Sermon #     74                                                  Hebrews Notes


     Title:            The Faith of the Judges

     Text:            Hebrews 11:32

     Readings:     Buddy Daugherty – Bobbie Estes

     Subject:       The Works of Faith

     Date:            Tuesday Evening – January 22, 2002

     Tape #         W-81b



(Hebrews 11:32)  "And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:"


This chapter begins with a definition of faith. It is, without question, both the shortest and the best definition of faith ever written.


(Hebrews 11:1)  "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."


The entire chapter, following verse 1, is devoted to giving us examples and illustrations that prove the truthfulness of that definition. Therefore, when Paul got to the last section of the chapter, the last group of examples, he begins verse 32 by telling us that nothing more is needed to prove his inspired definition. By all that we have seen, it is evident that “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” That is why he opens verse 32 with a question, implying that the answer is obvious. – “What shall I say more?


Then, he says, “Time would fail me,” if I were to give you all the examples that might be given from Holy Scripture that illustrate my point. -- “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” It would be redundant to continue. Further examples are not needed. Then, he rattles off more examples, as if to put an exclamation point to what he had just written.


(Hebrews 11:32)  "And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:"


These examples of faith are all taken from the period of the Judges. Seven things stand out as obvious lessons we ought to lay to heart.


1.     God does not see things the way we see them.


We judge only by outward appearance; and judging by outward appearance we always judge wrong. Had any of us been writing this chapter, we would probably have omitted Gideon, Barak , Samson, and Jephthah. We would have included, instead, Deborah, Caleb, Hannah, and Asaph. That is because we can only look upon and judge things by outward appearance. – “The Lord looketh on the heart!


2.     It is not our faith that gives us acceptance with God and wins his approval, but Christ, the Object of our faith.


My faith did not save me. Christ did! Faith did redeem me, justify me, put away my sin, or forgive me. Christ did!


It is the weakness of these men, the weakness of their faith, particularly of Gideon, Barak, Samson, and Jephthah, that gets our attention when we read about them in the Scriptures. Yet, they are honored of God just as fully as Abraham, Moses, and David, because they all stood before God “accepted in the Beloved!


3.     God’s choice of any, God’s election, has nothing to do with what he sees in us! – It is altogether a matter of grace, pure, free, sovereign grace!


·        Gideon was a poor man, from a poor family.

·        Barak was a weak, timid man, who would not act except by the counsel of a woman.

·        Jephthah was a bastard (cursed, unfit, legally banned), a man who had to bear the shame of his mother’s debauchery all his life, a man who spent his days in utter vanity, until God called him by his grace.

·        Samson was a spoiled brat, and acted like a spoiled brat right through his adulthood.

·        David was the weakest and most insignificant of Jesse’s sons.

·        Of the six named in this verse, only Samuel seems to have been a man of obvious usefulness and of commendable character from his youth. David was as well; but he did not appear to be outwardly.


(1 Corinthians 1:26-31)  "For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 29 That no flesh should glory in his presence. 30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: 31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord."


4.     Faith in Christ does not prohibit anyone from honest employment in any field of service to God and men.


A. W. Pink wrote, “Five of the six men named in our text were judges who ruled over Israel, though they came from very humble callings. From this we may learn that faith is a spiritual grace suited not only unto the temple, but also to the judicial bench and throne; that it is needed not only by those who occupy positions in the private walks of life, but also by those who fill public office. Governors equally with the governed require to have a true faith in the living God: instead of disqualifying them for the discharge of their important duties, it would be of inestimable value to them -- enabling them to face difficulties and dangers with calmness, inspiring with courage, endowing with wisdom, and preserving from many temptations which confront those in high places. He who is blest with a spiritual faith will have lowly thoughts of himself, as had Barak, Gideon, and David.” – How blest are those people who are governed by such men!


5.     That which distinguishes God’s elect from other people is God’s grace alone.


(1 Corinthians 4:7)  "For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?"


We do not view these men and their deeds right until we view them in the light of what is revealed in this chapter. The Book of Judges gives us the historical narrative of their lives and deeds. Hebrews 11 gives us the light to see that which set them apart from others.


Others have vanquished lions, put armies to flight, and subdued kingdoms. But yet their deeds were motivated and performed by base, sensual things. The exploits of Gideon and Barak, Samson and David, were things performed by faith, for the glory of God, and for the benefit of his people. That which is honored here is not the mere names of men, but the work of God in and through men.


·        Their faith was the gift of God.

·        Their righteousness was the righteousness of another.

·        Their strength was the strength of Christ, made perfect in their weakness.


(1 Corinthians 4:7)  "For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?"


The Distinction of Grace


·        Election!

·        Redemption!

·        Calling!

·        Preservation!

·        Grace!


6.     God’s people in this world, are still sinners in constant need of mercy, grace, and forgiveness. – But, blessed be God, our failures do not change God’s goodness!


One common trait of Holy Scripture, which sets this Book apart from the compositions of mere men is this. – The Holy Spirit faithfully records the failures, weaknesses, and sins of the most prominent examples of faith, without so much as a hint of an excuse for their faults.


These men believed God; but their faith was far from perfect. They believed God; but they had much instability. They trusted Christ; but they were terribly unbelieving at times. They were godly men; but they had much sin in their lives.


Their faith, like ours, was mixed with fear, at war with unbelief, weakened by lust and carnal reasonings. They were men of like passions with us. The best of men are only men at best. There is much for us to learn from these examples of faith.


·        Our only hope of salvation is free grace.

·        Our only acceptance with God is the blood and righteousness of Christ.

·        Our perseverance in faith is the result of God’s perseverance in grace. Because he changes not, we are not consumed!

·        Though there is much about us which breaks our hearts, humbles us with shame, and makes us constantly aware of our utter insufficiency for anything good, our total unworthiness even to call upon the name of God in prayer, we have no cause for despair, if we trust Christ.


(Psalms 32:1-2)  "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. 2 Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile."


(Romans 4:8)  "Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin."


(Romans 8:1)  "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."


(Romans 8:33-34)  "Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. 34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us."


(Romans 11:29)  "For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance."


(1 John 1:9)  "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."


(1 John 2:1-2)  "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world."


7.     Grace shines brightest when things appear darkest. – Lot in Sodom!


God never leaves himself without a witness. In every age and circumstance, in every place and situation, when the Lord God intends to perform his works of grace he has just the right man prepared by his own grace to perform his work.


One thing was common to all these men. Each one lived and served the cause of Christ in a day of great spiritual darkness and evil. The times in which they lived are described at length in the book of Judges. Following the deaths of Moses and Joshua, Israel forsook her God. She cast off his law, worshipped the idols of the heathen, and “every man did that which was right in his own eyes!” Darkness covered the earth, and gross darkness the people.


Yet even in those days God did not leave himself without a witness. In the midst of great darkness, these six men stood in their day as bright, shining lights. In the midst of terrible idolatry, they stood as beacons of truth. In the midst of utter apostasy, they stood as walls and pillars of steadfast faith in and love for the God f all grace, whose grace they had proved!


·        Just the Day for These Men!

·        Just the Men for That Day!


Now, watch this. – In this text (Heb. 11:32) six specific men are named. Then, these six are linked to the “prophets” (who also served God in times of great apostasy). So the number of those mentioned here is seven, the number used in the Scriptures for completion, grace, fullness, and perfection. – In other words, we are told that God’s provision is always exactly what is needed, always complete, and always full.


This inspired description of faith could not have been complete if Paul had not given us these examples from Israel’s darkest days. – “It was during seasons of great spiritual darkness and gloom that faith wrought many of its mightiest works and achieved some of its most notable victories.” (Pink) – It was during these days of terrible darkness, idolatry, and unbelief that grace shined brilliantly.


You see, God is not limited by our circumstances! Grace is not constrained by our constraints. The Word of God is not bound by our bondage Faith is not weakened by unfavorable circumstances, but thrives in such!


These things are written for our encouragement (Rom. 15:4). We, too, are live in days of darkness, utter darkness and apostasy. But the arm of the Lord is not short that it cannot save. His ear is not heavy, that it cannot hear. Let us cry to him. He will hear us. Let us lean heavily upon his omnipotent arm. He will help us. Who knows what wonders he may do in our day. Never was a day riper for the showing forth of his greatness, his glory, and his grace!


Application: In this apostate generation, we have reason, as much and more, as Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, and Samuel, to believe God, rejoice in his goodness, and give thanks to his holy name!


(2 Thessalonians 2)  "Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, 2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. 3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. 5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? 6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. 7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. 8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: 14 Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. 16 Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, 17 Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work."