17 March: Pursuing the Heart of God


Hebrews 11:1-11 (Morning Prayer)

Our theme in the cathedral this year is "Pursuing the Heart of God,” something which I have been led to call our members to.

This must be the hardest theme I have used in all my years of ministry. For we are dealing with an intangible. Every verb and noun in the theme is something which we cannot see.

The word “see” used in this passage is actually more than just a word about visual sense. It represents our human way of determining reality through “proving” senses such as touch, sight, verbal communication and even smell.

This was a prevalent question asked when I first became a Christian in the mid-70’s. Today this question is still a popular one. In biblical times, this question was also commonly asked. Jesus Himself taught that those who do not see, and yet believe, are blessed (John 20:29).

This chapter focuses on this issue and beyond that, extols it’s central importance:

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Heb 11:1)
The visible world is created by what is invisible - the spoken word of God (Heb 11:2)

Heb 11:6 is the crowning verse: And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

This verse is not discussing the existence of God the way we intellectually would in modern times. This is why I prefer older Bible versions which simply say “must believe that He is.” Do we believe that God is who He says He is, the "I am that I am”?

The rest of the chapter gives many accounts of how many past saints have acted out of faith (invisible) and trust God (whom we cannot see) for future outcomes (which was yet to be seen). These saints achieved remarkable outcomes for they acted on what cannot be seen: faith in God. They pursued what was on the heart of God.

This passage reminds me again of the importance of faith in God as opposed to our constant desire to act on what we can sense or see. For what we cannot see is sometimes more real and powerful than what we can. For example, sin often appeals to our senses: the seeing, the touching, the sensing, in the now. But for the one who fears and pursue God (whom he cannot see), refrain and hope in the future, he builds a life that is truly rich. Jesus has said, “For what does it profit a man, who gain the whole world (which he can see) but loses his own soul (whom he cannot see)? (Mark 8:36)

Additionally, the church often pursues the tangibles and debate on them as if they are the most important aspects of church life. We are all going to be surprised one day about the truth of the matter. Let the Holy Spirit fill us once again and with his winnowing fork, separate the chaff from the wheat. (Matt 3:11,12)

Let faith be the active verb of your life. And pursue the heart of God in all you do.

You Might Also Like