FAITH CONQUERING THROUGH GOD
Heb 11:32-35 – “And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthah; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:”
Chronologically, these names would stand as follows: Barak, Gideon, Jephthah, Samson, Samuel, David, and the prophets.
Gideon – The Fifth Judge Of Israel
Son of Joash, of the tribe of Manasseh
When the Midianites, the Amalekites, and “the children of the east country,” were gathered together against Israel, “the Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon, and he blew a trumpet,” and there were gathered unto him 32,000 men.
The number was reduced to 300, and with these Gideon by faith routed the assembled hosts, and “put to flight the armies of the aliens.”
Barak – A Leader Of Israel
Of the tribe of Naphtali
With 10,000 men of the tribes of Naphtali and Zebulon, he defeated Sisera, the captain of Jabin’s army and all of his chariots and men.
He became renowned for the great victory which he gained over the Canaanites.
Samson – The Thirteenth Judge Of Israel
Lived as a Nazarite from his birth
He would have great strength as long as he did not cut his hair.
He smote the Philistines on several occasions, and finally, he destroyed himself and 3000 by overthrowing the temple of their god Dagon.
When the Spirit of the Lord came upon him, Samson performed some feats, in the exercise of faith, which are without a parallel in human history.
Jephtath – The Ninth Judge Of Israel
The son of Gilead by a concubine
He was distinguished for his victories over the Ammonites and the Ephraimites.
He made a vow to the Lord that when he returned from the battle, the first person that “cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me… shall surely be the LORD’s, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering.”
The first one that came through the doors of his house was his only daughter.
But even in this he showed his faith in God, and his reliance on the strong arm of Jehovah for the victory.
David – Son Of Jesse And 2nd King Of Israel
Was always distinguished for his trust and confidence in God.
Samuel – The 15th And Last Judge Of Israel
He was also a prophet of Israel
He stands at the head of the prophets, such as Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Amos, and others.
He was one of the inspired writers of the Old Testament
Who Through Faith…
Our mind immediately goes to the wars that Israel fought.
Gideon subdued the Midianites; Barak, the Canaanites’; Jephtah, the Ammonites; David, the Philistines, Moabites, Syrians, Edomites, and Ammonites.
However, the word rendered “subdued” is only used once within the Greek NT and the word is used to mean “contending or wrestling”, as athletes in the arena.
It implies the entering into (successful) conflict with kings and kingdoms: not with carnal or physical weapons to obtain material issues; but with moral weapons for the upholding of spiritual truth.
Eph 6:12 – “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
Such conflict as Samuel had with Saul or Elijah with Ahab
Elisha and the prophets with other kings of Israel
Their conflict was for truth; the truth of God.
They contended against kingly and national idolatry, and departure from God.
They wrestled mightily against the advancing apostasy, and the kings/dignitaries altering and amending the duties of the priests, the worship of God and the liberties of the people.
They fearlessly stood up for the weak against the strong, for the right against the wrong.
Micaiah could proclaim the truth of God against Ahab and the false prophets of Baal.
Jeremiah could be strong in his witness against Jehoiakim.
Other faithful prophets could successfully contend and wrestle against error in spite of neglect and persecution.
And how was this conflict with error successfully carried out?
Answer – ‘Through Faith’
This may be all the works of righteousness done in obedience to the known will of God.
They asserted the right of God, and delivered the messages of God.
It was Elijah who asserted the right of God to be worshiped by His people, and executed God’s judgment against the 450 prophets of Baal.
It was the same Elijah who took the message to Ahab and Jezebel about their sins.
It was “the man of God that came down from Judah” who brought God’s message to Jeroboam.
It was Isaiah who said “Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near”, Isaiah 55:6.
Isaiah also said “Seek ye out of the book of the Lord, and read” Isaiah 34:16.
It was David that “reigned over all Israel, and executed judgment and justice to all the people,” 2Sam. 8:15.
Promises were often made to the Israelites.
Isaiah saw Jerusalem delivered from the invasion of Sennacherib.
Daniel saw the end of the Babylonian captivity.
Others saw the wall of Jerusalem rebuilt & the erection of the second temple.
Stopped The Mouths Of Lions
Samson, David and Benaiah all slew a lion.
But the case of Daniel is remarkably different from these.
Daniel did not slay a lion.
Daniel had been thrown into the lion’s den because of his faith and obedience to God’s commands in the midst of threats of loss of life.
Dan 6:22 – “My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.”
Quenched The Violence Of Fire
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow down and worship the golden image.
Ex 20:4-5 – “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God,”
Dan. 3:14-18, 22-25, 28: Some will read these passages and remark “what courage”. We read these passages and remark “WHAT FAITH!”
Escaped The Edge Of The Sword
David – Saul, Philistines, Absalom
Elijah – Ahab and Jezebel
Jeremiah – Jehoiakim
Elisha – Read 2 Kings 6:14-17
2 Kings 6:14-17 – “Therefore sent he thither horses, and chariots, and a great host: and they came by night, and compassed the city about. And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do? And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.”
Out Of Weakness Were Made Strong
Moses in his weakness made excuses before Jehovah, but was made the strongest leader ever of Israel.
Isaiah realized true weakness when he saw the majesty of God’s glory. When the seraphims would cry out “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts”, Isaiah would confess “Woe is me! For I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips.” There was no strength left in him. But it was exactly then that “out of weakness he was made strong.” For, when he heard the question “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” he would reply “Here Am I; Send Me.”
This understanding that “out of weakness we can be made strong” was realized by Paul.
2 Cor 12:9-10 – “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”
Waxed Valiant In Fight
We are mindful of the many battles fought by Moses, Joshua, and David.
They were valiant in fight
1Tim. 6:12 – “Fight the good fight of faith.”
1Tim. 1:18 – “War a good warfare.”
2Tim. 2:3 – “Endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”
Eph 6:13 – “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
Turned To Flight The Armies Of The Aliens
Over and over again we read of the armies of the aliens fleeing before the face of God and the children of Israel.
But they had to be sober, i.e. serious minded, and vigilant. We are to do the same.
1 Peter 5:8-9 – “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith,”
James 4:7 – “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
Turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
Women Received Their Dead Raised To Life Again
The son of the widow of Zarephath was raised to life by Elijah.
The son of the Shunammite woman was raised to life by Elisha.
Had it not been for their faith in God, the miracles would not have happened.
All these were conquerors through the power of God.
They were not some super humans, nor had some special talent or gift.
They just had genuine, non-artificial, authentic FAITH!
And because of their faith, God did some extra-ordinary things for them, to them and through them.
God wants to do some mighty things in your life.
He wants to demonstrate His might, His strength
But it takes faith on your part!
Matt 17:20 – “And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed , ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”