And all these, having obtained a testimony through their faith, did not receive the promise, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.
The Bible is full to bursting with people who have faith. These are not perfect people. Not one of the people listed in Hebrews 11 is perfect. One thing each and every one of them does have: faith. And their faith led to a testimony. Each of the people listed in Hebrews 11 can testify to the faithfulness of God to fulfill His promises. Though the writer of Hebrews notes that these men and women of faith did not receive the promise, still they received promises and saw them fulfilled. I know this because I know these people — I have read their stories many times. They received promises, but not The Promise — viz, a Savior.
This is vital to my understanding, because the writer of Hebrews points out that Christ is a fulcrum; a balance point between the people of faith who believed before His coming and the people of faith who believe now. All of us are operating on the same principle: faith. And all of us are waiting on the fulfillment of the same promise: to be made perfect. Neither group has it any harder than the other since all of us are looking to the promised Messiah for our salvation and looking forward to the time when He establishes His kingdom here on Earth.
There is a verse in the preceding section that put some things into perspective for me. Verse 37 says 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…. The writer of Hebrews puts being tempted in with being sawn in two. Faith is not an easy thing and resisting temptation is challenging. While I may never face the kind of persecution that the early church or some of the OT heroes of faith did, my faith needs to be just as strong and genuine as theirs.
Father, today I do not ask for an increase in faith, but a strengthening of what is. What faith I do have, Father, please take my faith from being scaffolding to being the bones of a skyscraper. May the fragile faith that can barely sustain me become the basis of something glorious for You.