Our country has numerous reminders of veterans who have died in service of our country. There are museums, monuments walls and statues that bear the names of soldiers who died. Each name points beyond itself to the larger cause for which they died. Everyone benefits in pondering their courage and their sacrifice.
Hebrews 11 lists a number of heroes who lived and died courageously "by faith." Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab and others are mentioned specifically. Near the end of the chapter, the list changes from the specific names of individuals to groups of believers whose experiences ranged from miraculous deliverance to torture and death because they refused to compromise their faith in God. They lived and died by their faith in God. They looked to Him for a greater reward than what the earth holds.
Individually and collectively, they remind us that the spiritual battle is not over. This is one of the main points of the writer. The battle continues, there is application to his listeners: "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us runt with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Heb. 12:1,2).
As we recall every sacrifice made and every example of spiritual courage, let's determine to keep our eyes on Jesus and to join the procession of faithful veterans of the faith.
By Shane Williams in The Lilbourn Light, Vol. 13, No. 8, Jan. 2012.</
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