What it means to trust God
1 This is what it means to trust God: We will be sure about the things that we hope for. We will be sure in our minds about things that we cannot even see. 2 It was because of their faith that God said good things about the people of long ago. 3 Because of faith, we understand about how God made the universe. He spoke his word to make it happen. In that way, God made all the things that we can see. He made them from things that nobody could see.
4 Abel believed God. So he offered a better sacrifice to God than Cain did. And because of Abel's faith, God accepted him as right with him. God said that he was happy with Abel's gifts. Because Abel trusted God, we can still learn from his faith. Abel died long ago, but it is like he is still speaking to us.
5 Enoch also believed God. Because of Enoch's faith, God took him away to heaven. He did not die like other people. As a result, nobody could ever find him, because God had taken him away. Before God took him away, it was clear that Enoch had made God happy.
6 Unless we trust God, it is impossible for us to make God happy. Anyone who comes to God must believe that God is there. They must also believe that God helps everyone who wants to know him.
7 Noah believed God too. God told Noah about bad things that would happen. Nobody could see what was going to happen, but Noah believed God's message. He was careful to do exactly what God told him. He built a large boat to save his family. As a result of his faith, Noah showed that everyone else in the world was wrong. Noah himself became one of those people that God accepted as right with him. They are right with God because they trust him.
8 Abraham also believed God. When God told him to leave his home, he obeyed God. He left his home to go to another country, but he did not know where he was going. It was the place that God had promised to give to Abraham. 9 Because of his faith, Abraham went to live like a stranger in that foreign country. God had promised to give that country to him, but Abraham lived there in tents. Isaac and Jacob also lived there in tents like strangers. God had also promised them that the land would belong to them one day. 10 We see that Abraham was waiting to live in God's special place. That is the city that God himself has built. God has made it very strong so that it will be there for ever.
11 Abraham and his wife, Sarah, were too old to have children. But Abraham believed God's promise that they would have children. He trusted God to do what he had promised. As a result of his faith, God made it possible for him and Sarah to have a baby. 12 Abraham was so old that he was almost like a dead man. But from this one man there came very many grandchildren. His family became so large that nobody could count them. They were like the number of stars in the sky. They were as many as the bits of sand on the shore of the sea.
13 All these people continued to believe God until they died. But they did not receive all the things that God had promised to give them. They were like people who saw those things far away. That made them happy. These people understood that they lived as strangers and travellers on the earth. 14 People who live in that way show that they expect to live somewhere else one day. That is the place where they will really be at home. 15 They were not thinking about the country that they had left. They could have gone back there if they really wanted to. 16 No, they wanted very much to go to a better place, in heaven. For that reason, God is not ashamed for them to call him their God. He has already prepared a city for them to live in.
17 Here is another example of Abraham's faith. God wanted to see whether Abraham really trusted him. Because Abraham believed God, he offered his son, Isaac, as a sacrifice. God had promised Abraham that he would have many grandchildren. But Abraham was still ready to offer his only son as a sacrifice. 18 God had said to Abraham, ‘It is through Isaac that your family will continue.’ 19 But Abraham was sure that, if Isaac died, God could raise Isaac to life again. We could even say that is a picture of what really happened. It was like Abraham did receive Isaac back from death.
20 Isaac himself also believed God. As a result of his faith, he asked God to bless his sons, Jacob and Esau. He trusted that God would help them in the future time.
21 Jacob believed God. As a result of his faith, he asked God to bless each of Joseph's sons. Jacob did that when he was dying. At that time, he used his stick to hold himself up while he worshipped God.
22 Joseph also believed God. At the end of his life, he spoke about what would happen to the family of Israel's people after his death. He understood that they would leave Egypt one day. As a result of his faith, he told his family where they should bury his bones.
23 Moses' parents believed God. When Moses was born, they hid him for three months. They saw that he was a very special child. As a result of their faith, they did not obey Egypt's king. They were not afraid to do that.
11:23The king of Egypt had said that all the baby boys of Israel's family must die. See Exodus 1:22-2:2.
24 Moses himself also believed God. When he became a man, he refused to be called the son of the king's daughter. 25 Instead, Moses chose to join with God's people. He chose to receive trouble and pain together with them. He did not want to live in the king's house and do wrong things. He would only be happy for a short time there. 26 Moses could have been very rich in Egypt. But instead, he let people insult him. He chose to receive trouble because of God's special Messiah. He thought that was worth more than if he had a lot of money. He thought carefully about what God would give him at a future time. 27 As a result of his faith, Moses left Egypt. He knew that the king would be angry, but Moses was not afraid of him. Instead, he continued strongly to trust God. Nobody can see God, but Moses lived like someone who could see God.
11:26God's special Messiah, Jesus Christ, did not come to live on earth until many years after Moses died. But Moses believed that God had a great purpose to save his people. Because of that Moses chose to obey God. He obeyed God even when it caused him a lot of trouble. That was more important than if he became very rich. The writer of this book knew that God had now saved his people because of Jesus' death. That was God's great purpose from the beginning. So that was the true reason why Moses chose to obey God. That was why he received trouble and pain.
11:27Moses left Egypt when he led Israel's people away from that country. See Exodus 12:29-42.
28 As a result of his faith, Moses told Israel's people to prepare the first Passover meal. He told them to put blood from the sacrifice round their doors. Then the angel who destroyed people came to every home. When he saw the blood, he did not kill the oldest sons in the families of Israel's people.
11:28The Passover became an important day for the Jews. They ate a special meal on this day every year. They did this to remember that God had brought them out from Egypt. They had been slaves in Egypt, and God made them free. Exodus 12 explains about the Passover.
29 Because of their faith, Israel's people walked across the Red Sea. They walked through there as if they were walking on dry land. But when the soldiers from Egypt tried to cross the same place, they drowned.
30 Because of their faith, Israel's people marched round Jericho city for seven days. Then the city's walls fell down.
31 Rahab, who had been a prostitute in Jericho, also trusted God. She helped the men from Israel who had come to that city earlier. They wanted to discover how to attack the city. Rahab was kind to them. As a result of her faith, she did not die with all the other people in Jericho who did not obey God.
32 I could say even more about other people who trusted God. But there is not enough time to talk about all of them. I could tell you about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and all the prophets. 33 As a result of their faith, they did great things. Some of them won wars against other countries. Others ruled in a way that is right and fair. They received the good things that God had promised. Some of them caused lions to shut their mouths. 34 Some of them put out fires that were burning very strongly. Some of them got away from people who wanted to kill them with a sword. Other people who were weak became strong. They became powerful to fight wars. They won against foreign armies so that those armies ran away.
11:34The king of Babylon put Daniel's three friends into a very hot fire because they would not worship him. But because they trusted God, the fire did not hurt them. See Daniel 3.
35 Some women who trusted God received their friends and family back from death. God raised those people who had died to become alive again. Other people refused to turn against God so that their enemies would not hurt them. As a result, their enemies killed them. These people agreed to die because they were sure that they would live again with God. They knew that would be better for them.
36 Other people who trusted God received insults. Some of them were hit with whips. Enemies of God tied these people up and they put them in prison. 37 Some of them died when people killed them with stones. Some of them died when people cut them into two pieces. Some of them died when people killed them with swords. Some of these people wore the skins of sheep and goats while they travelled about. They were very poor and they had a lot of trouble. People did bad things to them. 38 These people who trusted God were too good for this world. Some of them had to travel about in the wilderness and on the hills. Some had to live in holes in the rocks and in the ground.
39 God said good things about all these people because they trusted him. But they still did not receive everything that God had promised to give to them. 40 God had already decided to prepare something better for all of us. As a result, those people did not receive everything until we could join with them.
11:39Many people who trusted God had a lot of trouble in their lives. But they continued to believe God, and God made them strong. The writer wants us to remember how these people lived. He wants us to be strong, even when trouble comes.
11:40All the people that the writer has described in Chapter 11 lived before Jesus came into the world. So they could not completely understand God's purpose during their lives on earth. But we live after the time when Jesus lived on earth. God saves us and forgives us because of Jesus' death on our behalf. We can now see that God had prepared something better for his people, because Jesus came to give us a new life with God for ever.