And others were tortured,…
This “Westminster Abbey of the Bible” rises through a glorious galaxy of faith-heroes, Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and many more, until it reaches a pinnacle in a summary of those who wrought righteousness, subdued kingdoms, 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, of women who received their dead raised to life again.
But not all fare that way. Suddenly the verse changes gears: “And others were tortured, mocked, scourged, put in bonds and imprisonment, were stoned, sawn asunder, tempted, slain with the sword, wandered, being destitute.”
Faith is not a sure road to the headlines, success, earthly victories, and deliverance from harm and danger. Some move grandly through in that first procession—and who wouldn’t like to be in that crowd? But there are others for whom things go the other way.
One thing they all had in common: “And these all, having obtained a good report through faith…” We can do that, no matter which procession we are in!