In devotions today we looked at Hebrews 12, but really we should not look at 11 and 12 separately because it is one thought flowing from one focus to another. Really we need at least to go back to verse 39 of Hebrews 11:
” 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. 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning it’s shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
Hebrews 11 goes on for the majority of the chapter about individual after individual in the old testament who lived by faith, looking forward to what was promised them, but not living to see that promise fulfilled. Verse 39 says they were all (and many more that the author says he doesn’t have time to mention) praised for their faith, even though their promise given to them was not brought to completion. But then the author encourages us that because we are surrounded by all these faithful servants, because these amazing men and women of God that have come before us, and because of the examples set by them for us, we should similarly live our lives for Christ, running with perseverance the race of the Christian faith that we have chosen as believers in Christ. I can only begin to imagine the kind of faith that it took for Abraham to be willing to sacrifice his only son Isaac, and I can’t really even begin to fathom the amount of faith it took for Noah to build the ark despite the scorn, insults, and judgement that he probably received from his community, or the faith it took Moses to confront Pharaoh. But the scary thing is that I believe somewhere along the way during our journey as workers to bring God’s kingdom to wherever he sends us, something like this kind of faith may be required from us. In fact I am feeling the need for that kind of faith right now just to say yes and go out to the nations. Or rather I’m feeling a lack of this kind of faith in my own life, because the closer it gets the more overwhelmed and scared I feel, and the more I am realizing I need to pray for faith like Abraham to be able to walk in obedience and not completely freak out or fear what the future holds. So if you’re reading this, that’s what I need you to be praying for me: for Nathan, Layla and I, to have faith like Abraham, Noah and Moses to be obedient to God’s call on our life, and trust that he has us securely in his hands.