by Steve Bacon
32 And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated of whom the world was not worthy wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.
- Hebrews chapter 11 is sometimes referred to as the Saints Hall of Fame and provides a record of Biblical characters who, by their actions, demonstrate the challenges of living by faith. Read through the chapter and make note of which persons you relate most with in terms of the struggles they endured and the victories they experienced. Share your discoveries.
- Hebrews 11 concludes with a collection of nameless saints who endured various persecutions over the centuries, the author summarizing they were numbered among those “of whom the world was not worthy” (vr.38). Consider the nameless characters in the following passages: Luke 5:17-26; John 9; Acts 16:25-34. What sort of repercussions might have awaited these people following their encounter with Jesus? Describe periods when enduring trials and repercussions pushed your faith to the limits. How did you overcome them?
- It may surprise you to learn there are many stories of notable nameless people in the Scriptures who failed to come to the light and chose to remain in darkness. Read through each of the stories below. What category of unbelief might you assign to them? For example, you may categorize the Rich Young Ruler (Matt 19:16-24) as ‘those who fail to put Jesus first in life.’ As you consider each character, listen closely to the Holy Spirit to sense any warning that your actions are strikingly similar and apart from Christ you may be numbered among them.
- Nine of the ten lepers in Luke 17:11-18
- The man at the pool of Bethesda in John 5:1-15
- The Rich Man in Luke 16:19-30
- Noah’s neighbors and the peoples of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 7,19 & 2 Peter 2:5,6
February 25, 2024
February 18, 2024