The list found in Heb. 11 is an impressive list of Old Testament believers and their amazing accomplishments. Each person's accomplishment is prefaced with the words "by faith," because the writer's emphasis was not to list out the famous but rather the faithful. Through faith these people obtained a good testimony, gained approval, (vs. 39).

In (vss. 33-35), the writer highlighted those who by faith conquered kingdoms, shut the mouths of lions, and escaped the edge of the sword. Then he mentioned "others", too numerous to name at the time, who were tortured and killed, mocked and beaten, stoned and sawn asunder, destitute and ill-treated, those for whom sudden pardon never came (vss. 35-38). Did they obtain a bad testimony? No! Vs. 39 says that "all these" -- both the delivered and the undelivered -- obtained a good testimony, because all had acted in faith.

I'm certain that all had asked the Lord for help at one time or another. But some received physical deliverance, and others received an answer similar to the one given to Paul when he pleaded for his "thorn in the flesh" to be removed: "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness" (2 Cor. 12:9).

We need to be greatly encouraged! Whenever you act in faith and in God's strength, you are obtaining a good testimony before Him -- no matter what the outcome may be.

Faithfulness is God's standard for a good testimony. Heb. 11, was written to encourage God's people to endure. Will we endure so that we might have that eternal reward?

"For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the Will of God, you may receive what was promised" Heb. 10:36. "But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul" Heb. 10:39.

By Shane Williams in The Lilbourn Light, Vol. 13, No. 6, Nov. 2011.

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