Hebrews 11:29-30: A Community of Faith
Read: Hebrews 11:29-30
Israel was a fickle nation in many regards, but when Israel as a community of faith trusted God, they witnessed some amazingly spectacular feats. The author of Hebrews names two events when Israel was trusting God as a faith community and these events hallmarks of the books that contain them: the crossing of the Red Sea in the book of Exodus (Exodus 14) and the capture of Jericho in the book of Joshua (Joshua 6).
The crossing of the Red Sea exhibited faith on a grand scale. Israel had just left Egypt and was facing annihilation because they were trapped between an advancing army and an impassable body of water. God opened a way through the Red Sea and they crossed on dry land. God then used the sea to destroy the advancing armies of Egypt. Exodus 14:30 notes that it was God who did the fighting on their behalf. When Israel crossed over the Jordan into Canaan, they marched on Jericho using a rather unorthodox military strategy. They simply marched and shouted according to the instructions God had given them rather than laying siege with siege engines and an encampment. After they followed God’s instructions, the city fell. The capture of Jericho was intended to be the pattern by which Israel would follow to conquer Canaan. The final shout was an accolade to God because it was God who gave them the city (Joshua 6:16).
When the nation of Israel turned their hearts to God, he did amazing things on their behalf. The amazing thing is that God hasn’t stopped doing this either. The New Testament community of faith is manifested through local churches and the church universal comprised of all believers. Throughout the history of the church, there have been times when Christians would turn their hearts to God and the people of God would see him doing amazing things in the lives of people. One such revival was the First Great Awakening in America that was catalyzed by Jonathan Edwards and George Whitfield. The population of the New England at the time was around 250,000 and from 1730’s and 40’s there were around 80,000 new converts as a result of this.
Amazing things can happen when God’s people communally will turn to him in faith, but it starts with an individual. God is calling all peoples to turn from their sins and believe. Christians should pray for a revival in their own hearts as well as work to unite with other believers to boldly proclaim their dependence on God. In doing so, perhaps God will pour out his blessing like he did at the first Pentecost (Acts 2) and some many other times when his people believed!
Lord, help me and your church to come to you in faith!