Yesterday, I attended a high school football game. It was a high-scoring game. Both teams played well, but in the end the underdog team won. Later that day, I thought about the fans in the bleachers. During the game, they cheered their team on, and the players were feeding off the energy of the crowd. Similarly, the Bible says that "we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses" (Hebrews 12:1a). Many of these witnesses are mentioned in the book of Hebrews, chapter 11. They are the men and women of faith who have gone before us. The biblical accounts of how they persevered and obtained a good report through their faith should encourage us during our Christian journey. Interestingly, all of the witnesses mentioned in Hebrews, chapter 11 lived during the Old Testament era, but the book of Hebrews was written to New Testament believers. That's because God never changes. What we learn from the experiences of faithful men and women during the Old Testament should minister to us in our walk with God. If we take the position that we will read only the New Testament because we are living in the New Testament era, we will miss out on some valuable encouragement that is recorded in the Old Testament. To me, this whole idea is such a powerful thing. You see, when I study the Bible and come across an account of a faithful servant of God, who was tested in a way similar to the way that I am being tested, and I see how the person endured to see God's faithfulness in the end, this encourages me. It's as if the person is up in heaven cheering me on. Moreover, the more I study the Bible and the more I see testimony upon testimony of how people of faith endured to obtain a good report, the greater my encouragement and faith! About 15 years ago, during my last pastorate, I went through a difficult storm in my life. I couldn't understand why things in the ministry had gone downhill so quickly. Instead of praying for their pastor, several of the church members chose to plant the idea among fellow church members that there must be some hidden sin in my life that resulted in my being tested as I was. I must admit that I was having trouble reconciling what I was experiencing in light of my passion for God. But then I thought about God's servant Job. He was a righteous man, but God suffered him to be terribly tested by Satan. His friends laid charge against him that he was being judged because of his sins. As I thought on this, it was as if Job had stood up among the crowd of witnesses to encourage me during my ordeal. There are many Christians who go through life as if they have no joy. Why should that be the case when they know their sins have been forgiven, and that they have eternal life? One reason is because everybody needs to be encouraged in life--even Christians. Though we have been born again and become new creations, we are still human, subject to human emotions. Accordingly, every one of us needs to hang out among our awesome cloud of witnesses. It includes Abraham, Moses, David, Joshua, etc. Their lives pour into ours as we study the Word of God faithfully. Yesterday at the game, the high school teams fed off their fans in the bleachers. Let us feed off our crowd of witnesses in heaven. Frank King
Very encouraging words Brother Frank! Yes-let us cheer each other on and rejoice in the Lord and be inspired by His Word and those who walked in faith before us! God Bless you mightily, my friend! Dave
Brother Frank, yes, I have been recently reminded of the cloud of witnesses watching us and cheering us to the end. I also wondered : does the cloud of witnesses include our loved ones who had gone ahead of us?
If it does, I will feel so glad and comforted that my later parents, especially my late mum is watching me and cheering me to the end, maybe even praying for me at the other end, that I may complete the race according to God's will.
Thanks for sharing
From Hwa Silverpen