Throughout the Bible we esteem individuals referred to as heroes of faith., and, as we lift someone as hero, we tend to ignore their flaws and challenges while we elevate their successes. George Washington, Babe Ruth, Martin Luther King, and others are idealized in our culture as people like Abraham, Moses, or David would have been in Jewish culture. None of these people are perfect, though, and the inspiration should not be in a perception of perfection as much as it should be in the realization that these people are heroes despite their faults and shortcomings.
In Genesis 12:1, God commands Abram to leave the land of his fathers to migrate to land God will show him. Abraham is cited as one of the examples of faith in Hebrews 11, and the children of Israel held their forefather in high esteem.
We see a chink in Abraham’s character in Genesis 12:12-13 when he asks Sarai to pose as his sister to spare their lives. In contrast, Genesis 15 records God promising Abraham a son, and Abraham trusts God enough to prepare to sacrifice that son in Genesis 22. How did Abraham grow from the point of lying to save his life to being willing to trust God with the life of his only son.
Like us, Abraham is working with a narrow timeline, and he lived in immediate dangers and consequences. He could see evidence where his life might be in danger. He could see evidence that bearing a child by Sarah would be improbable, both even laughing at the idea that they would have a child. He could see the end of the promise in sacrificing Isaac to God. The obstacles set before him are as real and tangible as those we face. However, when Abraham falls, he presses on. He grows in faith with each trial.
Moses is raised in a comfortable life, and we remember well his leadership of the people, the plagues against Egypt, his role in God’s plan to deliver Israel from Egypt. The Passover in Exodus 12 is initiated through Moses, setting up a sacrifice that would parallel that of Jesus. Moses frees Israel. He is the lawgiver, but he did not start out so strong.
In Exodus 3 and 4, when God appears to Moses on Mount Horeb, Moses makes excuse after excuse to avoid doing God’s will. He is not excited by the prospect of returning to Egypt, facing his brethren, and facing his former household. Even after accomplishing the Exodus, Moses would grow frustrated with the people over whom he shepherded. In Numbers 20:10, Moses defies God in anger when bringing water from a rock and neglects to honor God in the act. Despite the consequences of his action, Moses gets back to work and continues to guide and instruct Israel.
We’re familiar with the story of David and Goliath. He trusts God to protect him, not only from Goliath, but from a jealous King Saul as well. Saul continually tries to kill David, but David refuses to kill Saul even when given the opportunity. He is described as a man after God’s own heart.
Unfortunately, David meets Bathsheba – an encounter resulting in adultery, in lies, in subterfuge, and in murder. In contrasts, Psalm 51 illustrates a truly repentant heart, and this repentance is not the result of being caught. Rather, it is the result of someone who realizes he has sinned against his God. He repents, and he continues to press on for God.
Living Like Heroes
Why do we have the bad qualities of these individuals recorded along with the good? It is so we can see the humanity of these individuals and realize we are capable of the same achievements. Where are today’s heroes of faith? Some call modern-day heroes “Saints,” and they are on the right track if incorrect in implementation. God’s saints are today’s heroes of faith, and that involves every person who has come to accept Christ in their lives. We are to be the role models and the leaders. We are to be the ones to spread God’s word and share His promises with others.
Each of us have our own unique challenges and obstacles, and, if we want to be the saints we should be, we have to want it bad. We have to willing to be different. What we do gives credibility to what we say. We have to be willing to be singled out. It’s not always going to be easy, and we may falter or stumble. However, like these examples we have studied, we need to be able to place our trust in God, get back up, brush ourselves off, and keep going. Wherever we are, whoever we are around, we should be role models that will make an impact on those around us. We often read of these past heroes of faith. Now it is time for us to be heroes ourselves.
lesson by Steve Barr