352 - A Letter to Hebrew Believers (Part 3)
December 18- Nº 352 Hebrews 10:36 – 11:40
Jewish believers were being persecuted for their faith in Jesus. To escape from suffering, some of them had chosen to abandon Christianity and return to Judaism. So, one of their mentors (we are never told who it was) wrote them a long letter pointing out that Jesus was the fulfillment of all the prophecies God had made in the Jewish Scriptures. Worshiping him as their Messiah was far superior to the Old Testament system of worship they were returning to (see #350 - December 16 and #351 - December 17). To experience God’s blessings, they needed to grow in their new faith—not abandon it. Then the author pointed out that many of their revered ancestors had endured situations far worse than the ones they were now facing. Even as they were dying, these Old Testament “ancients” (as he referred to them) did not give up on their faith. They were confident that God would keep His promises. They believed that one day He would send a Messiah who would provide a way for them to live with Him forever. Their faith was evident through their actions. These are a few of the Old Testament heroes he listed: · Noah – He obeyed God and built an ark because God had promised to save his family from the flood. He had faith in that promise and didn’t stop building for 100 years—even when others ridiculed him and tried to make him feel foolish (see #6 - January 6)! · Abraham – He left everything behind to follow God without knowing where God was leading him (see #8 - January 8). He ended up struggling through famines (see #9 - January 9) and fighting battles (see #10 - January 10), but he didn’t give up. Because of his faith, God allowed Abraham to have a son even when it was physically impossible (see #13 - January 13). God made a promise that through that son (Isaac), Abraham’s descendants would become a great nation. When God asked him to sacrifice Isaac on an altar, Abraham was willing to obey because he trusted God and embraced His promises (see #17 - January 17)! Abraham fully believed that if Isaac died God would bring him back to life. · Moses’ parents – They were willing to disobey Pharaoh of Egypt and risk their lives to save their son, because they had faith in God (see #39 - February 8). · Moses – He was willing to give up everything he would have inherited as an adopted grandson of Pharaoh, rather than turn his back on God’s people or God’s promises (see #40 - February 9). His faith gave him the strength to lead the Israelites across the Red Sea even as the entire Egyptian army fiercely pursued him (see #45 - February 14). · Rahab – Knowing that she could have been condemned to death as a traitor, she was willing to protect the Israelite spies (see #61 - March 2). She put her faith in the God of Israel, and He saved her. When the walls of Jericho collapsed and killed everyone else, she and her family walked out of the city (see #63 - March 4). And later she became an ancestor of Jesus Christ! There were so many others who were ridiculed, tortured, imprisoned, and put to death because of their faith. They knew that God’s promises were superior to anything the world could offer, and they had faith that He would keep those promises!
Do you have a solid faith that is able to go through the tough times? Or is your faith wishy-washy—changing to please the people or fit the events that surround you? God promises to “richly reward” us if we stay strong in our faith and keep our confidence in Him (see Hebrews 10:35-36).