Faith in Action
Having delved into Psalm 18 over the past weeks, next I’d like to look at Hebrews 11, which I believe is one of the great passages in the Bible. It’s the long list of people from the Old Testament whom the writer to the Hebrews commends as heroes of the faith. These were people who believed that God would do what he promised. And so they obeyed, all the while risking ridicule, leaving their homelands, wandering in deserts, and experiencing miracles.
At the heart, they held to promises from God, whom they couldn’t see. They knew that the spiritual realm is real, even if unseen. And this faith, this confidence, spurred them on to great things. Accomplishments they never would have imagined before God led them and sparked the ideas in their minds.
We might feel overawed by this list of bravery and victory. But the writer to the Hebrews wants us to be encouraged and filled with faith, just as they were. They didn’t belong to a more holy class of people; for instance, in fear Abraham passed off his wife as his sister; Moses killed an Egyptian in anger; David slept with another man’s wife and had the husband killed. But the writer to the Hebrews doesn’t mention any of these failings. Instead he focuses on what they achieved, hand-in-hand with God.
And this list of amazing ancients crescendos in the ultimate hero – Jesus. He is the “pioneer and perfecter” of our faith (12:2). He endured the cross that we might be free from bondage to sin. And so, says the unknown writer to this group of Jewish converts, don’t give up on your faith. Keep running the race. Throw off the things that are pulling you down and making you want to give up.
So too for us. Are we tired and weary, tempted to believe the lies of the evil one that God doesn’t care for us or that he can’t really make a difference in our lives? Perhaps we don’t believe that God truly loves us. Or maybe our lives haven’t gone the way we had hoped.
But as we see in this passage in Hebrews, we’ve got a “cloud of witnesses’”(12:1) surrounding us, cheering us on. And not only the ancients, but angels and even Jesus himself. Let’s run the race with perseverance. And with joy.
Prayer: Lord God, we fall and we fail. And yet, we see how you can use and redeem people deemed failures by the standards of the world. Build our faith today, that we might be heroes. Amen.