LIFE is God's growth plan
The steps that lead to God’s fulfillment...are right before you. They are in your face right now. Once you realize that the LIFE that’s in your face right now (the same one you’re tempted to be discouraged about) is actually God’s ordained next step to victory...you’ll smile. You’ll be done worrying about navigating to a successful life and realize, I can’t lose. If I’ll just start responding in faith to what God brings to my door - I CAN’T LOSE. This “can’t lose” sensation is called faith and there’s nothing like it in the world! We’ve all experienced fleeting moments of this kind of faith but too often, fleeting is the word. You’re about to discover how to live in that moment.
I'm making some bold claims, is it really this simple? If there were one place in the Bible you'd expect my theory to be refuted it would be God's "hall of fame". Hebrews 11 lists heroes of faith, how did they impress God?
Did they devise their own plans to advance God’s kingdom?
Did they “pray heaven down to the earth”?
Did they “pay the price”?
Here’s God’s hero’s in chapter order. To make the chapter visually easier I’ve summarized. (to the right is what God notes about them).
Abel - brought a more acceptable offering to God
Enoch - he was known as a person who pleased God
Noah - He obeyed God, who warned him about things that had never happened before
Abraham - obeyed when God called him to leave...He went without knowing where he was going
Sarah - She believed that God would keep his promise.
Abraham - offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him
Isaac - promised blessings for the future to his sons
Jacob – when he was old and dying...bowed in worship as he leaned on his staff.
Joseph – when he was about to die, said confidently that the people of Israel would leave Egypt
Moses’ parents - They saw that God had given them an unusual child, and they were not afraid to disobey the king’s command
Moses - thought it was better to suffer for the sake of Christ than to own the treasures of Egypt, Israelites - went right through the Red Sea
Israelites - marched around Jericho for seven days, and the walls came crashing down.
Rahab - she had given a friendly welcome to the spies
How much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel
There it is - God’s list of “faith hero’s”
Let’s examine one of these hero's.
Rahab was a prostitute who had one good moment and she becomes a hero? Her only heroic mention in scripture is the fact that she helped two Israelite spies to escape from Jericho. Why in the world would God include her in this epic chapter? What did she do to deserve such esteem?
I’ve spent hours pondering this chapter and I’m convinced that she makes the list for the same reason everyone else does. God loves faith and faith = RESPOND.
If you’ll limit your knowledge of each hero to what scripture records in this chapter, you’ll find that Rahab is the norm. None of them are praised for developing a plan to build God’s kingdom. Not one of them receives honorable mention for any strategy of their own. In fact, if any of them even has a prayer life you can’t prove it by this chapter.
Here, God calls attention to the same thing we all will be judged by - our RESPONSE when God clearly shows up in our face. Our response to what we KNOW.
Rahab, was a sinner just like us all but she also shared the common denominator among people of faith. They know God, and when God knocks - they RESPOND.
She was surviving the only way she knew how but when two Israelites showed up at her door seeking protection she knew the God they served was her God, the only God. Although it meant risking everything, she laid it all down in a moment.
She RESPONDED when God showed up. Judging by “the hall of fame chapter”, that’s the only thing that matters, because nothing else is noted. I challenge you to find a single example of ANY of these “heroes” plotting their own course and God saying - WoW, that’s impressive, now there’s a hero! Noah and Abraham's obedience was impressive, but obedience was the correct word. You can't obey until you understand. Try to find an example where someone had enough faith to move God to bless their plan. You won’t find it.
What you will find is God bringing his will to them in a way they couldn’t miss. They could have turned away from God but not because they didn’t understand. They became heroes by saying yes to his plan (RESPONDING), not by impressing God with their own.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on what real faith looks like.