God ashamed? What is this verse saying? What is it about? Today’s reading is that well known chapter, Hebrews 11 on faith. We are all familiar with the words, that “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (11:1). The things we are convinced about go far beyond the things we hope to achieve in this life.

Hebrews 11:6 is often quoted as a personal challenge; “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”. It is sad that today few have any conviction that there is a God who can be trusted, and that we can have a personal relationship with Him.

What a contrast with many Jews in the days of the prophets. They only had a relationship with Him as part of a chosen nation and not in a personal sense. Nevertheless they were proud of being “children of Abraham” (John 8:33) and this satisfied them. This can be similar to ‘christians’ for whom membership of a church creates a sense of relationship, yet as individuals they have little personal connection to Him. David’s psalms are outstanding, if read meditatively. They demonstrate the reality of a personal relationship with God that can be developed – and when developed to the full is wonderful.

In the midst of naming significant men and women of faith we read, “These all died in faith, not having received the things promised …” (Hebrews 11:13). Such men and women of faith “acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth”. They found it impossible to fit in with others although they might attempt to. Verse 16 makes the point, “But as it is, they desire a better country, that is a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city”. And that city is the new Jerusalem! (see Revelation 3:12 – the heavenly city to be established on earth).

Because of this, those with real faith desire something infinitely better than anything this world offers (this world is without a vision of the future so that people just live for the present). But those with real faith live to develop a relationship with their Creator and the Saviour He provided. As a result “God is not ashamed to be called their God”. Make sure you develop that faith.