Unknown People of Faith

After a full week at Grand Camp last week, I feel that I’m being too lazy. I was able to get out earlier in the morning and do some yard work before my Chiropractor appointment and then I worked on some invites to legislators for the Northern Colorado Rehab Hospital tenth anniversary coming up in August. I have been asked to speak and MC the event. It will be good to return just about two years since, I was first admitted. I did enjoy my daily workout at the pool and found I am able to be some exercises in the water that I can’t do otherwise.

BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY… “…They did what was right, received God’s promises…They were weak, and yet were made strong…Some were laughed at and beaten. Others were put in chains and thrown into prison….They were poor, abused, and treated badly.  The world was not good enough for them!…. All these people are known for their faith…” (Hebrews 11:34,37,39)

Hebrews 11, the “hall of faith” is a familiar to most readers of the Bible. It opens by telling us what faith is and that faith is vital to pleasing God. There is a list of some familiar names and some names that surprise us (like Samson and Rahab) who are commended as living by faith.

But there are many unknown and unnamed individuals whose lives of faith are just referenced. Some of these received deliverance and God’s promise, others had faith to suffer persecution and rejection from the world. I believe it is important for us to observe that faith

1 – Compels us to do what is right. We can observe that in the those who are named as well as in the description those who are unnamed. Whether famous or infamous, they pleased God by their faith, which was doing God’s will and trusting the Lord regardless of the outcome.

2 – Gives us strength. In human terms, they were weak, but through faith in the Lord they were made strong. This reminds me of Paul’s resolve when he said, “for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10) This declaration followed the Lord’s word to Paul that said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”           (2 Cor. 12:9) We can’t but He can! That is what Paul found and the same is true for all those who place their faith in Christ.

3 – Sets us apart. After describing all the horrific circumstances that people endured for the cause of Christ, the assertion is, “the world was not worthy of them.” For some of these martyrs, it is as though the Lord delivered them from suffering through elevating them to His presence and removing them from the pain and suffering of the earth. What we see is that Lord’s view and value of their life was different than the world.

4 – Focuses our attention on God’s promise. Of those the world was not worthy of, Hebrews says, God planned to give us something better so that they would be made perfect, but only together with us.” (Heb. 11:40) Earlier in the chapter it says of some of the patriarch’s,  All these great people died in faith. They did not get the things that God promised his people, but they saw them coming far in the future and were glad...But they were waiting for a better country—a heavenly country…because he has prepared a city for them.” (Heb. 11:13-16)

Regardless of the outcome, we can affirm from God’s Word, that faith makes us victorious. And a life of faith challenges others in their commitment, it is the legacy of our life that can inspire others. That is why we see Hebrews 12 begin with a reflection back to chapter 11, We are surrounded by a great cloud of people whose lives tell us what faith means. So let us run the race that is before us and never give up.” (Heb. 12:1)

So let us not “give up” doing what is right, trusting the Lord for strength from His grace, living a life that sets us apart and keeping our eyes on the eternal promise that is ours through faith.