Useful Bible Studies > Hebrews Commentary > chapter 11

Faith in the Books of Judges and Samuel

Hebrews 11:32

The authorís great desire was to show us faith (that is, active belief and trust in God) in the Bible. He wanted to show us how important faith was in the lives of holy men and women there. He wanted us to see what great things they achieved by their faith. But perhaps we should say, to see what great things God did because of their faith. From these examples, the author wanted us to learn that we must have faith too.

The author has given some wonderful examples so that we may begin our study of faith. But he cannot complete his list of examples. Faith fills the lives of Godís people, and faith fills the pages of the Bible. There are good and useful examples of faith in very many chapters of the Bible. We can learn so much that the author of Hebrews did not have time to teach us. So we must read the Bible for ourselves. We should continue the study that he has encouraged us to begin.

We could begin in the Book of Judges, where we shall read about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah. Or we could begin in the Books of 1 and 2 Samuel, where we will read about Samuel and David. Or we could study the books of the prophets (the holy men who spoke Godís messages).

Gideon had faith when he rescued Israel from the army of Midian. God only allowed him to take 300 men with him when he began the battle against that vast army (Judges chapter 7).

Barak had faith. He led Israelís army against King Jabinís army. Barak was too afraid to do that unless Deborah, a prophetess (holy woman) went with him. And not Barak, but another woman, Jael, received the honour for Israelís success in that battle. But the author of Hebrews gives honour to Barak for his faith (Judges chapters 4 and 5).

Samson was a very strong man, who saved Israel from the armies of Philistia. He was so strong that often, he fought alone. But although Samson was so strong, his character was weak. He did many wrong things and, in the end, God took away his strength. His enemies made him blind and they forced him to work as a slave. But when they took him to laugh at him in the house of their false god, Samsonís faith returned. He prayed that God would give him strength to defeat his enemies for one last time. Then, Samson pushed hard against the columns that held up the building. At his death, he killed more enemies than during the rest of his life (Judges chapters 13 to 16).

Jephthah saved Israel from the armies of Ammon. He did not do that by his own strength. He fought with power that came from Godís Holy Spirit. So Jephthah had faith (Judges 11:29-32).

Samuel was a holy man who heard Godís voice on several occasions. God told him to appoint both King Saul and, later, King David. A good example of his faith is in 1 Samuel 7:7-13. By faith, he saved Israel from Philistiaís army without even a battle!

David was the great king of Israel who loved God with all his heart (Psalm 116:1). Really, love for God is the same thing as faith. A person who loves God believes God. And that person trusts him.

The best example of Davidís faith is the way that he waited to become Israelís king. When David was just a boy, Samuel appointed him (1 Samuel 16:1-13). But David refused to fight for power. He could have started a revolution. He could have killed the previous king (1 Samuel chapters 24 and 26). But instead, David waited for Godís time.

David was not a perfect man; he did some evil things. But by faith, he knew that God had forgiven him (Psalm 32:1-2). We can know that too, because of Christís death for us (Romans 4:5-8 and Romans 4:22-25).

Next part: What faith achieves (Hebrews 11:33)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.