The Diverse Sufferings of God’s Faithful Ones

David Norczyk
5 min readMay 7, 2024

In the eleventh chapter of the epistle to the Hebrews, the writer/pastor provides his Jewish Christian audience with an argument for faith in Jesus Christ, employing a number of Old Testament saints as examples. The faith of the Old Testament believer in Jesus looked forward to His advent(s). God made many promises to His chosen people; and the remnant believed the Word they heard preached to them (Rom 10:17). The types and shadows, of which Christ is the substance (Col 2:17), were embraced by those given the same kind of faith as our faith.

The Spirit is the one who communicates faith (compare John 10:26 and Romans 8:9), a gift that comes down from the Father of lights (Jas 1:17). Faith is given by God to His elect (Gal 3:22; 2 Pet 1:1); and He sustains our faith by His permanent indwelling presence (Jn 14:17; Rom 8:9, 11). Faith is energized by the Spirit willing and doing His good pleasure in and through His saints (Phil 2:13), who pray for God to increase one’s faith in God’s Word (Lk 17:5).

Faith especially manifests through an endless provision of crises. God tests the faith He grants (Phil 1:29), so that He might be glorified in it being proven. The test of faith produces endurance (Jas 1:3). In the fiery furnace of conflict, faith proves more precious than gold (1 Pet 1:7). Gold remains with the earth; but faith takes us to heaven in the Spirit. False faith (e. g. dead faith, demon’s faith, self-willed faith, misplaced faith, etc.), of course, fails the test (2 Cor 13:5).

There is a true, spiritual faith that triumphs over the world and the flesh. Faith fights on both fronts: internal and external. First, the Spirit wars against the flesh (Rom 7:14; Rom 8:5–15; Gal 5:16–26). The flesh is driven by one’s sin nature (Eph 2:3). The lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life must be mortified (1 Jn 2:15–17). For this reason, the man or woman of faith must be made to feel their weakness before the all-sufficient strength of the Lord is available to them. Put another way, the faithful one must be humbled so to walk humbly with his God (Mic 6:8).

The author of Hebrews lists six names in 11:32. Five of six were judges in Israel during the era of the Judges (1350–1051 B.C.). David, also one of the names, was King from 1011–971 B.C. Those listed were all deliverers of Israel/Judah. They performed mighty works, in the power of God. Second, while battling the flesh, the spiritual faith of these men was put on display, externally. The world (nations around Israel along with unbelieving factions in Israel) threatened the chosen, remnant people of God.

The external conditions were at a low ebb in every case. This led to the more excellent exhibition of the faithful ones, who received Yahweh’s respective promises, believed them, and then acted on the revealed Word. Faith is fueled by knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Pet 3:18). People of faith receive instruction by God’s design for them. The Word of God is living and active to perform God’s will (Eph 1:11; Heb 4:12) …God who is glorified by the faith/action of those granted a measure of faith (Rom 12:3).

Subduing the flesh is complemented by subduing kingdoms in the triumph of faith (11:33a). The Christian’s victory over the world is his or her faith in the One who has overcome the world at the cross (Jn 16:33; 1 Jn 5:4), in the ultimate work of righteousness (11:33b). In Him, all the promises of God are “yes” and “amen” (2 Cor 1:20; Heb 11:33c).

Daniel was a type of Christ when he was subject to the lion’s den (11:33d). The three Hebrew boys were likewise subject to the fiery furnace at Babylon, a type of the world (11:34a). Hatred from the world was the lot that fell to faithful judges, kings, priests, and prophets in Israel. Faithful Christians throughout history join the heroes of the hall of faith in Hebrews 11. The battle is real in every generation (Eph 6:10–20). One who learns to live in faith does not count it a thing to be grasped to die in faith.

One does not accumulate a storehouse of faith. New contests appear as saints grow old. One must pray, daily, for faith in the fight against the flesh, the devil, and the world. The false gospel promotes the comfortable Christian life (health and wealth). The true Gospel encourages reliance upon heaven’s grace to descend during trial or affliction. When we are weak; He is strong (2 Cor 12:10).

Faith suffers well. It is patient under mocking, scourging, chains, and imprisonment (11:36). God chooses the conditions for His church and her members at all times. There are seasons of prosperity and adversity, appointed from on high. Danger exists in both climates. A hostile world and a wayward Christendom only enhance the illumination of the true child of light (Eph 5:8; Phil 2:15). Sadly, the Christian who boasts in his void of suffering has not shone very bright.

In the world you will have trouble (Jn 16:33); and those who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted (2 Tim 3:12). Blessed are you when they do persecute you and say all kinds of derogatory things against you for the sake of your witness of Christ (Mt 5:10–12; Acts 1:8). Thus, suffering is God’s design to show true faith to the world of false faith. Nothing can prove true faith like the ordained tribulation that causes diverse sufferings.

Our God reigns with supreme sovereignty. All things are ordered by Him who is all-wise and omnipotent. He causes it all to work together for good for His beloved (Rom 8:28). God made promises; and faith grabs hold of the golden cord that releases help from heaven in times of need. Finally, faith remembers that the momentary light afflictions that produce diverse sufferings cannot be compared to the glory to be revealed to us (Rom 8:18; 2 Cor 4:17).

We join with those in Hebrews 11 and the rest of history, from around the globe, to pray for those who persecute us and our brethren (Mt 5:44). Whether the wicked represent governments, corporations, or religious institutions in serving God’s purposes (Prv 16:4), they are all subject to Him who sits in the heavens and does as He pleases (Ps 115:3; 135:6).

It is required of faith to overcome the love of the world and the fear of man. May God keep you focused on heaven above, on Christ, who authors and will perfect your faith in the promise of God, who is Christ Himself (Col 3:2; Heb 12:2). We have seen how the saints of old looked forward to Him; while we now look back with eyes of faith to all He has done.

There is only one eternal covenant, which was administered in two portions, old and new. The believers in the new portion have a far superior view to Christ, thus, a much firmer foundation for faith. Hence, we remember the faithful ones who endured much more, with far less revelation than we ourselves. Therefore, be inspired and encouraged by their example to press on with the same faith of our fathers.

Together, we will be made perfect (complete) on the day of Christ’s coming again. The promise of the resurrection to life will be a reality, with glorified bodies and souls conjoined and caught up together to be with Christ, forever. Suffer well, faithful one, for our Savior will soon be here.

David Norczyk

Spokane Valley, Washington

May 7, 2024

Hebrews 11:32–40



David Norczyk

Some random theologian out West somewhere, Christian writer, preacher