Xanthe Hancox 

And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets,  who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies.  Hebrews 11:32-34
This paragraph near the end of Hebrews 11 comes after a long list of names of ordinary people whom God used for extraordinary purposes. I’d really encourage you to read the whole chapter if you’re able to this morning.
Some of the names are well known. Abraham, Joseph, Sarah for example, are all mentioned. Others like Barak and Jephthah are less familiar, but they are all the names of believers through whom God worked to keep his promises.
This month we take a journey of discovery by looking at some of the Bible’s heroes of faith. As we begin, it’s worth noting that the writer introduces each person with the phrase ‘by faith’.
The author of the book of Hebrews does this to make sure we stay focused on God and not the actions of any individual. Many of the people he identifies are so well known that our focus can quickly turn to those people and their memorable words or actions.
By starting with: “By faith, Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice,” (verse 17), the writer wants us to know that it is not people but God who is great.
By faith in God, an adventure begins for ordinary people who are equipped by God for his extraordinary purposes. Can we identify with this type of faith? The atmosphere of faith-filled living overflows with hope and certainty. Hope looks ahead to the fulfillment of God’s promises, and certainty stems from the security of God’s love and faithfulness. By faith we trust in the one true God alone.
As we journey together this month, we’ll see that these stories spans the centuries. Each story challenges us to understand that life by faith is available for all who believe today, for all who hope in God and follow his call in an uncertain world.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for inviting us to be yours through the adventure of faith. May our hope and certainty rest in you alone. In Jesus’ name, Amen.