Epistle to the Hebrews (11:32 [e])   Leave a comment

Epistle to the Hebrews

Epistle to the Hebrews

How much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets” Hebrews 11:32

  • Samuel

Samuel was judge, priest and a prophet. He was the last judge of Israel and the Israelites were looking for a king to rule on them. They rejected theocracy and wanted monarchy like the other nations had. Hannah was barren(1 Sam 1:6) and prayed God to give her a son. When God answered her prayers, she gave the son back to God at his service. Samuel spent his time in the tabernacle and he grew up closer to God. The bible tells us:

As Samuel grew up, the Lord was with him, and everything Samuel said proved to be reliable.” 1 Sam. 3:19

Samuel precisely described what would happen to Saul (1 Sam .10:5-8). The bible tells us that Samuel was a honest man 1 Sam. 12:3-5.

Samuel also had faith when he said he would ask God to send rain:

You know that it does not rain at this time of the year during the wheat harvest. I will ask the Lord to send thunder and rain today.” 1 Sam. 12:17

Samuel was a man who had authority and rebuked Saul when he offered the offering under war pressure.

Samuel was first a priest and I guess he was meticulous when offering a sacrifice to God. When he offered sacrifice to God he did it with the faith that God would forgive sins. When he stood as judge, he surely did it with the faith that God would give him wisdom to judge correctly. When he prophetised, he did it with the faith that it was God’s very word. Samuel’s relationship with God was very closed. He was a man who had faith in God in all his activities. He knew God and understood that offering sacrifices were nothing compared to an obedient heart. This is what he said to Saul:

What is more pleasing to the Lord:your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.” 1 Sam 15:22

  • All the prophets

Our author now generalises that faith was found in the lives of all the prophets. We could also talk about Daniel’s faith in God when refusing to obey the king’s command. He was thrown in a lion’s den and God rescued him. His friends were spared while thrown in the burning furnace. Their hairs were not burnt and there was no smell of fire on them.

This is what they said:

If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty.” Daniel 3:17

Their clothes did not even have smoke. We could also talk about Elijah through whom miracles happen. His successor Elishah did twice more miracles than him. Dead water was made pure, the widow’s oil was multiplied, the Shunammite’s Son Restored to Life, a hundred of people were fed with 20 loaves, Elisha had faith an an axehead which felt in the water floated, he saw God’s army with him when king Aram wanted to kill him, food was divinely provided during famine and Naaman was healed from his leprosy (2 King 2-8). All this happened because Elishah had faith. Even Jonah had faith because he knew God would forgive Nineveh. He did not want to go because these people were wicked and harmed his nation.

We could also mention those who were not prophets but who lived by faith. For example,  by faith Nehemiah and Ezra rebuilt the walls and temple. They prayed God and God did provide the materials needed for the construction even amidst opposition.

Nehemiah said:

When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God.” Nehemiah 6:16

Without faith it is impossible to please God as Hebrews 11:6 says. Our author gave us sufficient examples to prove us that faith is vital in our relationship with God. Faith was present in the heart of all those called upon the name of God.

Jesus even said: ” However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:8

Our faith exalts God because when we rely on Him and trust Him, we are actually acknowledging that we are unable, powerless and weak. At the same time, by faith we imply that He is able, powerful and strong. Very often, it’s when we have no remedy to our illness, are bankrupt or have no solutions to our problems that we turn to God and have faith in Him. These situations allow us to get close to God. But we should not wait for them to come to start boosting our faith. David fought Goliath by faith because he already experienced God in previous situations. As we have seen, Moses confidently brought the Israelites out of Egypt because his faith grew up through the previous miracles God did through him. It was the same for Abraham when he offered Isaac. God worked in Abraham’s heart many years before this solemn moment. Our faith needs to grow. As Christians, we are not exempted from the school of faith lest we are truants or illegitimate children.

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Posted June 18, 2013 by Cedric in Theology

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