Hebrews 11:32-40, “And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.
Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection; and others experienced mocking and scourgings, yes also chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground. And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart form us they would not be made perfect.”
***Up to this point, the writer of Hebrews has expounded on some specific exemplars of faith:
Abel—Faith is remembering and pleading for God’s mercy.
Enoch—Faith is walking with and seeking God.
Noah—Faith is actively preparing for God’s redeemed creation. (beyond just the flood event)
Abraham and Sarah—Faith is utter obedience to God with His promise of eternal life in view.
Jacob—Faith: remembering, resting in, and receiving God’s righteousness (perfection in Christ)
Joseph—Faith is recognizing true prosperity is becoming perfect in God’s presence.
Moses—Faith is treasuring Christ above all else.
Joshua/Rahab/Jericho—Faith is surrender to Christ.
verses 32-40 can be broken up into two sections.
—32-34 describes triumphant acts in their present time
—35-40 describes suffering with a hope of receiving a future promise of perfection yet to come
—that promise of perfection is the “better resurrection” (Heb. 11:35) which we will experience in a new, perfect kingdom (Heb. 12:25-29)
—What is required of us is that we will not refuse Christ in anything (Heb. 12:25) even in the face of immense persecution (Heb. 11:35—they did not accept their release by denying Christ). We need to be okay with being or appearing homeless (Heb. 11:37-38). We need to be okay with the world thinking lowly of us (Heb. 11:38).
—As we keep the faith, we will have God’s approval. That is our victory. Faith is the power to suffer victoriously.
This is all really walking in Christ’s victory (See Hebrews 12:1-2).
All our suffering is to prove we have an unshakeable life in Christ (Heb. 12:27-28).
Do I hold onto shakeable things?
Do I look for approval from anything else but the LORD?
1 Peter 2:21-25—We can endure suffering because Christ did.
1 Peter 1:3-9…The ultimate reward of faith in Christ—our victorious king—is the salvation of our souls.
Romans 8:16-23…We are children of God by faith. He has given us power to overcome any suffering, knowing our hope of eternal life through the Holy Spirit.
This is the blog of Tyler Shepard, the Associate Pastor for Centre Union Church in Yeagertown, PA.
I hope you are encouraged and challenged to walk more closely with Jesus Christ!