Hebrews 11:23-40; Exodus 15; Proverbs 6:1-7:5
We have certain expectations from the world. We expect that if we do right, the world will do right by us. If we are good to others, they will be good to us. We especially expect that in regards to our faith; if we do right, God will grant us peace and prosperity. It just makes sense – except things don’t work that way. As the roll call of faith continues in Hebrews 11 we see a disturbing passage. “But others experienced public shame by being taunted and whipped; they were even put in chains and in prison. They were stoned to death, they were cut in two, and they died by being murdered with swords. They went around wearing the skins of sheep and goats, needy, oppressed, and mistreated. The world didn’t deserve them.” (Hebrews 11:36-38a) The expectation, especially if you listen to some of those television preachers, is that having faith and showing it will lead to health and wealth. Here we see persecution, mistreatment, destitution and horrible death. All we have to do to find out the truth of this passage is look at the news and we see these evil things happening to people of faith all around the world. The message of Hebrews, though, is not that we should give up. God has provided something better. He has provided a home in heaven. He has restored our relationship with Him. He has given us a hope and a strength that makes living through such treatment well worth it. We are ready to endure any hardship for the joy of knowing Jesus Christ.
Oh Lord, I am mindful of my brothers and sisters around the world who are enduring persecution, hardship and mistreatment because they have shown their faith in You and they are staying true to their faith. I pray that You continue to give them strength. I pray for those who would mistreat Your people that they might see the joy of knowing You. May we, Your people, always stay true to You in faith.