Why Bible stories about faith? Because we need them! It is important for us to study the men and women God included in His word to us because their lives hold valuable lessons for us.
Who stepped out on faith in the Bible? We are going to study four specific men and five Bible stories to answer this question, but there are SO MANY MORE so don’t stop here!
What Does it Mean to Step Out on Faith?
While the main intention of this post is to share the stories of four men of faith, let’s quickly go over what it means to step out on faith. This is a lesson God has been teaching me over and over. I would like to share with you, my latest trial.
My husband and I have had some very big somewhat difficult decisions to make recently. Every step of the way I’ve been prayerful “please, Lord, I want to be in your will, guide us”. And yet every step of the way I had a set of stipulations. Of course, I wasn’t directly praying with a set of conditions, but in my mind, God’s will could only fit into the small box I had labeled acceptable.
Friend, this is NOT the correct way to pray!
I could feel God telling me to let go and step out on faith. So, I countered. “Well God, if I knew for certain this was your will, I’d totally do it, unreserved”.
But that is not how faith works. I knew God was saying “no, no, first you step out on faith and then I provide proof that it is my will”.
This is difficult stuff, especially for people like us who do not easily take chances.
Bible Stories about Trusting God
Who stepped out on faith in the Bible? The best story about stepping out on faith is probably Peter walking on water, included below, but this one takes a close second.
It is time for the Children of Israel to cross the Jordan River and enter the promised land. They are led by their fearless leader, Joshua. He instructs the people to assemble behind the priests carrying the ark of the Covenant.
He tells the priests to step into the river and the waters will stop flowing.
I wonder what those priests thought. Did they believe Joshua? Were they about to set into motion a miracle as Moses had performed with the Red Sea?
I don’t know what they were thinking, but I do know they stepped boldly into the overflowing banks of the Jordan River and the waters stopped! The entire Israelite people passed through on dry ground.
Bible Stories about Faith: Caleb
The Children of Israel had just seen an outpouring of the strength and power of the one true God. The plagues of Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea, God speaking as the roar of thunder from Mount Sinai.
The time had come for God’s promise to Abraham to be fulfilled. They would go in and conquer the land of Canaan.
Moses sends spies, 1 from each of the 12 tribes of Israel to do a little recon. They came back with great excitement. The land truly was flowing with milk and honey. They had seen clusters of grapes so large it took 2 men to carry them.
But they had also seen the strong armies and giants they would have to fight. They were discouraged and frightened by the sight.
Joshua and Caleb were ready to fight in the name of the Lord. They had no doubt God would provide them victory after victory.
Sadly, the other 10 spies did not have this same faith.
God is not happy with this lack of faith and sentenced them to wander in the desert for 40 years. Poor Caleb, he has to waste his whole life wandering because of the doubt of others.
Fast forward forty-three years.
Moses has died, the generation of doubters has also passed away. Joshua has led the Children of Israel into victory and conquered much of Canaan. Caleb remembers his faithfulness and approaches Joshua. He asks for a section of land for himself and his family.
God rewards him with the land and helps him drive out the inhabitants.
So, why did I include Caleb in these Bible stories about faith?
- Caleb trusted God from the beginning. When others saw giants, he saw the victory of God.
- Caleb patiently endured the punishment of the others when he didn’t deserve it. If you are in a bad situation due to the foolishness of others, hang in there, God sees.
- Caleb never lost faith. He continued to trust God even through all of the hardships and the waiting. If you are in a period of waiting, stand strong.
Bible Stories about Faith: Daniel
Often times when we think of Daniel, we picture the older man who was thrown to the lions. At this point, Daniel had a faith that had grown from many years of trials. God had also shown him a lot of strange (and frightening!) visions.
While that is a wonderful story, I want to back up to when Daniel was a young man. The year is 597 BCE and the place is Judah. King Jehoiakim had stopped paying taxes to the powerful kingdom of Babylon.
King Nebuchadnezzar did not take kindly to this act of rebellion and began the first of three sieges on Judah. Thousands of children of Judah were exiled to Babylon, among them a young man named Daniel.
Now, Daniel and several other young men who were of noble blood, good looking, and intelligent, were brought to the palace. Here they would be taught in the education of the Chaldeans and trained for three years. They were also given much better food than the other exiles.
Not a bad deal for Daniel. Especially after what must’ve been a terrifying experience. Can you imagine being hauled away from your family with buildings burned, men lay dead all around you, and other horrors of war that I know nothing about?
Already, God is protecting Daniel and our Bible story about faith is about to come to a very important climax.
As mentioned above, Daniel and the other select young men were given food from the king’s table, the best in the kingdom. However, Daniel and his friends have a problem with this. The food was prepared by gentiles, most likely involved in pagan rituals, and not at all prepared according to the law given to the children of Israel by God.
Daniel, risking what is actually a good deal in the midst of a terrible situation, tells the eunuchs that he does not wish to eat the food. He would rather obey God’s commandments than save his life. If that isn’t stepping out on faith, I don’t know what is!
The eunuchs are skeptical and a little worried because they are disobeying the king’s orders, but they agree to give Daniel and his friends, vegetables and legumes and find that they agree with them better than the rich food previously offered.
God rewards Daniel for his obedience with wisdom and a long, mostly safe life in Babylon.
Bible Stories about Faith: Peter
Peter was the “rock” and instrumental in the success of the first church. He was the first of the disciples to confess that Jesus was the Christ, the son of the living God (Matthew 16:16) and the first to preach the gospel on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2).
One of my favorite Bible stories about faith is found in Matthew 14 because it teaches what both faith and doubt can do.
Jesus had been teaching and healing the people. He sends them away and goes off to pray alone. The disciples get into a boat and Jesus promises to meet them on the other side of the sea. However, in the night Jesus sees the boat being tossed about by high waves.
He walks out on the water to help them. Of course, the disciples are pretty freaked out, thinking they are witnessing a spirit walking across the waves. Jesus tries to reassure them and calls out that it is him.
Peter becomes excited and asks Jesus if he can meet him out on the waves. Jesus bids him come and Peter steps boldly out on faith.
The water holds him and he begins to do what no other man (except for the son of God) had done before.
He takes his eyes off of Jesus and notices how big the waves are. He becomes afraid and begins to sink.
He cries out, “Lord! Help me!” and immediately Jesus reaches his hand out and catches Peter. I love the word “immediately” in this story. Jesus didn’t let him panic for long to teach him a lesson. He rescued him immediately. God’s mercy in action.
We can learn a lot from Peter’s faith story!
- Note that Jesus goes off to pray alone at the beginning of the story. Staying connected to God is key to faith.
- Peter asks Jesus if he can come out on the water. He knows he can only do this because of Jesus. We need the power of God in our lives and His guidance.
- Peter was fine while he was looking at Jesus. When we are focused on God and His will for us, He will do amazing things with us and for us.
- Peter took his eyes off Jesus and saw the dangers of the situation. This is when he began to sink. When we take our eyes off Jesus and dwell on the world around us, we will also sink.
- Peter knew that Jesus could save him and Jesus did. The same is true for you today.
Bible Stories about Faith: Stephen
Let’s continue our Bible stories about faith with the story of Stephen. Once again we are in Israel, this time we are watching the disciples begin to spread the gospel, the good news of the risen Son of God.
The church is growing daily and the power of God is mighty among it. The disciples delegate the job of the daily distribution of goods (as they all shared their money and goods which were then passed out to all) to seven men full of the spirit of God.
Stephen was one of these men. The Bible describes him this way:
And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people. Then there arose some from what is called the Synagogue of the Freedmen (Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and those from Cilicia and Asia), disputing with Stephen. And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke. (Acts 6:8-10)
At his time, the Jews were the young church’s greatest threat. They were determined to keep Judaism alive and stomp out this new religion centered on the teachings of the man they had put to death. They had punished the apostles several times but they were not to be discouraged.
Stephen comes on their radar and they are determined to shut him up. They arrest him, bring him before the council, and hire false witnesses.
But you can’t stop the power of God. Scripture describes Stephen before the council this way:
And all who sat in the council, looking steadfastly at him, saw his face as the face of an angel. (Acts 6:15)
Stephen goes into a long and well spoken summary of the history of the people of Israel beginning with Abraham and including the stories of Joseph and Moses. He reminds them of the idolatry of their forefathers and the arrogance of their own hearts.
They are so moved by his speech that they are overcome with anger, and after his proclamation of “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” they can’t take any more.
They grab him, pull him out into the streets and stone him.
And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep. (Acts 7:59-60)
So, how can we grow our faith with this story of Stephen?
- Follow God with abandonment. Put yourself aside and allow God to work through you.
- Seek to be filled with God’s spirit.
- Seek to be filled with wisdom.
- Live out your faith with boldness.
Other Bible Stories about Faith
Now that we’ve studied these Bible stories about faith, how are you feeling? Inspired? I hope so! Here are several other posts for you to continue your study.
Bible Stories about Prayer to Grow Your Faith One way to grow your faith and draw closer to God is through prayer. If you are looking to grow your prayer life, this post will inspire you.
Learning to Trust God: Lessons from the Mother of Moses How one woman puts her baby’s life into God’s hands and because of this, the future of God’s children changes forever.
How to Face Your Fears with Faith and Finally Overcome Them Fear holds us back and it is truly the opposite of faith. It’s time to overcome your fears and step out on faith!
Persistence in the Bible: A Mother’s Faith Another strong woman of faith and what she can teach us. Persistence in prayer and faith is something to embrace.
What are your thoughts on these Bible stories about faith? I’d love for you to share your thoughts in the comments below!