Now our trust in God is the guarantee of what we hope for, the evidence of what we can't see. People who lived long ago trusted God and this is what gained them God's approval. Through our trust in God we understand that the whole universe was created by God's command, that what can be seen was made out of what cannot be seen.
By trusting him Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain, and as a result God identified him as someone who lived right. God showed this by accepting his offering. Even though Abel has been dead for a long time, he still speaks to us through what he did. By trusting God Enoch was taken to heaven so he didn't experience death. He couldn't be found on earth because God took him to heaven.* Before this happened he was known as someone God was pleased with.
You can't expect God to be pleased with you if you don't trust him! Anyone who comes to God must believe that God exists, and that he rewards those who are searching for him.
Noah trusted God, and was warned by him about things that had never happened before. Because Noah paid serious attention to what God said, he constructed an ark to save his family. By trusting God, Noah showed that the world was wrong, and received the reward of being set right by God.
Through trusting God Abraham obeyed when God called him to go to the land God was going to give him. He left, not knowing where he was going. Trusting in God he lived in the promised landbut as a foreigner, living in tents, together with Isaac and Jacob who shared with him in inheriting the same promise. 10 For Abraham was looking forward to a city built on foundations that last, with God as its builder and maker.
11 By her trust in God even Sarah herself was given the ability to conceive a child though she was too old, because she trusted God who had made the promise. 12 That is why the descendants of Abraham, (who was as good as dead!), became as numerous as the stars of heaven, as countless as the sand of the sea-shore.
13 They all died still trusting in God. Though they didn't receive the things God promised, they were still looking for them as it were from a distance and welcomed them, acknowledging that on this earth they were foreigners, people just passing through.
14 People who say such things make it clear that they're looking for a country of their own. 15 For if they cared about the country they'd left behind, they could have returned. 16 But they're looking for a better country instead, a heavenly country. That is why God isn't disappointed with them, and is happy to be called their God, for he has built a city for them.
17 Abraham trusted God when he was tested and offered Isaac to God. Abraham, who had accepted God's promises, was still ready to offer to God his only son, 18 even though he'd been told, “It's through Isaac that your descendants will be counted.”§ 19 Abraham had thought it through and decided that God could bring Isaac back to life from the dead. In a sense that's what did happenAbraham received Isaac back from the dead.
20 Trusting in God, Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to what the future would bring. 21 Trusting in God, Jacob as he was dying blessed each of Joseph's sons, and worshiped God, leaning on his staff. 22 Trusting in God, Joseph too, when his own death approached, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites, and gave instructions about what to do with his bones. 23 Trusting in God, Moses' parents hid him for three months after he was born. They recognized he was a special child. They weren't afraid to go against what the king had commanded.
24 Trusting in God, Moses, when he grew up, refused to be known as the adopted son of Pharaoh's daughter. 25 Instead he chose to share in the sufferings of God's people rather than to enjoy the temporary pleasures of sin. 26 He counted the rejection he experienced from following Christ to be of far greater value than the wealth of Egypt—because he was focused on the reward to come.
27 Trusting in God, he left Egypt and wasn't scared of Pharaoh's angerhe kept going with his eyes fixed on the invisible God. 28 Trusting in God he observed the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, so that the destroying angel would not touch the Israelites.* 29 Trusting in God the Israelites crossed the Red Sea as if it were dry land. When the Egyptians attempted to do the same they were drowned. 30 Trusting in God, the Israelites marched around the walls of Jericho for seven days, and the walls fell down. 31 Trusting in God, Rahab the prostitute didn't die with those who rejected God, because she had welcomed the Israelite spies in peace.
32 What other examples should I give? I don't have time to talk about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah; about David, Samuel, and the prophets. 33 Because of their trust in God they conquered kingdoms, did what was good and right, received God's promises, shut the mouths of lions, 34 put out blazing fires, escaped being killed by the sword, were weak but made strong, did mighty deeds in war, and routed enemy armies.
35 Women were given their dead family members back through resurrection. Others were tortured, refusing to compromise and be pardoned, because they wanted to be part of a better resurrection. 36 Yet others suffered insults and whippings; they were put in chains and imprisoned. 37 Some were stoned, cut in pieces, tempted, killed by the sword. Some dressed in sheepskins and goatskins: destitute, oppressed, and mistreated. 38 The world was not worthy to have such people who wandered in the deserts and mountains, living in caves and holes in the ground.
39 All of these people, even though they had God's approval, didn't receive what God had promised. 40 God has given us something even better, so that they can't be complete without us.
* 11:5 See Genesis 5:24. 11:11 Some versions say Abraham. 11:17 Of course Isaac was not literally Abraham's only son; the term in Greek indicates primacy. § 11:18 See Genesis 21:12. * 11:28 “Angel” and “Israelites” supplied by context.