Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny
And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets. Through faith they conquered kingdoms, administered justice, gained what was promised, shut the mouths of lions, quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, gained strength in weakness, became mighty in battle, put foreign armies to flight,(…) Hebrews 11.32-34
The writer of Hebrews is unknown, but his message is one that has encouraged people through the ages. The message is that Jesus is better. He is better than the angels and Moses. He is a better High Priest. The covenant he has established is a better one.
Why is he making all these comparisons? The Jewish Christians, at the time, were getting discouraged and were returning to the old law. This letter was written to help them embrace what was better and to hold on to it with all they had in them.
In chapter 11, we have a list of people throughout the history of the Jews who were commended for their faith, from Abel to Rahab, the prostitute who was saved by faith and entered into the lineage of Jesus. They kept their faith alive even though they did not see Jesus who was coming to establish a covenant that would have the potential to reach all people. Some of those mentioned are spoken of in positive terms, but many kept their faith alive in the midst of suffering.
Today, we have received what so many in the past awaited anxiously. Let us take it to heart and not diminish its value. Let us also keep the faith!