Hebrews 11:21-39 When the end was near they spoke about the exodus
21 By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.
How exactly did Jacob do this? He had to have known the two kids, prayed for them, and sought God for them. Your faith can be expressed, like Enoch with a prophecy, or like Noah in building a boat, or like Jacob in praying for your grandchildren.
22 By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions concerning the burial of his bones.
You can pray for your people, and those in bondage.
23 By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.
Faith can be expressed by civil disobedience, rejecting unjust laws, like Rosa Parks.
24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.
This is crucial, if you hope to be raptured then surely you are looking ahead to the reward and rejecting fleeting pleasures of sin. You are willing to be mistreated and suffer disgrace because you know these are a momentary lightness of affliction compared to the eternal weight of glory.
27 By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible.
How is it that some of these guys can persevere? By all accounts Moses life was essentially over when he saw the burning bush. You persevere by faith, because you see the invisible one.
28 By faith he kept the Passover and the application of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.
Moses expresses a lot of faith. He is looking ahead for his reward, he sees the invisible one, and he is then able to follow directions precisely in keeping the Passover. When you hear and obey, your ability to hear and obey improves. Eventually you could get so precise you could follow very detailed instructions.
29 By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.
Think how arrogant they have to be to think they could follow after Israel through the Red Sea. Moses was exhibiting a very high level of faith developed over a lifetime and these Egyptians were those who utterly rejected the word of God and were faithless. Moses stepping into the sea was an act of faith, the Egyptians pursuing was an act of arrogance.
30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the army had marched around them for seven days.
Faith of who? This is Israel acting as a corporate body in faith. CNN is collapsing, it is a "wall of Jericho", Facebook is collapsing, Twitter is collapsing, Paypal is collapsing, GoFundMe is collapsing. This is all part of the wall of Jericho. With each trumpet blast a new crack appears in the wall. Soon they will be overwhelmed with trumpet blasts about pedophilia and election fraud.
31 By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.
I consider Oscar Schindler to be a good example to understand this. He had “prostituted” himself with the Nazi’s selling them products to get rich. But he came to see the sins of the Nazi’s and he feared God more than the Nazis. So he hid several thousand Jews from extermination.
32 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, 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms,administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34 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.
Yes, the writer ran out of time, but the Lord gave us 2,000 years to tell these stories. Just because they are not in the Bible doesn’t mean they aren’t in biographies and histories and these words also can build your faith.
35 Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. 36 Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated—38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.
Foxe's book of Martyrs tells many of these stories. There are websites dedicated to the persecuted church. These are also a wonderful way to build your faith.
39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
So stop beating yourself up. Stop feeling like a failure. Without us they cannot be made perfect. They are depending on us. Right now they are all in the stands cheering us on. We are on the same team as Abraham, and Noah, and Moses and they are there cheering for us to bring this game home.