Heroic Faith Prevails
By Dr. Lindy S. Diffenbaugh, D.D.
Mighty Men and Women of God Prevail in the Face of Their Formidable Enemies!
At the beginning of any story the would be Mighty Heroes are not strong and capable characters. In fact, they are often. scared, insecure, broken, ill-equipped to “take on this task, because it is ‘beyond my ability to be successful in its completion.” The only difference between a villain and hero is the reaction to the pain, The hero says, “I am going to annihilate this monster; not only that, but the Hero believes that he is going to stop anybody from being run over by life and living and the pain that accompanies it. I am going to stop anybody else experiencing such pain in their lives.”
On the other hand, the wicked one says, “I am going to make life miserable for every human creature that serves God on this earth, ‘I am going to get the world back!’ Jesus calls us to this story that will transforms us. The bible is full of heroes and villains, the Apostle Paul was both. It was only by the hand of God, that Saul the Persecutor of Christians was transformed to Paul the Apostle. The Apostle Paul’s transformation from persecutor of Christians, to a leader of Christians in the Early Church!
Paul was certainly a Hero of Faith, and he left his mark of excellence throughout Israel and beyond. He was often imprisoned and often beaten by his captors. Yet, Paul remained a Strong and Mighty Warrior until the day he died.
So, let us go to a story that has the power to transforms us. James says,” Consider it joy when you face trials and tribulations. Joy happens when the challenge has been taken down.
12 The Lord sent Nathan to David. When he came to him, he said, “There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. 2 The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, 3 but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him.
4 “Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him.”
5 David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this must die! 6 He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.”
7 Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. 8 I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you all Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more. 9 Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. 10 Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.’
It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age 6 and who have fallen[c] away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. 7 Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. 8 But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.
There a few of the others that we will look at. And by the way none of the people that God counted as worthy were perfect. As some would say, thy had feet of clay up to their armpits. But despite their mistakes and their shortcomings, these men and women, stood out as those who carried the zeal and passion of God, and those who considered God’s Kingdom and purpose before they questioned their peace, safety, and comfort.
Consider The Book of Judges
When you look at People of Israel, in the book of Judges, Chapter 6 Judges. The Israelites have been moving through a cycle of obedience, disobedience, trouble, and then God delivers them; and before you know it, the cycle starts over again. Where is Gideon when we first see him Judges, chapter 6? He knows that the Midianites are after Israel, so he is hiding out working in a wine press, beating out the wheat for his father.
When, from out of nowhere, an angel appears before Gideon and proclaims, “Hail Mighty Man of Valor…The Lord is With You”. And in fact, Gideon most likely does not identify with that Mighty Man of Valor thing, after all, Gideon sees himself as the least in his father’s house. The Angel tells him that God is with him.
What Gideon does not seem to understand is that the angel has arrived before him in response to the prayers of the Jews in the face of an ongoing invasions of the Midianites. In fact the Angel tells Gideon to go out and save his country.
Despite the fact that Gideon is standing before a Heavenly Creature, or maybe because of the fact that he is standing before and Angel, he starts asking questions. 3 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? He is nowhere and he has given us over to the hand of the Midianites.
I suppose that He was thinking, “Since I have and angle here, I might as well get that off of my chest.” But it did not move the Angel to back off of the mission that he was to release to Gideon. Then the Angel said to Gideon, “Go in Your strength and save Israel from the hand of Midian. Am I not sending you?
We know that Gideon Had received the commission of the Lord, he took down the altars of Bael, his father turned and sided with Gideon, and he drove the Midianites out of their town. In short, Gideon’s obedience to what he really did not understand, saved the Israelites from total destruction and annihilation.
That is Not the Entirety of Gideon’s Story
You know as I do, there is a lot more meat to that story. But the point is one-man obeyed God, and in so doing he saved Israel from what most likely would have been certain death and annihilation.
Let Us Now Consider The Book of Daniel
Now we will turn to another man of God, that God has used to not only see almost the entirety of how the days and times of the people of God unfolds from Daniel’s day to the Book of Revelation.
The Book of Daniel, as you know, took place at a time the Israelites were being carried off to Babylon where they were held in captivity. Why? because they had more or less turned their backs on God and His Word. God had had enough. He allowed His chosen people to be carried off into Captivity…They went from Israel, the land flowing with milk and honey to, to Babylon. It was certainly a dry and thirsty land to those who had been carried off from Israel to Babylon, where there was persecution of the Jews.
There is no evidence that Daniel himself was persecuted or beaten by his captors in the early days of his captivity. We do know that as an older man he was put in a lion’s den because he refused to worship the King or a statue of the King.
In other words, the Babylonians had made it a law the Statute of the King that was it the town square was to be worshipped. This went against Daniel’s worship of the Most-High God, so he was thrown into the Lion’s Den…but he remained alive and well the next day…Because God was With Him and the Lion did not touch Him.
Now Let Us Take aShort Look at Queen Esther
The last story is that of Queen Esther. She too had been carried into captivity in Persia. She came into the recognition when Queen Vashti refused a direct order from King Xerxes. The King had Queen Vashti removed from the throne and put her in exile. After there was a search in the land to find a new queen for the King, Esther was being groomed for greater things in her life. While the King was searching for a queen, Esther was brought before him. They eventually married.
One day, at the encouragement, King Xerxes, at his assistant Haman had ordered that every Jew in the land should be put to death. Queen Esther found out about it through her, Cousin, Mortdecai…He encouraged the Queen to go before the King and get the edict rescinded. She told Mortdecai that if she did such a thing without being summoned by the king, that she would be put to death. He told her that if she did not go before her King, then she would perish. He believed that the Jews were going to be delivered, with or without her…But he believed that Esther had been brought into the kingdom for such a time as this.
She Did it! Mordecai was Hung on His Own Gallows and The king Reversed the Edict to Kill all he Jews in the Land!