Hebrews 11:32 And what more should I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, won strength out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35 Women received their dead by resurrection. Others were tortured, refusing to accept release, in order to obtain a better resurrection. 36 Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned to death, they were sawn in two, they were killed by the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, persecuted, tormented— 38 of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.
The writer of Hebrews is highlighting many of the notable characters in the Old Testament through whom God did remarkable things in the history of Israel. They are mentioned as examples of deep faith, which they most certainly are. However, in case we might be tempted to go looking for this kind of calling from God, there are two things to remember.
First, none of the people mentioned here went looking for the seemingly impossible jobs God gave to them. They didn’t go looking for God, God went looking for them. God chose them and appointed them as persons through whom great things would be done. In fact many of them resisted the call at first, but eventually got on board. There is no sign-up sheet, no recruiting office for people wanting to do the impossible in the name of the Lord. V.35-37 describes the terrible suffering most of them endured. Few people, if any, would have willingly chosen such a fate.
Secondly, when God gave to these people their seemingly impossible assignments, God also poured into them grace to be able to see it through. They didn’t start with this kind of faith. God gave it to them as a gift so that, in the name of the Lord, great things might be done through ordinary people and the name of the Lord would be known throughout the world.
Gracious God, as you did for the heroes of the faith, give us grace to say yes when called upon so that you might be given glory through us. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.