Devotionals Archive

Daybreak: Hebrews 11:1-22

Apr 19, 2021

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)

My children really enjoy their birthdays. Not only do they enjoy their actual birthdays, but also the days preceding the event. Why? The answer can be
simply stated: ANTICIPATION! There are all kinds of details to be planned, along with everything from dreaming to blatant hints about what they would
like for a gift. My daughter so anticipates the event that she usually starts inviting people in June, even though her birthday isn’t until the following

One of the biggest planning aspects at our house is allowing the birthday child to pick the shape of his or her birthday cake. As chief cake-baker, I then
dutifully do my best to create some semblance of the request. A castle was my most successful venture; a rocket ship, the least! 

The children never doubt that we will celebrate their birthdays. Why? Because we always have! What a picture of our faith in God! Faith in God is not a
blind hope or wish, but a firm belief based on trust in an unfailing God. Because God has never failed us, we can trust that He will continue to meet
our every need.

In today’s world, we anticipate and therefore participate in many daily events based on faith. We use checking accounts, purchase travel tickets, follow
maps, and work for promised wages — all because there is an expected and anticipated outcome. History, unfortunately, has proven that some of
these earthly things can fail. How much more should we trust our heavenly Father who has never failed!

Someone once said, “True Bible faith is confident obedience to God’s Word in spite of circumstances or consequences.” As we read through this chapter,
we see that these characters had just that — true Bible faith, which was evidenced by their obedience to God’s Word in spite of circumstances
or consequences. Truly, that is a goal to strive for! No wonder faith is pleasing to God.

Our focus verse says that faith is a substance. How can something unseen be a substance and evidence? How did the people listed have the faith to do what
they did? Faith develops through use. A small step of faith in God results in greater assurance when we face the next situation. Practicing obedience
and trust, one circumstance at a time, produces this substance in our lives.


Hebrews 11 begins with a formal definition of faith: “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” A dictionary gives
several meanings of the word faith including: 

  • Allegiance to a person
  • Fidelity to one’s promises
  • Belief and trust in and loyalty to God
  • Believing with strong conviction
  • Complete confidence and firm belief in something for which there is no proof

However, a closer look reveals a great difference between the dictionary definition and that found in Hebrews. 

The dictionary definition is from the intellectual standpoint, while the definition found in Hebrews is from the spiritual standpoint, and there is a great
difference between intellectual faith and Biblical faith. The phrase “things hoped for,” indicates things based on promises; “things not seen,” points
to things beyond the realm of the natural. The word substance means “a foundation or basis,” and that foundation is all that we receive from

Even more compelling is the word evidence, which in this verse is a term Greek mathematicians used in demonstrating their problems; it means a
demonstration that is convincing beyond any question. Faith does more than just enable us to believe; it makes us to know. 

Once the author had established what faith is, he proceeded to provide a catalog of men and women in the Old Testament age who had victory through faith.
These individuals, not having the fullness of the Gospel as we experience it today, attained God’s best. They lived in a time of outward religious
ceremony, yet they won their victories in exactly the same way that we do in this dispensation of grace — through faith. Everyone in Israel could
have done the same. How much more can we experience victory by faith today!

Amplified Outline

(Hannah’s Bible Outlines – Used by permission per WORDsearch)

III.   The application: the life we should live because of His life and work

      B.   Exhortation to endurance in faith

            1.   The essence of faith (11:1-3)

            2.   The efficacy of faith

                  a.   In the pre-patriarchal
period (11:4-7)

                  b.   In the patriarchal
period (11:8-22)

A Closer Look

  1. What is the spiritual definition of “faith”? Give an example of how one could demonstrate such faith.

  2. Why do you think the writer of Hebrews listed these individuals we call the “heroes of faith”?

  3. How can you protect and strengthen your faith?


Biblical faith is waning in our society today. There is a prevalent thought that the Bible is simply the ideas of some men concerning God and, therefore,
no better than any other religion. Let us guard the faith that God has given us against such trends.

Reference Materials