Did you know the first ensemble of superheroes are found in the Bible? They didn’t wear capes or spandex bodysuits. They were probably not as chiselled and rugged as the ones from the Marvel universe, but they accomplished impossible things; birthing nations out of barrenness, parting the ocean, killing an entire army with a donkey’s jawbone, slaying a giant, calling down fire from heaven, and everything in-between.
Reading Hebrews 11 is like walking through a great hall of Faith. Hanging on the wall is the framed picture of hero after hero. Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses. And there were also some fearless femmes, like Rahab, Deborah and Esther, although not all of them are mentioned in this chapter.
The Author seems to get a little bit overwhelmed with recounting all of the superheroes by verse 32, but he gives some honourable mentions to a few more. And I can’t help but imagine the portraits. I can see Gideon with a fiery torch and a clay pot. Maybe, there is a special room for David, where you will find a portrait of him sitting on his throne. And next to it, the mounted heads of a bear, a lion and Goliath. Trophies of the impossible.
What if I told you, that you have the same superpower that they had? What was their superpower? The answer is found in almost every verse in Hebrews 11, but this is my favourite passage:
“By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight.”
Hebrews 11:33-34 NLT
Did you know that your portrait is hanging in the hall of Faith? Considering the incredible things that these heroes accomplished it is easy to think that they were something special in the natural, but they were super normal. Abraham was old. Gideon was a coward. David had a straying eye. In the natural they were weak, but their faith in God empowered them to do the impossible. These are the qualities that enabled them to fulfil the destiny that was on their lives:
A listening ear
Every hero we read about in the Bible, had the ability to hear God speak. At some point in their story, they were given an impossible mission, because they were open to receiving the Word, in whatever form it came. David recognised the power carried by the voice of the Lord, he wrote Psalm 29 about it. Check it out, it is pretty awesome.
When we hear God’s voice it empowers us to believe for impossible things. As we meditate on his Word, we start to align our minds with the impossible, and as Proverbs 23:7 will tell you: you are who you think you are!
An obedient heart
The qualifying heart is not one that is brave, fearless or perfect. Simple obedience is all that is required of a superhero. You just have to turn up for the battle. I love what it says in Hebrews 11:34 – they became strong in the battle. It is as they stepped up to the invitation, regardless of their ability, that God was able to do the impossible through them. God will never force us to do anything, it is always by invitation. And an invitation requires a response. A yes!
Gideon wasn’t brave by any stretch of the imagination, but God called him a mighty man of valour (Judges 6:12). As we spend time in his presence, God will call out of us, all the qualities and capabilities we need to complete the mission. He will make us strong in the battle.
A declaration of faith
One of my favourite battles is found in 2 Chronicles 20, where king Jehoshaphat leads the small army of Judah towards an impossible battle. Three, huge armies were coming to obliterate them. God promised them that he would fight the battle for them, but they still had to go and face their enemy. On their way there, Jehoshaphat stopped the procession and challenged them. He said: “Listen to me, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be able to stand firm. Believe in his prophets, and you will succeed.” After he consulted with the leaders, they decided to send the worshippers first. As they went to battle, they were singing: “Give thanks to the Lord, his faithful love endures forever!” They were already thanking God for their victory.
As you approach the impossible, what is your declaration? Faith declares the end from the beginning! (Romans 4:17). When David approached Goliath, he came with a declaration (1 Samuel 17:45-47). He declared the end even before the battle began. He released his faith by declaring it! To be a hero, you have to release your superpower. You do that by using your mouth.
Super normal people can do impossible things. You have what it takes. You have ears that can hear God’s voice. You have a heart that can say yes! You have a mouth, that can declare the end from the beginning. You are a superhero!
And you have an ensemble of superheroes that cheers you on!
“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…”
Hebrews 12:1 NKJV
Today, I hear the Father say: “Wonderful Child, you may feel weak and overwhelmed by things that seem impossible. But you are a mighty child of valour. Your weakness is turned to strength as you surrender your heart to me. Allow me to call out the qualities and abilities that I have put in you, by design. Align your mind and heart with what I say about you. I will equip and empower you, in the battle. Do not fear. Declare the end from the beginning. Say what you want to see! Your victory will unfold as you step out in faith. And remember, I am with you. Always.” ❤