Hebrews 11:23-29 23 By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. 24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. 26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel. 29 By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.
In Deuteronomy 33:1 the writer nicknamed Moses “The man of God”. Are you God’s man? Are you God’s woman? Do you want to be? How did Moses get that nickname? He got it by living a life of faith. People who live their lives by sight are their own man or their own woman, but those who walk by faith become God’s man or God’s woman.
As Hebrews 11 opens there are three words that help us understand what faith truly is. Look at the first two verses from the New King James Version: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.”
The word translated “substance” means literally “to stand under, to support.” It’s pretty cool that although faith is a choice you make, it then becomes your support. It becomes your foundation. It becomes that which gives you confidence to build your life upon. You could say it this way, “Faith is the confidence of things hoped for.” You see, faith is God’s way of giving you confidence that what He has promised is what He will deliver.
The word evidence simply means “conviction.” It is that gut knowledge, that inward belief that keeps us believing after we have already chosen to believe.
Testimony or “witness” is also an important word as it relates to faith. We read it not only in verse two, but twice in verse 4, once in verse 5 and also in verse 39. Our faith is something that can be witnessed. It is seen in the way we respond obediently to the revelation and call of God.
Faith is that which helps us to understand God. As one person has said, “Faith enables us to understand what God does. Faith enables us to see what others cannot see (note Heb. 11:7, 13, 27). As a result, faith enables us to do what others cannot do!”
Dr. J. Oswald Sanders put it perfectly: “Faith enables the believing soul to treat the future as present and the invisible as seen.”
Moses, here listed in Hebrews 11, the “Hall of Faith,” is a great example of all of the above. Verse 23 tells us his parents set him up to become a person of great faith by being people of great faith themselves. In the face of an edict from the Pharaoh to kill all the Hebrew boys who were born, an effort to keep the Hebrew population subdued, Moses’ parents refused to give up their son to be killed. Their faith literally saved his life!
- Faith is always a response to some Divine revelation! God tells us something, shows us something or leads us to a decision point and our response will be one
of two things: Faith or disobedience. Verse 23 says that Moses’ parents saw Moses was no ordinary child.” Exodus 2:2 says, “He was a fine child.” Now every parent wants to (SHOW PICS OF MY KIDS!) think their child is amazing, talented, beautiful, smart or exceptional. And every parent is right, of course! (GO TO BLANK SLIDE.) But it wasn’t just the love of an adoring couple in love with their baby boy that caused them to risk their lives to save their son. When you examine what is behind the words “no ordinary child” or “fine child” you see that there was something about Moses’ appearance through which God communicated a great future destiny. It was faith in their God and in His plan for Moses’ life to which Moses parents were reacting.
They hid him in a basket on the water where they knew the Pharaoh’s daughter came to bathe. It was a set up for sure. Listen, faith can be strategic! They were counting on Pharaoh’s daughter to be drawn to Moses and she was. She took him home with her to live in the palace and to raise him as if he was her own. All the while, Moses’ parents never viewed their son in the hands of Pharaoh’s daughter, but in God’s hands.
- You see, faith sees beyond the seen!
There was more going on than met the eye. God was using the palace experience to prepare Moses for the kind of leadership he would need to possess in order to lead God’s people out of Egyptian slavery. There was far more going on than just Pharaoh’s daughter adopting a child.
As people of faith we must believe there is always more going on than we can see. You’ve heard the famous phrase from the old radio and TV show, “Dragnet,” in which Sergeant Joe Friday spouts, “Just the facts, ma’am. Just the facts.” Well, for Christians there is more to see than just the facts. There is a dimension beyond the facts that enables us to hold on. It gives us power to step up. It inspires us to hope for the impossible! It is the realm of faith.
During an especially trying time in the work of the China Inland Mission, Hudson Taylor wrote to his wife, “We have twenty-five cents—and all the promises of God! (Wycliffe Handbook of Preaching & Preachers, W. Wiersbe, p. 242) If you are a child of God, you always have more going for you than what you can count, more help you than you can observe, more possibilities for a miracle than the facts indicate and more resources available to you than you can hold. You walk each day with the presence of the Almighty God. You walk in assurance that God is sovereign over your life and that He is taking you to a good place. You walk in confidence that no matter what the facts say, until you hear from God, you don’t have to believe anything the facts suggest.
- Faith refuses the easy life in order to gain a better future. Look at Hebrews 11:24
again: “By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. 26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.”
Moses had it made as the adopted son of this Egyptian princess. Servants attended him. He had access to power and prestige. He lived in the lap of luxury and enjoyed the comforts that others could only dream of. But by faith he chose a different kind of life. He chose to be mistreated along with the Hebrew people. Rather than be known as the Princess’s son, he chose to be known as a slave. He walked away from the treasures of Egypt into the trials that come with leading millions of people out of slavery. People would have called him crazy for doing so. He wasn’t crazy. He was full of faith.
You’ve seen the reality shows where wealthy people leave their lives to go undercover into an impoverished or slum-like situation. They live in the oppressive environment for a week or so and at the end of the week they give some money to someone in the situation that helps make a slight improvement, but they themselves go back to living in the lap of luxury. Not Moses. He didn’t leave for a while, make a positive impact on his people and come back to the palace. He chose another life completely. Faith can empower you to do that! Faith can give you the courage and power to choose another life entirely!
- Faith enables us to live without fear. Verse 23 tells us that Moses’ parents
weren’t afraid of the Pharaoh’s edict to kill the Hebrew boys. Verse 26 tells us that Moses wasn’t afraid of the Pharaoh’s anger. When your security is in Christ you don’t fear what man can do to you!
Psalm 118:6-9 screams faith over fear! 6 The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? 7 The LORD is with me; he is my helper. I will look in triumph on my enemies. 8 It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man. 9 It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes.
People can take nothing from me that God can’t restore. People can do nothing to me that God can’t redeem. It is a win/win when we walk by faith!
- Faith enables us to see Jesus. Look at Hebrews 11:27: “By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible.”
I know people who won’t believe in Jesus because they say they don’t have proof. Listen, proof won’t lead you to Jesus! Faith will! The proof follows the decision of faith. Once you believe, God reveals it all to you! Once you look to Him, He shows you how big and mighty He is. You can’t get to a relationship with Jesus by looking at the facts even though there is enough to prove Jesus lived and died to pay the price for the sins of the world and rose from the dead triumphing over death forever! But you don’t start with a demand for proof. You start with faith and the minute you take that step to focus on Jesus, He proves Himself day by day every day as you follow Him.
How did Moses persevere in the face of the Pharaoh’s anger and the risk of losing his life while assisting the Hebrew people? He did by keeping His eyes on Him who is invisible. We have to do the same. I almost can guarantee when people have surrendered to fear or decided to disobey God and sin, before they did they took their eyes off of Jesus. Listen, Jesus is the One who will establish your faith and make it perfect. You must become radical about keeping your eyes on Jesus!
Hebrews 12:1-3 tells us: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Your faith will never sustain you; it will never be “perfected” if you keep looking away from Jesus.
The word “fix” comes from a Greek word that has the idea of concentrating your gaze. It means to look away from other things so that you can focus all your attention on one object. Too many Christians have a “wandering eye.” Christians, for every facet of life, we are to look to Jesus to be the Leader, Advisor, Protector, and Sustainer. As you study at school, look to Jesus to help you stay focused on truth, remember what you learn, and fill your minds with that which will prepare you for the future God has designed. In our relationships, we ask Jesus to help us be grace-filled, patient, encouraging, supportive, giving and Christ-like. In our parenting we look to Jesus to help us know how to pour into our children in the most effective ways. In our jobs we trust Jesus to supply our needs and that we do whatever work we do we work hard at it as unto the Lord in order to bring glory and honor to Him. When we spend our money and bring our tithe to church we do so in response to what Jesus has said we are to do with our money. When temptation comes we look away from that which is calling to us, and we look square into the eyes of Jesus for power to overcome the temptation.
You remember that Peter walked on the water in Matthew 14. Wouldn’t that take some faith? You won’t take one step toward the supernatural, one step toward the unknown or one step into the miraculous without faith. So, Peter stepped out in faith, but shortly after, he stopped “faithing!” He took his eyes off of Jesus and put them on the wind and waves that were swirling around him and he started to sink. Now the winds and waves were active before he stepped out of the boat, so we have to give him credit for starting his faith walk when things weren’t predictable or easy. But the problem is he didn’t continue faith walking because he changed his focus. He focused not on Jesus, but on the circumstances around him.
In 21 years of ministry I have seen it time and time again. People come to Jesus when life is overwhelming and things are spiraling out of control. Good reasons to come to Jesus! That’s the best time to do it, no doubt. If anyone can make a difference for the good and become an anchor for our souls when our lives are “topsy turvy,” it’s Jesus. But too many come to Jesus thinking that once they take that first or second or third step, everything should become calm. “But I came to the altar, why aren’t things all better?” “But I prayed and read my Bible, why do I still have so much stress?” “But I asked God for help and I’m still in a mess.” You mustn’t come to Jesus thinking He exists to make your life easy.
Remember, Moses didn’t choose the easy life. No, following Jesus isn’t the easy life, but it is the “abundant life” which means there is a deep, internal, priceless peace, satisfaction and contentment that we can possess in spite of our now, in spite of our circumstances, in spite of our storms.
Sometimes Jesus does calm our storms, but even if life becomes calm, you can be sure as long as we have an enemy (Satan) another storm will always be brewing on the horizon right behind the one that has just passed. This life is stormy. This life will always be stormy. That’s why we best not lose sight of Jesus!
But too many come thinking Jesus is supposed to be a Storm Calmer when that’s not His ultimate purpose. He doesn’t just want to be your Calmer. He wants to be your Savior! He wants to save you in every storm. I didn’t say He wants to save you from every storm. He wants to save you in every storm, but He can only do that if you exercise the faith to keep your eyes on Him. He is the Solution. He is the Rescuer. Don’t look at anything that could defeat or discourage you. Don’t look to anyone else who promises to save or deliver you. Only Jesus can bring you through!
- Faith shows us God’s way is the only way.
Hebrews 11:28- By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.
Let me remind you that God appeared to Moses years after he had left Egypt and told him He had chosen him to be the spokesman to tell Pharaoh to free God’s people from Egyptian slavery. Pharaoh wasn’t too keen on the idea and refused to do so. God started using the communication between Moses and Pharaoh to demonstrate God’s power as He sent several plagues upon the Egyptians. Even plagues of frogs and locusts and the turning of the water in the Nile River to blood couldn’t soften Pharaoh’s heart.
The last plague was a deadly one. God said he was going to kill the every firstborn Egyptian including firstborn livestock and that He would spare every Israelite firstborn provided Moses and God’s people followed some very specific instructions. God told them to select a year-old lamb from their flocks that were without any spot or blemish on the tenth day. On the fourteenth day of the month they were to slaughter the lamb and apply its blood to the doorposts of their homes. The blood would be the sign to the death angel that Hebrews lived there and that those homes should be passed over.
Moses had a decision to make. He was going to apply the blood in faith believing it would serve as protection for his family and God’s people or he would rely on his human knowledge and experience which would tell him that blood smeared on a doorpost couldn’t have anything to do with Divine Protection. Remember, Moses had been raised in the best of the best of schools in Egypt. He had been inundated with philosophers and wise thinkers his whole life while living in the palace. And God expected him to follow through with a bloody exercise that to anyone would have seemed completely illogical?
Remember, there was no precedent for such a practice. This was the first Passover observance. He was going to have to believe that applying the blood of a spotless lamb was the only way his people could escape death. Faith involves trusting God and His ways rather than our own. Faith means trusting God’s wisdom rather than our own. Faith means submitting to the reality that God’s way is the only way.
The application of blood is still the only way to escape the death penalty that we are all under because of sin. Jesus, the Spotless Lamb of God died on the cross, shedding His blood as payment for the sins of humanity, past, present and future. He is the ONLY WAY to God the Father. He is the ONLY WAY to heaven. He is the ONLY WAY for us to have our sins forgiven. I’ll add He is the ONLY WAY to maintain your sanity in this world of sin and evil! All roads don’t lead to Christ. Being “spiritual” or trying to be good won’t take you to heaven. You have to believe by faith that Jesus’ blood, applied to your heart and soul, is the only way to get to heaven. Applying the blood of the Lamb is still the only way!
- Faith is the only way to lasting victory. Look at verse 29: By faith the people
passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.
Exodus 14 records the story. Pharaoh had finally relented and let the Egyptians go. But after he did, he changed his mind and sent his army after the Israelites. With Pharaoh’s army hot on their trail, the Israelites came to what appeared to be a dead end. In front of them was the Red Sea which they couldn’t cross. Behind them was Pharaoh’s army with weapons and a motive to kill or capture them. Not a good situation, my friends.
Scripture says Moses raised his hands over the sea and God drove the waters apart to allow dry ground to appear in front of the Israelites. Yet Hebrews 11 tells us that they crossed “by faith.” Even though it would appear to make sense that the dry ground path was the path to take, even though it should be obvious that people who are being pursued from behind by an enemy army ought to choose the path of safety in front of them, Scripture still tells us they had to exercise faith in order to do it.
What if the waters that had parted were now a trap? What if once they stepped onto the dry ground, the waters came rushing back and they were drowned? Listen to me this morning, God made a way out of no way for those people. He is still doing the same thing for you and me today all the time. Sometimes it’s as obvious as the parting of the Red Sea and yet we have trouble believing it’s really God; that He really cares, that He really is providing for us and we question if it’s a trap. We question what will happen if we go God’s way.
The Israelites found out what happens for those who take God’s path. Once they were safely across the dry ground and Pharaoh’s army stepped onto the same path, the waters rushed back together and the enemy was drowned. They learned that faith leads to victory. If you have faith to take the way God is laying out for you, your enemy will not have any power over you! Anyone here need to defeat the devil today? Anyone here being chased by something that is trying to enslave you or trip you up? You can exercise faith and believe that God will make a way where there seems to be no way!
Something else that happened was that as the Israelites turned around to look at Egypt, their old way of life, they saw a barrier, the Red Sea, now standing between them and their past. They were free. Slavery was the old experience. Freedom was the new experience and their victory was permanent because God brought the waters back together to form a barrier between their past and their future. It is faith in Christ which
will lead to permanent victory!
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Faith is always a response to some Divine revelation!
Faith sees beyond the seen!
Faith refuses the easy life in order to gain a better future.
Faith enables us to live without fear.
Faith enables us to see Jesus.
Faith shows us God’s way is the only way.
Faith is the only way to lasting victory.
Moses was God’s man because of his courageous faith. Are you God’s man? Are you God’s woman? Are you ready to respond this morning in faith? Are you ready to see the unseen? Are you willing to say “no” to the “easy life” in order to possess the best life? Do you want to live without fear? Do you want to see Jesus? Are you willing to confess that God’s way is the only way? Do you want lasting victory? If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, it’s time to exercise some courageous faith!