Story after story, from Hebrews 11:3 until 11:38. Twenty-five + stories that tell of God’s faithfulness and humanity’s faith in God. All so that the writer can set up Chapter 12. Just so he can say, “Therefore …” in Hebrews 12:1.
It says, “Therefore, don’t get bogged down and wallow in your sin. Persevere. Fix your eyes on Jesus! Don’t grow weary and lose your way.” And whenever it says, “Therefore,” you always need to go back and see what its “there for.” The call to persevere and stay strong is directly related to what came before – to these stories of faith. Something about the stories is supposed to make us stronger.
But we don’t know the stories of our faith and our heritage. Heck, we don’t really know the stories of our own family much less what happened a few thousand years ago. In fact, those most familiar with our faith stories are those outside the community of faith. Inside the community, we don’t seem to believe that knowing these stories matters. And as a result, we’re ignorant of our heritage, ignorant of a source for our own strength. We don’t have the staying power that we should. We lose sight of Jesus and then we get tired and give up. At least in part because we don’t know what the “Therefore” is there for.
I don’t think that’s the plan God has for us. I don’t think God has put faith in us for our eventual demise, defeat and discouragement. If we knew our stories, we would know better. If we knew our faith stories (Old and New Testament alike), then we would get the reward of what comes after “Therefore.”
It really does help to know that God has been found by others in the past. And “therefore” we can count on finding God today. And in the future.