Hebrews, chapter 11 is often called the Faith Chapter. In this chapter, we have the witness of many believers in the Old Testament who were faithful to the Lord. Some had great experiences of overcoming the world and leading victorious lives. Some died martyr’s deaths. Yet they all had this one thing in common: FAITH! Faith is mentioned 24 times in Hebrews 11.

Hebrews, chapter 12 begins by pointing us back to chapter 11. Hebrews 12:1-2, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with SO GREAT A CLOUD OF WITNESSES, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Chapter 11 tells us of this “great cloud of witnesses.” They witness unto us with the lives they lived and the faith they exhibited. Their testimonies give us great encouragement so that we might LIVE for the Lord, and if necessary, that we might DIE for the Lord. Learning from the lives of these people, we are exhorted to patiently run the race that is before us. The ‘race’ is our lives. We must lay aside any and all things that tend to slow us down or distract us. Plus, we must lay aside the sin that so easily plagues us. We fix our eyes on Christ, the one who began and completes our faith, the one who despised the shame of suffering on the cross, yet endured it for the joy that was set before Him. That ‘joy’ was us, the ones who trust in Him as our savior. He was pleased to die for us, knowing that His death would bring us life…eternal life. We fix our eyes upon Him as our goal. To be with Him and like Him is our goal.

Verses 3-4 tell us, “For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” The Lord Jesus went through so many trials during His life on earth. He loved, yet He was hated. It was said prophetically of the Lord in Psalms 69:4, “They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of mine head: they that would destroy me, being mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty: then I restored that which I took not away.” He came to save, yet He was rejected. John 1:11 says, “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” We too, will be called upon to suffer for the Lord’s sake. We read in Philippians 1:29-30, “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only TO BELIEVE ON HIM, but also TO SUFFER FOR HIS SAKE; Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me.” We need to be aware of this unless, through misunderstanding our circumstances, we get tired and want to give up. Let us be aware that if we live for the Lord, we will endure suffering for the Lord. 2 Timothy 3:12 assures us, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus SHALL SUFFER PERSECUTION.”

From the world, we will receive persecution. From our loving Father, we will receive chastening as we read in Hebrews 12:5-11, “And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” It is as a Father to His child that the Lord disciplines us. To grow properly in life and in spiritual life, there will be chastening when we deserve it and need it. A child with no discipline will run wild and will dishonor his himself and his parents. It is the loving hand of the Lord that will move Him to discipline us. It may not seem pleasant, and it is not pleasant, but the grand results are that it will yield the “peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” In view of that, we read in verse 12, “Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees.” Be encouraged. The discipline of the Lord is for our own good. Don’t be depressed by it, learn from it and “follow peace with all men and holiness…” (Verse 13). (272.10)