What does faith have to do with trust? Notice in Hebrews 11:8 that Abraham believed God, packed his ox cart, and left home not having a clue as to his destination. I must point out: We know the end of the story. Abraham makes it to the Promised Land. But Abraham didn’t know how the story would end when he left home.
There is more, and as challenging as Abraham’s demonstration of faith is, I find the testimony of those mentioned later in the chapter even more thought-provoking. After detailing a formidable list of faith all-stars, chapter eleven draws to a close with this: “And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised” (11:39).
Bad ending to the story, huh?
All these great folks, listed over the space of thirty-eight verses and hundreds of years, died without receiving what God had promised them. It’s under these circumstances that superficial, self-serving faith withers and true faith is forged into trust.
Our ancestors in the faith demonstrated obedient confidence that was tempered through their personal histories into trust, trust that remained faithful. Each one reached the terminus of life without having the fulfillment of God’s promise.
When the torch was held to the bonfire around their stake they had yet to see God deliver His promise to them. Surely the enemy screamed indictments against God as the chorus of onlookers cheered the boiling of their life’s blood. But deep in their hearts, even as they smelled the acrid stench of their own burning flesh, they must have heard the Lord saying, “Trust Me.”
And they did. Their names are in the chapter.
But to what end? Why?