Bible Society of South Africa

Unlikely heroes – 2 August 2021

By Xanthe Hancox

Bible text(s)

32Should I go on? There isn't enough time for me to speak of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets. 33Through faith they fought whole countries and won. They did what was right and received what God had promised. They shut the mouths of lions, 34put 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.

Hebrews 11:32-34GNBOpen in Bible reader

This paragraph near the end of Hebrews 11 comes after a long list of names of ordinary people whom God used for extraordinary purposes. I’d really encourage you to read the whole chapter if you’re able to this morning.

Some of the names are well known. Abraham, Joseph, Sarah for example, are all mentioned. Others like Barak and Jephthah are less familiar, but they are all the names of believers through whom God worked to keep his promises.

This month we take a journey of discovery by looking at some of the Bible’s heroes of faith. As we begin, it’s worth noting that the writer introduces each person with the phrase ‘by faith’.

The author of the book of Hebrews does this to make sure we stay focused on God and not the actions of any individual. Many of the people he identifies are so well known that our focus can quickly turn to those people and their memorable words or actions.

By starting with: “By faith, Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice,” (verse 17), the writer wants us to know that it is not people but God who is great.

By faith in God, an adventure begins for ordinary people who are equipped by God for his extraordinary purposes. Can we identify with this type of faith? The atmosphere of faith-filled living overflows with hope and certainty. Hope looks ahead to the fulfillment of God’s promises, and certainty stems from the security of God’s love and faithfulness. By faith we trust in the one true God alone.

As we journey together this month, we’ll see that these stories spans the centuries. Each story challenges us to understand that life by faith is available for all who believe today, for all who hope in God and follow his call in an uncertain world.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for inviting us to be yours through the adventure of faith. May our hope and certainty rest in you alone. In Jesus’ name, Amen

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