“And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about . . . Jephthah . . . who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies” (Hebrews 11:32-34).
The writer of Hebrews does not describe these men of faith in verses 32 to 34. But we see that they all engaged in battles with the enemy in order to free God’s people from oppression. The Israelites were easily influenced by those around them. If they intermarried or mingled with people of other religions, they quickly turned away from worshiping the one true God and turned to idol worship. As time passed they fell into many perverse sins. The Lord brought prophets into their lives to warn them to turn back to the Lord and worship only Him. However, they stubbornly refused to turn from sin and did whatever they pleased. Therefore, God lifted His protective covering over them, and they became subject to slavery, oppression, and persecution. They remained stubborn and refused to turn back to God for years, insisting on their own way. But in time, they would cry out to God. In His great patience and mercy, He would send a deliverer to them. The men mentioned in Hebrews 11:32-34 were such deliverers. The Holy Spirit would come upon these men and give them great strength and wisdom to lead the Israelite army to victory over the enemy. Each would become the Deliverer of Israel and would lead the people to freedom and back to worshiping the One True God.
Do you see the amazing parallels to Christ and our story of salvation? We too have stubborn hearts. We too turn to worldly pleasures to satisfy ourselves. We live lives independent of the Lord, either following other religions or making ourselves out to be a god and ruling our own lives. We easily get drawn into materialism and looking to “things” to fill our longings. We turn to relationships to fill our desires for love, acceptance, and pleasure. We gain our sense of security and importance from money, education, titles, and job positions. We try to fit into the world around us to find acceptance, recognition, or companionship. We rebel against rules and institutions thinking they confine us and hinder our freedom and personal rights. All these ways of thinking and living draw us away from the One True God. He sent the Prophet, King, and Savior to turn us from rebellion and to a submissive relationship to God. Jesus calls us to turn away from the world and its foolish ways of thinking and behaving. God’s Word is Truth. His Cross brings forgiveness. His Spirit gives power to live a holy life. A loving relationship with Christ brings fulfillment and satisfaction to our souls. Let us repent and turn back to our Savior. Give thanks today for our salvation!
Today’s Bible Reading: Hebrews 11:32-34; Romans 6