Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection.
Hebrews 11 is full of men and women who remained faithful to God in spite of their circumstances. What is it that allowed their faith to endure?
First of all, they were focused on future rewards instead of the present results. Look at Hebrews 11:35: “Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection.” One thing all the men and women in Hebrews 11 had in common was they died without seeing the full results of their faithfulness to God. And that has been God’s pattern throughout history. The people God has blessed most are people who have died without seeing the full results of their faithfulness to God.
I think about William Wilberforce, the Christian abolitionist who prayed and worked for fifty years to abolish slavery in Great Britain. It was only on his deathbed that the British people decided to rid their country of that terrible practice.
I think about Hudson Taylor, a missionary to China. He spent decades striving to reach people in inland China while fighting all kinds of hardships and depression, often taking two steps back for every one step forward. Yet today, millions of Chinese people embrace the Christian faith because of the faithful witness of Hudson Taylor.
That is what true faith is. You will never exercise obedience to God until you are focused on future rewards rather than present results. Remember Hebrews 11:6: “He who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” You will never consistently obey God in your life until you are absolutely convinced that God will reward you–not immediately, but ultimately–for your faithfulness to Him.
A second characteristic these Christians in Hebrews 11 had is that they were more concerned with God’s approval than they were their own comfort. Verse 39 says, “And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised.” You will never consistently obey God until you start to live your life for an audience of One. In the end, it is only what God thinks of you that really matters. That is the kind of faith that endures.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Against All Odds” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2020.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org