November 22 – Hebrews 11:32-40. Sacrificial Faith.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

November 22 – Hebrews 11:32-40. Sacrificial Faith.

And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated—the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground. 

These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

When I used to teach sixth grade Sunday School class, I was fond of telling the kids that they would never read a story so wild as the things they would discover in the Old Testament.  I still stand by that and I’m a huge science fiction fan.

These people lived through incredible events and faced them with courage because of their faith in God.

The funny thing is – sometimes we think our lives are difficult.  Then, we look at those around us who live in more difficult situations than we face and think that it isn’t all that bad.  But, there were those in the OT who lived through unimaginable times and they did it without the saving grace of Jesus Christ.  They did it simply because God called them to their faith and they believed in the relationship with Him so much they could do nothing else.

It occurs to me, though, that when we think our lives are difficult, things are only difficult because of our expectations of life, not because we are sacrificing something for our faith.

When someone cuts you off in traffic and you end up with a fender bender – it’s a trying situation, but it really doesn’t have anything to do with sacrificial faith.  When you stress about paying bills, putting a kid through college or worry about whether to purchase a new washing machine because the old one has died; it’s not about sacrificial faith.

When you are upset because someone has gossiped about you – it’s because your name was besmirched … not God’s.

When was the last time you had to sacrifice for your faith?