…[Abraham] in the presence of Him who he believed – God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken… Romans 4:17-18
Faith is a Substance
The Lord spoke to my heart and said, “Don’t grow weary of calling what is not as though it is.” This Divine encouragement took my breath away, because although I knew I was growing weary physically, I didn’t know it was affecting me spiritually, too. Can you identify? Are you growing weary? No worries, because with every problem God is present with a word to encourage us.
Let’s take a look at one such encouraging word from Hebrews 11. It’s a familiar verse that we’ve probably read a thousand times. However, let’s take a fresh look today to see the encouragement the Lord would like us to receive from it.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1
I don’t know about you, but sometimes my faith tends to act like an emotion. One minute I’m full of faith and ready to move a mountain, then suddenly a situation slams me and I feel empty. This process is exhausting, leaving me feeling like a spiritual yo-yo. However, Hebrews 11:1 is saying something very different. It is telling us that faith is a substance, something tangible not something emotional. Let me show you what I mean.
In Greek, the word for substance used here in Hebrews 11:1 is hupostasis (pronounced hu-po’-sta-ses, Strong’s #5287). Hupostasis means a setting, or a placing under such as a foundation or some other structure. It comes from two different Greek words: hypo, meaning by or under, and histemi, meaning to place, put, set, or cause to stand. Through this we can see that faith is not something we have, per se, it’s something we stand upon, something that has been set into place and put under us by the Author and Finisher of our faith. Faith is a substance.
This structure is clearly seen as we look at faith’s counterpart, ’emuwnah (Strong’s #529). ‘Emuwnah is the Hebrew word for faith and shares a root with a word that I’m sure you are familiar with: Amen (pronounced ah-mayn – Strong’s #543). Jesus calls Himself the Amen in Revelation 3:14, “These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God.” At its core, amen means firmness and support (‘aman, pronounced ah-man’, Strong’s #539). It is used to describe a foster-father/mother or nurse who supports and nourishes a child. Beloved, Jesus Christ is the Amen; He is the substance we have of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. He is the firm foundation of our faith; He is our support when we are weary.
No matter how weary we are, we mustn’t let what’s happening in the natural realm affect what is happening in the spiritual. We must let the spiritual affect the natural. We must continue to proclaim God’s promises and prophesy to the mountains with shouts, not weary whimpers, but shouts of Grace, Grace, GRACE! O’ Hallelujah!
By Faith We Understand
That’s just the first verse of Hebrews 11. We could stop there, being encouraged and built up by the Lord, but there is so much more to discover in this chapter, so let’s go on.
“By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.” Hebrews 11:3
By faith we understand…period. What more is there to say? By faith we understand the times and the seasons that we are in. That doesn’t mean the times are terrific, in fact they may be terrible…but by faith we understand them and by faith we will get through them.
Now that doesn’t mean you won’t tremble at the terrible circumstance. There is a notion out there that if you experience fear you have no faith. I have even heard it said that fear is the absence of faith. I am so sorry if you are experiencing fear right now and have been told all you have to do is have faith. I can tell you firsthand that it is possible to tremble while you are trusting God. I think that Jesus’ example in the garden of Gethsemane reveals this very thing. With such great anguish that blood oozed from His skin, He still was able to say, “Thy will not Mine be done.”
Biblical faith does not pretend that the circumstance doesn’t exist, rather it beholds the circumstance and believes in the power and promise of God. Faith (which we know now is Jesus, a substance) is what moves us forward. Though we tremble we still trust, because by faith we understand that somehow, and in some way, God is going to save the day.
He is Our Substance
Hebrews 11 goes on. Verses 4-11 list the forerunners of our faith and the terrific testimonies they had received from God. Impossible situation after impossible situation is overcome through the power of faith. Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Moses…the list goes on and on. However, in the midst of this encouraging letter we have this odd little passage, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).
Without faith it is impossible to please God. This is a tough sentence to take in, especially if you have been told that experiencing fear means you have no faith. I almost don’t want to go here in the midst of this encouraging message, yet…it is written. Look what happens if we think of it as God being pleased when we have confidence in His faithfulness, in His love, in His truth, wisdom, and promises. He is pleased when we stand on the foundation of our faith, which again as we know is Jesus Christ, our substance.
After all, doesn’t it make you happy when you give someone you love advice and they take it? Similarly, isn’t it frustrating when they don’t? It can be downright heartbreaking, especially if the decision leads to disaster. So you can see how God is well pleased when we trust Him and heed His advice. God loves us, and obeying His voice is always in our best interest. Nevertheless, sometimes it’s easier said than done, especially when we are worried and weary. Therefore, let’s consider what it means to believe that He is.
We find the Hebrew equivalent of “He is” in Exodus 3:14 when God calls Himself Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh – I AM WHO I AM. The root of this name is hayah (Strong’s #1961) and has the fundamental meaning of: to exist, become, to be. Yet it also contains the idea of an abiding presence, to accompany, to be with. You could translate this name as, “I will be – there however I will be – there.” When we need peace, He is our Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). When we are feeling unstable, He is our Rock (Psalm 18:2). When we need comfort, He is our Comforter (John 14:26). When we need advice, He is our Counselor (Isaiah 9:6). When we are weary and need faith to understand, He is our substance (Hebrews 11:1).
He is the Author and Creator of your faith. He is your Jesus, and He will be whatever you need in that moment in order to get you through it. Don’t look within to be strong in your faith, look to Him. He was able to handle every situation that came our way in the past. He is capable to handle what we are in now, and He will remain capable to handle whatever comes in the future. He is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the Cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.” Hebrews 12:1-3
Since we are surrounded by this cloud of witnesses, the forerunners of our faith, and Jesus Christ Himself, the perfect role model, let us lay aside every weight and sin. Let us lay aside even the thoughts that wander away from what the Word says is true. Let us run the race of our lives looking to our substance, Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, lest we become discouraged and weary in our souls. In the presence of Him whom we believe (God), let’s call ourselves healed, let’s call ourselves happy, let’s call ourselves prosperous, let’s call ourselves victorious, B’Shem Yeshua (in the name of Jesus)! Amen and Amen.
Tiffany Ann Lewis
Dancing with the Flame of the Lord Ministries