I do not believe that the cloud of witnesses surrounding us is standing in the galleries of heaven watching as we perform. The idea here is not that we should be faithful lest they be disappointed, or that we should try to impress them like a sports team trying to impress the fans in the bleachers. These are witnesses to God, not of us. They are examples, not onlookers. They have proved by their testimony, their witness, that the life of faith is the only life to live. (375)Hebrews 11 contains "so great a cloud of witnesses" who are far from perfect.
The chapter is filled with those who lied, got drunk, killed, deceived, committed adultery and even more.
The chapter is also filled with those who trusted God and were not perfect.
This not so great, "great cloud of witnesses" give testimony of what their great God has done.
Part of last night's Fight Night study was talking to your children about those Bible stories that are hard to talk about with children. The reason we did this as part of the study was because the PrimeTime kids' study was looking at Jephthah during their Bible time.
Two of three stories I want to mention in this story are individuals in Hebrews 11.
The first is David, who had an adulterous relationship with Bathsheba and had her husband killed in battle. This "man after [God's] own heart" (Acts 13:22) was not perfect. Here is a graphic that shows how to talk about this story to children of different ages (not cited because I cannot remember where I found it). Click on the graphic for a better view.
In each account, the story focus on David sins, repentance and God's forgiveness.
The second individual was Jephthah, the individual the PrimeTime kids studied last night.
I referenced two Answers in Genesis article about Jephthah:
As I wrote in the footnote of the original article, “Jephthah is listed in Hebrews 11, which is often called the ‘Faith Hall of Fame,’ but it is important to notice that he is listed with Gideon, Barak, and Samson (Hebrews 11:32) When they trusted Him, God used these men to win important victories in the book of Judges, but each of them had serious problems, such as idolatry (Judges 8:27), cowardice (Judges 4:8), and infidelity (Judges 16:1), respectively So we should not necessarily hold them up as examples of godliness.
Hebrews 11 certainly includes some of the incredible heroes of the faith, but many of these people also committed some pretty heinous acts (as many believers since then have also done)Acts 13:22; cf1 Samuel 13:14), yet he committed adultery with Bathsheba, tried to cover it up, and then arranged for the murder of her husband Were David’s actions any better than child sacrifice in fulfillment of a rash vow?Abraham and Isaac lied (or at best misled others) their respective wives Jacob deceived his father Moses murdered a man Rahab was a harlot David also appears in this chapter and is elsewhere called a man after God’s own heart (
The third narrative which is not in Hebrews 11 and we did not talk about in the study is the story of Achan.
One of the lessons for Emmanuel Baptist Church's Vacation Bible School was Achan.
This story of a disobedient person and his family being swallowed up by the earth is a difficult story for children and for adults.
To help the teachers tell this scary story in a God-glorifying way, I shared a part of Jack Klumpenhower's Show Them Jesus in a blog post.
HERE is a review of the book.