35 Women received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. 36 Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. 37 They were stoned[a]; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.
The courage of faith isn't always to conquer the seemingly impossible. Sometimes it's to continue in suffering.
"they refused to be released" implies that the torture could've stopped, if they had recanted. But they didn't. They would rather suffer torture to the point of death than deny their God.
And the thing that gave them courage was gaining a better resurrection - focusing on the future, considering eternity instead of this present and short life.
They endured physical torture, mental abuse and verbal mocking, death, destitution. They endured. Because of their faith.
And the world was not worthy of them. What an amazing quote that is.
The world isn't worthy of those who have the courage of faith to suffer for Christ.
Like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. I LOVE that story.
They believed God could save them. But they didn't know if He would. And whether He would or He wouldn't was irrelevant to the stance they would take - they would not reject their God.
17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up. (Daniel 3 - emphasis mine)
That is the pinnacle of faith.
Tomorrow's scripture focus: Hebrews 11:39-40