Hope and the Hero’s of The Faith

In July, 2016, I wrote a blog about Cowboys and Hero’s, below an excerpt from that blog…

Back in the day many young boys dreamed of riding the plains doing good and rescuing the young girls from evil. Mounting the trusty broom and riding the backyard range in search of stray cattle or damsels in distress and even hoping to come across a bad guy or two. Sporting a set of Gene Autry pistols and a new hat and cowboy boots from Sears or the local Western Auto store, we were the picture of young justice and any number of Saturday cowboy shows on the old black and white TV. Sneaking a bit of small rope from dad’s work bench for a lasso, even the dog and cat feared our pass through the backyard range. They were examples of what we admired or wanted to be in our adolescent dreams and wishes. Today we look at a different time and a different type of hero, the ones back in the day that set an example of faith and are called to mind in the 11th chapter of Hebrews through the writings of Paul. (fromthepewblog.com)

I Always like to check in with Webster just to be sure…What is a hero? The simple answer is:

a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities…

Biblically speaking the eleventh chapter of Hebrews contains the major heroes of the Bible. A hero is a person of great courage, conquer, a victor and a winner to use just a few descriptive nouns. But in these definitions we find the most compelling attribute of a hero is missing, Faith the fuel of  Christian Hope

Faith is the certainty that what you believe is true and seen or unseen it will come. The hope we are looking at is not a make a wish thing but one of unshakeable conviction. I remember the young girl at Columbine High School who when confronted by the shooter, he asked her, “Do you believe in God?” while holding a pistol to her head…she never hesitated… “yes” he shot her. This unique Christian Faith, is a hope turned to certainty. It dictates the way Christians conduct themselves. They live it, they die for it and it is what’s makes them live as they do. James Mofatt writes three ways this Christian Hope works.

  1. Belief in God against the world
  2. Belief in the spirit against the senses
  3. Christian Hope in belief in the future against the present   

The writer to Hebrews makes the point that what God has promised will be. They put everything on God, and the history of the scriptures proves them right. There were those who argued that God created the world out of existing matter, the writer to this letter insists that the creation of this world was all of God’s will and preference. The fact is that it is God’s world.  Acceptance of this leads us to these principals. We will respect and use wisely what God has created and believe that even when it looks bad, God is in control. Chapter 11 describes the nature and power of Christian faith. It does so by providing examples of such set forth by instances from Abel to Noah, Abraham and his descendants. They are joined by Jacob, Joseph, Moses, the Israelites, and Rahab. We can also add many Old Testament believers. Faith has always been the mark of a servant of God. Through faith we keep the truth of Christ’s sufferings through which he is justified, the promises made, the covenant secured and that which fuels our own hope and faith. A faith that proves to our mind those things we can’t see. Faith contains all things of worth while granting full approval of all God has revealed as holy, just and good. Here in chapter 11 we find examples of persons from Old Testament times who were honorable in character and the word of God. In faith they were examples of holy obedience, Godly service and patient sufferings. The bible is the one source of a true and accurate account of all things of God. There is power in the creation story and it is to be believed by all Christians. It is one of the cornerstones of our faith, one we cannot allow the disbelief of some to take it from us, just because they don’t believe.

We read here that all the works of the creation were brought about by the command of God. There is the account of Abel’s sacrifice, his atonement, acknowledging himself to be a sinner and seeking mercy and forgiveness from God. Contrast that to Cain’s rage and hostility against Abel and his sacrifice. Who would have known at that time this rage and hostility, even murder of believers would travel across time to this very day. Enoch, a man who walked with God always keeping the distance between him and God as little as possible. He did not see death, God took him to heaven just as Christ will do for the saints who are living at the time of his second coming. Enoch believed God and those things that the scripture of that time revealed him to be. If we are to find God in our life we must seek him with all our heart. Noah guided by God’s words and driven by his faith set about to build the ark. His faith overshadowed their unbelief and his obedience was greater than their contempt and rebellion. There is a point to be made here. The example of believers like that of Noahs after being warned of the wrath to come, moved by fear but filled with faith took action at God’s warning and became an heir of the righteousness of faith. We too can expect to be called, leave our interests and comforts behind. Strike out as Abraham, obeying and going forth not knowing what we might encounter, seeking only to do God’s will, to do that which He has called us to. Abraham’s trial was brought about simply because he fully obeyed the call of God. Abraham offered up Isaac putting aside his doubts and fears and looking to the power of God. We will be better off enjoying our comforts if we allow God to give us that which we need and He knows are best for us. Jacob lived by faith, and he died by faith, and in faith. This grace of faith is available to us in our life cycle but is especially needful when we face death. Here at last we have come to our destination, facing it with a life of patience, hope and joy, a life of faith in which we have striven to honor God in all things. Joseph was tried by temptations to sin, by persecution for keeping his integrity; and he was tried by the honors and power in the court of Pharaoh, yet his faith carried him through. Moses was a special baby, raised in royalty, tempted by power and sin, was of his own violation a murderer but God used him and Moses by faith led his people from captivity. Moses became a true believer of God and was willing to subject himself to their fate, being desirous to be in a covenant with God and in communion with his people. Rahab’s inclusion in this list is a bit tricky. It is written that Rahab operated an inn in the city and aided the Israelite spies to escape capture when scouting the city. There were some inns that were also brothels but the story does not indicate that. Rahab’s life was not perfect but she was declared just by her actions. 

There is a little more here in the chapter but I think the point has been made. Hope, Faith, Courage and Strength are some of the attributes of a hero by earthly definitions. These people were saints of the faith…It is because they believed that they had hope and were able to serve God. What is that old refrain…faith of our fathers… May we pray and endeavor to increase our faith and like them be made perfect in Him… Believe.

Life is Good

jk