An Alternate Reading of Hebrews 11


faithIf those of old had not receive their commendation based on their faith, then Hebrews 11 would read very differently. Rather than being the Hall-of-Fame of Faith it would be the Hall-of-Shame of the Faithless or instead of the Heroes of Faith they would be the Zeros of Faith. Consider the following examples:

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By recklessness Noah got drunk and his nakedness was exposed to his son Ham (Genesis 9:20-27).

By fear Abraham lied about his relationship with Sarah, calling her his sister instead of his wife (Genesis 12:10-20).

By fear he did it again (Genesis 20:1-18).

By anxiousness Sarah offered her servant Hagar to Abraham so that he might have an heir (Genesis 16:1-16).

By favoritism Isaac loved his son Esau more that his son Jacob and this caused all kinds of problems with his family (Genesis 25:28).

By deceit Jacob stole his brothers blessing by tricking his blind father Isaac (Genesis 27:1-46).

By rage Moses murdered an Egyptian taskmaster, hiding the body in the sand and fleeing to the wilderness (Exodus 2:11-22).

By anger Moses struck the rock to bring forth water instead of speaking to the rock as the Lord had commanded (Numbers 20:10-13).

And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of the sins of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David, and the prophets – who through faithlessness erected an idol for Israel to worship (Judges 8:22-27), who refused to fight for the Lord (Judges 4:8-9), who made a rash vow (Judges 11:29-40), who was a womanizer (Judges 16:1-22) who took another man’s wife and then murdered the man (2 Samuel 11:1-27), and who out of fear ran from his responsibilities (1 Kings 19:1-18).

Some played the whore with idols and burned their children in sacrifice, even making the streets of Jerusalem flow with the blood of the innocent (2 Kings 21:1-18; 2 Chronicles 33:1-20).

All of these were condemned because of their sins.

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But PRAISE GOD, the story of the salvation is so very different. Rather than being condemned for their sins, those who put their trust in God were commended for their faith (Hebrews 11:2). “Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He is, and that He rewards those who seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). Real Heroes of the Faith are men and women who fall and fail and are flawed, but in the end receive God’s approval, because through it all, they stayed true to Him by faith. That, my friends, should give us hope. This same commendation from God can be yours and mine in the very same way, by faith (Ephesians 2:1-10; 1 John 5:4; Revelation 2:10). “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, thinking nothing of the shame, and is seated at the right hand of God” (Hebrews 12:1-2).

May God bless you friend. If I can help you in your spiritual journey, please email me at clay@claygentry.com. And as always, share the good news of Jesus with someone today.

You may also like: By Faith You Can Receive Your Commendation. It’s similar to this article but with a different ending.

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