Perseverance and Bible Examples of Perseverance

The word, perseverance, defined: “Stedfastness; Persistence in any enterprise undertaken, in spite of opposition, or resistance.”(American Heritage Dictionary).

“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance for all saints.” (Ephesians 6:18). So stated the apostle Paul, in his letter to the Ephesian brethren.

Following are some Biblical examples of those who incorporated perseverance in their lives as they served God:

Enoch, “the seventh from Adam,” is an example of stedfastness with God, as he “walked with God” for three hundred years. He lived close to God, being faithful to Him during his pilgrimage on earth, and he also prophesied how that the Lord would come with His many saints to judge the world, and to execute punishment upon the ungodly. Because of his faithfulness, and stedfastness toward God, he was translated up to heaven that he should not see death, leaving a testimony, “that he pleased God.” (Hebrews 11:5), (Genesis 5:22,24), (Jude 14,15).

The patriarch Noah, also was a faithful man of God. He, like Enoch, also “walked with God.” (Genesis 6:9). When the world became so corrupt, evil, and filled with violence, in Noah’s day, God purposed to destroy the world. “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” (Genesis 6:8). God then told Noah to build an ark to the saving of his house. Noah did not waver nor faint, but moved with godly fear, and built the ark. He fully complied with every command of God. During his time on earth, he also was called a “preacher of righteousness,” as he preached to those of his generation while the ark was preparing. He preached to an unreceptive, and disobedient people, and in the end, saved only himself and his house. Noah is such a shining example to us today, when we may feel disheartened as we seek to convert someone to Christ, only to receive a negative response. Consider his patience and stedfastness, as he preached to his generation for an hundred years, yet without success. He was never discouraged, but persevered in his obedience to God, and God extended grace, and, ultimately, salvation, to him. (Genesis 6:8,22); (2 Peter 2:5); (Hebrews 11:7).

Abraham, who was called the “friend of God,” and the “father of many nations,” also was stedfast in his faith toward God, with his unswerving trust , and his obedience toward God. Even when things appeared insurmountable from a human standpoint, Abraham, without wavering at the promise of God, fully believed God, and God fulfilled His promises He had made to Abraham. God told him that “in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed…”(Genesis 22:18). This promise would later be fulfilled when Jesus Christ, Abraham’s seed, would come, and bless all the nations of the earth with eternal salvation, through obedience to Him. (Romans 4:17); (Hebrews 5:9).

Also, when Abraham and Sarah were old, God promised Abraham a son, when he was about an hundred years of age, and Sarah was near ninety, and past the age of childbearing. Abraham fully trusted God, and soon afterward, a son, Isaac, was born, through whose seed, the Messiah would come. (Genesis 17:19). Thus, Abraham was unfaltering in his faith, and stedfast obedience toward God, and God blessed him abundantly. (Genesis13:2); (Genesis 24:1).

Jacob, a patriarch, who, in spite of much adversity from his father-in-law, and undergoing hardships while serving his father-in-law in order to obtain his two wives, Rachel, and Leah, kept his strong trust in God, and God blessed him greatly. (Genesis 28:3,4); (Genesis 30:43).

Even while he was a young man sojourning through the land, Jacob vowed a vow thusly: “If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, so that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the Lord be my God: and this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth to Thee.” (Genesis 28:20-22).

Thus, Jacob stedfastly trusted in God throughout his days, receiving the same promise as Abraham, that “in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed…”, foretelling of Jesus Christ coming at the appointed time. God blessed Jacob in good times, and also in times of adversity. Jacob also blessed each of his twelve sons with prophetic blessings before his death, and he was called a righteous man. (Genesis 28:14); (Genesis 49:1-28); (Numbers 23:10).

Joseph, the favored son of Jacob, is a good example of stedfastness toward God, through adversity, trials, and temptations. When he was abandoned, and forsaken by his own brothers, he was sold as a slave into Egypt. However, we understand that God turned his adversity into a blessing, and he became a great ruler in Egypt. (Genesis 41:43,44).

.When he first entered Egypt, working as servant to Potiphar, a captain of the guard for Pharaoh, God blessed him, and “made all that he did to prosper in his hand.” (Genesis 39:3). However, Potiphar’s wife beheld Joseph as a comely man, and sought to seduce him into committing adultery with her. But Joseph kept his integrity, and his loyalty to God, refused her, and fled away from her, leaving his coat behind with her. Thus, he suffered for doing well, and was put into prison for two years. However, he was blessed by God, who showed him mercy, and made all things that he did to prosper, while in prison. (Genesis 39:10,12,23).

He also had a gift from God to interpret dreams, and he interpreted Pharaoh’s dream, which resulted in his being promoted to a high ruler in Egypt, next to Pharaoh in rank. He foretold, through Pharaoh’s dream, that there would be seven years of plenty, followed by seven years of famine, and hunger, which would be felt throughout all the earth. He, therefore, declared that God had made him a preserver of life to save much people alive during the famine. Through his wisdom and his storing of grain during the seven good years, the nations came to him to buy their grain for food when the famine set in, and thus, he became a great deliverer to preserve life throughout the world, fulfilling God’s plan. (Genesis 41:35-37). Through his wisdom, and integrity, his faith and perseverance in serving God, he prevailed above his brethren in receiving blessings from God, and also abundant blessings from Jacob, his father. (Genesis 45:5-7) ; (Genesis 49:25,26).

Moses, the lawgiver of Israel, was called by God to deliver Israel from Egyptian bondage and oppression, and to give them the law of God to live by. He faithfully persevered in his calling, and in spite of adversities and hardships, and revolt and disobedience from the Israelites, coupled with war from among enemy nations, he kept his strong faith in God, and his stedfast adherence to God’s commands, until the end. (Numbers 14:2-4) ; (Numbers 16:3,41) ; (Numbers 21:5,6).

.In one instance, Israel had provoked God so severely that God threatened to destroy them, disinherit them, and make of Moses a greater and mightier nation than they. However, Moses made intercession for Israel unto God, and God hearkened to Moses and spared Israel. (Numbers 14:11-20). Although Moses suffered through many provocations with Israel, and beheld them committing idolatry while he was receiving the ten commandments, and committing fornication in the land of Chittim, besides continually murmuring and complaining, Moses was angered, but never discouraged. He kept his stedfast obedience unto God, and God commended him , saying that Moses was faithful in all His house. (Numbers 12:7) ; (Exodus 32:1-20) ; (Numbers 25:1-3).

Hannah, the mother of Samuel, is a good example of trusting stedfastly in God. She, being barren, and unable to bear children, was reproached by an adversary, and was driven to fret, and grieve because of this. She then turned to God in prayer, and “poured out her soul before the Lord.” (I Samuel 1:15). She persevered, and vowed a vow that if God would give her a man child, she would give him to the Lord all the days of his life. When Eli, the priest, heard of her prayer, he said to her: “The God of Israel grant thee thy petition.” (I Samuel 1:11,17). Then God remembered her, and she conceived, and was blessed with a son for she and her husband, Elkanah, and called his name Samuel. Thus, she persevered in her trust toward God, and was even blessed with three more sons and two daughters. Afterward, Hannah prayed, and offered up to God a beautiful Song of Thanksgiving. (I Samuel 2:1-10).

David, “the sweet psalmist of Israel”, was called a man after God’s own heart.” (II Samuel 23:1); (Acts 13: 22). He trusted wholeheartedly in God, as God was with him, and crowned him with victories over his enemies, greatly blessing him as king over God’s people. He prayed fervently to God, and recorded many beautiful psalms of devotion, thanksgiving, and praise, and was highly exalted by God’s people. (I Samuel 25:28-30); (II Samuel 22:1-51). However, regardless of his high esteem among his people, at one time he allowed himself to be overtaken by sin, committing adultery, and afterward murder, and then seeking to cover up these sins.(II Samuel 11:2-27).
God was much displeased with these sins that David had committed, and he sent Nathan, the prophet, unto David, to reveal his grievous sins. When David realized that Nathan had identified him as the one who had sinned so against God, he immediately confessed that he had sinned against God, accepting God’s severe judgement, and repenting fully. God therefore, judged him, but spared his life.(II Samuel 12:1-13); (Psalms 51:1-14).
Afterward, David stedfastly followed God, and served Him faithfully. He later composed a beautiful psalm of praise, and thanksgiving to God. (II Samuel 22:1-51). David was commended by God as a servant whom God had chosen, because he stedfastly kept His commandments, and statutes, and he reigned as a faithful king. (I Kings 11:34).

Elijah, the prophet, persevered in his service to God, as he boldly confronted the false prophets, and also as he confronted the wicked king, Ahab, and his evil wife, Jezebel. With God on his side, he seemingly was invincible. In one instance, for example, he had King Ahab gather all the prophets of Baal together unto him, and had all Israel come together to him, also, as he showed himself as the prophet of the true God. He then challenged all the people to choose between following the Lord, if He be God, or following Baal. (I Kings 18:21). He then had the sacrifice altar prepared, with bullocks, wood, and much water poured around the altar, in a trench. Elijah then proclaimed to all the people there that the God which would answer by fire, let Him be God. And the people all agreed. Then Elijah prayed, and called upon God to answer, and turn the heart of Israel back to Him. Then God immediately sent fire down from heaven which devoured the sacrifice, the wood, the stones, the dust, and licked up all the water in the trench. Then all the people fell on their faces, and cried, “the Lord, He is the God; the Lord, He is the God.”(I Kings 18:18-39). In spite of his great victories, through God’s help, Elijah had his weaknesses, also. When Jezebel heard that Elijah had slain all of her prophets, she made a threat against him, that, the next day, Elijah would be slain, even as her prophets were. Elijah then fled for his life. Howbeit, God found him later, and encouraged him, telling him that He still had seven thousand men on His side, men which had not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. Elijah took courage, and God then instructed him what to do further. (I Kings 19:1-18). Thus, Elijah stedfastly trusted God, obeying His commandments. He prophesied the doom which would come upon both Ahab and Jezebel, because of their wickedness; which prophecies were fulfilled. (I Kings 21:17-23).

Therefore, we see some examples in the Scriptures of men and women who were stedfast, and who persevered in their duty toward God.

Let us ask ourselves the question: Am I being “stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord……?” (I Corinthians 15:58). If not, then let us resolve to do so.

By Patrick Chaddick July 28, 2009

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