This Week's Focus Passage

But ye were washed!

Focus Passage: Hebrews 11:32

‘And what shall I more say?’

And what shall I more say? for the time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah; of David and Samuel and the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, waxed mighty in war, turned to flight armies of aliens.

There are some here that are real surprises to be found among the catalogue of the faithful. Even as many wonder about the final state of Lot because of his many questionable choices, yet are apprised by the reference to Lot in 2 Peter 2:6-9 that strongly implies the righteousness of Lot, as Peter spoke of God:

Turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, having made them an example unto those that should live ungodly; and delivered righteous Lot, sore distressed by the lascivious life of the wicked (for that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their lawless deeds) the Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptation. Read: the Lord knows how to deliver His own.

Apart from these assertions by the Holy Spirit through the pen of Peter, we would hardly imagine Lot being among the righteous. The last activity of Lot recorded in the narrative of the Old Testament informs us, ‘Thus were both the daughters of Lot with child by their father.’ Surely, this man would never turn out to be a child of God!! We would most likely just write him off, wouldn’t we?

Lot was not alone in this category of questionable rascals. In the focus passage presently under our consideration there are more than a few that may well be written off by many. How much confidence do we entertain toward the person of Gideon? Outside of his being made use of to defeat the Midianites, what may we say to his credit? Who is this fellow, Barak, and what did he ever do to attain unto this glorious company in Hebrews 11? It seems that he had to be savagely coerced by Deborah to get him to do anything at all. Then of course there is the famous Samson; considering his great devotion to God and his love of God’s truth—I speak facetiously—his devotion seems to have been concentrated upon himself and his love saved for his women. And do we not have reservations about this apparent outlaw, Jephthah? Why is he included in this listing of the excellent of the earth? These men are all giant question marks, and frankly, if their names were not included among the faithful here in Hebrews 11, the question marks would remain as big as ever. We do not witness repentance in any of these four men for wrongs that they had done. Indeed, it is his repentance that makes David to stand out in huge contrast from these listed just ahead of him in this catalogue. It is because of this repentance expressed most vividly in Psalm 51 that we find forgiveness from God most implicitly revealed in 1 Kings 15:4-5;

Nevertheless for David’s sake did Jehovah his God give him a lamp in Jerusalem, to set up his son after him, and to establish Jerusalem; because David did that which was right in the eyes of Jehovah, and turned not aside from anything that he commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.

How astounding is that? The Holy Spirit speaks of David’s transgression which he committed with Bathsheba, leading him into great lies and the murder of one of the most faithful servant warriors that he ever had; and He speaks of these horrors only in the language of save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite. Astounding indeed; no wonder that David should respond in the beautiful and poignant language of the 32nd psalm, Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered.

This is the answer to the questions which may be raised about Gideon, Barak, Samson, or Jephthah. And a complimentary answer is found in another of David’s Psalms, Like as a father pitieth his children, so Jehovah pitieth them that fear him. It was no accident that the writer/preacher of Hebrews included these men—warriors all—in this remarkable list. He was led by the Holy Spirit to do so because God is a Father that pities His children.

Does it cause you to wonder that after the patent conversion experiences of such as Rahab the harlot and Matthew the publican that God the Spirit; Author of the Word, continues to refer to them as harlot and publican? It is not because they are harlots and publicans, but rather, it is in spite of it. Jesus said that he came to seek not the righteous but sinners, and so He did. This is what the apostle Paul was speaking of in his first letter to the church at Corinth, when he said in 6:9-11;

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with men, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye were washed.’

Another blessed ‘but’ of God! But ye were washed! And what shall I more say? The men of whom we have been speaking; Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, were washed in the blood of the Lamb of God. That is the only reason that their names are recorded in Hebrews 11. This is the very same epistle that reminds us so very poignantly that apart from shedding of blood there is no remission—Hebrews 9:22. Jesus said at the institution of the Lord’s Supper, when He raised the cup, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many unto remission of sins.—Matthew 26:28. What shall I more say? Indeed, What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?.....Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.—Romans 8:31, 33. When all is said and done, there is usually a whole lot more said than done, but nonetheless, in the end, ‘What truly matters is what God says about us.’

David Farmer, elder

Fellowship Bible Church


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