Hebrews 11:17-22

Talks for Growing Christians

The Faith of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph

Hebrews 11:17-22

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Lesson Number 23

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. Believers should follow the faith of Abraham.
  2. Believers should follow the faith of Isaac.
  3. Believers should follow the faith of Jacob.
  4. Believers should follow the faith of Joseph.

Practical Application

  1. Have you passed the test of faith for children?


  1. Is faith in the Bible just an end in itself? Is faith based solely on an experience?
  2. The faith of the biblical heroes in this section was demonstrated by their actions. On what were those actions based?
  3. Refer to Hebrews 11:17-19. What was the test of Abraham’s faith here?
  4. Refer again to Hebrews 11:17-19. What does this event picture concerning Christ?
  5. How did Isaac attempt to counter God ’s will concerning the blessing of his sons?


  1. No to both questions. Biblical faith is faith in the God of the Bible. It is believing and acting on what God has said and revealed.
  2. On what God had revealed to them.
  3. Abraham was told by God to sacrifice his son, Isaac.
  4. It pictures both the sacrifice and death of Christ, and also His resurrection.
  5. He tried to give the blessing to Esau, his older son, even though God had revealed to him that Esau would serve the descendants of his younger son Jacob.


  1. Abraham passed the supreme test of his faith because he believed what God has revealed and he obeyed God. Abraham’s faith was so strong that he really believed God could and would raise Isaac from the dead if need be because he knew that Isaac was the promised son of the covenant through whom his descendants would come. Can you imaging such faith? He was ready to sacrifice his son. Is there something you should be sacrificing?
  2. Isaac, in spite of his attempt to sway the blessing to his liking, did not revoke the blessing that God had willed. God recognized this last minute faith and honored it. Perhaps you have attempted to sway the known will of God to your liking. Have you come to the point of acceptance of God's will instead? Regardless of a wavering faith in the past, God will honor your faith when you turn to Him in trust.
  3. Jacob was not a model of faith throughout his lifetime. He had to go through many experiences in the school of God, but in the end he worshipped God. God honored that faith by placing his name in the Hebrews Hall of Faith. This should be an encouragement to Christians who have not shown a lot of faith in earlier years.
  4. Think of the high position and the wealth that surrounded Joseph in Egypt. Throughout his lifetime he showed an unusual trust in God. He believed what God had revealed and he believed literally in God’s promises. The tomb of Joseph is a testimony to his faith. Do you believe literally in the promises of God? Can you give examples of this belief in your life?


  1. Abraham was willing to give up Isaac. Have you released your children to the Lord?

Key Verses

  • “By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac…concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead…” -Hebrews 11:17-19
  • “By faith Isaac…” -Hebrews 11:20
  • “By faith Jacob…” -Hebrews 11:21
  • “By faith Joseph…” -Hebrews 11:22

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