The Bare Soul - September 21, 2008
Possessing Our Inheritance

Hebrews 11:6 - 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.

Hebrews the eleventh chapter is one of those scripture references that shines with optimism. I question whether there is another portion of scripture containing forty verses of such uplifting hope that is modeled for the believer. As stated in verse six and throughout this section, the defining characteristic of a believer pleasing the heart of God is faith. Faith is unseen in its origin as Hebrews 11:1 shows us, otherwise it is not faith. It is evidenced by its outcomes. We are once again reminded of the "characters" of faith throughout this chapter. God can use imperfect humans that once were drunkards like Noah, murderers like Moses, and prostitutes like Rahab. Praise God that we can truly approach the Throne of Grace just as we are and receive His mercy and forgiveness!

While Hebrews 11 is a wonderful resume regarding the incredible exploits of the faithful, there is an obvious "faith gap" between verses 29 and 30. The nation of Israel's wilderness wanderings in the Sinai were obviously omitted purposely:

v29 - By faith they passed through the Red Sea as though they were passing through dry land; and the Egyptians, when they attempted it, were drowned.
v30 - By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days.

The silence of this "unspoken" 40 years of wanderings is deafening. Once again, we see what is NOT written in scripture can often be as powerful as what is written. An entire generation of this young Jewish nation was deliberately not spoken of in the context of faith but at the same time, their unbelief was proclaimed loud and clear by omission. The books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy are full of examples regarding what not to do in order to enter the promised land that God so earnestly wanted them to possess. The scripture tells us earlier in the book of Hebrews that they could not enter the land that had been promised due to their hardness of heart and lack of faith --  that God would do as He foretold. The mercy and compassion of the Lord was demonstrated time and time again through many miraculous acts following their rescue from Pharaoh. Their thirst was quenched by water from the rock, they were fed by manna from heaven, their clothes and their sandals did not wear out during this time. Not to mention the Shekinah Glory of the Lord that led them through the wilderness -- a cloud during the day and a pillar of fire during the night. Yet, the scripture tells us that their hearts were hardened and the Lord swore in His wrath, "They shall not enter My rest!".

We all have lapses of faith. We see that in the characterizations of every one of those listed in the Hebrews "Hall of Faith". However, there need not be these times when the "silence" of unbelief is deafening. My wilderness experience lasted 14 years where I struggled in and out of homelessness, alcoholism, and addiction. Even so, during all this time, the Lord was faithful as He watched over me to finally bring me across my respective "Jordon River" to the promised land of abundance. Those of us who have crossed over through sanctification understand that the land lies before us, ready to be possessed. God is telling us that it is our inheritance and that we shouldn't fear but believe that He has given it to us all who would but believe. Why does the writer of Hebrews emphasize the walls of Jericho falling down after the nation of Israel crossed into the promised land? Because it was a further demonstration of how the Lord God Jehovah is the One who defeats our enemies if we will but believe. This is the only reference in the book of Joshua of how the Lord destroyed a city that the sons of Israel would possess in this manner. The Lord showed Joshua and the Jewish people that it was "... not by might, and not by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord". The hallmark of this victory was strict obedience to the word of the Lord. In like manner, we can only please the Lord God by faith and obedience to what He is telling us to do. The power can only come through acknowledging the Lord Jesus Christ and what He has done for us on Calvary's tree.

He has given us the same boldness through the forgiveness of sins to enter into the Throne Room of Grace and to take possession of our inheritance as sons and daughters of Light. We simply must believe, confess, and possess what He has freely given for us all to claim by our birthright as sons of God. Some might say that their wilderness wanderings have become too comfortable and that they no longer know the way. He is there when we are ready to be led into the promised pastures of His delight. We just need to ask.

Heavenly Father, You are the One that has defeated all our enemies before we have even asked. You are the One wooing us to enter and possess the "eternal land" of Your promise. It's not by what we have done, but what You did on Calvary. The inheritance is ours to claim by rights of the blood of Jesus. Lord, we accept your faith and lay our lives before You as a living sacrifice that we may live to obey You. In Jesus Christ's holy name, Amen.

Your Barefoot Servant,

Rick

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