Why do I write about the great men and women of faith in the Bible? Why do I examine their stories and and pay attention to what they did and how they lived?
2 Tim. 3:16 says “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
Heb. 6:12 says, see to it….”that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.“
Hebrews Chapter 11 is called the Hall of Faith by some Christians. It is a short chronology of those of faith from the past and lists the feats they accomplished. If we can learn from the lives of those who have gone before, perhaps we might not make the same mistakes, right?
1 Corinthians 10:11 speaks of Israel in the wilderness in this manner: “Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.“
The Bible was recorded and kept not only as an historical record of the works of God in the world, but is also meant for our instruction! We would do well to heed what it says. It has all of the answers to life.
Our father in the faith, Abraham, left his homeland, not knowing where he was going, and waited many years to finally father a son when he was about 100 years old and Sarah was 90. From Abraham, all the nations of the earth are blessed because of his faith and example.
We see the faith of Joseph, who endured betrayal by his brothers, going into captivity and being imprisoned. He was finally exalted to second in command in Egypt after interpreting Pharaoh’s dreams and advising him of the solution, thereby saving his own people and many others from starvation during the famine.
There’s the faith of Moses, who had probably given up on his dream to rescue his brethren, but answered the call when God spoke to him forty years later. Moses went on to challenge the ruler of Egypt, executed judgment on Egypt’s gods, and rescued the nation from their slavery, leading them through the Red Sea, while Egypt was destroyed.
We read of the faith of Gideon, who, with a 300 man army whittled down from 32,000, went up against armies too many to number and won freedom for Israel from the oppression of the Midianites. Imagine that.
We see the faith of David who was anointed as king, but patiently waited for God to exalt him, living in the wilderness and in caves. David killed the Philistine giant, Goliath, when he was a teenager because he had faith and hated seeing his nation quaking in fear at Goliath’s threats. David wrote many of the Psalms out of his relationship with God.
There’s the faith of Elijah, who spearheaded revival in Israel by challenging the false god Baal to a demonstration of power and then killed 850 prophets of Baal under the cruel reign of Ahab and Jezebel. He declared the beginning of a famine and when it would end. He ate food brought by ravens in the famine and raised a dead boy to life.
We read of the faith of Esther, a young Jewish maiden who married a heathen king, then risked her very life to save her people from extinction when they were threatened by the wicked, conniving Haman.
We see the faith of the prophet Daniel taken into captivity as a young man, his name and language taken from him; he was made a eunuch to serve in the palace, submitting to several ungodly kings in Babylon. He was thrown in a lion’s den for a night, and survived. But Daniel was faithful to God and received great revelations of what would come in the end times. He was visited by angels who brought the prophetic words. He saw the end of the Babylonian captivity in the scriptures and prayed in agreement with God for it to come to pass.
These people did amazing, astonishing feats of faith all before Jesus came. The nation of Israel preserved these stories of faith in the Old Testament for us on whom the end of the ages has come. They are just some of our examples. They are pictures to help us live our lives by faith and assuredly are in the great cloud of witnesses spoken of in Hebrews 12 who are cheering us on in our race to be all and do all that God would have us do in these days. They are heroes, in my book.
Hebrews 11:1-2 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.“