Grow Deep - Heroes Edition Volume 6
Heroes of Faith - Volume 6
“These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.” Hebrews 11:39-40
This volume of our Heroes of Faith series takes us to the devastating days of the fall of Judah, its exile in Babylon and tentative rehabilitation, and the return of a remnant to Jerusalem. Most of the heroes in this four-week study have only a small character sketch in our memories because their stories are not easy to extract from the larger Biblical narrative. Even a week of reading and reflecting on each “hero” barely scratches the surface. Still, these readings do afford a deeper dive into God’s work through each hero than a Sunday School lesson or sermon could ever touch.
With each edition of Heroes of Faith it is so important to remember that these are people are heroes not because of their accomplishments, but because of their faith. Every Biblical hero points us to the value and grace of putting our trust in God’s Messiah—the ultimate Hero.
I selected our Scriptures in the weeks leading up to the Fourth of July. That timing caused me to reflect on my nation, my congregation, the greater Christian community and my faith. Just as our heroine Esther was challenged, so my search of the Scriptures challenged me with the question, “Have I been born ‘for such a time as this?’”
I love our country. I thank God for our freedoms. I pray for our leaders with frequency and great concern. Those who have sacrificed and served the cause of our great freedom, like the heroes of old, have passed on to us a birthright of liberty unsurpassed in the rise and fall of nations. But what is perhaps the most important thing passed on to us by these Biblical heroes is their message (preached under national duress). Their message is something I pray for myself; namely, that I would daily exercise repentance to Almighty God … that I would turn my life to the mercy of Jesus … and that I would influence others to turn their lives to His mercy. America--God bless her—has given me so much, but it cannot save me for eternity. I can, however, use what I have been given (whether in times of prosperity or adversity, in times of humility or hubris, in the midst of godliness or idolatry) to listen and respond to God’s call:
“I will choose you—one from a town and two from a clan—and bring you to Zion. Then I will give you shepherds after My own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding.” (Jeremiah 3:14-15)
We may feel as if we are in the minority and that we are an insignificant voice in our culture, but heroes see the Good Shepherd they have been given. They see the mercy of Jesus, and gracefully, they are the unlikely misfits who turn others to His mercy. Because of Jesus, “all nations will gather in Jerusalem to honor the name of the Lord. No longer will they follow the stubbornness of their evil hearts.” (Jeremiah 3:17)
Our journey begins with King Josiah and Jeremiah. While still in their youth, both Josiah and Jeremiah became unlikely carriers of God’s voice in extremely dark times. Our journey continues with a deeper look at Daniel, who holds on to the Lord and becomes a voice of mercy time and time again in the face of “lions” who sought to devour him. Esther, our next heroine, lived among exiles who stayed behind when the chance came to return to their devastated homeland. They lived in a time when God’s prophetic Word seemed silent, but God was not silent. He was, instead, preparing for a day when a remnant would prepare the way for God’s Messiah to be born. Esther put her life on the line during this time to save her people from extermination by the Persians. Our final heroes in this edition are Ezra and Nehemiah. When the Jews were freed from captivity and allowed them to go home to rebuild, there was not captivity and allowed to go home to rebuild, there was not much left. The temple and the city walls were all but destroyed. Rebuilding was a national priority. Ezra and Nehemiah are heroes who show us, however, that rebuilding isn’t just about houses of worship. Ultimately, rebuilding is a matter of God’s Word shaping hearts. Brick and mortar work is quick and easy compared to a lifetime of devotion to the Word of God.
As you read and reflect on the stories of these heroes of faith, let God’s Word grow you and shape you. Let the stories of these Biblical heroes point you to the ultimate Hero of Faith—Jesus!
We thank the following people who have shared their insights in this edition: Week 1, Chris Clausen/For the Family, Grace Stearns; Week 2, Sandi Geis/For the Family, Becky Bowman; Week 3, Chelci Richardson; Week 4, David Jander/For the Family, Edie Grieshaber.
Grow Deep with Jesus!
Pastor Bill Geis
Adult Ministry Team