You may know them as the Hall of Faith. Here’s a different way to think about the people mentioned in Hebrews 11.
- Abel and Enoch – Nothing wrong that is recorded in Scripture
- Noah – got drunk and passed out naked after the flood was over. Then cursed his own son (Canaan) for finding him naked and drunk and telling his brothers
- Abraham – on two occasions, he gave away Sarah to join a harem because he was afraid for his life. Took his wife’s servant at her suggestion “to be his wife” and had Ishmael with her.
- Sarah – By faith?!? She didn’t even believe it when the angels said she would have a son and laughed at the idea. Then she was embarrassed about it and lied when called on it.
- Isaac – favored one son over the other which ended up causing great family strife, to the point that one of his sons fled for over 20 years fearing that his brother would kill him.
- Jacob – manipulator, deceiver, and conniver… always looking for the edge to get ahead and willing to do whatever it took to do so. Ended up with 2 wives and having sex with 2 of their servants as well, and each servant’s kids were claimed as the wife’s kids. Because of this, he favored two of his sons (the ones from the wife he wanted to marry) over the other 10, which caused them to sell one into slavery while they claimed he was dead.
- Joseph – couldn’t keep his mouth shut. Married an Egyptian high priest’s daughter, who may or may not have rescinded the Egyptian worship to worship Yahweh. (Not exactly “equally yoked”)
- Moses – killed a man in anger. In anger, he misrepresented God by hitting the rock and was disallowed from the promised land. Afraid to speak for God in front of the people so God had to appoint Aaron to speak for him.
- Rahab – a Canaanite prostitute. (as an aside, am I the only one that has ever wondered about Rahab’s “white lie” to protect the Israelite spies?)
- Gideon – Never a more fearful man found in the Bible. Took FOUR miraculous signs to convince Gideon that God was with him. You probably wouldn’t even want him as the kicker of your High School football team. Had “many wives.”
- Barak – Shown up by a woman. Second most fearful man in the Bible.
- Samson – A constant womanizer amongst the Philistine women. Very rash, irritable, brawling man. Once killed 30 Philistines to pay back a bet with some some local Philistine leaders who had cheated to win that bet. Completely broke every part of his Nazarite vow (no wine, avoid dead bodies, never shave any hair)
- Jephthah – made a rash vow to offer a sacrifice to God that cost his daughter ever having sex.
- David – Had some 20-30 wives and concubines, which was against God’s statement that a king is supposed to have one wife. Then he lusted after Bathsheba, got her pregnant, and tried to get her husband to have sex with her to hide it. When her husband wouldn’t, then David had him killed in battle. David then later refused to discipline his son Ammon for raping his son Absolom’s sister and then went easy on Absolom after he killed Ammon and even after Absolom made a power play for the throne. At the end of his life, David pridefully had all the fighting men in Israel counted (it took 10 months!) so he could see just how powerful he was, and this cost 70,000 deaths in the kingdom.
- Samuel – had some of the worst sons possible. They were so bad that the people wanted a king instead of letting Samuel’s corrupt sons be judges over them
Christians, THESE ARE YOUR HEROES. Hebrews 11 is called the Hall of Faith chapter because it looks back at history and proclaims the faith of these people. They are often held up as examples to follow.
Yet when we go through the chapter, we find precious few that don’t have some grievous, even insane, problems in their life. They are pretty much just like us. What I take away from this is that we need to turn our hearts and obedience to God. If anything, this affirms why God hates our pride and arrogance. When we screw up, we must run back to Him just like David did over and over. We must be like David and when we see people like Obed-edom (2 Sam 6, 1 Chr 15), be inspired to a greater passion for God (Psalm 84:10).
It’s amazing to me that God honors our faith above our screwups.