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SIH’s Think On These Things: Heb 11:13

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Heb 11:13   These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of [them], and embraced [them], and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

The Lord turns our attention from the faithful characters in the Bible, to what they all had in common during their life of faithful service on earth…

  1.  Until the day of their death, they exercised their faith in the Lord.
  2.  While serving on earth, they did not experience their promised eternal blessings.
  3.  Even though they did not receive their eternal blessings, they still believed God’s promise to receive them.  The process of coming to belief in God’s promises are described in 3 steps:
    1.  Saw them afar off – By the Holy Spirit’s illumination through God’s Word, they were given a very basic understanding of what awaited them. (We will never be able to understand all the future blessings of God this side of heaven – 1 Cor 2:9)
    2.  Persuaded of them – They became convinced they would receive them.  In their minds, the future blessings of God were not a “possibility”, they had become a certainty… it was only a matter of time.
    3.  Embraced them – Once convinced of their receipt, these promises became a part of their very existence.  They “hugged” the promises bringing them to themselves and making them a part of their day to day walk with Him.
  4.  They lived their lives as if this sinful world was not their permanent home. They didn’t live their lives to gain what the world offered them, but they lived their lives to lay up treasures in the world to come. (Matt 6:19-20)

Have we ever trusted in Christ as our Savior?  In doing so, we have become a part of His family and joint heirs of a wonderful eternity with Him in heaven.

If Christ is our Savior, do we simply have a “head-knowledge” of the wonderful eternity that we may enjoy someday?  Or, has the Lord graced us with a certainty that we will receive His promises without doubt?

If we have this certainty within us, have we really embraced this truth and made it a part of our day to day walk with Him?  If so, the truth of our coming eternity will affect EVERY decision we will make in this land through which we are passing through!

May the Lord bless each one of us as we “Think On These Things”.


  1. Anne Sikes says:

    So good! Thank you! This is something so true. I remember telling my eldest daughter years ago…at the time she was professing atheism, that the never ending declarations by me of my faith in God must seem crazy, in the midst of the back to back, deep trials. She said something like, “I don’t know…actually it does say a lot…the fact that you never let go of your faith even through the bad times.” I put quotes, but that wasn’t an exact quote. It was a long time ago and I don’t remember her exact words. And my daughter, by the way, is very much walking with the Lord in her own life, for 11 years now…maybe stronger now in some ways than I am in mine. Thank you again. God bless you!! –Anne

    • Rob Barkman says:

      I believe, our trusting the Lord in the midst of trials is one of the greatest testimonies we can present our family, friends and the world around us. It never ceases to amaze me how the Lord can use the trials we face for our good, His glory and the spritual benefit of those around us! KNowing this is a real encouragement to keep faithfully serving Him! Hope you are feeling some better, Anne. Praying for you.

  2. pj54 says:

    Hey Rob! I’m totally in sync with you on this. This is what my post was about the other night. Back in Biblical times, the Israelites KNEW God. Their faith was strong, (for the most part). They knew how to LOVE Him and put Him first.

    Today, we live in such a fast-pace and busy world that people do not have the same level of love or faith. Oh, we do love Him, and we even have that “measure” of faith, but we seem to put Him on a “back burner” and put our physical lives in front of our spiritual one.
    If you were to ask people if they love God, and have faith in Him, I’m sure the majority would say yes. When it comes right down to it. though, if they had to prove their faith in Him, they couldn’t do it.

    It is my personal opinion, that we truly don’t LOVE God, or have the amount of faith in Him that our “ancients” did. We need to get that back. We (myself included) need to set a special time aside just for Him EVERY DAY and talk to Him. We need to study His Word, not just read it to read about those promises you were talking about. We need to feel what our “ancients” felt instead of a nonchalant feeling of admiration. We need to adore Him. When something or someone is “adored”, they are put FIRST. Everything revolves around them. You eat, sleep and drink them. You feel as though you can’t live without them.

    We need more than just “head-knowledge” of our Savior. We need to feel Him, feel every nudge of our spirit, Know His Voice within us. Oops! I got on my soap box again. This is something that is near and dear to my heart, because I get so tired of hearing people “call themselves Christians” yet they don’t show the love of Christ, I can’t tell them apart from the “rest of the world” when I see them in public. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not perfect, and I know that God still has a lot of work to do on me, but I at least try to let His love shine through me so that people will see him, when they look at me. (although I do forget sometimes).

    Well, I will go and let you have a chance to read someone else’s “book”. LOL!
    God Bless,

    • Rob Barkman says:


      What you say is so true… we all need to develope a great faith and trust in Him. Especially, in the days we are living in, it seems as if faith becomes more necessary as each day passes. It is that faith and trust, when appreciated, developes the strong hope and willingness to sacrifice that you talk about. Would to the Lord that we all grow in grace, knowledge, faith and love of Him! Lord bless.

  3. Wonderfully written and explained, Rob. “They “hugged” the promises bringing them to themselves and making them a part of their day to day walk with Him.”

  4. James says:

    Good blog as always. I do have a prayer request right now. Please pray for the Rollin’s family, they are associates of mine. They just lost their 7 month old son. His funeral is this weekend and the family could use all of the prayers they can get. The devil is trying to destroy them, just like he tried to destroy Job.

    • Rob Barkman says:

      We’ll be praying for the Rollins family. May the Lord bless them with peace and comfort knowing their son is in a far better place in the arms of the Lord. Lord bless you as well for your care and concern for others.

      • James says:

        Thank you, I went to the visitation last night but did not go to the funeral this morning. The mother still looks sick from grief and the father has finally broken down. People could not get him away from the casket. Some of the makeup had been rubbed off of the baby and revealed the discoloration that comes with death. It was a sad thing. I couldn’t eat afterwards. My heart cried out for the family, not the infant for the baby only knew the love of his family and the joy of his family. Now he is in heaven. He will never experience pain and suffering like we have and will. The healing process has begun for them because the funeral is now over. We need to keep them in our prayers for sure. Thank you for keeping them in your prayers.

  5. >> “these promises became a part of their very existence”

    Rob, I love the way you showed the move from a head knowledge to the all-encompassing certainty of faith which affects EVERY part of our lives. We can ’embrace’ His promises because He has proven over and over and over again that they cannot fail.

    What am amazing God!

  6. […] The truth of God’s Word, the true sacrifice of Jesus Christ for our sins, and the real strength of the Holy Spirit is nothing to shy away from but to run passionately towards. “Hugging the promises.” […]

  7. Cara Olsen says:

    Hi Rob,

    I found you by way of link through Tahlitha’s blog. I want to thank you for the message here. The reminder to embrace God is every decision and situation is one that I “know”, but struggle to implement with constancy. Even as an over-a-decade-christian (what a mouthful!) my first instinct is to try and “fix it” myself — to handle my issue, problem, or whatnot by my own power and strength. Only when I realize how feeble I am, how futile my efforts are in helping myself or others, do I turn to the loving God who has been standing by to hear my prayers and act in accordance to His will.

    Have a blessed day,

    • Rob Barkman says:


      Great to have you visit SIH blog! Thanks for giving some of your time. You are not the only one that struggles with the “fix-it-yourself” attitude. It is a constant struglle for me as well. When faced with an issue, I try to stop, take a breath, and go to the Lord in prayer about it. That seems to really help me center my mind on Him and His will in the matter at hand. Lord bless you!

  8. granbee says:

    As I read this wonderfully affirming post for all of us walking through Faith, I kept hearing the words of that old hymn, “Standing on the Promises”! I especially enjoyed your discussion of EMBRACING our faith. What a wonderfully intimate way to picture our walk with Our Lord through this life and on across the Jordan!

    • Rob Barkman says:

      It is a wonderful thing to experience communion with the Almighty God of the Universe, all because He is a gracious, kind, loving Heavenly Father. Lord bless.

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