Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us… (Heb 12:1)
You’ll be surrounded by all sorts of people today. Hopefully, some of them will be fellow “runners,” sources of encouragement in the race of faith. Sadly, the majority will be headed in the opposite direction.
But here’s something worth remembering today: the “in the flesh” people who surround you aren’t the only men and women who can exert influence in your life. You are surrounded by a great “cloud of witnesses” who continue to testify in a variety of unique and powerful ways to the surpassing worth of the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Though they have died, through their faith, they continue to declare that your Creator rewards those who diligently seek him.
Who are these “witnesses,” and what are they affirming, even today (Heb 11:4-38)?
Abel. “Acceptable sacrifice to God is always worth it.”
Enoch. “You’ll never regret living in a way that pleases your heavenly Father.”
Noah. “You should take God’s warnings seriously.”
Abraham. “Even when you don’t know the what, where, who, or why, the LORD does.”
Sarah. “God is faithful to deliver on his most incredible promises.”
Isaac. “The LORD is always able to see farther down the road than we can.”
Jacob. “When all hope seems lost, God is often just getting started.”
Joseph. “Indulging in sin is never worth compromising what you know to be right.”
Amram and Jochebed. “Always fear God more than you fear anyone else.”
Moses. “It’s better to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.”
The Israelites of the Exodus. “The LORD can make a way for his people, no matter what.”
Joshua and his army. “God’s way works, even when it doesn’t make sense to us.”
Rahab. “God can turn anyone’s life around.”
Gideon. “With God on your side, you’re always in the majority.”
Barak. “The LORD sometimes delivers in the most unexpected of ways.”
Samson. “Let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.”
Jephthah. “Faults of the past don’t have to destroy the potential of faith in the present.”
David. “Allowing the LORD to be the shepherd of your life is the best, most important decision you’ll ever make.”
Samuel. “Remember that people see the outside, but the LORD sees the heart.”
The prophets. “Take care that you do not refuse him who is speaking from heaven.”
You’ll be surrounded by all sorts of people today, but the men and women you can see with your eyes and hear with your ears aren’t the only people worth noticing, remembering, or considering. Open the eyes of faith today. Listen with the blessed assurance of things hoped for. Focus with the time-tested conviction of things not seen.
Though the witnesses in that great cloud have gone on to their reward, through their faith, they continue to speak.