April 26, 2022
THE GEORGIA CAPITOL DEVOTIONAL - 26 April 2022
Hebrews 11 is what many pastors call the great “Hall of Faith” chapter. With no disrespect to the canonical order, 12:1-2 could introduce this great chapter for there it tells believers to “run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith.” When you trust Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, you are set on a “race track,” which is an analogy used several places in Scripture for the Christian life. What is most important is how you run that race. The “race” is not a stroll, or without a goal; rather, endurance is essential. God’s people are like pilgrims set on a path to cross the finish line. They are to be different from those without faith, from those who conform themselves to the world in general. Believers are to heed the Word of God, the Bible, and to seek strength and power from the risen Lord to run the race.
Reading and studying the Bible should not be a mere academic exercise; rather there is to be application of what is read and studied. Hebrews 12:1 begins, “therefore . . . with a cloud of witnesses surrounding us,” we have encouragement along the way. The encouragers are those in the “Hall of Faith” of chapter 11. They were not perfect individuals, yet they ran the race before them by faith. When you meet someone who is today running the race like those described in Hebrews 11, he or she can encourage you to trust in Jesus Christ when you are discouraged. You run the race by following the example of others whose faith is evident.
Faith is intensely practical when reading Hebrews 11. Faith in the Bible is not being “so heavenly minded that you are no earthly good” (and it certainly is not being so earthly minded that you are no heavenly good). Faith is intensely practical; there is a goal in mind and you do not deviate from it. There are people who have run prior to us. We are not the only ones in this race. Hebrews 11 is an overview of the racetrack and the runners who have done well by faith. We have examples who provide encouragement, which should be appreciated because motivation is a good thing; it is easy to be encouraged and motivated when someone else accomplished a specific goal prior to us. Read the “by faith” people in Hebrews 11. Their example is to encourage. Faith guided them, and they are motivating us to continue “with endurance the race that is set before us.”
All those mentioned in Hebrews 11 trusted God. In some verses, we are told the basis of that trust, yet it is good to remember that they lived “by faith” prior to God fulfilling any of his promises to them. Verse 13 says, “All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.” The word “witnesses” in Hebrews 12:1 is the Greek word marturōn, from which the word “martyr” is derived. Some of these “witnesses” ran the race with endurance, even if it meant death (11:35-39). Anyone can say he or she is a runner, yet that affirmation is proved by actually running, knowing the costs involved. Hebrews 11 provides encouragement from a “cloud of witnesses” who did “not grow weary and lose heart.” They are examples in living for the Lord Jesus. The Apostle Paul could say, “Follow me as I follow Christ” (1 Cor 11:1). Be encouraged by the example of others, and also be an example and source of encouragement to “run the race with endurance.” There is much denigrating and vilifying today rather than being edifying and encouraging. Be an example of faith and trust in the Lord for your good, and so you can encourage others in like manner.
Capitol Commission Bible Study is next Tuesday, 3rd of May (every 1st and 3rd Tuesday during the legislative interim)
Meeting via Zoom and in 318 CLOB (Senate Committee Room) @ 12 Noon