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11 1Faith means being sure of the things we hope for. And faith means knowing that something is real even if we don't see it. 2God was pleased with those people who lived a long time ago, because they had faith like this. 3Faith helps us understand that God created the whole world with his command. This means that the things we see were made by something that cannot be seen.

4Cain and Abel both offered sacrifices* to God. But Abel offered a better sacrifice to God because Abel had faith. God said he was pleased with the things Abel offered. And so God called Abel a good man because Abel had faith. Abel died, but through his faith he is still speaking.

5Enoch was carried away from this earth. He never died. The Scripture* says that, before Enoch was carried off, he was a man who truly pleased God. Later, people could not find Enoch, because God took Enoch to be with him. This happened to Enoch because he had faith.

6Without faith, a person cannot please God. Any person who comes to God must believe that God is real. And any person who comes to God must believe that God rewards those people who truly want to find him.

7Noah was warned by God about things that Noah could not yet see. But Noah had faith and respect for God. So Noah built a large boat to save his family. With his faith, Noah showed that the world was wrong. And Noah became one of those people who are made right with God through faith.

8God called Abraham to travel to another place that God promised to give Abraham. Abraham did not know where that other place was. But Abraham obeyed God and started traveling, because Abraham had faith. 9Abraham lived in that country that God promised to give him. Abraham lived there like a visitor who did not belong. Abraham did this because he had faith. Abraham lived in tents with Isaac and Jacob. Isaac and Jacob also received that same promise from God. 10Abraham was waiting for the city* that has real foundations. He was waiting for the city that is planned and built by God. 11Abraham was too old to have children. And Sarah was not able to have children. But Abraham had faith in God, and so God made them able to have children. Abraham trusted God to do the things he promised. 12This man was so old that he was almost dead. But from that one man came as many descendants* (people) as there are stars in the sky. So many people came from that one man that they are like grains of sand on the seashore.

13All those great men continued living with faith until they died. Those men did not get the things that God promised his people. The men only saw those things coming far in the future and were glad. Those men accepted the fact that they were like visitors and strangers on earth. 14When people accept something like that, then those people show that they are waiting for a country that will be their own country. 15If those men were thinking about that country they had left, then they could have gone back. 16But those men were waiting for a better country--a heavenly country. So God is not ashamed to be called their God. And God has prepared a city for those men.

17-18God tested Abraham's faith. God told Abraham to offer Isaac as a sacrifice.* Abraham obeyed because he had faith. Abraham already had the promises from God. And God had already said to Abraham, "It is through Isaac that your descendants* will come."* But Abraham was ready to offer his only son (Isaac). Abraham did this because he had faith. 19Abraham believed that God could raise people from death. And really, [when God stopped Abraham from killing Isaac], it was like Abraham got Isaac back from death.

20Isaac blessed the future of Jacob and Esau. Isaac did that because he had faith. 21And Jacob blessed each one of Joseph's sons.

Jacob did this while he was dying. He was leaning on his rod and worshiping God. Jacob did those things because he had faith.

22And when Joseph was almost dead, he spoke about the Israelites* (the Jews) leaving Egypt. And Joseph told the people what they should do with his body. Joseph said those things because he had faith.

23And the mother and father of Moses hid Moses for three months after he was born. They did this because they had faith. They saw that Moses was a beautiful baby. And they were not afraid to disobey the king's (Pharaoh's) order. 24Moses grew up and became a man. Moses refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter. 25Moses chose not to enjoy the pleasures of sin. Those pleasures end quickly. Instead, Moses chose to suffer bad things with God's people. Moses did this because he had faith. 26Moses thought that it was better to suffer for the Christ* than to have all the treasures of Egypt. Moses was waiting for the reward [that God would give him]. 27Moses left Egypt. He left because he had faith. Moses was not afraid of the king's (Pharaoh's) anger. Moses continued strong like he could see the God that no person can see. 28Moses prepared the Passover* and spread the blood [on the doors]. This blood was spread [on the doors] so that the Angel of Death* would not kill the firstborn* sons [of the Jewish people]. Moses did this because he had faith. 29And the people [that Moses led] all walked through the Red Sea like it was dry land. They were able to do this because they had faith. The Egyptians also tried to walk through the Red Sea, but they were all drowned.

30And the walls of Jericho fell because of the faith of God's people. The people marched around the walls of Jericho for seven days, and then the walls fell. 31And Rahab, the prostitute,* welcomed the [Israelite] spies and helped them like friends. And because of her faith she was not killed with those other people who refused to obey.

32Do I need to give you more examples? I don't have enough time to tell you about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets.* 33All those people had great faith. And with that faith they defeated kingdoms. They did the things that are right, and they got the things that God promised. With their faith some people closed the mouths of lions. 34Some people stopped great fires, and other people were saved from being killed with swords. They did those things because they had faith. Weak people were made strong because of their faith. They became powerful in battle and defeated other armies. 35People that had died were raised from death, and they were given back to the women in their family. Other people were tortured* and refused to accept their freedom. They did this so that they could be raised from death to a better life. 36Some people were laughed at and beaten. Other people were tied and put into prison. 37They were killed with stones and they were cut in half. They were killed with swords. The only clothes some of these people had were sheep skins or goat skins. They were poor, persecuted,* and treated badly by other people. 38The world was not good enough for these great people. These people wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and holes in the ground. 39All these people are known for their faith. But none of these people got God's great promise.

40God planned to give us something better. Then those people could be made perfect, but only together with us.

sacrifice(s) A sacrifice is a gift or offering to God. Jewish priests killed animals and offered them to God. Jesus Christ gave his own life as a sacrifice to pay for people's sins. Scripture Part of the Holy Writings--Old Testament. city The spiritual "city" where God's people live with him. Also called "the heavenly Jerusalem" (Heb. 12:22). descendants A person's children and all their future families. "It is through Isaac ... come" Quote from Gen. 21:12. Israelites The Jewish people. They were from the twelve sons of Jacob, who is also called "Israel." Christ The "anointed one" (Messiah) or chosen of God. Passover Important holy day for Jews. They ate a special meal on this day every year to remember that God freed them from slavery in Egypt in Moses' time. Angel of Death Literally, "the destroyer." To punish the Egyptian people, God sent an angel to kill the oldest son in each home (Ex. 12:29-32). firstborn The first child born into a family. prostitute(s) Women paid by men for sexual sin. prophets People that spoke for God. Some of them wrote books that are part of the Old Testament. tortured To be bound or tied and then hurt or punished. persecuted To be hurt or bothered by other people.

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