Lord, we know that something better lies on the other side.
Read HEBREWS 11:23–40
23 By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.
24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and the application of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.
29 By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.
30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the army had marched around them for seven days.
31 By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.[a]
32 And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. 35 Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. 36 Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were put to death by stoning;[b] they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.
39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
- Hebrews 11:31 Or unbelieving
- Hebrews 11:37 Some early manuscripts stoning; they were put to the test;
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
I murmur or sing an adaptation of Michael Frye’s song: ‘Jesus be the center; be my source, my light, my hope, my song.’ (Michael Frye, ‘Jesus, be the Centre’, © 1999 Vineyard Songs) And He will…
I give thanks and fortify my soul with these wonderful stories in the second half of Hebrews 11, starting with Moses’ parents, majoring on Moses himself, then including the prostitute Rahab, and mentioning by name six prominent Old Testament leaders. The author turns to a kaleidoscope of men and women of faith, some of whom ‘gained what was promised’ (33) with amazing miracles and victories, and unnumbered others who, apparently, did not receive what had been promised (13,39), whose epitaph is ‘destitute, persecuted, and ill-treated’ (37). These men and women were not perfect, but they persevered in hopeful trust. The Vietnamese martyr Paul Le-Bao-Tinh (who died in 1857) wrote to his friends from the midst of a concentration camp with manacles, torture, and solitary confinement that he had ‘thrown his anchor within the veil, to the very throne of God (Heb 6:19)’. I pray today for persecuted Christians, named and unnamed, of whom the world is not worthy, that they may persevere in hopeful trust.
Jesus Christ is named only once in this chapter (26) but is everywhere present; and of course the climax of the writer’s exhortation lies in 12:1–3. The noun ‘faith’ occurs very infrequently in the Old Testament – but ‘hopeful trust’ is everywhere present, ‘faith’ being an activity, living a life of trusting God’s promises, because He will do everything He has said. Hopeful trust is threatened by two opposite dangers: despair, which amputates the pilgrim’s feet and shuts the door between him/her and God; and presumption, which is faulty overconfidence, forgetting that there is a ‘not yet’ in faith (Josef Pieper, Fortitude and Temperance, Faber & Faber, 1955). A lot of prayer is focused on fear, anxiety, apprehensiveness. There is a true, godly fear, but today I conclude my meditation with a prayer of affirmation and hopeful trust.
‘In the multitude of Your mercies, the greatness of Your grace, and the power of Your presence, I am being made whole in the likeness of Christ.’ (Robert Warren, An Affair of the Heart, Highland Books, 1994, p80)
Lord, we continue to be inspired by these heroes of faith. Thank You for seeing to it that their exploits were recorded for us.
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