Inspired By the Crowd

Screaming at the top of my lungs, no one in the stands doubted who the 400-meter red-headed sprinter belonged to! At every event, I cheered my son on from start to finish. I like to think of the "cloud of witnesses" described in Hebrews 11 as Old Testament saints cheering me on in a similar fashion. But more than likely what the "cloud of witnesses" refers to is the living testimonies of these saints.

Their faithful examples are to serve as my inspiration and "shout of encouragement."

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us (Hebrews 12:1).

Through the annals of Old Testament Scriptures, warriors stand as a source of encouragement: men and women who followed hard after God—many of them laying down their lives in sacrificial service to Him. Hebrews 11 ushers the reader into a great hall filled with inspiring portraits of ancient heroes.

We see Sarah's struggle with infertility giving way to faith before receiving the promise (Genesis 16:1–2, 18:10–15; Hebrews 11:11), Jochebed's ingenious protection of Israel's future deliverer (Exodus 2:1–4; Hebrews 11:22), Rahab's courage and the risking of her life to protect the spies of God (Joshua 2; Hebrews 11:31). Plus, there are  portraits of unnamed mothers who watched their sons stoned, sawn in two, put to death by sword—for the sake of the name of God.

When I consider these men and women who smiled at a death that held no power over them, who longed for the Messiah from afar, who welcomed the opportunity to die as martyrs and lived as though this world had no grip on them—it humbles me. They were not of this world, theirs was another kingdom.

These are those who've gone before. These are the faithful we are to follow. These are those for whom this world was not worthy. And though they no longer reside on this side of eternity, their faithful testimonies still cheer us on.


But for them it was only the beginning of the real story.
All their life in this world and their adventures …
had only been the cover and the title page;

Now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story,
which no one on earth has read, which goes on forever,
in which every chapter is better than the one before.”

—C.S. Lewis (From The Last Battle, The Chronicles of Narnia)

Are you inspired by this cloud of witnesses? How will you live in light of their testimonies?

About the Author

Kimberly Wagner

Kimberly Wagner

Kimberly Wagner is the author of Fierce Women: The Power of a Soft Warrior and is a frequent guest on Revive Our Hearts radio program, as well as a regular contributor to the blog. Kimberly's passion is Christ and she … read more …

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