Ezekiel 3-4 Hebrews 11:20-40
“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.” (Hebrews 11:39-40 NCV)
Hebrews 11 is a roll call of amazing people of faith. These faith warriors all served God during the Old Testament times, having faith in God’s promises. They never received the fulfillment of those promises in this lifetime, but they continued in faith despite persecution, deprivation, and execution. They willingly endured every hardship because they understood God’s promise. Sometimes those acts of faith were extraordinary, sometimes they were people doing the things that needed to be done. Many of those commended for their faith in this section may not have seen themselves as exercising their faith, but God recognized. The conclusion of the chapter is that God had planned something better, Jesus, and that together our fellowship is complete, and we are all made perfect in Him.
I get discouraged when God takes a little longer than I think is necessary to answer my prayers. It’s even worse when He answers the “wrong way.” My way, of course, always being right. Wouldn’t this world be better if God listened to me and answered my prayers. It would be so much easier to have faith then. Maybe that’s not the point. Maybe the point is that we’re called to listen to Him and trust Him even when His answers are different than our desires. The lesson from these heroes of the faith is that our faith needs to be in God and not in results or our own wants and desires. I don’t know what Heaven will be like, but if it were possible to interview all these people of faith mentioned here who dealt with terrible persecutions and painful deaths because of their faith, I’d ask each of them one question: “Was it worth it?” I have no doubt that they would smile and point out the glories of heaven and tell me they would do it all over again if they needed to. Our faith should not be in our own desires, our wealth, our church, or even in our faith. Our faith is in the Lord. If our faith is in the Lord, no matter what happens, we’ll always say that whatever we endured was worth it.
Lord, let all that I say, think, or do happen because of my faith in You. Help me to trust You when I don’t want to. Help me to trust You when the world tells me to give up on You. Thank You for the gift of faith.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.