A Word for Today | Hebrews 11:20-22
When God came to Abraham, He entered into covenant not only with this one man but also with all the generations that were to come after. Thus, when the record of Hebrews 11 moves past Abraham, we do not encounter just random individuals but a covenant people who are part of God’s plan. God had revealed much of us plan to Abraham and also to his heirs: “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. But. . . , they shall come back here in the fourth generation” (Gen. 15:13-16). All of this was still future to Abraham’s descendants Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. Despite all their difficulties and weakness, they trusted God and responded in faith to the plan He had revealed.
Isaac trusted God’s plan by “invok[ing] future blessings on Jacob and Esau” (Heb. 11:20). This refers to the episode in Genesis 27 where Jacob stole his father’s blessing from Esau. Here, the point is that by passing on the covenant blessing, Isaac was trusting God’s plan. Jacob did the same at the end of his life: “By faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, bowing in worship over the head of his staff” (Heb. 11:21). Finally, we see Joseph giving burial instructions because of his knowledge of the future exodus of Israel: “By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his bones” (Heb. 11:22). Knowing God’s plan, their faith responded by acting according to what we promised.
Christians likewise exercise our faith in what God has revealed concerning His plan. We know that for us as individuals, the Lord plans an entry into heaven after death, a resurrection for our bodies when Jesus returns, and the joy of the eternal glory forever after. We know God’s plan for the church, which is to proclaim Jesus Christ throughout the world until the age ends (Mt. 28:18-20). We know God’s plan for Jesus: to reign in heaven, gathering souls through the gospel, until He returns at the end of the age. Like the ancient patriarchs, the certainty of God’s plan tells us what we need to know now: that we are to put God’s Word into practice in our lives, bearing testimony to Jesus Christ, who shows us God’s plan fulfilled. He tells us: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son” (Rev. 21:6-7).
In Christ’s Love,