Recently, in our Sunday School class, I taught on the tail end of Hebrews 11. This passage talks about those heroes of the faith that the author didn’t have time to go through. People like Jephthah, Gideon, Samson, and myriad unnamed saints who were tortured and torn in two for their profession of Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
I gain confidence in this passage every time I read it because, as you and I recall the stories of those saints mentioned, it’s a reminder that these folks were normal, ordinary people like you and me. People with warts. People with defects. People who did amazing things because of their incredible God and also because of their submission to His work.
Gideon doubted God’s call on His life and so in a double test of whether the call was from God or not, God made a fleece wet and the ground dry and then again the fleece dry and the ground wet. We do this all the time, don’t we? Perhaps not with a fleece, but I can recall countless times of asking the Lord to show me that a perceived call is really from Him.
Jephthah, one of Israel’s judges, was so overjoyed to have won the battle that he told the Lord that he would sacrifice whatever came out of his house upon his return home. Whoops. Not a good thing to promise, particularly when his daughter was the first thing to come out. Another person I can sympathize with. Getting ahead of myself and promising something to the Lord that I can’t necessarily give Him, or shouldn’t.
Samson, far beyond a good children’s story of ripping a lion in two, was a womanizer and liked to live on the wild side, disobeying the Lord’s commands and marrying a woman from the Philistine camp. Yet, here he is showing these same Philistine’s the power of Jehovah God in a way they would never have seen if he had not followed God’s call.
Years ago when I was in a missionary’s home in Romania, there was a small magnet on her refrigerator that said that God doesn’t call the equipped. Rather, He equips the called. What I glean from these stories in Hebrews is that God has done just that. And when I look at my life, I see the same. God is not in the business of bringing people who are already holy to a place of greater perfection. Not at all. Rather, He brings bumpkins and ragamuffins like you and me in our brokenness to a place of redemption and transformation and then, like an antique piece of silver, begins to polish out our blemishes and flaws, making us into something beautiful. Praise the Lord for His redeeming work as we remember that we, too, are heroes of the faith as we submit ourselves to the transforming power of the living God!