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I drove around in the car all day (Christmas shopping) and tried to think about “Why does chapter 11: “The Hall of Faith” follow chapter 10. So I went back and read how it ended (I could not remember). Two verses stuck out:
34 You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. 35 So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.
39 But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.
Christian persecution was getting intense under Caesar Nero. How easy would it be to “shrink back” and blend in with the unbelieving Romans? So easy for me to say they should “persevere” since the only form of persecution I go through is being “mocked” by family members for being a “born again Christian” as if I joined a cult.
Faith: “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 2 This is what the ancients were commended for.”
Faith is not a loophole to explain the unexplained. It is knowing that The Lord’s promises WILL be fulfilled. We have full confidence. Some of these examples are about knowing His promises WILL be fulfilled…and we may not live to see it. There is a big picture because we serve a big God. They will also be fulfilled regardless of our circumstances or the world’s circumstances.
The Israelites had Faith but lacked trust. Think about that for a minute. Ok, let me stop rambling….
The first set: Pre-flood: Abel, Enoch, and Noah – They were all commended for their Faith.
The second set: The Patriarchs. Their Faith, the best way I can think of it was “being blindfolded”. They never looked back, they let God direct their path. Amazing Faith and Trust! They all went to the grave with unfilled promises of their generation, and they held their Faith to the grave that His Promises would be fulfilled in the generations to come.
The third set: The Exodus to the Conquest. Time after time Israel’s deliverance was accomplished in defiance of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. In the same section, ‘The Moses’ transitions to a gentile prostitute. Oh I bet the Jewish Leaders reading this had an aneurism😂! Salvation is not based on identity nor your history. Salvation is based on Faith.
The next section says 32 And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets….
What? sure you do! I was excited that I recognized all the names… (lies Patricia! 🤥 You had to look back to see who Jephthah was!). What did they have in common? They had Faith yet made huge mistakes! (See, there is Hope for everyone!)
So what is the point of this chapter??
39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
The entire chapter has been written as an encouragement to those being persecuted to preserve the view of the fact that God’s promise remains unfulfilled. Their Hope lay beyond the grave, and so do ours. Chapter 11: “Hall of Faith” is not about the ancestors, it is about the God who keeps His Promises.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, SO THAT you will not grow weary and lose heart.
I think the rest of the read is really amazing, and I have babbled on long enough…Feel free to end hear, but my random ADHD thought are below.
- (4-12)Discipline. How we have made that un ugly word. When you hear it do you think punishment?? I think it is important to reflect to discern the difference between discipline, consequence, and punishment. Very different circumstances.
- (14-16)…or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. Esau, oh Esau. Just like kids today! He exemplifies the person who exchanges the “unseen future” for an “immediate pleasure”.
- (18-29) Ummmm that was like reading another language…very confusing. I read it a few times and I pulled out the contrast between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. Fear verse Grace.
The Conclusion (This conclusion is SO good, we could have skipped the 1st twelve chapters and just read this!
- loving one another
- 2 Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. 👼🏼👼🏼👼🏼
- remember those in prison/mistreated as if it were you (have empathy)
- Honor your marriage (if you are currently married). It is an oath you made.
- 5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
“Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.”
6 So we say with confidence,
“The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
What can mere mortals do to me?”
- I pulled out the above scripture because I have seen people pull this one apart and use parts of it in their lives where they want it. READ the whole thing in context. VERY POWERFUL.
- 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
- 9 Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings.
- Continually praise the Lord with your mouth
- 16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
- 1Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority