Like Button

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Hall of Faith Revival Meeting

I wrote this some time ago. It speaks to me. I thought I'd share it again.

From Hebrews 11, “the Halls of Faith”, this special Revival Meeting is held in an imaginary tent meeting to hear the testimonials and praise the Lord ...


“Welcome tonight to your Hall of Faith Revival Meeting,” the preacher says. “Tonight we have something special for you. I won’t be preaching tonight. Instead, we’ve invited people throughout time to testify of God’s faithful care for them.”

The congregation offers a polite applause, with a few “Praise Jesus!” calls barely audible mixed in.

“To start us off, we have Abel, the brother of Cain. Abel?”

Abel stands up. “I was a shepherd, and I offered a sacrifice in faith. God called me righteous!”

The congregation applauds, with a “Hallelujah!” and more calls of “Praise Jesus”.

“Over here we have Enoch,” the preacher says. “Enoch, can I get a testimony?”

Enoch stands up. “I put my faith in God, and he prevented me from dying.”

“From dying?”

“Yes, preacher ... from dying. One day He just took me into His presence.”

“Praise God! He is so good! Thank you, Enoch. Now we have Noah. Noah, tell us what God has done for you.”

“I trusted God, and He saved my family and I from a flood that killed the entire world.”

“Hallelujah! Praise God! He is marvelous! Thank you, Noah. Over here we have two people you will remember – Abraham and Sarah. Don’t they make a cute couple? Tell us what God has done for you.”

Abraham stands with his wife. “God told me to leave my home and go to a place he would show me. I did, and He took me to the Promised Land. Then, my wife was barren for nearly 100 years, but God promised us a son, and He delivered!”

The congregation applauds. Several people stand with hands raised. Some shout “Hallelujah!” and “Praise Jesus” and “Praise the Lord!”

Abraham gestures for quiet. “There’s more. When that son was older, God told me to go sacrifice him – to kill him.”

A gasp and sudden hush falls on the congregation.

“I did what He said because I believed God could raise him from the dead. But when I put him on the altar and prepared to kill him, God stopped me and provided a ram to sacrifice in his place.”

The congregation applauds. People leap to their feet and shout “Praise God!” Some are waving their hands. More shout “Praise Jesus” and “Praise the Lord!” The preacher waits for the noise to abate, then speaks again.

“Let’s skip on over to Moses, now. How about it, Moses? Tell us what God did for you.”

A man who looks nothing at all like Charlton Heston stands and speaks. “I grew up in the palace of the Pharaoh, but I knew that I couldn’t place my confidence in man. I trusted God and left the riches of the palace. Although I went to the desert, I knew God had something better for me than the wealth of Egypt.”

The congregation listens with rapt attention. Their faces betray a mixture of puzzlement and anticipation.

Moses continues. “But God used me to free His people. I celebrated that first Passover with the people and we headed out of slavery! And when we got to the Red Sea, and ol’ Pharaoh was bearing down on us, God Himself opened up that water and we walked through on dry land!”

The congregation goes wild. People are standing, shouting, stomping their feet, applauding. They are glorifying God for His greatness and faithfulness. Again, the preacher waits for the noise to subside, then speaks again.

“Now, some of you may not be as familiar with this next guest, and may I say, shame on you.” His smile diminishes the sting. “She was a prostitute in Jericho when God found her. Her name is Rahab.”

“Yes, God found me when I was deep in sin. I lived in Jericho when the people of God sent spies. I recognized them as God’s people and protected them from the people of my city. Because of my faith in God, when the walls fell and Jericho was destroyed, God saved me.”

And as the congregation begins to respond, the preacher adds, “Some of you don’t know this, but God so thoroughly saved this woman that she is in the genealogy of our Lord Jesus Christ!”

The congregation applauds. People leap to their feet and shout “Praise the Lord!” Some are waving their hands. More shout “Praise Jesus” and “Praise God!”.

A few other quick testimonies are given.

“Hi! I’m Joshua, and God used me to capture the entire Promised Land for Israel.”

“My name is Daniel, and I sat in a lion’s den all night, but God shut their mouths and I was saved.”

“We are Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, but you probably remember us as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. We trusted God, and he delivered us from the fire.”

A lone woman stands up. “You don’t know me, but my baby died suddenly. We prayed, and God raised my baby back to life!”

The congregation goes wild again. Almost everyone is on their feet shouting and applauding. They are praising God at the top of their lungs.

Another lone woman stands up. “You don’t know me, either, but I was arrested for being a Christian. They offered to release me if I rejected Christ ...”

An anticipatory hush falls on the crowd.

“... but I refused, and they left me in prison for the rest of my life.”

The congregation is quiet, stunned.

Someone else stands up. “Yes! I was arrested and beaten and chained.”

Another chimes in. “Me, too! But when they were done, they stoned me to death!”

With a rising fervor completely unmatched by the deathly silent congregation, more stand and shout their praises to God.

“I was fed to the lions for the sake of Christ!”

“I was cut in half with a saw!”

“I was stabbed to death with a sword!”

“We had nothing to eat, no decent clothing, and nowhere to live but caves in the desert!”

“I lived in a hole in the ground until I died!”

“I never received what was promised!”

Despite the jubilant-sounding tone of these last testimonies, the congregations sits soundless, bewildered.

* * * * * * *
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. Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, in order that they might obtain a better resurrection; and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground. And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they should not be made perfect. (Heb. 11:32-40)
Is it sufficient that God has provided something better, or do we require that God do “nice things” for us, that God bless us according to our narrow definition? What would it take for us to consider it worthwhile to not receive what we ask for or expect or even see as promised?

No comments: