Epistle to the Hebrews (11:28-29)   Leave a comment

Epistle to the Hebrews

Epistle to the Hebrews

It was by faith that Moses commanded the people of Israel to keep the Passover and to sprinkle blood on the doorposts so that the angel of death would not kill their firstborn sons.It was by faith that the people of Israel went right through the Red Sea as though they were on dry ground. But when the Egyptians tried to follow, they were all drowned.” Hebrews 11:28,29

The people of Israel were spared when the angel of death passed. The Passover served as a strong reminder to subsequent generations of what God did to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. The Israelites believed the instructions of Moses by sprinkling blood on the doorposts. This showed that they also had to have faith in what God said if they did not want their children to die. The bible tells us that : “Pharaoh and all his officials and all the people of Egypt woke up during the night, and loud wailing was heard throughout the land of Egypt. There was not a single house where someone had not died.”  Ex 12:30

Only in the Israelites home there were no mourning because they all obeyed God’s command. The last plague required every Israelites to trust Moses and this strengthened Moses’ leadership.

When Israel left Egypt, God wanted to work the people’s heart for 40 years. God wanted the Israelites to know Him and His character. For example God wanted the Israelites to take a longer way to the promised land. He wanted to test them and see their attitude. It is true that sometimes God takes us through a longer way in order to prepare us and test our character. Now that the Israelites took the longest way, they will not dare trying to return to Egypt. When we decide to walk by faith, changing our mind along the way can be a fatal decision. If the Israelites wanted to return to Egypt, I am quite certain that they would all have died.

When Pharaoh finally let the people go, God did not lead them along the main road that runs through Philistine territory, even though that was the shortest route to the Promised Land. God said, “If the people are faced with a battle, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” So God led them in a roundabout way through the wilderness toward the Red Sea. Thus the Israelites left Egypt like an army ready for battle

We also read in Deuteronomy 8:2:

Remember how the Lord your God led you through the wilderness for these forty years, humbling you and testing you to prove your character, and to find out whether or not you would obey his commands.”

Do you see that? Canaan was just about 100km from Egypt and within 2 weeks the Israelites could have reached it. Jacob and his sons moved from Canaan to Egypt in just a few days. But it was not God’s plan to give the Israelites the promised land without forming their character. These people would enter Canaan only after 40 years! Why? Because there was a molding process which had to take place in the hearts of the Israelites.  God had to humble their hearts, form their character, work their faith and see whether they would obey his commands. Oh how many times did they fail to obey, complained and sinned. The Epistle to the Hebrews tells us that the generation could not enter Canaan because of their incredulity. God would not grant them Canaan unless He saw faith in their hearts. Do you understand how important faith in God is vital?

That is why I was angry with that generation;I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known my ways.’So I declared on oath in my anger,‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ”See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.” Hebrews 3:11

What was recorded about the Israelites was written to give us an example (1 Cor 10:11)

An unbelieving heart i.e. a heart which refuses to have faith in God is a sinful heart. We all have a measure of faith as Paul said in Romans 12:8. This disciples said “Increase our faith” in Luke 17:5. Our faith should not remain stagnant but grow.

In Hebrews 10:38 we have seen:

But my righteous one will live by faith.And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.”

Do you understand that God considers His own only those who live by faith? We are justified and made righteous by faith in the Son of God but this does not end here. In fact, that’s just the beginning. The big work comes after conversion where you nor need to live by faith in the Son of God. It’s where the Spirit works in our heart and transforms us in the image of the Son. The Israelites had little faith in Egypt but the school of faith had a curriculum of 40 years in the wilderness! Let’s not think that this does not apply to us. We all need to go to the school of faith and be educated by the Holy Spirit. Our heart needs to be wholly surrendered to God.

In order to make a sword strong, the blacksmith has to strike it hard.

Faith grows well in the fertile soil of impossibility, adversity and absurdity.

If you think it is impossible and does not have enough faith, Jesus said in Mark 9:23 : “Everything is possible for one who believes

Jesus said keep on asking and you will receive, keep on seeking and you’ll find (Mat 7:7). He also said :

I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours.” Mark 11:23,24

Read this verse in Mark again. Let this verse mark your soul. Jesus is basically telling us, you will get everything if you ask by faith. You must really believe that it will happen and it will be done. You should not doubt. But of course this implies that we will not ask God prostitutes, drugs and evil things. I have faith that God wants all men to be saved. Because I know it is God’s will to save all men, I pray for the people God has put on my heart and I am sure God will save them.

Then came the visible obstacle, the Red sea in front of the Israelites and Pharaoh army behind.  The Israelites panicked and blamed Moses for putting them in such situations. They thought they were trapped and told Moses they preferred to remain slaves in Egypt than to die in the wilderness.  No worry, Moses was no longer a child in the faith but a champion. Moses said:

Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again.The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.” Ex. 14:13

Do you see the serenity, calmness, peace, boldness and assurance Moses had? How come? Once again because his faith was burning inside. At this instant Moses did not know that God had in mind to make all the Israelites go through the Red sea. No one thought about it. Moses figured out that God would fight but going through the Red sea was not a possibility on his list.

God told Moses : “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the people to get moving!Pick up your staff and raise your hand over the sea. Divide the water so the Israelites can walk through the middle of the sea on dry ground.”

It’s amazing the way God replied to Moses. “The Egyptians are coming to kill everyone so why are you still sitting down and crying out? Just go ahead through the Red Sea!

Do you get it? God was always in control and did not have to be reminded that there was an obstacle ahead – the Red Sea.

That’s our God. Moses thought the Red Sea was an obstacle but it was actually the way to escape. Bear in mind that the Red Sea did not open just by luck. The bible tells us that the Israelites passed through as though it was dry ground. I recently came across an article which showed remains of chariots, human and horses. God does not work our way. He does things as it pleases Him. God’s desire is that we learn to have absolute trust in Him.

When God opened the red sea this created faith in the Israelites heart and strengthened Moses’ leadership:

When the people of Israel saw the mighty power that the Lord had unleashed against the Egyptians, they were filled with awe before him. They put their faith in the Lord and in his servant Moses.” Exodus 14:31

 

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Posted May 27, 2013 by Cedric in Theology

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