Thursday, November 18, 2010

Hebrews 11:27-40

27 By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and the application of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.
29 By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.
30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the army had marched around them for seven days.
31 By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.
32 And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. 35 Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. 36 Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.
39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

Questions to consider:
  • Relate faith and action.
  • Account for (a) the Israelites’ safety and (b) the Egyptians’ drowning in doing the same thing.
  • Contrast the results of faith in verses 35b-38.
  • Will your faith be affected by the results which come to you? Why?
  • What unity do you have with Old Testament believers?
  • How does this unity affect your daily living?

Possibilities for prayer:

WHOA. This is a pretty intense piece of scripture-- we see powerful acts of God that are nothing but encouraging, and we also see the ways in which people of faith suffered for Christ. Let’s think a little bit about what these things mean for our lives, in the present. Today, let’s ask for increased encouragement and eyes to see the ways that God’s power is at work in our community, in our lives and for courage to, as we’ve been asking throughout this week, live lives of faith.