Quenched the violence of fire - As in the case of the three faithful Hebrews, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, who, for their steady attachment to God's worship, were cast into a fiery furnace, in which they were preserved, and from which they escaped unhurt. Dan. 3.
Escaped the edge of the sword - Moses, who escaped the sword of Pharaoh, Exodus 18:4; Elijah, that of Jezebel; and David, that of Saul: and many others.
Out of weakness were made strong - Were miraculously restored from sickness, which seemed to threaten their life; as Hezekiah, Isaiah 38:21.
Waxed valiant in fight - Like Gideon, who overthrew the camp of the Midianites, and Jonathan, that of the Philistines, in such a way as must have proved that God was with them.
Quenched the violence of fire - As Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did; Daniel 3:15-26. “Escaped the edge of the sword.” As Elijah did when he fled from Ahab, 1 Kings 19:3; as Elijah did when he was delivered from the king of Syria, 2 Kings 6:16; and as David did when he fled from Saul.
Out of weakness were made strong - Enabled to perform exploits beyond their natural strength, or raised up from a state of physical infirmity, and invigorated for conflict. Such a case as that of Samson may be referred to, Judges 15:15; Judges 16:26-30; or as that of Hezekiah, 2 Kings 20 who was restored from dangerous sickness by the immediate interposition of God; see the notes on Isaiah 38.
Waxed valiant in fight - Became valiant. Like Joshua. Barak, David, etc. The books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings supply instances of this in abundance.
Turned to flight the armies of the aliens - The foreigners - as the invading Philistines, Ammonites, Moabites, Assyrians, etc.
“And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gideon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthah; ... and Samuel, and of the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Ed 158.1
“Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: and others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. Ed 158.2
“And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.” Hebrews 11:32-40. Ed 158.3Read in context »
While the world is progressing in wickedness, none of us need flatter ourselves that we shall have no difficulties. But it is these very difficulties that bring us into the audience chamber of the Most High. We may seek counsel of One who is infinite in wisdom. COL 172.1
The Lord says, “Call upon Me in the day of trouble.” Psalm 50:15. He invites us to present to Him our perplexities and necessities, and our need of divine help. He bids us be instant in prayer. As soon as difficulties arise, we are to offer to Him our sincere, earnest petitions. By our importunate prayers we give evidence of our strong confidence in God. The sense of our need leads us to pray earnestly, and our heavenly Father is moved by our supplications. COL 172.2
Often those who suffer reproach or persecution for their faith are tempted to think themselves forsaken by God. In the eyes of men they are in the minority. To all appearance their enemies triumph over them. But let them not violate their conscience. He who has suffered in their behalf, and has borne their sorrows and afflictions, has not forsaken them. COL 172.3Read in context »
Caleb obtained the inheritance upon which his heart had been set for forty years, and, trusting in God to be with him, he “drove thence the three sons of Anak.” Having thus secured a possession for himself and his house, his zeal did not abate; he did not settle down to enjoy his inheritance, but pushed on to further conquests for the benefit of the nation and the glory of God. PP 513.1
The cowards and rebels had perished in the wilderness, but the righteous spies ate of the grapes of Eschol. To each was given according to his faith. The unbelieving had seen their fears fulfilled. Notwithstanding God's promise, they had declared that it was impossible to inherit Canaan, and they did not possess it. But those who trusted in God, looking not so much to the difficulties to be encountered as to the strength of their Almighty Helper, entered the goodly land. It was through faith that the ancient worthies “subdued kingdoms, ... escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.” Hebrews 11:33, 34. “This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” 1 John 5:4. PP 513.2
Another claim concerning the division of the land revealed a spirit widely different from that of Caleb. It was presented by the children of Joseph, the tribe of Ephraim with the half tribe of Manasseh. In consideration of their superior numbers, these tribes demanded a double portion of territory. The lot designated for them was the richest in the land, including the fertile plain of Sharon; but many of the principal towns in the valley were still in possession of the Canaanites, and the tribes shrank from the toil and danger of conquering their possessions, and desired an additional portion in territory already subdued. The tribe of Ephraim was one of the largest in Israel, as well as the one to which Joshua himself belonged, and its members naturally regarded themselves as entitled to special consideration. “Why hast thou given me but one lot and one portion to inherit,” they said, “seeing I am a great people?” But no departure from strict justice could be won from the inflexible leader. PP 513.3
His answer was, “If thou be a great people, then get thee up to the wood country, and cut down for thyself there in the land of the Perizzites and of the giants, if Mount Ephraim be too narrow for thee.” PP 513.4Read in context »