Having seen [the promises] afar off [they] were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. Hebrews 11:13 [NKJV]
Hebrews 11 records glorious victories of faith’s champions yet here speaks of those who died “not having received the promises.” Still, they died in faith just as they had lived in faith.
The key to understanding this admirable group is that when given a promise by God, they became fully persuaded that the promise was true. Thus they embraced (literally “greeted”) that promise in their hearts. They also confessed (admitted and acknowledged) that the focus of their lives was beyond anything they could see in this world, that they were strangers and pilgrims here.
Thus, while each of these persons did receive many victories through faith, the text says that they did not receive everything that was promised. But whether or not they received what they asked and hoped for did not change their behavior nor their steadfast trust in God.
For us as well, faith’s worship and walk do not depend on answered or unanswered prayers. Our confession of the lordship of Jesus in our lives is to be consistent—a daily celebration, with deep gratitude.