A Systematic Expository Study on the book of Hebrews
STUDY 36: GOD-HONOURING FAITH OF THE PROPHETS
Hebrews 11: 32
And what shall I more say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae... (Hebrews 11: 32). We are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses. Whatever our conditions or circumstances, there have been men or women of faith who went through similar situations by faith. These examples of men and women of faith in Hebrews chapter eleven encourage us to trust in God. The study of the lives of godly people who have lived and fought the Lordís battles victoriously is always helpful to our faith. Gideon with the courageous few, Barak, fighting against cruel foes, Samson restored to conquering faith, Jephthah challenging us with uncommon consecration and faithfulness all teach us profitable lessons as we fight the battles of the Lord.
The second half of Hebrews 11: 32 mentions David, Samuel and the prophets. Samuel was a prophet (Acts 3: 24). Although David was a king (Acts 13: 22) , he was also used of God as a prophet (Acts 2: 25, 26, 30). This latter half of Hebrews 11: 32 then speaks of the faith of the prophets that brings honour and glory to God. Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah were judges and warriors in Israel, Samuel was a prophet, only David is mentioned among all the kings of Israel in this chapter of heroes of faith. Faith gives us a place among Godís people, while unbelief removes our names from Godís book of remembrance.
DAVID: WARRIOR WITH COURAGEOUS FAITH
Hebrews 11: 32; 1 Samuel 17: 32-37, 45-50; Psalm 71: 7, 17, 18; 18: 32-35; 27: 3; 1 Timothy 6: 12.
David stands out as a great man of faith in the Bible. From his youth, he had trusted in the Lord. When he was still young, he killed a lion and a bear while taking care of his fatherís sheep. He fought and had victory over Goliath. He had faith in God and spoke words of faith: Thou comest to me with a sword... but I come to thee in the name of the LORD. This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand... for the battle is the LORDíS, and He will give you into our hands (1 Samuel 17: 45-47). David overcame in many battles of life by faith. The battles were many and varied, in his family and from the king of the nation, from friends and foes, yet he always fought with courageous faith. The Psalms are full of expressions and confession of his faith (Psalms 3: 6; 4: 8; I9: 9, 10; 18: 2, 17, 19; 23: 4; 27: 1, 3; 32: 7; 44: 5-8; 56: 3-5, 11; etc.).
SAMUEL: WITNESS OF OUR COVENANT-KEEPING FATHER
Hebrews 11: 32; 1 Samuel 3: 10, 19; 7: 7-10; 12: 16-19; Psalm 99: 6; Acts 13: 20; 3: 24-26.
Samuel knew the Lord from his childhood. He was born through the prayer of faith of Hannah, his mother. Conceived and born through the prayer of faith, prayer and faith in God carried him through life. The lives of Eliís sons, sinful, wicked children indeed, did not destroy his faith and loyalty to God. The sinful examples of backsliders and apostates cannot destroy true faith in those who really have it.
Samuel was an outstanding prophet of God who bore witness to the faithfulness of God. The power of God was evident in his life and the prophetic ministry was kept pure throughout his life. Israel honoured and feared him because of the demonstration of Godís power through him. His messages brought strong conviction on their hearts.
THE PROPHETS: WATCHMEN OVER COMPROMISING FLOCKS
Hebrews 11: 32; Jeremiah 6: 17-19; Isaiah 62: 6, 7, 10; 52: 7, 8; Ezekiel 33: 7-9, 30-33; 2: 3-7; Jeremiah 1: 17-19; Hosea 12: 10, 13; Deuteronomy 34: 10-12; 1 Kings 18: 21, 30-39.
The Lord sent His Word to His people in the Old Testament through the prophets. Moses was a great and unique prophet with whom the Lord spoke mouth to mouth. His function as Godís prophet was to teach and preach Godís Word with signs to confirm the message. All the true prophets always spoke forth the divine message. Biblical prophecy was based upon and was a development out of the law of God (Isaiah 8: 20; Deuteronomy 13: 1-5). Every revelation or prophecy is to be judged by the written Word of God (Revelation 22: 18, 19; Deuteronomy 4: 2; 12: 32; Romans 16: 17).
The prophets were watchmen over Israel who boldly declared Godís Word to the nation. They reminded the children of Israel of the faithfulness of God. They had great faith in God and spoke with strong conviction even when the nation was backslidden and hardened. They always spoke with authority and conviction to impress the demand of Godís Word on the consciences of their hearers. And Godís power was present with them to confirm His Word.
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