Obtaining a Good Testimony Through Faith

The only survivor of a shipwreck washed up on a small uninhabited island. He cried out to God to save him, and every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming. Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a rough hut and put his few possessions in it. But then … More

Trials

The author of Hebrews wants to tell about many others who were great men and women of faith, but time will not permit it. So he just lists a number of people in Biblical history who did mighty deeds of faith. From this variety of personalities we can see how faith can operate in the life of any person who will listen to God’s Word and surrender to God’s will.

We can see that not all men and women of faith experienced miraculous deliverance (vv. 35-40). They had faith, but God did not choose to deal with them in the same way he dealt with Moses, Gideon and David. Many men of faith were not delivered from difficult circumstances; yet God honored their faith. In fact it takes more faith to endure than to escape. Rather than asking, “Why me?” it is more helpful to ask, “Why not me?"

There are people who will tell us that if we are sick and suffering it is because of sin and lack of faith in our life. This is far from the truth of God’s Word. God does not promise His saints deliverance from all suffering. To the contrary, Jesus told us to take up our crosses and to follow Him (Mark 8:34). Faith does enable us to turn from the approval of the world and seek only God’s approval. If God chooses to deliver His people He will do it, regardless of the circumstances. If He doesn’t  choose to deliver His people, He knows what is best. Faith is possible in all kinds of believers, in all kinds of situations. It is not a luxury for a few, but a necessity for all. Old and New Testament believers will be glorified together. Not only are we one in the body of Christ with all those alive, but we are also one with all those who ever lived.

Application

I am thankful for the example of these Old Testament saints that were faithful during difficult times, but had God’s witness that one day they would be rewarded. Having a steadfast faith in God does not guarantee me a happy carefree life. Instead it almost guarantees some persecution from the world.

Hebrews 11:35-40 (English Standard Version)

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.

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