“And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the Promise—God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.”
In Christ, it’s never a sprint or solitary cross-country run; it’s always a relay race.
Hebrews 11:32-40 has sometimes been called “The Heroes’ Hall of Faith.” And, it doesn’t take long in pondering over those verses to understand why. Although a couple of the names listed there in v.32 may be unfamiliar to us (Barak and Jephthae), we still stand in awe at how God used these Old Testament saints in accomplishing His Salvation plan.
Again, the theme in these verses is “faith”. . .simple, childlike faith. . .unwavering trust in the God of Abraham. . .knowing that He was/is faithful and they should be, too.
Isn’t that a message we still need to hear and heed today?
Most assuredly it is.
In vv. 33-35 we’re fascinated over how God delivered some of those believers in some pretty miraculous ways; yet, in vv.36-37 our hearts ache over how these were mistreated, maligned and even killed for their faith. Sadly, the same thing still happens all over the world even at this very minute.
Somehow, we tend to view the former group as more spiritual than the latter—i.e., the ones who were miraculously delivered vs. those who were martyred. But, the fact remains that both groups were victorious and “the world was not worthy (Grk. ‘axios’—‘suitable, deserving, comparable, etc.’) of them” (v.38). Or, another way to put it is “The world didn’t deserve such courageous men and women of faith, who did not become discouraged when they were forced to wander in deserts, mountains, dens and caves on this earth.”
No, as the Apostle Paul said, they were “more than conquerors” (Rom. 8:37).
They knew “this world wasn’t their home. They were simply a-passin’ through. Their treasures were laid up somewhere beyond the blue. The angels beckoned them from Heaven’s golden shore, And they couldn’t feel at home in this world anymore.” Hallelujah!!
But, what about us, dear Pilgrim?
Do we view ourselves as “strangers and pilgrims on this earth” (Heb. 11:13c)? Are we willing to also be “tortured. . .have trials of cruel mockings and scourging. . .to be in bonds and imprisoned. . .martyred by stoning. . .slain with the sword. . .wander about in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted and tormented”. . .if that’s what it takes to spread the Gospel?
Again, remember: The Race of Faith is always a relay race.
The question is, “Am I being faithful in running my leg of the Race? Am I living in such a way that I, like those saints of old, will also obtain a good report (reputation) as one who lived a life of faith? And, even if I don’t receive the things I’d hoped for in this life, will I still faithfully fulfill God’s purpose in my life and hand off the Gospel baton to someone else when my time here is through?”
Tough questions; yet, may we answer them by living a life of faith that glorifies Christ.