Well, it is Wednesday and I've been pretty busy the last couple of weeks as my semester was coming to a conclusion. Quite frankly, I have no idea what I will do once I graduate...actually, I know exactly what I'll do. I will be able to devote myself full-time to Ottawa First. My time and attention will no longer be divided between school and work. I look forward to those days. That said, I want to appreciate the season I am currently in, as much as possible, without always looking towards what is next. In addition, once I am done with school, I will need to find a way to challenge myself academically. I've grown so much over the last few years in my knowledge of God's word. I do not want to stop learning things, simply because I'm not in school.
T0day, I would like to take a look at:
And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him (NASB).
The entire chapter of Hebrews 11 is known as the "faith chapter." The author opens up talking about Able, then he moves on to a guy named Enoch. Enoch is mentioned in the book of Genesis (5:24) that "Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him." Other than those 2 references, Enoch is not mentioned anywhere else in scripture. Yet, he is in this chapter about the hero's of faith. The verse we are looking at today is directly connect with Enoch. This is exactly how it reads, in context:
5 By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; AND HE WAS NOT FOUND BECAUSE GOD TOOK HIM UP; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God. 6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.(emphasis not made by me.
So, one of the most famous verses in the Bible is directly connected with a guy that is only mentioned 2 times in all of scripture. Prior to this, the author was talking about Able. How Able made a pleasing sacrifice to the Lord. Yet, we know that Able was killed by his brother Cain. In contrast, we have this guy, Enoch, who never tasted death. Could it be that the author was trying to contrast the two figures? Both were faithful, but one walked with God, while the other made a pleasing sacrifice. Perhaps I am drawing to many conclusions and the author is merely going in chronological order. It is interesting to think about though.
That said, all of the men and women mentioned in this chapter lived in the O.T., before the messiah came to earth. The very end of the chapter reads:
39 And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40 because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.
I realize that we love to take Hebrews 11:6, read and apply it, independent of the surrounding context, in order to drive home our point about the importance of faith-which is important, obviously. That said, I do not think the author of Hebrews intended to write a "one-liner," that is meant to be taken out of the context in which it is written. The author of Hebrews, in my view, is saying that all of the previously mentioned people were only able to receive a portion of the reward offered to them, as Christ had not yet appeared on the scene. I am of the opinion that Hebrews 11:6 is talking about the reward of eternity, not an earthly reward.