God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. (Hebrews 11:16)
Today we are looking at a passage from what is often called the Hall of Faith chapter in the Bible—“Hall of Faith” being a play on words from the sports phrase “Hall of Fame.” In Hebrews 11 we read about the great faith of many of the Old Testament saints of God, from Abel to Abraham, and contained within that chapter are the incredible words of comfort and challenge given in today’s verse. Because God’s saints were walking with God by faith and not by sight, longing for their heavenly home, God says this about them:
I AM NOT ASHAMED TO BE CALLED THEIR GOD!
Let me be perfectly clear here: The reason God is not ashamed to be called their God is not because these great saints of God did not do any shameful things. You will remember that Abraham twice tried to save his own skin by telling both Pharaoh in Egypt and King Abimelek of Gerar that his beautiful wife Sarah was his sister (Genesis 12:13, 20:2). One such lie would have been cowardly enough, but the man whom Scripture calls the father of the faithful did this twice! That’s pretty shameful don’t you think?
After Noah’s staggering act of faith—building a huge ark on dry ground—we find him so drunk that he was passed out naked in his tent. And both Noah and Abraham look like children at play when one considers that gross misdeeds of David, called by Scripture the man after God’s own heart, who seduced a married woman and then directly orchestrated the death of her husband to cover up his own sin. More shameful events in the lives of God’s people! Yet God is not ashamed to be called their God. Why? Because they were His by faith, blemishes and all, just as you and I are His.
Isn’t that a word of comfort? But this is also a word of challenge for you and me. Why? Because no matter how badly we fail, no matter how many times we fall short of the mark God has set before us, no matter how many times we behave shamefully, we can be sure that He still loves us and is not ashamed to be called our God.
Think about the last time you really fouled things up . . . I mean, you totally blew it. No matter how you or others felt about what you did or failed to do, God is not ashamed to be called your God. Knowing that God will not look shamefully at you, no matter what mistakes you make, should motivate and empower you to strive to be all He is calling you to be, regardless of the cost or circumstance.
Shame and embarrassment can stifle our desire to respond to God’s call for fear of failure and rejection. Remember, every great saint listed in the Hall of Faith failed God and failed Him badly, frequently on more than one occasion. Yet God is not ashamed to be called their God. The sure and certain knowledge that we serve a God who will always look upon us with love, a God who will never leave us nor forsake us, provides the solid foundation upon which we are to build a life that attempts great things for God, because whether we accomplish those things or not, God’s love and acceptance never wavers. God is never ashamed to be called our God . . . and therefore we should never be ashamed to act as His servants and emissaries to a lost, broken, and hurting world. This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN