Heroes #1 – The Good Old Days:
“All these events happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us, who live at the time when this age is drawing to a close.” (1 Corinthians 10:11).
When I wrote this devotional, I was thinking about all the heroes of faith in the Bible whose stories we have recorded from “the good old days.” I thought about the above Scripture that explains why God recorded all the stories that are in the Bible. Most of the Bible is written in the form of stories because the lives of these heroes are examples to us. Their lives are both positive examples for us to follow, and negative examples for us to avoid. For the next week, we are going to take a brief look at the lives of four of the more obscure heroes of the Old Testament: Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther and Job.
“Well, 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. By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight. Women received their loved ones back again from death. But others trusted God and were tortured, preferring to die rather than turn from God and be free. They placed their hope in the resurrection to a better life. Some were mocked, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in dungeons. Some died by stoning, and some were sawed in half; others were killed with the sword. Some went about in skins of sheep and goats, hungry and oppressed and mistreated. They were too good for this world. They wandered over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground.
“All of these people we have mentioned received God’s approval because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. For God had far better things in mind for us that would also benefit them, for they can’t receive the prize at the end of the race until we finish the race. Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish. He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy he knew would be his afterward. Now he is seated in the place of highest honor beside God’s throne in heaven. Think about all he endured when sinful people did such terrible things to him, so that you don’t become weary and give up.” (Hebrews 11:32-40; 12:1-3).
When you read through the stories of the heroes of faith in the Bible, don’t just rejoice in the exploits of these men and women of God. Rather, let them encourage and challenge you to attempt great things for God. We have a race to run, too – so let’s run for the prize!
Pastor Chris Jordan