|Vol. 11, No. 2, Mar. - Apr. 1982||EDITOR: Mr. Harry Foster|
INSPIRED PARENTHESES (35)
"(of whom the world was not worthy)" Hebrews 11:38
HERE is a glorious parenthesis. It discloses how different are God's values from those which are current among men. Faith faces a sneering and scoffing world and puts it in its place by asserting that the non-believers and unbelievers who have so despised the suffering saints of God were not fit to have the privilege of living in the same world with them.
WE note that the special commendation is not reserved for those great heroes of faith whom we all venerate as we read this chapter, but is applied especially to anonymous harassed and despised fugitives who were true believers. Men never praised them while they were paying the cost of their faithfulness, nor have they recorded their names for posterity. Heaven, however, has taken full note of their tribulations for the sake of the Name and, in due course, will reward them openly before a wondering universe.
WHEN that day comes the unbelieving adversaries as well as their fellows in the faith will appreciate how true this divine parenthesis has proved -- the world with its conceit and self-complacency was not worthy to have such choice souls resident in it.
NATURALLY those here described would never have claimed that their world was not worthy of them, and nor would we make any such claims for ourselves. Yet, as onlookers, we can learn even in our day to appreciate the great value to God of suffering and enduring faith. If we ourselves are knowing anything of the offence of the cross, we need not fear the world and we will not envy it, but we can quietly take to ourselves the comfort of this divine valuation.
DO we feel apologetic about ourselves? Sometimes we do. Do we take on the world's tawdry values and accept its poor estimation of men and women of faith who have nothing to boast of here on earth? Sometimes we do. Do we perhaps even envy the "men of the world whose portion is in this life, and whose belly thou fillest with thy treasure" (Psalm 17:14)? Alas, there are times when we do.
THE more important, then, that we should not only refresh our faith by considering the examples of faith represented by this "cloud of witnesses" but listen to God's verdict upon them: "Of whom the world was not worthy". That surely is a commendation which we would all like to merit. Who will care what men think of him if he can have such a verdict from God?