I was in junior college working towards a degree in music and mathematics. Although my two majors didn’t often entertain the subject of history, as is true for all college students, I was required to complete general education courses that included two history classes. I was not interested in taking history classes at the time, for I felt they would distract me more than aid my main courses of study. Fortunately, I was able to take both history courses with friends which made the study much more bearable. Surprisingly, I enjoyed the classes and was often inspired by the professor. So, it turns out it wasn’t the distraction I feared.
Recently, while dwelling on Hebrews 11, I couldn’t help but feel like I was experiencing a history lecture all over again. This time, though, I knew the story to be anything but a distraction.
The tone of Hebrews 11 begins in chapter 1. The author scribes an honest and caring letter to a people who surely experienced hardships. He comfortingly opens with the rank of Christ as the foundation of the letter’s message. God describes His Son in this chapter as the exact imprint of his nature, the radiance of his glory, and making purifications of sins. Then repeatedly, declares a freeing message of Christ our high priest: his power that destroyed the power of death and slavery (chapter 2:14-18), his qualifications to be our savior and the propitiation for sin (chapter 5:9), and also a God that is able to sympathize with our weaknesses and suffering (chapter 4:14-16). These are just some of the promises of God. Essentially, he shouts to them “This is yours! Jesus Christ is God, the one who planted you in this day and age to experience and manifest the goodness of himself for every generation.”
The book of Hebrews guides the reader through the foundations of faith in Christ to an image of the outworking of faith. It provides a basis for what he tells his audience in Hebrews 6:12: “We do not want you to be lazy, but imitate those who through faith and patience, inherit what has been promised.” After being reassured of the inheritance and promises of life and salvation in the beginning chapters, now he tells us to imitate the faithful followers of these truths. Hebrews 11 is simply that: the story of those who through faith and patience inherited the promises of God.
Hebrews 10:32-36 further shows the attitude, or internal fruit, of the faithful among his readers, as well as those listed just a few verses away in Hebrews 11. These verses are encouraging, yet challenging. Verse 34 says, “you suffered alongside those in prison and joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one.”
The author reveals the cause for experiencing joy and accepting suffering as the audience of Hebrews did, as did those in chapter 11. For if our faith in God means we truly consider him a better possession, then the fruit of faith will surely follow. Furthermore, having faith in God is manifested in faithfulness to God. The mentioned followers of the faith in Hebrews 11 could be better called the “Heroes of Faithfulness”, for their faith in God meant faithfulness, even to the point of death. This faithfulness produces fruit; an internal fruit of the heart which expresses itself as an external fruit of the hands.
So, this is where I experienced my history lecture and why Hebrews 11 is relevant. Hebrews, like other books of the Bible, is history that reveals the lives of Christians where the spirit of God is active in overcoming monumental decisions, suffering, and life events. It is filled with people who are living examples of loving and valuing God as a better possession than all else. Let this scripture encourage you as we see that God is for us as he was for those we read about in scripture. The point is, and was then as well, to encourage believers to imitate this faith and inherit the promises of God. He is real and he is active.
My hope is that this would cause us all to examine our hearts, take the time to absorb the truth Hebrews teaches, and then respond. Let us worship The King.
Is The Lord your better possession?