These were all commended for their faith, yet they did not receive what was promised. God had planned something better for us, so that together with us they would be made perfect. Hebrews 11:29-30
The heroes of the faith, so many of them, lived when following God was so much harder than it is now. They didn’t know God well. They hadn’t seen the coming Messiah. They had little history to review because the Jewish nation was still young. And, scripture was also incomplete.
They had been given the law; ten impossible commandments to keep. They held up a mirror to show them their sin problem. So, what could be God’s plan? That they would love and worship Him, follow His commands but know that when they failed, they could offer a sacrifice that would make atonement for their sins. But in this process, they had no internal help with the sinfulness of their flesh. There was no Holy Spirit to enable holiness, to whisper encouragement, to teach them individually and to write God’s Word on their heart. Life was a cycle of worship, acts of faith, deeds of sinfulness, making sacrifices, then repenting and receiving forgiveness.
They did not know about a future event called Pentecost when believers would experience the indwelling of the Spirit of God. Today, when my flesh is weak, I cry out to the Spirit to help me. I do not need to offer a sacrifice for forgiveness. The bloody ordeal was satisfied in Jesus. I can rest in three things: 1.) In the finished work of the cross. 2.) In the sanctifying work of the Spirit and the sharing of Jesus’ divine nature. 3.) In the intimacy with God afforded to me because I’ve been justified and made holy.
Grace and peace be multiplied to you through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His diving power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. Through these He has given us His precious and magnificent promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, now that you have escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.… 2 Peter 1:2-4
None of this did our faith heroes have. Yet, their faith was stellar enough that it challenges even us. How did they do it? There must have been an Old Testament kind of grace that facilitated a spiritual energy to obey and to remain steadfast. This a mystery held in the mind of God.
I have everything I need today to live a life of obedience and faithfulness. Oh, thank you. Amen
2 thoughts on “How Much Harder Did They Have It?”
You make a good point. Thank you. As I ponder this I wonder about something. Truly our forefathers did not have the benefit of knowing Jesus at the time they lived yet they had faith. Not many but a few. Now we do have the their testimonies, Jesus, plus the testimony of the apostles and others who have lived a life a faith. Now here lies the question since our forefathers had faith without all the great testimonies we have, what is our excuse for not walking out that same faith today?
As far as the grace goes I have to say that I have no idea if that is true or not. What I can say is that walking by faith as our OT forefathers did is very hard today as it was for them, even with all the testimonies we have. The reason for this is simple. Walking by the kind of faith God is looking for is extremely difficult because He calls us to give up everything to receive all of Him. The death of ‘self’ is essential to walking by faith and everyone who travels this path must endure that. This process of growing into faith is very hard regardless of the era in which a person lives and each person needs Jesus to lead them through it. Whoever chooses to give up all of God needs His full provision and guidance to succeed. This we know to be true. I don’t know how we did it for we had many meltdowns along the way but somehow God sustained us. I can only think that this sustenance is freely available to anyone who chooses to walk by faith regardless of the time frame it occurs. I don’t think it is a OT grace but simply a grace God gives to all who walk this path.