Before this month is over, I think I will know the men and women of the hall of faith in Hebrews 11 better than I know my own family. From Sunday sermons to Sunday school lessons to Beth Moore’s Believing God study, the faitful men and women of the Old Testament have come to life.
I’ve been thinking it for a while, so I’m just going to come out and say it. The lives of the men and women of the Old Testament are not the vehicle I would have chosen to study in Beth Moore’s chapters “Believing You are Who God Says You Are” and “Believing You Can Do All Things through Chist.” No, I would have chosen verses that speak to being a child of God and co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8 ) or verses that speak to the power I have in Christ (Philippians 4) and the fact that his strength is made perfect in my weakness (2 Corinthians 12). But, Beth Moore being who she is, and me being who I am, I am studying the men and women of Hebrews 11 and loving every minute of it.
I am not sure what these men and women of old knew of the cross, but they certainly knew of Jesus and were saved by their faith. In the face of adversity and what appeared often times to be the inevitable end of the line for the promise(s) God had made to them, they all persevered and held tight to the promises God had made.
Often times it’s the very thing that seems to allude them the longest that keeps them going, keeps them trusting in God. For Noah, a righteous man who found favor in the eyes of the Lord, it was the promise that God would fulfill his purposes for all his descendents and would not destroy the earth by flood again; for Abraham, it was the promise of land and of heirs, both of which seemed impossible at his age; for Moses, it was the Promised Land, the land of milk and honey, the land he risked everything he had to lead his people to it.
And in the end, God’s promise was fulfilled but the individuals all died having not quite received the full measure of what had been promised. According to Hebrews 11:13, “All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance.”
How many times do we give up when life starts to get hard? How many times do we question God when things don’t go our way or wonder whether what we were sure was the voice of God might have been our own voice instead?
These questions are not just for you; they are for me as well. In this microwave world in which we live, with high-speed internet and pretty much everything we want at the push of a button, have we lost all capacity to know what perseverance is?
When was the last time you persevered? When was the last time I persevered? Too long ago to remember, or at least haphazard enough that it was not really perseverance at all but more like blind luck.
I turn to wisdom not my own
For every battle You have known.
My confidence will rest in You;
Your love endures; Your ways are good.
When I am weary with the cost,
I see the triumph of the cross;
So in its shadow I shall run
Till He completes the work begun.
~ When Trials Come
by Keith and Kristyn Getty
God will complete the work he has begun, but you and I might not be around to see it in its full measure.
What promise from God are you willing to live your whole life for knowing God will grant it even if you are “still living by faith when you die” and might only welcome it from a distance?
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me … Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Phil 3:12-14)
Yours for the celebration of life,