Truth For Life E75 | The Discipline of Contending For The Faith, Hebrews 11:23-31

Discipline of Contending For The Faith, Hebrews 11:23-31
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Welcome back to our study of Hebrews; today we’ll be looking at Hebrews 11:23-31, which I’ve dubbed “the discipline of contending for the Faith. Oftentimes people regard believers in Christ as weak, passive or nice people who lack any backbone. Christianity has been reduced to being nice. But Scriptures ‘depiction of the believer is far from what society or even churches define the Christian to be. In our last session, we talked about the discipline of waiting. Today we’ll see that the genuine believer isn’t passive or weak but a warrior that has been granted through God the power to contend against the schemes of the evil one by faith. Gird up your loins.

The Discipline of Contending For The Faith

The Passage 

23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. 24 By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the Destroyer of the firstborn might not touch them.

29 By faith the people crossed the Red Sea as on dry land, but the Egyptians, when they attempted to do the same, were drowned. 30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days. 31 By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.

Notes

  • Verse 23

The account of Moses’ birth is given to us in Exodus 2:1-10. God is sovereign and ordained that Moses be born in a family of believing parents. We need to establish that at the outset. The new king of Egypt at the time had no regard for Joseph and what he had done for the Egyptians. He felt threatened by the people of Israel and decreed the following, Exodus 1: 21:…Every son that is born to the Hebrews[a] you shall cast into the Nile, but you shall let every daughter live.”

Moses’ parents were facing the same fear that every other Jewish parent was facing. So when Moses was born, the scripture tells us that because they saw that the child was beautiful( some versions read fine), they weren’t afraid of the king’s edict and hid him for three months. I don’t believe that the word “beautiful” means nice or good looking. Maybe it means “special” or no “ordinary child”. All we know is that God granted them the ability to see that Moses was favored in His sight, and consequently they were filled with boldness and challenged the king’s edict. This kind of boldness doesn’t come from man’s natural abilities. It is only by faith, and once again we need to define how this type of faith is birthed. According to Romans 1:17, faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. The only reason why Moses’ parents could resist the temptation of casting him into the Nile was because the Lord granted them the ability to do so. Upon hearing this, the readers were being given hope. They were being told to give up their trust in Christ and to return to the old system and its practices. And if they refused to acquiesce to the request, persecution awaited them. So the record of Moses is in a way teaching them and us to fully rely on God to give us the boldness to contend for our faith. Contrary to popular opinion, the believer isn’t a wimp who can’t fight for himself, but one who has put his/her trust in God who fights our battles through whatever means HE chooses.

  • Verses 24-26

The same Moses that was originally rejected by his own people for saving them, was the same person God chose to save them later on. After 40 years in Midian, Moses is called by God to lead them out of Egypt. He has to face another Pharaoh who is just as hardened as his predecessor. Once again, Moses displays a boldness that can only be attributed to time spent in God’s presence. We must ask ourselves how Moses was so bold as to not being intimidated by Pharaoh’s anger. The Scripture gives the answer to the question- it tells  us that he persevered as one who sees the unseen. The natural eye can’t see what is behind the curtain, but through his faith granted by God, Moses was looking forward to the city of God, he knew that there was more to life than what his mere eyes saw. Consequently, boldness was given him to resist evil and contend for the faith. I want to bring up a passage that is really key in understanding where Moses’ boldness came from, it is mentioned in Exodus 6:10-13,

10 So the Lord said to Moses, 11 “Go in, tell Pharaoh king of Egypt to let the people of Israel go out of his land.” 12 But Moses said to the Lord, “Behold, the people of Israel have not listened to me. How then shall Pharaoh listen to me, for I am of uncircumcised lips?” 13 But the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron and gave them a charge about the people of Israel and about Pharaoh king of Egypt: to bring the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt.

I want you to notice the differences in the passage. First, God tells Moses and Aaron to go speak to Pharaoh. And Moses answers with –12 But Moses said to the Lord, “Behold, the people of Israel have not listened to me. How then shall Pharaoh listen to me, for I am of uncircumcised lips? But I want you to see what happens in Verse 13:” 13 But the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron and gave them a charge about the people of Israel and about Pharaoh king of Egypt: to bring the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt”. God gave them a charge to speak, He commanded it in them and that’s where their boldness came from. We said faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. The charge to speak changed everything in Moses. 

Moses endured as one who sees him who is invisible. Remember in our previous lectures, we talked about the believers wanting to have a physical experience similar to the one they had in the temple rituals. Jesus is the high priest in the order of Melchizedek, and ministers in the true tabernacle erected by God in the heavenly places. None of the readers and us included can see that tabernacle, but as Moses we ought to endure and persevere as one who sees the unseen, but again this is only possible by faith, a faith produced by God in us. I’m not sure why the writer mentions verse 28 in this chapter and can only speculate as to why this is included in this section. The readers and us as well have put our faith in Christ and his sacrificial work, He is the lamb of God, the one that God Himself provided to take away the sins of the world. Through His blood, we are shielded from the wrath of God so that we aren’t destroyed. I believe the writer inserted this at the perfect time. Through Scriptures , he has proved that Jesus is our Passover lamb, and verse 28 is a great reminder for the readers and us that the only way to be saved and shielded from the coming wrath of God is through the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus.

  • Verse 29

 I believe he inserted verse 29 for a specific purpose. There is only one Moses in the scripture. And all of us aren’t going to be remembered as Moses was. He was one of the most respected old testament figures. So it would have been easy for the readers to say, well that’s Moses, I’m not significant like Moses, no one knows who I am. I think the writer was anticipating that hence verse 29. In this verse, Moses isn’t the only one showing courage under difficult circumstances. The entire nation of Israel was involved in the process. Yes they were led by Moses, but they too had to have boldness in order to walk through the Red sea on dry land. And I think the writer specifically mentioned the Egyptians also attempting to do the same and drowning for a specific purpose. In Isaiah 55:10-11, God said that His word would not return to Him void but will accomplish the purpose for which it was sent. The mandate to walk through the Red sea was only intended for the Jewish nation, the word wasn’t meant for the Egyptians. This is why when they try to go in, they perished. It reinforces the definition of faith, it comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. The people of Israel were told to walk through the Red sea and they obeyed because it was intended for them, and it produced boldness from faith that resulted in an action- walking through the Red sea. 

  • Verses 30-31

In verse 30, the nation’s faith is put on display again. God’s word to them was to circle the city seven days and the walls fell. They obeyed the instructions of the Lord because the word was intended for them, so they bravely walked around the city and did according to the word of the Lord. Now what I find very peculiar is the mentioning of Rahab, who was not a Jew but a gentile, and not only that but she had another thing going against her, she was a prostitute. Yet God inserted her in the Hall of Faith. Let’s see this verse more closely. Rahab and the entire city of Jericho had heard what had happened to the Egyptians, and the entire city was in fear, dreading the people of God. I don’t think the spies were aware of that until Rahab disclosed it to them. You can imagine how much more encouraged they became after Rahab’s report. Why would an insignificant gentile prostitute be included in this argument? She could’ve been disobedient and rejected the people of God, but the Lord commanded her to welcome the spies because He showed her His favor, and according to Isaiah 55:10, she wasn’t disobedient and obeyed the word of God. And as a result, she was shielded from God’s wrath against the city of Jericho. Her boldness came from God’s word by faith. If his point wasn’t clear then, it is clear now. Rahab’s faith was a demonstration of God’s grace.

Number one Rahab was not a Jew, two she was a prostitute, three she was a woman. Yet she trusted the word of the Lord which means the grace of God through His word in her life was not in vain. So what is the writer trying to teach his readers? Rahab had everything going against her. She did not know the spies, she could’ve been discovered and killed by her own people. But in spite of all things against her she was bold through the spirit of God working in her by the word of God to do that which was right in the sight  of God. We can only attribute her boldness to the working of the word of God in her through faith.

 

tayib salami
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