32 What else can I say? There isn't enough time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets. 33 Their faith helped them conquer kingdoms, and because they did right, God made promises to them. They closed the jaws of lions 34 and put out raging fires and escaped from the swords of their enemies. Although they were weak, they were given the strength and power to chase foreign armies away.
35 Some women received their loved ones back from death. Many of these people were tortured, but they refused to be released. They were sure they would get a better reward when the dead are raised to life. 36 Others were made fun of and beaten with whips, and some were chained in jail. 37 Still others were stoned to death or sawed in two or killed with swords. Some had nothing but sheep skins or goat skins to wear. They were poor, mistreated, and tortured. 38The world did not deserve these good people, who had to wander in deserts and on mountains and had to live in caves and holes in the ground.
39All of them pleased God because of their faith! But still they died without being given what had been promised. 40This was because God had something better in store for us. And he did not want them to reach the goal of their faith without us.
Maybe it’s due to Canadian modesty, but we do not have much of a hero culture in Canada. That does not mean there are no true heroes. We simply are not as quick to recognize and celebrate them as our neighbours to the south.
But we need heroes – heroes of the faith to show us the way. Perhaps hero is the wrong word. In simple terms we need people in flesh like our own to set an example of Christian faith and service. What does following the Lord look like for a believer in this culture in the twenty-first century? Are you watching for examples to follow?
Again today’s reading reminds us of the faith heroes of old. They endured much and overcame great obstacles. But the writer of Hebrews concludes that their faith is somehow incomplete without the addition of our faith. “All of them pleased God because of their faith! But still they died without being given what had been promised. This was because God had something better in store for us. And he did not want them to reach the goal of their faith without us” (vv 39-40).
We need these heroes of the faith to show us the way – to inspire us even now. When we enter into the faith of the ancients, we become participants with them in the great drama of the ages – a drama and a struggle that brings us to the cross and the throne room of God.
Heavenly Father, put godly men and women in my circle, so I can see what it means to practically live out my faith today. Thank you for those who have gone before me and have stayed faithful to your word and your Spirit. I want to please you. For Jesus’ sake, Amen.