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Summary: First in a series on the unlikely heros of faith introduced in Hebrews 11

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Chico Alliance Church

October 6, 2002

Pastor David Welch

“Life Cycles”

Unlikely Heroes: Part One

Introduction

God uses all kinds of people to accomplish His work. We ought to consider it a privilege that God includes imperfect fragile humans to bring about eternal impact. Oftentimes a whole group gets themselves into bondage and God uses a single person to bring deliverance for all of them. Hebrews 11 reveals a lengthy list of faithful heroes used by God to lead and effect eternal change on earth. One section of this distinguished list of Bible heroes includes a group of unlikely heroes. Not only were these ordinary people, they were people with some major struggles and even noteworthy flaws that normally would disqualify them to be used at all let alone to effect eternal change. The Bible records God’s use of many unlikely heroes. In the next several weeks I want to focus just on these named yet unlikely heroes listed in Hebrews 11:32-34

And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Hebrews 11:32-34

The bulk of these listed here fit the category of “from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.” What does it take to be a minister of deliverance to those in bondage? Who will God use to help others? Since four out of the six people specifically named in these verses came from the period of Judges it would do well to understand the times.

Background

The Book of Joshua records the initial occupation of the Promised Land. Joshua led the people to victory over the evil and corrupt inhabitants of the land. The entire nation joined in warfare against some formidable foes and fortresses. After a series of successful full scale military campaigns the territory was divided between the twelve tribes of Israel with instructions to finish the occupation and completely eradicate the former inhabitants lest their evil influence spread to the Israelites and the world. The book of Judges continues the history of the conquest. The book begins with the record of continued conquest by each individual tribe. It was not long however before complete conquest turned to partial conquest and then to no conquest and then reoccupation by foreign people again. Partial obedience resulted in complete occupation. Judges records a series of cycles revolving around bondage and deliverance. This week I want to explore the five elements in the cycle. Next week we will devote the service to Baptism and the wonderful salvation that it symbolizes. The following week we will look at the first of the unlikely heroes -- Barak.

The writer of Judges first summarizes the cycle and then illustrates it with the history of seven major Judges.


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