Hebrews 11:8–16 (NKJV)
After defining faith and lifting up the examples of early patriarchs, Hebrews then begins to discuss the faith of Abraham in believing God for a promised land and a promised son. His and Sarah’s faith are put on display here.
8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; 10 for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.Hebrews 11:8-12
11 By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars of the sky in multitude—innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore.
Abraham first exhibited great faith by obeying God’s call to leave Ur of the Chaldees and go out to a place where he would receive an inheritance from God. He left his home not knowing exactly where he would be going. He traveled, with stops along the way, eventually living a nomadic existence in tents with Isaac (the son of promise) and Jacob (grandson of promise). They inherited the promise from God along with Abraham. While their progeny eventually inhabited the land on a more permanent basis, the true inheritance was a city whose foundations were built and made by God Himself. This great promise was exemplified by Canaan as a promised land, but was fulfilled by citizenship in heaven, the city built by God; the same city which is the promised land of all the redeemed who have believed in faith in the promise of God.
Sarah, Abraham’s wife, received the ability to bear a child by faith. Though far beyond child-bearing age, she judged the Lord faithful to provide her a son, even though she initially thought it ludicrous. So Sarah, suggested to have been at least ninety years old, bore a son by her 100-year-old husband, who was as good as dead as it related to fathering a child, and their progeny eventually outnumbered the stars of the sky and the sand on the seashore. This powerful example of faith defied all natural law and produced a multitude, a nation unto God that would pave the way for the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ.
13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. 15 And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.Hebrews 11:13-16
The writer announces that all the patriarchs died in faith, not having received the promises in their flesh, knowing that their true inheritance was not of the earth anyway. Instead, they were temporary residents, pilgrims and strangers on earth, seeing the promises of God from afar off. Those who see earth as a temporary dwelling place are obviously seeking a homeland that is not earthly, but to be found in the heavenly realm. If they allowed themselves to be nostalgic, longing for a previous home, then they might have been inclined to return there. However, these patriarchs desired a better country, built by God, and prepared for all those who believe. These, desiring better, are gladly called the children of God, and God is happy to be called their God. He is the builder of the city of heaven, prepared for those who love and believe in God for their eternal future.
Are you looking for a better home? Often, men and women can be enamored with their earthly possessions and homes. One can be quite satisfied with what they possess on earth. However, the believer must keep his or her eyes on the prize, the eternal home of the soul, and not be drawn back to the goods they possess on this earth. The earth is temporary and fleeting, not to be compared with the glory of the home to come. Understand the value of the heavenly home and its glorious Maker. Nothing here should ever be allowed to cloud the vision of what is to come. Press on, and do not become entangled with the things of this world. Exemplify the faith of Abraham, father of the faithful.