What are we supposed to think when someone has received a word from the Lord of something they will do or be a part of someday and they died before the fulfilment takes place? Do we stop believing in the prophetic or hearing the voice of God? How is this linked to faith?
Hebrews 11:1 says, Now faith is the substance (confident, assurance) of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Faith is believing in something God has said that we cannot see, with confidence that it will come to pass. So what happens when we feel God has said something to us but it does not come to pass in our lifetime or in the lifetime of our loved ones?
Many know Hebrews 11 as The Heroes of Faith chapter. But as I was reading it today, I was struck 2 times where it said they did not see the promises come to pass in their lifetime.
Hebrews 11:13, 16
“All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.”
We applaud them for their faith, not realizing they were human as well, and wrestled with probably the same thoughts we have. They did not see the promises fulfilled in their lifetime. They had to have confidence in God that he would fulfill his word and keep obeying and moving forward, if they saw it with their own eyes or not.
I can’t imagine what that would have been like… Actually, yes I can. I’ve already seen it in my own life. My grandma Johnson about a year or two before she died, went through prophetic assembly at our church. I remember listening to what they were saying and wondering how God was going to fulfill those things in her life. When she died suddenly before doing any of the things they spoke over her, I wrestled with the words they said. After her death, I remember reading through Hebrews 11 and felt like I was reading the last verse for the first time.
Hebrews 11:39-40 NIV
39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
Hebrews 11:39-40 Nkjv
39 And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, 40 God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.
Did you catch that? That they should not be made perfect apart from US! And in the NIV version it said since God had planned something better for US so that only together with US- They would be made Perfect.
To me that means the people who came after those Heroes of Faith were the ones who walked out the promises God had given them. If that happened when the Bible was written, it still happens today!
Who went before you that was given a promise from God they never saw fulfilled? What are the things that YOU who have the Baton will be carrying out to perfect their promise? What a sobering thought no wonder it says in chapter 12 verse 1
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the [a]author and [b]finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
When the Bible was written it was not written in chapters. It was usually a continual thought that flowed from one chapter to another. Unfortunately, many times we don’t read the word of God in context and keep reading before or after the verses that we are focusing on. I’m so glad my awesome College professors at Portland Bible College pounded that into us. Right after it was talking about the Heroes of Faith not seeing the promise that we are supposed to carry on, it goes on to tell US to run the race before us with endurance.
What an incredible revelation! Not only does it answer the probing question of why God can speak something and it not come to pass in our lifetime; it gives us the direction of how to take on the mandates God has spoken over those in the past and run our race with endurance.
The question then comes, what is our race?
How do I know the race that God has set for me?
The answer is simple.
You live each day dedicated to God 100%. Having ears that are open to hear his voice and living in obedience to him. Spending time reading, studying and applying the word of God. Planting yourself in a Bible based local church who is your spiritual covering/authority (wives as well as your husband who is your first level of covering).
You run your race by obeying the things that God has set in front of you to do each day. Trusting Him 100% that as you listen to him, receive counsel and wisdom from your spiritual leaders when needed you will be guided on your race. If your wisdom is lead in purity and peace your path will be made straight and you fill fulfill the race set before you.
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter envy and [h]self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. 16 For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.
17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. 18 Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
Ever decision should be made with the wisdom of God and first pure then with peace. That is another discussion for another day.
My favorite life verse is:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall [b]direct your paths.
Let’s keep running, don’t give up if you don’t see someone elses words not fulfilled. If God asks you to, pick up their baton and run like your life depends on it. Because a fulfilled life WILL depend on it.