Heb 10:38-11:1, 6
38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.
11.1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. KJV
The theme of Hebrews 12 is faith in God. We are faith children of a faith God. Everything he has done is ruled by faith and love. And so all of the lives mentioned in Hebrews 11 tells something about this faith . It also tells us what pleases God, he is pleased by demonstrations of faith.
17 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,
18 Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called:
19 Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.
20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.
21 By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff. KJV
Here we see Abraham had two sons, Ishmael and Isaac, and how one son was accepted by God and the other son was not accepted. Of the two sons, one came through his wife and one came through a handmaid. The son that came through his wife was Isaac; the one that came through the handmaid was Ishmael.
Often, if you ask people why Isaac was accepted and Ishmael was rejected, they will say that it was because Isaac was born legitimately, while Ishmael was born out of adultery. But God does not accept you because of natural birth; God accepts you because of faith. The reason one son was accepted and one was rejected was because one was of faith and one was not of faith. One did not accept the Lord, and one did accept the Lord. This truth can be traced to the next generation, in that Isaac had twin sons. They both came through his wife, Rebekah, yet one was accepted and one was rejected.
Again, natural birth is not the key; it is the new birth, it is faith in God. I do not care how super you are in the natural; how many friends you have; how sweet you are; God does not accept you according to your outward works. God accepts you according to the new birth. That is what is being brought out in these verses of scripture.
Beginning in Romans 9:10, “And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) It was said unto her. The elder shall serve the younger”.
Here is a quote from Malachi, chapter 1, verses 2 and 3. Malachi lets us in on something that Moses, when he wrote Genesis, did not tell us; and that was the fact that God made the promise before Jacob and Esau were born. He said, “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated”.
Now remember , we found that out in Hebrews 11:6, “Without faith it is impossible to please God”. The whole theme of Hebrews 11 is faith. God is looking for faith, pleased with our faith. The truth is God hates unbelief.
My friend, if you do not please God, then you displease God. If faith pleases God, then unbelief that displeases God. God knew and could see far into the future concerning Jacob and Esau. He knew one would accept Him, and one would reject Him. Because of that, He chose one of them, even in the womb. To prove this, we can look to the next generation.
Isaac had two sons through one wife; they were twins. One was accepted (Jacob) and one was rejected (Esau), but not because of anything in the natural. The son that was rejected was a nicer man than the son that was accepted. Yet, God accepted one because he was a man of faith. He rejected the other because he had unbelief. He accepted one because he was a believer; he rejected the other because he was an unbeliever.
In the next generation, Jacob had twelve sons through two handmaidens and two wives, and all of the sons were accepted. All of the sons form the twelve tribes of Israel. The reason all of them were accepted is not because they came through a wife or because they did not come through a wife. The reason they were all accepted is because all of them were men of faith – all of them were believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. All of them accepted the Lord, as did Abraham, as did Isaac, as did Jacob. The twelve sons of Jacob now became the twelve tribes of Israel. They were all accepted because they were men of faith.
Again Hebrews 11 and 12 have an underlying theme – Faith! The “just shall live by faith”, “without faith it is impossible to please God”. So then the question we must ask ourselves is this what am I doing with faith? Have you accepted Jesus as your Lord? Are you living your life in accordance with the precepts of the Bible? Are you a faithful followers of Jesus?