Mar 24, 2024. Hebrews 11:32-35

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FAITH BEYOND TELLING.  Hebrews 11:32-35. 3/24/2024. #40

32 And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: 33 who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. 35 Women received their dead raised to life again.

1. Men of weakness; men of faith

                a. Hebrews doesn’t have space to list all deeds of faith

                                a1. Many varieties of miracles recorded

                                a2. Each faithful act was in obedience to God

                b. God strengthened weak men

                                a1. Gideon, a farmer, was doubtful throughout his calling, seeking signs and assurance (the fleece signs were from disbelief, not faith)

                                a2. Barak refused to go to battle without the judge Deborah coming along, even though he was general of the army

                c. Samson was of dubious moral character

                                a1. Samson was immoral, willful, prideful, disobedient, selfish, and cocky

                                a2. Samson’s trust in God was presumptuous

                                a3. God still used Samson to subdue the Phil.

                d. Jephthah was a rogue who made a rash vow that adversely impacted his daughter (dead or a virgin?)

                e. God’s children are not perfect, but they trust God

2. Faith that changed history

                a. Samuel was the last of the judges, a prophet, and king maker

                                a1. Sanuel faithfully obeyed God and judged Israel

                                a2. Since Samuel’s sons were wicked, Israel demanded a king (a father like Eli)    

                b. Unlike Saul, David was faithful to God

                                a1. He was an adulterer and murderer

                                a2. God forgave David and He conquered kingdoms and subdued armies

3. Too many to name

                a. Hebrews now alludes to random deeds, events, traits, and stories that demonstrated great faith and courage

                b. Prophets are mentioned in general with allusion to certain deeds that the author had in mind

                c. Subduing kingdoms: God blinded the Syrian army before Elisha, so he turned away their sword and Syria was defeated

                d. Worked righteousness can refer to many deeds, from Amos and Ezekiel to Daniel, Isaiah, and Haggai

                e. Stopped the mouth of lions refers to Daniel, but also, Samson, David, and Benaiah

                f. Quenched the violence of fire refers to the 3 Hebrews captives who refused to bow to Neb.’s image (Daniel 3:16-25)

                g. David, Gideon, Elijah, and others escaped the sword

                h. Out of weakness, God gave them strength: Gideon, David, Jeremiah, Esther, Job, and Jacob

                i. Against great odds, Joshua, Gideon, and Jonathan put their enemies to flight

                j. Women received their sons back alive

                                a1. I Kings 17 the Syro-Phoenician woman, who served Elijah during the famine

                                a2. II Kings 4 the Shunammite woman who ministered to Elisha

                k. Though many great deeds were accomplished  through faithful, but weak and flawed, people, God continues to work through His faithful saints today

                                a1. Not always showy, like fire from heaven or water from rock, but still effective

                                a2. Through faithfully serving God, He directs our path, provides protection, gives

                                        strength, and overcomes evil against us

                                a3. The same God works today as in the Old Testament

                l. We do not need to worry about results

                                a1. Our task is humble obedience and trust

                                a2. A walk of faith testifies to the glory of God

Key passage: Daniel 3:16-25

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. 18 But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.” 19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was full of fury, and the expression on his face changed toward Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. He spoke and commanded that they heat the furnace seven times more than it was usually heated. 20 And he commanded certain mighty men of valor who were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, and cast them into the burning fiery furnace. 21 Then these men were bound in their coats, their trousers, their turbans, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. 22 Therefore, because the king’s command was urgent, and the furnace exceedingly hot, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. 23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. 24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste and spoke, saying to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.” 25 “Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”