Hebrews 11:32-12:3 – Connecting
I’ve always been a fan of epic literature. From the Iliad/Odyssey to Beowulf to Tolkien’s mythology, there’s always been a joy for me in reading something so deeply connected to preceding events and ideas. It’s like floating on the ocean and feeling small yet somehow a part of it’s majesty since you are the one present to experience it. In my trip to Israel, I felt that connection to the historical accounts in Scripture. I felt lost in the myriad of events and places that I had only read about. Naturally, the Lord spoke in those moments. This passage, actually including all of chapter 11, connected with me over and over again as we visited the different sites in Israel. I felt a connection to the stories. I felt a connection to the people. I felt a connection to the faith that had begun on the places where we stood. The Hebrews passage, and really the Bible in itself, is about connecting to faith.
Unfortunately, here at home in the Bible belt, most people who profess the same faith that I do have no such connection. The Old Testament is old and dead, merely a bunch of stories meant to teach us lessons. The God of the Old Testament is grumpy and wrathful and therefore not palatable for our American, free will sensibilities. We prefer to define what faith means for ourselves and miss the connection to true faith. We would rather ask for better directions to the Promised Land instead of trust a cloud that leads us to the Red Sea. We would much rather justify renouncing God with our mouth or physical actions to fit in with the rest of society so we don’t have to deal with the uncomfortable circumstances of being thrown into a furnace or spending a night with lions. After all, our God of the New Testament is a God of grace and forgiveness. And lest we forget, we can always redefine Heaven and Hell so that no one has to go or be punished anyway. If ignorance is bliss, self-deception is bliss’s purest form.
It is my prayer that you allow the Spirit of God to examine your heart. Are you plugged in to the faith described in Hebrews 11 or are you still trying to redefine it on your own terms. One of the easiest indicators to find out which type of faith you are walking in is how you view the Scriptures. Are you committed to reading, studying, living and breathing God’s Word? If the answer is no, then I must question your faith. Romans 10:17 says, “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” If you have little to no understanding of the Scriptures personally, you have most likely made up your own faith. You’ve pulled bits and pieces from pastors, Veggie Tales, and Sunday School classes as a kid and made your very own comfortable faith. You have no relationship, no true love for God, just a fondness for your idea of Him. The Spirit right now, as you’re reading this, is calling you into connection with the faith of those who have gone before. The faith of Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Rahab, the prophets and judges, the Apostles, Paul, and Stephen. He’s calling you into the faith the Christ exemplified in His life on earth, showing us how obedience was to be lived. Connect with Him. Plug in to the faith that brings life, joy, and peace. Join the “cloud of witnesses” as the Spirit draws us and gives us opportunity to give glory to the only One worthy of it. If you have questions or don’t know how this works, please feel free to ask. I don’t have all the answers, but we can go together. I love y’all more than you know. Grace and peace,