith. She simply "received" (verse 11), which is not very noticeable. But faith that seems small can have amazing results, as verse 12 shows. Let's not be disappointed if we do not seem to be doing mighty works. Faith itself is mighty, and God always uses it.

Faith is persistent. What if we live all our lives waiting for God to fulfill His promise? Well, then perhaps we might die in faith as the patriarchs did (verse 13); but even that is a final act of faith.

Additionally, faith remains focused. There is a contrast in verse 15, which mentions the things the patriarchs had left behind. But notice that it says they didn't even think about those things! It's not merely that they judged them to be inferior; they simply didn't look back. They were seeking a new homeland that was heavenly; and God would prepare a city for them as well.

A homeland means a new nationality and a new identity; and a city means that they would have everything they needed. They would reach God's city to come and say, "He didn't forget anything!" For them, they will enjoy the capital city of the coming millennial kingdom; for us, we will enjoy being in that heavenly city, the New Jerusalem.

The Old Testament reveals the stories of real people who had trials, doubts, and discouragements. It encourages us to realize that these are the people who could live by faith, and here God portrays only that response which was so precious to Him.

Second Bible study: Faith Ending Well |
Study 1: Early Examples | Study 3: Final Examples      Top
Hebrews 11:20-29

Faith Ending Well and Lasting a Lifetime: Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and Moses

We have seen examples of those who believed God and moved forward, basing their actions upon His promises. This next section of Hebrews 11 starts with examples from Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. All of them finished their lives well because of faith. Isaac gave a blessing by faith; Jacob worshipped; and Joseph spoke of his bones being returned to the land of promise. Then the example of Moses continues the narrative.

God had told Rebekah that the older twin would serve the younger. This theme occurs several times in the scriptures, illustrating that the first man, Adam, is replaced by the second man, Christ, the Lord from heaven (1 Corinthians 15:47).

Isaac was evidently deceived and thought he was blessing Esau, not Jacob. How was that done by faith? It could be that he was not as deceived as the Genesis account describes, for he was likely informed by Rebekah that God had made a promise concerning the younger son.

In addition, the blessing itself expresses a great deal of faith in God's plans for the future. Genesis 27 (for example, verse 29) promises that nations would bow down to the one God intended to bless. This was a future view of God's appointed Ruler, the Lord Himself, in the kingdom age. It shows that, even if Jacob thought he was blessing Esau, the words of the blessing reveal faith in a universal kingdom headed up by God's Anointed. It would be in keeping with Hebrews 11 for God to ignore Jacob's misunderstandings and focus on his faith; and the world to come is also a theme of the book of Hebrews.

Isaac and Jacob both gave blessings at the end of their lives in ways that were unexpected and with results that the second son was blessed. Jacob also worshipped, and this is a wonderful relationship with God which is opened up by faith.

Long before, Jacob had wanted God's blessing when he wrestled with the Angel of the Lord (one who was actually the Lord Himself). His request came after his thigh had been touched and weakened so that he had to cling to the one he wrestled for support. Now, in the scene of Hebrews 11, he is leaning upon his staff-- a permanent reminder of the weakness in his thigh. He might have said, "I wish things in my life had happened differently, but that's how they went." Yet his weakness does not prevent him from being a worshipper, by faith, at the end of his life.

Another pattern is that faith imparts the mind of God to the next generation. Both Isaac and Jacob blessed those coming after them. Faith is for ourselves, as previous examples show; but it's also for those who are following us in the path of faith.

Another pattern is that faith imparts the mind of God to the next generation. Both Isaac and Jacob blessed those coming after them. Faith is for ourselves, as previous examples show; but it's also for those who are following us in the path of faith.

Worship is our appropriate response to God as He makes Himself known. It is a fragrant activity, so it also would have impacted those who observed Jacob's worship.

Joseph expressed faith by asking his brethren to return his bones to the promised land. We don't read that anyone gave Joseph specific information about God's promise to take them back to that land; he just knew (Genesis 50:24-25). God's original promise was made to Abraham when He described Abraham's descendants living for 400 years in a foreign land (Genesis 15:13-14). Therefore we realize that this promise had been passed on from Abraham all the way to Joseph.

Moreover, the people still remembered that promise when they left Egypt in the time of Moses (Exodus 13:19). This speaks of the longevity of faith. God had told Abraham about a deliverance before it even made any sense-- before the people were even oppressed in Egypt. And then, all during their oppression, the promise remained in force. What would it be like if we were still remembering in 2020 a promise that God had given in 1620, the year when the Pilgrims came to America? Faith will wait centuries for God to act because God is trustworthy.

Besides all this, Joseph was primarily focused on the resting place for his own bones. He only mentioned, or called to mind, the departure of Israel; but he gave a commandment concerning his bones. He wanted his resting place to be at home in the land of promise; he wanted to be identified with his fathers, God's people.

The bones of Joseph were carried all through the wilderness. This can be compared to Christians as we carry the awareness of the "dying of the Lord Jesus" in our bodies (2 Corinthians 4:10). Further, it is an encouragement that we should announce His death in the wilderness, keeping the Lord's Supper, the way the people of Israel displayed, in a sense, the bones of Joseph.

The faith of Joseph regarding the departure of Israel from Egypt was actually carried out by Moses. The faith of one person impacted the era of another. How many times are we encouraged by someone else's faith? May we also be the encouragement that others need in their faith.

Earlier we spoke about the hope of faith; there is also the energy and power of faith. Abraham obeyed God; Moses' parents hid him; Moses himself made choices, forsook Egypt, and so on. These responses illustrate the energy of faith.

As a group, these generations show that nothing can frustrate God's plans. Abraham represents God's sovereign choice; Isaac shows that God gives us the dignity of sons; Jacob experienced the discipline of God, which all sons receive; and Joseph shows the glory of the inheritance. Now coming to Moses, he is a deliverer to lead the people into that promised inheritance. In our own lives, can we not trace God's faithfulness through our own generations as well?

Some of the examples in Hebrews 11 focus on faith and integrity at one's death, but the example of Moses focuses on birth. Acts 7:20 says he was a beautiful child, but the words used imply that his parents saw that he was beautiful to God. They saw the potential that God saw in him.

These parents faced very hard circumstances, and they gave Moses everything they could. Then, Moses himself had to make a decision-- and he made the right one. Nobody knows exactly which Pharaoh was ruling at the time, but today everybody knows who Moses is.

Three people in the Bible refused things. Joseph refused the immoral ways of Pharaoh's wife; this is the lust of the flesh. Elisha refused to take a reward of money and clothing from Naaman; this is the lust of the eye. Moses refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; this is the pride of life (compare 1 John 2:15).

His parents showed great wisdom by putting Moses in a basket at the edge of the river-- the sedge, the reeds, not an open flow but a little alcove of safety.

We can also see that faith is shaped by our experiences. In the Old Testament story, Moses was wrong at first, and he had to learn self-judgment. In our minds we make decisions, refusing and choosing, and often suffering is part of this.

Moses grew up in a home that was characterized by faith instead of fear. His parents hid him in faith and without fear; then later it is recorded that Moses forsook the palace, not fearing the wrath of the king. As he grew up for a few years of life in his parents' home, he learned that his identity among the people of God was more important than privilege. The reproach of Christ was his motivation-- not now the glory of the city as earlier, but a time of suffering.

We see in these examples the courage of faith. Faith takes risks; faith steps out. Though we cannot do anything on our own, yet God can do much through us!

It's interesting to see the name of Christ used here. Moses lived 1500 years before Christ, and not even the Old Testament had been composed yet. It shows that this chapter is God's view of things.

When did Moses leave Egypt, not fearing the king's wrath? It could have been when he led the people out; or it could have been when he decided to identify himself with his brethren, forsaking Egypt in his heart. Or, based on the fact of God selecting the details, it could have been when he left after killing the Egyptian man. That would be in keeping with God crediting each person in Hebrews 11 with faith in their hearts.

Notice that Abraham saw the city, but Moses saw Him. He rejected what is visible and saw what is invisible. Two visible things were the riches and the wrath of the king. To Christ, Satan offered the whole world; to us, he often is a roaring lion.

Faith is able to make choices and to assess value. Moses esteemed the reproach of Christ as being very valuable.

At the end of this section, the people led by Moses are mentioned collectively. They keep the Passover and are sheltered by the blood of the lamb. Then together they cross the Red Sea. That scene shows the great difference between believing and trying. The people believed, but the Egyptians only tried. They entered the path through the sea, but the Egyptians were drowned. If we merely try to make good choices, using human wisdom, we will be overwhelmed and drowned in life. Faith finds God's path through the sea.

Third Bible study: Final Examples |
Study 1: Early Examples | Study 2: Ending Well      Top
Hebrews 11:30-12:3

Final Examples, and Christ the Supreme Example: Rahab, Gideon, others; and Christ

The closing section of Hebrews 11 contains a series of unique moments and general statements about people and events. Through these verses we can see that the practice of faith does not depend on knowing the outcome. Some of those who had faith received victories in their circumstances; others only experienced suffering and persecution, seemingly without deliverance. But the words of the Lord to Peter, "You follow Me," are appropriate here, for He is the supreme object and example for our faith.

There are brief notes about the victory at Jericho. Joshua himself is not mentioned, but the people are linked with him; through faith the walls of the city fell. Our faith overcomes the world (1 John 5:4).

Then Rahab is mentioned-- the first person mentioned by name when the nation of Israel enters the promised land. Faith is not a question of heritage but of belief. Verse 31 says Rahab was surrounded by people who did not obey (the better translation of the text). What was there to obey? The people of Jericho had known about God's power at the Red Sea 40 years before (Joshua 2:10), and they all should have responded to this. Rahab obeyed the call of God that was implied in the display of His power.

There are many beautiful facts about Rahab. She had concern for her family, like Noah did. She knew the value of the scarlet cord.

The walls fell. God is greater than any obstacle. The unfaithful Israelites had said, "The cities are walled up to heaven!" (Deuteronomy 1:28). But it makes no difference how high they are if you don't have to climb them. The account at Jericho emphasizes faith and obedience as well as the ark of the Lord-- His presence among the people, and also a symbol of His power ("the ark of Your strength," Psalm 132:8). Often the methods by which faith overcomes the world do not make sense, but God's prescription for victory is important.

Then there are six names of verse 32, grouped in pairs. The pairs are listed in reverse order chronologically-- that is, Barak came before Gideon, Jephthah before Samson, Samuel before David. This is therefore a moral order, not a historical one; and God has a message for us in those groupings.

They show God's unique ways with people of diverse backgrounds. Their order implies that we are impacted by the previous generation-- and we will affect those who come after us, for good or bad. Historically, these men all had fears, foolish and fleshly behavior, or other failures of various kinds; yet they are listed here as men of faith. God is greater than our failures and, in this context, does not recall to mind the weaknesses and sins which were part of their history.

Then "the prophets" are listed collectively as a seventh example in verse 32. They had to live by faith, often receiving peculiar instructions from God as they gave their messages to the people. But they trusted God's ways and were used by Him.

Everything done for the Lord, whether great or small, must be done by faith. James 2:5 refers to the poor in this world who are rich in faith. Similarly, we are told that God chooses the poor and weak things to confound the things which are mighty. We all know our weaknesses, but God can use us through faith. Samson's greatest victory came at the end of his life in apparent weakness.

These people were raised in dark times when the nation had departed from God. Faith can restore a testimony for the Lord even if the surroundings are difficult.

The victorious acts of faith which follow are not linked with specific people. This allows us to appreciate various people who could participate in these victories. "Subdued kingdoms"-- perhaps that is David, who overcame all the enemies of the Lord and then expressed a wonderful song of praise to the Lord, his strength (2 Samuel 8; 2 Samuel 22; Psalm 18).

But subduing kingdoms could also include Jonah, who subdued Nineveh through preaching. They heard and repented, even though Jonah didn't preach a clear message. He didn't even mention repentance, and he didn't even want them to receive mercy! But God used his preaching anyway. Or perhaps the act of faith refers to Daniel, who was a faithful counselor to Nebuchadnezzar and led him to know the true God. In that way, because its ruler was subdued before God, the empire of Babylon itself was subdued under Him for a time.

There are 10 acts of faith recorded in this section. Often the 10 Commandments of the Law are emphasized; but will we try to please God through keeping commandments or living by faith?

Let's not be intimidated by the impressive power of these victories, saying, "Well, I will never be able to do any of those things. I won't stop the mouths of lions or quench fire." But faith is something that grows, as 2 Thessalonians 1:3 says. God doesn't demand great things before we have learned to trust Him in little things. Exercise the faith in God you have now, and who knows how God will use you later?

After the great victories of faith, the same measure of faith is seen in suffering. Faith makes us content to rest in God even if we must endure trials. And although there are no names recorded in either the acts of power or the acts of suffering, every person who lived this way is known to God.

Verse 35 emphasizes a great miracle of resurrection. In the Old Testament there were only two people who experienced this, and neither one was from the people of Israel. This type of miracle closes this section, and it's after that when the new section comes: "And others." It is not true that faith makes everything perfect; and it is not true that bad things mean that faith is absent.

Thank God for these verses! Faith has been misrepresented, and these verses rebuke the prosperity preachers. We will not always quench the fire; some were burned at the stake. We will not always stop the mouths of lions; some were eaten by lions. But the world was not worthy of them. God took them out of the world and brought them home to Himself.

They died in faith, not having received "the promise" (verse 39). This is not a reference to God's many promises but to God's great Promise, singular-- the promised one, the Lord Jesus Himself. If He had come in their time, all would have been completed. Their Deliverer would have come to subdue all things and elevate their nation to the head over all people. Enoch prophesied of that promise, the time when the Lord would come as a Judge to remove all the ungodly sinners.

But God had something better in mind (verse 40). He did not want to bypass His plans for the Church, a new entity which would display the glory of the Lord Jesus in a unique way. We can also say that the people of the Old Testament are still not made perfect. In time to come, spirit and soul will be reunited with a resurrected body, and then there will be perfection for them and for us.

In the victory of faith and the endurance of faith the Lord Jesus is now our model, as the verses in chapter 12 show. He endured the cross and obtained the victory there. He is the author of faith (not just our faith, but of faith itself). He lived with unwavering confidence at all times. This links with our lives, which we live by the faith of the Son of God (Galatians 2:20).

The examples of this chapter are called a "cloud of witnesses" (Hebrews 12:1), and there are even more than these. They are given so that we can be helped in our faith-- but now there is also a call to action. Lay aside every weight, says the writer; and not only that, but lay aside the sin which so easily hinders us. And then, where do we look? To these examples of faith? No, we look to Jesus!

The result of Hebrews 11 should be endurance. This was the author's main purpose for including the chapter. In chapter 10 he had written of some who continued sinning after learning the message of the truth, trampling underfoot the Son of God who had died for them (10:26-31). He did not believe his readers were of this sort, however! They needed confidence and endurance, for they were of the sort who had faith (10:39). Then Hebrews 11 shows that faith does indeed endure difficulties; and Hebrews 12 calls them, and us, to endure.

They were not even called to consider the Lord's endurance but to consider Him. The word "endure" comes from a term which means to "stay under." The Lord Jesus always stayed under the hand of His Father, and as we consider Him we also can stay under the guiding hand of God as our Father.

We could say that Peter was distracted by the cloud of witnesses when he focused on Moses and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17). Instead, we should be drawn to focus on the Lord Jesus. His endurance was of something far greater than we will ever have to face. It was the cross. He felt in His own soul the terrible meaning of that suffering. At the same time, we are also told that He saw the coming joy. These are examples for us.

Moses one time saw the Lord in a limited way (Exodus 33). We have the opportunity to see Him for ourselves: "We see Jesus" (Hebrews 2:9), now as a Man who is crowned with glory and honor. We also see Him in a special way when we remember Him during the Lord's Supper. It is His desire for us to remember His betrayal, His suffering, His victory.

Faith will sustain us as we live in this world, and it will keep our eyes on the Lord Jesus. What could be more important?

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This third Bible study was followed by a time for additional Bible teaching. Notes from two messages follow.
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Living before the Lord

The life of faith is lived before the Lord-- that is, in His presence. This phrase is used a number of times in the Scriptures.

- The people of Levi stood before the Lord (Deuteronomy 10:8). For us, the work of Christ allows us to stand before Him with boldness as we serve in His presence.
- The people were not to appear empty-handed before the Lord (Deuteronomy 16:16). We should bring our own praises that we can offer to Him.
- Samuel reasoned with the people before the Lord (1 Samuel 12:7). He knew that their natural choices would only end in failure.
- David had prepared many details of the temple before the Lord (1 Chronicles 22:5). We also should be prepared, not living haphazardly but intentionally.
- Hezekiah did what was good, right, and true before the Lord (2 Chronicles 31:20). We should be persistent in doing right, for we are never out of His presence.
- The people were called to worship and bow down before the Lord (Psalm 95:6). Worship is the atmosphere in which we should live; it's not a Sunday-only attitude.
- Abraham was called to walk before the Lord (Genesis 17:1). We walk before Him in the land of the living (Psalm 116:9); people are looking on. Just as Enoch walked with God, so should we.

Walking with God

Both Enoch and Noah walked with God (Genesis 5:22, 24; 6:9). Their faith in Hebrews 11, coupled with their stories in Genesis, provides additional encouragement.

Their walk with God affected their family life. Prophetically, Enoch named his son, "When he dies, it will come"-- and the judgment of the flood came in the year of Methuselah's death. Yet this illustrates the wonderful mercy of God, for he was the oldest person ever to live. God's mercy was extended through the long years of man's disobedience.

Noah also walked with God. Scripture implies that he learned about the coming flood around the same time he began his family (Genesis 5:32, 6:9-13). When he learned of God's judgment, he continued having children! The evidence for this is that Shem was younger than 100 when the flood came (compare Genesis 11:10 with Noah's age in 5:32, 7:6). In an evil world, we can raise our children for the Lord.

The lives of Enoch and Noah provide wonderful pictures of future events; but, as a practical lesson, we can say that God took Enoch out of the world and then preserved Noah in the world. Sometimes God takes us out of the trials; and sometimes He keeps us safe through them. The flood was not an easy time, even in the ark; but "God remembered Noah" (Genesis 8:1). By faith we learn that we can trust God in every situation.

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