In Hebrews 11:10, by looking at Abraham’s faith lifestyle, the author makes the bold claim that faith is anchored in the trustworthiness of God:
For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. (Heb. 11:10)
THE TRUSTWORTHINESS AND CAPABILITY OF GOD
I resonate with the analogy the author refers to because my undergraduate degree is in Landscape Architecture. The image the author paints here is of a city that is both designed by God (architect) and carefully crafted by God (master builder). This analogy immediately stands out to me as unusual because almost always, the architect and the builders are not the same people. And from a theological perspective, this is the perfect analogy for a couple of reasons. We have to remember that the context of the message in Hebrews 11 is obviously who our faith is in. So here in this metaphor he draws attention to the TRUSTWORTHINESS and CAPABILITY of God. It makes sense: when you hire an architect to build a building (like this church), you have to trust that they can design something that will stand secure. You have to trust him. And when you pay a builder you have to exercise faith in their ability to construct the building according to the plans.
A MOST BRILLIANT ANALOGY OF FAITH
So here in this brilliant analogy we see God as being the one who is fully capable, and attentive to every detail of designing our eternal dwelling place with him. The author makes the point through this metaphor of an architect and builder, that God is fully trustworthy, and completely sovereign over every detail of salvation history. He does it all. We have every reason to trust him.
IF HE MADE ALL OF THIS, THEN SURELY HE CAN BE TRUSTED!
In the outdoors when I lead others on wilderness experiences, one of my goals is always to discuss the issue of trust. Whether someone does not believe in God yet, or is struggling in their faith, we all need to be reminded that faith in God is anchored in his trustworthiness. Being surrounded by the beauty and majesty of God’s creation has a way of inspiring awe. When you are looking at the fingerprints of God in the mountains, valleys, beaches, and caves that he has made, our prideful, jaded, self-absorbed souls are confronted with God’s love and power. If he made all of this, then surely he can be trusted!
GOD PAYS ATTENTION TO DETAILS, YOU CAN TRUST HIM!
We see God’s sovereign attention to detail of salvation history from as early as Genesis 3. Long before Abraham, God gives a foreshadowing of Jesus’ death on the cross and the decisive victory over Satan through his resurrection. His sovereign attention to detail is mentioned by the prophets as well who foretold of Jesus in such precision that they even predicted his bones would not be broken on the cross, and that the sun would go dark as he hung on the cross, which it did (Is. 53, Ps. 22). He pays attention to details, you can trust him!
The Apostle Paul makes the same point to the church at Philippi, reminding them that they were called to show the same faith of Abraham: in Philippians 3:20, he teaches them that “[their] citizenship is in heaven.” He emphasizes God’s trustworthiness… God is fully responsible for the whole project of salvation history. Therefore, you can put aside your small, empty pursuits to find fulfillment on the world’s terms, and set out on adventure of faith in God. That adventure will lead you to deep pools of intimacy and discovery of what it means to truly have access to the Father:
For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. (Ephesians 2:18)
Just like the Believers did in the time that Hebrews was written, we too need to be spurred a bit because our faith gets weakened when we get really comfortable in the world. And God in his gentle with us in dealing with our doubts. Lets Look at the example of two noteworthy women of faith, Sarah, and Mary. Sarah laughed when she overheard the Lord say that she was with child, and God responded, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (Gen. 18:14). And Mary just could not understand how she could give birth to a son when she had never been with a man. Yet the Angel Gabriel responded, “For nothing is impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37). In these two instances God understands their doubting, but he does not accept it. He reminds them that he is fully trustworthy. You can take that to the bank. He understands your doubting too, but he does not accept it. He will always push you to believe and trust him.
WILDERNESS EXPERIENCES LIFT US OUT OF OUR PITS OF DOUBT
The trustworthiness of God is the anchor of our faith in him. Yet even though he can be trusted, we continue to doubt or wane in our faith at times. That is why wilderness experiences are so valuable–they lift us out of our pits of doubt. When you set out into the wilderness for personal retreat, or when you lead others in the wilderness to connect with God, remember that one of the primary outcomes of wilderness experiences is to be reminded of the trustworthiness of God. Try to be intentional in the quiet times you set up, or the adventurous goals you set so that they keep coming back to the trustworthiness of God. If people can renew their trust in Him, they will find peace and rest for their souls that is unequaled.
- The next time you take people out into the wilderness, organize your time with intentionality around the goal of helping renew people’s understanding of the trustworthiness of God. Let me know how it goes!