“All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth” ( Hebrews 11:13 )
Faith has the ability to see the invisible, the impossible and the improbable. Faith takes what doesn’t make sense to the natural mind and becomes the substance that moves the invisible forward until it becomes reality. There are many things in God’s kingdom that require faith. The Word is full of promises that only become reality when mixed with faith and believed.
Interestingly, all of these men and women previously mentioned in Hebrews 11 died in faith, waiting for their promises to come to pass. It is counter-intuitive to think that these weren’t fulfilled because it didn’t happen in their lifetimes. But the scriptures say that they saw and welcomed them from a distance. Because of it, God was not ashamed to be called their God ( Hebrews 11:16 ).
For example, Abraham believed God when He told him that he would be the father of many nations and through his Seed the Messiah would come ( Galatians 3:16 ). God also revealed to Abraham by the promise that the entire world would be blessed by his faith and God would justify the Gentiles throughthat same type of faith ( Galatians 3:8 ). These were amazing promises. Abraham understood the implications of this; which is why he believed God and set the example of being declared righteous by faith. He saw into the future what God was going to do and got on board with His plan.
However, in Abraham’s lifetime, he only got the down payment of the promise. Isaac was the beginning of its fulfillment but what was promised reached so far into the future that Abraham died in faith looking forward to a time when all would be fulfilled. That takes faith, and faith is what pleases God ( Hebrews 11:6 ).
These examples of faith show that these great men and women understood they were temporary residents on earth. They looked forward to their true home in heaven with God. They greeted the reality of their promises from a distance knowing they would eventually come to pass whether they were alive to see it or not. The reason is that God had something better planned for us, “These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect” ( Hebrews 11:39-40 ).
We are the beneficiaries of their faith. We have witnessed these promises unfold throughout the centuries so that we too can partake in the precious promises of God being thankful that they had the audacity to walk in faith regardless of the situation. No wonder they were commended for their faith and through it blessed the entire world.