In last week's lesson on faith from the Hebrews 11:31, we learned that faith sometimes requires that we go against family and friends, pastors and teachers; faith sometimes requires that we sit back and do nothing, or that we do something that seems silly and senseless to us; however, if we stand firm, God's will WILL be done in our lives! Now let's go on to Heb. 11:32-38 for the last lesson in faith brought to us by numerous other famous Bible people:

"And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. Women received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated-the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground." (Heb. 11:32-38 NIV)

It's almost like the writer of Hebrews doesn't want to make the chapter too long. He spends a verse or more on each person, until he gets to Rahab, covering a total of 31 verses, and then he lumps 6 more names and a general term for many others into one verse! The point that the writer of Hebrews is trying to make is that there is a lesson of faith to be learned from EVERY Bible character. In fact, were we to specifically seek it out, there is a great lesson of faith to be learned from every follower of God.

In reference to great names in the Bible, the writer can say, "conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword . . ." Etc. In our day and age, we can look to our forefathers, our pastors, our missionaries, our fellow homegroup members and say, "conquered bills, administered comfort, and gained what was promised; who dodged bullets, shut the mouths of rent collectors, quenched the fury of cancer, and escaped the drunken driver" etc.

If we were only to read this part of the text however, we might be tempted to think that only good things come to people of faith. And this is the theme of the first 31 verses of Hebrews 11 as well. But when we carefully read verses 36-38, things suddenly don't look so bright: "Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated-the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground."

All of a sudden these acts of faith don't look quite as attractive, do they?

Friends, the point that the writer of Hebrews is trying to make is that sometimes our faith brings us protection, wisdom, and power; but sometimes our faith serves a totally different purpose. Sometimes our faith gives us the strength to stand firm despite the bad things going on around us! Our entire world may be crumbling, but we do not crumble because we are rooted and grounded firmly on the Rock, Jesus. And when firmly grounded on that Rock, the storms of life, even the thought of death, cannot shake us, for faith will hold us fast to the promise that God "has made everything beautiful in His time" (Eccl. 3:11).

Enough to ponder, friends. But do ponder this: Important lessons of faith can be learned from everyone around us. Our task is to have an open heart to what God may be trying to teach us through our brothers and sisters in Christ. But in addition to this, it is important to understand that a Rock-solid faith will permanently ground us for the bad stuff that may be thrown our way as well. No matter what the outcome, those firmly grounded in faith do not sway, because they know that God is in charge!

Join us next week for part one of the last lesson in faith: How to have the faith described in Hebrews 11!

God bless you!

Lyn

Lyn Chaffart, Author, Moderator, The Nugget, Scriptural Nuggets website, www.scripturalnuggets.org , Answers2Prayer Ministries, www.Answers2Prayer.org .


(To access tne entire "Faith" mini-series, please click here.)