God’s Saving Word: Faith
Hebrews 11:23-40: Today’s reading continues the listing of people of great faith, beginning with Moses, and includes those who were persecuted for their faith.
23 It was faith that made the parents of Moses hide him for three months after he was born. They saw that he was a beautiful child, and they were not afraid to disobey the king’s order.
24 It was faith that made Moses, when he had grown up, refuse to be called the son of the king’s daughter. 25 He preferred to suffer with God’s people rather than to enjoy sin for a little while. 26 He reckoned that to suffer scorn for the Messiah was worth far more than all the treasures of Egypt, for he kept his eyes on the future reward.
27 It was faith that made Moses leave Egypt without being afraid of the king’s anger. As though he saw the invisible God, he refused to turn back. 28 It was faith that made him establish the Passover and order the blood to be sprinkled on the doors, so that the Angel of Death would not kill the first-born sons of the Israelites.
29 It was faith that made the Israelites able to cross the Red Sea as if on dry land; when the Egyptians tried to do it, the water swallowed them up.
30 It was faith that made the walls of Jericho fall down after the Israelites had marched around them for seven days. 31 It was faith that kept the prostitute Rahab from being killed with those who disobeyed God, for she gave the Israelite spies a friendly welcome.
32 Should I go on? There isn’t enough time for me to speak of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets. 33 Through faith they fought whole countries and won. They did what was right and received what God had promised. They shut the mouths of lions, 34 put out fierce fires, escaped being killed by the sword. They were weak, but became strong; they were mighty in battle and defeated the armies of foreigners. 35 Through faith women received their dead relatives raised back to life.
Others, refusing to accept freedom, died under torture in order to be raised to a better life. 36 Some were mocked and whipped, and others were put in chains and taken off to prison. 37 They were stoned, they were sawed in two, they were killed by the sword. They went around clothed in skins of sheep or goats—poor, persecuted, and mistreated. 38 The world was not good enough for them! They wandered like refugees in the deserts and hills, living in caves and holes in the ground.
39 What a record all of these have won by their faith! Yet they did not receive what God had promised, 40 because God had decided on an even better plan for us. His purpose was that only in company with us would they be made perfect.
Today’s Key Verse: Hebrews 11:39a
What a record all of these have won by their faith!
Faith, according to Hebrews 11, means trusting in God. (The story of Moses can be found in the book of Exodus; those mentioned in verse 32 can be found in the books of Joshua, Judges, 1 & 2 Samuel.) What can you learn from those whose faith is described in Hebrews 11? Are there people today you can name who are examples of faith? If so, what can you learn from them? In what ways do you demonstrate your faith?
Lord God, thank you for the gift of faith. Strengthen my faith day by day as I grow in knowledge of you and your love. Amen.
Hebrews 12:1-29: Faithful witnesses cheer us on as we run the race of faith.