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This Day In History: 0000-01-11

January 11 – Hebrews 11 ( Part 2)

All these people died still believing what God had promised them.  They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it.  They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth… they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.

Yesterday we introduced the faith chapter.  We learned what faith is, and that it is impossible to please God without it.  We resolved to believe God and sincerely seek Him, confident that as we do He will keep His promise and reward us.  Today let’s spend a little more time looking at that “Faith Hall of Fame” we mentioned yesterday.  The Bible says that it was “by faith that” each of the men and women’s stories unfolded the way they did.  By faith Abel… by faith Enoch… by faith Noah… by faith Abraham and Sarah and Isaac and Jacob… by faith Joseph… by faith Moses, his parents and the people of Israel… by faith Rahab… by faith Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets… In each of their lives that faith produced a few things: obedience to God, relationship with God, and reward from God.

By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword.  Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight.  Women received their loved ones back again from death. 
But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrectionSome were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons. Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half, and others were killed with the sword.  Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated.  They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground.
All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us.

Faith is a funny thing isn’t it?  It can lead us to obvious victory like the people in the first paragraph.  The conquerors,  the rulers, the winners. People who’s stories inspire us because God did something miraculous and mighty and they became heroes.  Or,  it can lead us to a different kind of victory, like the people in the second paragraph. The enduring, the devoted, the martyrs.  People who’s stories inspire us because God did something miraculous and mighty and they became a different kind of hero. But the Bible says that the story isn’t over yet.  All these faithful people are still waiting for the final fulfillment of the promise.  They’re waiting because God is giving us time to add our stories to the list! He’s giving us time to be added to the faithful.  Some of us will be conquerors and some of us will be martyrs, but all of us who put our trust in Christ will be over-comers.  We’ll all inherit the promise – eternity with the High King of Heaven.  This world is not our home, we are daughters and sons of the King.  Let’s fix our eyes on Jesus and refuse to allow the problems here in the temporal to destroy what is eternal.  Let’s have hall of fame faith that produces obedience to God, relationship with God, and blessings from God!

To be continued…
(Come back tomorrow for the rest)