Theme: COMMENTARY ON HEBREWS 11:32 - 40
St. Paul, while rounding off his famous treatise on faith in his letter to the Hebrew Christians, highlighted the labours of the ancient faithful in the course of righteousness. They remained steadfast under the most trying conditions. Some were thrown into prison, some into the den of lions; they were beaten, mocked, bound, deprived of food, clothing and shelter, and lived as destitutes, even among their own people. They risked their lives; some were even killed in the most horrible manner rather than compromise the faith. “They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And these all, …obtained a good report through faith….” – Hebrews 11:32-40.
The instances in the Holy Bible where people of God suffered these persecutions are related hereunder to encourage the faithful in the race of salvation.
Text: “Then the lords of the Philistines gathered them together for to offer a great sacrifice unto Dagon their god, and to rejoice: for they said, Our god hath delivered Samson our enemy into our hand. And when the people saw him, they praised their god: for they said, Our god hath delivered into our hands our enemy, and the destroyer of our country, which slew many of us.” – Judges 16:23, 24.
Comment: Samson spent his life-time defending the people of God. Marriages between the Israelites and gentile peoples were not viewed with favour by God Almighty. Thus, when Samson decided to marry Delilah, a Philistine, the signs were already there that it would be a turbulent affair. After a number of failed attempts at discovering the source of his strength she at last succeeded. The lords of the Philistines did not delay in coming to cut off his hair and he became like an ordinary man. He was captured and became a slave to them. But as time went on his hair grew. On a day the Philistines came to make jest of Samson and to thank their god, Dagon, for delivering Samson into their hands, he prayed earnestly to God for strength to pull down the pillars of the house. Thus, Samson killed more people at death than in his life time. (Judges 16:18-30) Our Saviour declared: “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” – Mark 8:35, 36.