June 28. Hebrews 11
This might just be the longest passage you have been asked to read. Just as I Corinthians 13 had a singular theme—LOVE—Hebrews also has a theme: FAITH. I Corinthians 13: 13 says, Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. So, faith is one of the “top three” and definitely worthy of our time as we read the great passages of the Bible. This is not really poetic, nor is it a prayer. However, the listing and defining of faith is beautifully done, and we pray more often when our faith is strong. Let’s learn about faith from these heroes of the faith so that we may come to God in greater faith ourselves.
We start Hebrews with a definition of faith that is worth memorizing. We also are reminded that it is impossible to please God without faith. We aren’t asked much. We can’t work our way to Heaven or earn it by our great behavior. We are totally dependent on the saving work of Christ who stepped in for us and said, “Punish Me for her sins.” We are, however, asked to believe. That’s our job and that requires faith.
I love the variety of examples of faith in this chapter. Some are glorious and astounding as seas are parted and lions’ mouths are shut. Some are horrifying as we read of people living in caves and holes in the ground and being sawed in two. This is sobering. We don’t get to choose our own ending here on earth, do we? I vote for dying in my sleep in bed around 97, full of good health and energy, with my family around me as I see Jesus and drift into His arms of love. How about you? Despite my desire for this, though, God may have other plans for me. I know ultimately His plans are good, but if I am selected for a harder death, it surely will not feel good at the time! All of Jesus’ disciples, history tells us, met horrific deaths except John, whose isolation and banishment on the Isle of Patmos doesn’t exactly sound attractive either. Jesus loved His disciples. Yet, for the greater glory of His kingdom, He allowed this in their lives right before they stepped into forever LOVE with Him!
I think that’s my favorite thing about this chapter. It reminds me that I am to look forward to a better and more lasting kingdom. I am not to be earth-bound in my thinking, limited to trying to have a good time in this unpredictable and downright scary world of ours. I am to look beyond this to the great “forever after” that awaits me. And I am to have the faith to believe that every single hard thing will be ultimately worth it Big Time when we all get to Heaven and see it from Glory’s side!!
My verse: Hebrews 11:13 “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.”
My response: I want to die still believing what You have promised, Lord. For I am a foreigner here. My real home is Heaven, and I believe You, who created the Universe at your command (vs 3) are waiting for me and that there will be a place there for me that will finally fit just right. Use me here on earth, please. But help me keep my heart also on the joys that lie ahead when I get to be with You in a much closer way, someday in Heaven!