Hebrews 11 - Steve Wiggins Daily Devotional
“These all died without having received the promises, but they saw them from a distance, greeted them, and confessed that they were foreigners and temporary residents on earth. Now those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been remembering that land they came from, they would have had opportunity to return. But they now aspire to a better land – a heavenly one. Therefore, G_d is not ashamed to be called their G_d, for He has prepared a city for them.” Hebrews 11:13-16
Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets…all these people were considered righteous by G_d, because of their faith. Faith, in & of itself, is not sufficient to save a person. G_d’s standard is that people be perfectly righteous. The system of salvation, which allows our faith to be counted as righteousness, is itself a gift from G_d. That is His Grace towards mankind.
“For it is by Grace that we are saved through faith – and this not of ourselves, but it is the gift of G_d - not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9.
These heroes of the Bible are generally known for the great things they accomplished. It is easy to assume they earned their salvation through good works. Every Jewish parent would want their children to succeed in the manner of these patriarchs and tsadiks. But each of these spiritual giants was also human and fell short of G_d’s standard.
The writer of Hebrews is drawing attention from the accomplishments of these people, and focusing on the root of their success: Faith. He didn’t say, “Seek to build an ark, or have a child in your old age, or slay a giant Philistine…” He is challenging us to employ the FAITH which led these patriarchs to accomplish such feats. The Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit), working through their faithfully surrendered lives was the source of their strength. Whenever these so-called “spiritual giants” departed from the path of faithfulness, they ceased to live victoriously. Perhaps, King David is the best example.
G_d is not ashamed to be called “the G_d” of those who faithfully respond to His call. Though we may be ashamed of some of our decisions, thoughts or behavior, G_d honors faithfulness. Most of these “heroes of the faith” committed extremely faithless acts: adultery, murder, drunkenness, cowardice…yet G_d recognized their faithful return.
As the patriarchs did not know when Messiah would come, we are unaware of when He will come again. Those whose hope is Messiah, see G_d’s kingdom from a distance. We greet it by living faithfully and waiting for G_d to unfold His plan, in His timing.
~Steve Wiggins, Associate Leader, Worship Leader
Daily Devotional, Wednesday, November 20, 2013