Friday, 29 March 2019
And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: Hebrews 11:32
The author has, by the completion of the previous verse, set the general tone of what faith means and how it is demonstrated. He has covered all of the period of time, from creation to that of the patriarchs, and even to the time of Joshua and the conquest of Canaan. The last person noted was Rahab the harlot. From there, he says, “And what more shall I say?” He knows that the list could go on throughout the rest of Scripture, but instead he notes that such a list would take more time than the Lord has permitted in His inspired epistle. And so he says, “For the time would fail me.”
It is an expression which confirms that there is not sufficient time to note all of those of faith by name, and to then also note the individual instances which they should be recognized for. If he had sufficient time, he would “tell of Gideon and Barak.”
Barak’s life and deeds are recorded in Judges 4 & 5. Gideon’s are recorded in Judges 6-8. From there, he notes, “and Samson and Jephthah.” The life and times of Jephthah are found in Judges 11, 12; and those of Samson are found in Judges 13-16. Next, he says, “also of David and Samuel.” The birth through the death of Samuel is recorded in 1 Samuel 1-25. The main record of the life of David is recorded from 1 Samuel 16 – 1 Kings 2. If you notice, the author mentioned each coupling of names in reverse order of their actual appearance in Scripture:
Gideon – Barak
Samson – Jephthah
David – Samuel
However, each coupling leads in the proper order to the next coupling. In each of these couplings, the most prominent name is first. Gideon is more renowned than Barak, Samson is more renowned than Jephthah, and David is more renowned than Samuel. Further, each first has more recorded about him in Scripture than the second.
Finally, the author notes, “and the prophets.” The entire list of the many prophets of Israel is summed up in those words. From here, the author will lightly touch upon the deeds of faith for which these many people are generally noted. Verses 11:32-34 record deeds of active faith, whereas verses 35-38 record deeds of passive faith.
Life application: From this verse, through verse 38, we are told of a range of people and of the various trials they faced as they demonstrated faith worthy of a true saint. As you think on their situations, remember their failings as well. Maybe you will see yourself mirrored in them and be encouraged that the Lord can use you in a great way. Gideon (Judges 6-8) was so unsure of his own abilities that he asked the Lord for a sign. When he received it, he asked for another… not the most confident soul in town.
Barak (Judges 4) was told by Israel’s judge (Deborah) that the Lord had commanded him to take an army of men and that he would defeat Israel’s enemies. In verse 8 it says “And Barak said to her, ‘If you will go with me, then I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go!’” Instead of believing the Lord’s directive, he questioned the command’s validity. By asking Deborah to go, he was checking both her truthfulness and the surety of the Lord’s word.
Samson (Judges 13-16) was set apart from birth to God and became Israel’s judge. However, he had a weak will towards women, was over-confident in his own abilities, and he often took revenge that wasn’t proportionate to offenses made against him.
Jephthah (Judges 11-12) was the son of a prostitute. He made a rash vow to sacrifice the first living thing that came out of his house. To his horror, it was his own daughter. However, his vow stood and he performed his vow at her expense.
David committed adultery, murder, and other grievous sins. However, with a faithful and repentant heart, he was considered Israel’s great king and sweet psalmist.
Samuel was Israel’s last judge. He failed to restrain his own children and raise them properly. This resulted in the end of Israel’s theocracy and a turn to an earthly kingship rule.
Are you seeing any of your failings in these men of faith? If so, then understand that despite them, God looked on their faithful and repentant hearts. He also looked on their deeds of faith, and He accepted them, forgiving every sin and trespass.
Lord God, it sure is good to look back on the people recorded in Scripture, and who are then noted in the book of Hebrews, and to see that they are not unlike me. But even with their failings, You have placed them in Your Hall of Fame of Faith. This gives me hope that I too may someday be remembered, not for my failings, but for my heart which is devoted to You. Thank You that You grant us a right standing with You through simple faith in the Person and work of Jesus. Amen.