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Hebrews 11 : We must believe God

v1 If we believe God, we can be completely sure about things. We will be sure about the things that we hope for. We will be sure about things that we cannot see. v2 People who lived many years ago believed God. And so, God said good things about those people. v3 Because we believe God, we understand about the world. We understand that God made the whole world. He spoke and it happened. He made all the things that we can see. He made them from things that we cannot see.

v4 Abel believed God. So he offered a better *sacrifice to God than Cain offered. And because of that, God said that Abel was a good man. God said that he was happy with Abelís gifts. Abel is dead. But because he believed God, we can still learn from his example. So it is like Abel is speaking to us still.

v5 Enoch believed God, so he did not die. Instead, God took him away. And nobody could find him, because God had taken him away. Before God took him away, Enoch had made God happy. The Bible tells us that. v6 Unless we believe God, it is impossible for us to make God happy. Anyone who comes to God must believe him. That person must believe that God is really there. And they must believe that God is good to people. God gives good things to everyone who really wants to find him.

v7 Noah believed God, and so he obeyed God. God told Noah about bad things that would happen. Nobody could yet see those events, but Noah believed God. So, Noah was careful to obey what God told him. He built a large boat to save his family. As a result, Noah showed that everyone else in the world was wrong. And Noah became one of those people that God accepted. They are right with God because they believe him.

Verse 4 See Genesis 4:3-7.

Verse 5 See Genesis 5:24.

Verse 7 See Genesis 6:9-22.

v8 After this, Abraham believed God, so he obeyed God. God told him to leave his home. God wanted him to go to another country. Abraham did not know where he was going. But God promised to give that other country to Abraham. He obeyed God and he started travelling. v9 Abraham believed God, so he went to live in that foreign country. He lived in the country that God had promised to him. He lived there in *tents, like a stranger. Isaac and Jacob lived there in *tents too. God had made the same promise to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. v10 Abraham was waiting to live in the city that will always be there. He was completely sure that he would live in Godís city. God made the plans for that city, and God built it.

Verses 8-9 See Genesis 12:1-5; 18:1; 23:4; 26:3 and 35:12. Isaac was Abrahamís son. Jacob was Isaacís son.

Verse 10 Abraham really believed God. So he knew that his home was really in *heaven with God. The Bible tells us about Godís city. (See, for example, Psalms 48 and 122; Isaiah 14:32; 33:20 and Revelation 21:10-22:5.)

v11 Both Abraham and his wife, Sarah, were too old to have children. But they believed Godís promise to Abraham about a child. God would always do what he had promised. They believed that. And so, God made it possible for even Sarah herself to have a baby. v12 Abraham was so old that he was almost like a dead man. But from this one man there came many, many grandchildren. After some years, there were so many of his people that nobody could count them. There were as many of Abrahamís family as the stars in the sky. There were as many as the bits of sand on the seaís shore.

Verse 11 See Genesis 17:15-19; 18:10-14 and 21:1-3. Sarah was Abrahamís wife.

Verse 12 See Genesis 15:5; 22:17 and Romans 4:18-22.

v13 All these people continued to believe God until they died. But they did not receive all the things that God had promised to them. They understood that those things would come after a long time. They were like people who saw those things far away. All these people agreed that they were only strangers and travellers on the earth. v14 And people who say things like that are certainly looking for a country of their own. They are looking for a country where they will be at home. v15 None of these people continued to think about the country that they had left. If they had thought about it, they might have had the chance to return there. v16 Instead, they were wanting very much to go to a better country, in *heaven. And for this reason, God is not ashamed to be called their God. He has prepared a city for them.

v17 God wanted to see whether Abraham really believed him. So God told Abraham to offer his son, Isaac, as a *sacrifice. And because Abraham did believe God, he obeyed. God had promised many grandchildren to Abraham. But Abraham was still ready to offer his only son as a *sacrifice. v18 ĎIt is through Isaac that your grandchildren will comeí, God had said to Abraham [Genesis 21:12]. v19 But Abraham was sure that God could cause Isaac to become alive again. So Isaac would live again, even after he had died. And we could say that it was like that for Abraham. It was like he did receive Isaac back from death.

Verses 17-19 See Genesis 22:1-14.

v20 Isaac believed God, so he promised good things to Jacob and Esau. He told them that God would be good to them in their future lives.

v21 Jacob believed God. So he told Josephís sons that God would be good to each of them. He did that when he was dying. He *worshipped God while he used his stick to hold himself up.

v22 Joseph believed God. So, when he was going to die, he spoke about all *Israelís people. He spoke about the time when the people would leave Egypt. And he told them what to do with his bones.

Verse 20 Jacob and Esau were Isaacís sons. See Genesis 27:25-29, 38-39.

Verse 21 Joseph was one of Jacobís sons. See Genesis chapter 48.

Verse 22 See Genesis 50:22-26.

v23 Mosesí parents believed God. So, when Moses was born, they hid him for three months. They saw that he was a very special child. So they did not obey the king, but they were not afraid.

Verse 23 The king of Egypt had said that all *Israelís baby boys must die. See Exodus 1:22-2:2.

v24 Moses believed God. So, when he became a man, he refused to be called the son of the kingís daughter. v25 Moses chose to be with Godís people. Egyptís people were doing bad things to them, but Moses still chose to be with them. He chose not to do what was wrong. Wrong things only make people happy for a short time. v26 Moses could have been very rich in Egypt. But instead, he let people do bad things to him. He let them make him ashamed because he believed about Christ. He thought that it was worth more than a lot of money. He thought only about what God would give him at a future time. v27 Moses believed God, so he left Egypt. The king was angry about that, but Moses was not afraid of him. Nobody can really see God. But Moses continued strongly with his purpose, like someone who could see God.

Verses 24-26 See Exodus 2:3-12.

Verse 26 Jesus Christ did not come to live on earth until many years after Moses had died. But he has always been alive in *heaven with God. So, the writer means that Moses chose to obey God. He obeyed God even when it caused him a lot of trouble. He did that because he was waiting for Christ to come.

Verse 27 Moses left Egypt when he led *Israelís people away from that country. (See Exodus 12:29-42.)

v28 Moses believed God, so he prepared the first *Passover. And he told *Israelís people to put blood from the *sacrifice round their doors. Then the *angel who destroyed people came. He saw the blood and so he did not kill the oldest sons in the families of *Israelís people.

v29 *Israelís people believed God, so they went through the Red Sea. They walked through just as they would cross dry land. But when the people from Egypt tried to cross that sea, they drowned.

Verse 28 The *Passover was an important day for the Jews (*Israelís people). They ate a special meal on this day every year. They did this to remember that God had brought them out from the country called Egypt. They had been slaves in Egypt, and God made them free. Exodus 12 explains about the *Passover.

Verse 29 See Exodus 14:15-29.

v30 *Israelís people believed God, so they marched round Jericho city for 7 days. Then the cityís walls fell down.

v31 Some men from *Israel had come to that city earlier. They wanted to discover how strong the people were. Rahab was friendly to those men and she gave help to them. She was a woman who had sold herself to men for sex. But then she believed God, so she did not die with all the other people in her city. Those other people did not believe God.

Verse 30 See Joshua 6:1-20.

Verse 31 See Joshua 2:1-21 and 6:22-25.

v32 I could say a lot more, but there is not enough time. I could tell you about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets (people who spoke Godís messages). v33 Because they believed God, some of them won wars against other countries. They did what is right and fair. And they received good things that God had promised. Some of them caused big wild cats called lions to shut their mouths. v34 Some of them put out fires that were burning very strongly. Some of them got away from people who wanted to kill them with long knives. After they had been weak, they became strong. They became very strong to fight wars. They beat foreign armies and they caused those armies to run away.

Verse 32 The writer gives the names of 6 men who were leaders of *Israelís people. See, for example:

∑  Judges 6:11-8:32 (Gideon)

∑  Judges 4:6-24 (Barak)

∑  Judges 13:2-16:31 (Samson)

∑  Judges 11:1-12:7 (Jephthah)

∑  1 Samuel 16:13; 17:12-51 and 2 Samuel 5:1-5 (David)

∑  1 Samuel 3:19-21 and 7:3-17 (Samuel)

Verse 33 Samson and David both killed lions (big wild cats). (See Judges 14:5-6 and 1 Samuel 17:34-37.) But Daniel is the best example of someone who Ďcaused lions to shut their mouthsí. (See Daniel 6:22.)

Verse 34 The king of Babylon put Danielís three friends into a very hot fire because they would not *worship him. But because they believed God, they did not die. (See Daniel 3.)

v35 God caused some of these people who had died to become alive again. And the women in their families received them back. Other people refused to turn against God so that they could go free. So, their enemies did bad things to hurt them, which caused them to die. But these people were sure that they would have a better life after death. They were sure that they would live again with God.

v36 Enemies said that these people were fools. The enemies said bad things to them and hit them with sticks. The enemies tied people with metal lines and put them in prison. v37 Enemies threw stones at them to kill them. They even cut them into two pieces to kill them. Enemies also killed some of them with long knives. Some of these people had to wear only the skins of sheep and goats while they walked about. They were very, very poor and they had a lot of trouble. Other people did very bad things to those who believed God. v38 These people who believed God were too good for this world. Some of them had to walk about in dry places where nobody lived. Some had to walk only in the mountains. Some had to live in holes in the rocks and in holes in the ground.

v39 God said good things about all these people because they believed him. But they still did not receive everything that he had promised. v40 God had prepared something better for all of us. So, he did not make those people completely as he wanted them to be, without us.

Verses 35-39 Many people who believed God had very difficult lives. But they continued to believe, and God made them strong. The writer wants his readers to remember these peopleís example. He wants them to be strong, even when trouble comes.

Verses 39-40 All the people that the writer has described in Chapter 11 lived on earth before Jesus. So they could not completely understand Godís purpose during their lives on earth. But we live after the time when Jesus lived on earth. His death lets God *forgive us, if we believe him. So, the Ďsomething betterí that God had prepared for his people was our new life because of Christ.


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