Unnamed Heroes of Faith

In a recent Bible study of Hebrews 11, we were reading about the faith of Moses’ parents (Hebrews 11:23). This was something that turned a light bulb on inside of me. Exodus speaks about the faith of Jochebed (Moses’ mother) and how she responded but does not give details of Moses’ father, Amram. Not only that, but in Exodus 2, where we are introduced to Moses, the Bible does not even name his parents; that comes later in Exodus 6:20.  A brother and I started thinking about and discussing the various heroes of faith that were not named, or of whom we know very little in the Bible.  “As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend” (Proverbs 27:17).  We pondered the various unnamed people of the Bible who had great faith and how they responded to God.

Because they are unnamed, does that mean that they were unimportant?  No.  They could be you and me.  Depending on how we respond, we can mold and shape our lives to be men and women of great faith and pleasing to God.  Does it really matter if our names are written in paper and ink or featured online?  Does it matter if anyone remembers my name?  No. When studying in the Bible about the real men and women of faith, there are times that my curiosity is piqued and I would desire to know more information than what is given, but I must remind myself that the Bible, though it contains history, was not written to be a book of history.  The Bible is written that we may have faith in God and His Son Jesus Christ, and that through Him we may live (John 20:30-31).

Take, for instance, the occasion when the prophet Elijah fled to Mount Horeb from that wicked Queen Jezebel (1 Kings 19). The nation of Israel had wandered far from God and sunk so deep into idolatry that Elijah thought he was the only one left who had not surrendered to this debauchery.  After Elijah had time to rest, God asked Elijah, “What are you doing here?” God proceeded to inform him that he was not alone!  There were seven thousand in Israel who had not bowed to Baal.  Is God asking us, as he did Elijah, what are we doing here?  Sometimes we may feel like Elijah, but we are not alone (1 Corinthians 10:13).  God is faithful!

What about the seven thousand men who had not bowed to Baal?  We don’t know their names, but more importantly, we know their faith.  This one verse (1 Kings 19:18) speaks volumes about their faith.  Their names may have not been recorded. They have no earthly glory.  But there is a far more important record that should matter to us all—to be found pleasing to God and that He write our names in the Lamb’s Book of Life (Philippians 4:3; Revelation 20:11-15)!

Consider the Israel slave girl who told her master Naaman about the prophet in Israel who could heal him (2 Kings 5).  Reflect upon her spirit.  She was not bitter or angry about being a servant in a foreign land, serving the commander of the army that had conquered her people.  Rather there is a spirit of hope and faith.  How did she know about the prophet Elijah?  Could her parents (who are not named) have instilled this faith and trust in God (Deuteronomy 6:4-9)?  We don’t know if she ever met Elijah or even saw one of the miracles that God did through him, yet she is confident in God’s power working through His servant.  Through this young girl, knowledge of the living God was brought to Syria and her master Naaman was cured of his leprosy.  Wow, how word must have traveled about this great and well-known commander of the army who had leprosy and was healed! God was glorified!

Then there are the unnamed brethren who came from humble means, who learned of the LORD and came to Him through obedient faith. They shared this new life in Christ with their siblings, family members, and others, so that they too obeyed the Gospel, and by the time of their death many souls had obeyed the glorious gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ! God can do great things with our faith, even faith as a mustard seed! As Paul said, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase” (1 Corinthians 3:6-7).  We are called to plant, water, and nourish, though sometimes in our lifetime we may never see the end result.

“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.  And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:7-10).

“For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises” (Hebrews 6:10-12).

“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord”  (1 Corinthians 15:57-58).

~ Dan Huff