Faith in All the Ages

"And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets." (Hebrews 11:32)

Hebrews 11 is a thrilling catalog of the faithful servants of God in all the ancient ages. There were Abel, Enoch, and Noah before the Flood; then Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph in the patriarchal age; followed by Moses, Joshua, and Rahab in the time of the exodus and conquest. Finally, today’s verse summarizes the periods of the judges (Gideon, Barak, Samson, and Jephthae), the kings (Samuel, David), and the prophets.

All these were men and women of great faith, though each had to endure great testing. They, as the writer says, "stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword . . . had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder . . . destitute, afflicted, tormented" (Hebrews 11:33-37).

In every age, men and women of faith were more often than not despised and persecuted by the world (even by the religious world!), but the Bible notes, parenthetically, that it was they "of whom the world was not worthy" (Hebrews 11:38). In God’s sight, they all "obtained a good report through faith" (Hebrews 11:39), and this is worth more than all the world, for it is the entrance into a far better and eternal world.

Note that faith is not a sentimental wishfulness, but a strong confidence in God and His Word, through Jesus Christ, who is Himself "the author and finisher of our faith" (Hebrews 12:2). Like those of past ages, we can also "run with patience the race that is set before us" (Hebrews 12:1), through the faith He offers us. HMM

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