“But remember the former days, when, after being enlightened, you endured a great conflict of sufferings, partly by being made a public spectacle through reproaches and tribulations, and partly by becoming sharers with those who were so treated. For you showed sympathy to the prisoners and accepted joyfully the seizure of your property, knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and a lasting one. Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised. FOR YET IN A VERY LITTLE WHILE, HE WHO IS COMING WILL COME, AND WILL NOT DELAY. BUT MY RIGHTEOUS ONE SHALL LIVE BY FAITH; AND IF HE SHRINKS BACK, MY SOUL HAS NO PLEASURE IN HIM. But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.”
---End of Scripture verses---
The Hebrews writer appealed to the past experiences of his struggling brethren to remind them that they could remain faithful to the Lord during times of trial and tribulation. Sometime after they were converted (“enlightened”) they “endured a great conflict of sufferings” (verse 32). They had been mocked and ridiculed and some of them had even been imprisoned and had their personal property confiscated because of their faith in Jesus Christ (verse 33).
The author wrote that they had “accepted” this persecution “joyfully” because of their strong trust in the Lord’s faithfulness and His “great reward” for their faithfulness (verse 35). Unfortunately they were growing weaker in their faith and not stronger with the passing of time. But, since they had withstood Satan’s ambushes in the past, that proved that they could do so again.
Discipleship in Christ Jesus is a lifelong “endurance” race (verse 36). We must keep stretching forward to the finish line to receive the “reward” that the Lord has “promised” those who persevere to very end. If we “shrink back” from the Lord and cower away out of fear and frustration that will only spell our eternal doom and “destruction” (verse 39). If we abandon our faith to escape suffering the relief will only be temporary and the pain will be everlasting.
We can learn from the prior good example left by these Hebrew brethren that “we have a better possession and a lasting one” when we suffer loss for the sake of Christ (verse 34). Let’s make sure that we are storing our treasures in the proper place with the best Keeper. “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)
Today’s verses are the perfect lead-in to the examples of those heroes who endured affliction for the highest and permanent riches of heaven in Faith’s Hall of Fame (Hebrews 11).
Please read Hebrews 11:1-7 for tomorrow.
We would love for you to come worship God with us today at the Taylorsville Road church of Christ.
We assemble at 3741 Taylorsville Road in Louisville Kentucky.
9:30 AM Bible classes for all ages. 10:30 AM and 5:00 PM worship services.
Have a great Lord’s Day!
- Louie Taylor