In 10:38, 39, Paul mentioned faith with, "The just shall live by faith." The purpose of the argument in this whole letter to the Hebrews was to keep them from turning away from Christianity, and especially from returning again into Judaism.
They were facing tremendous trials and persecutions, even death for their faith at the hands of the Jews. Saul's treatment of the new Christians gives us an insight into what is taking place with these people.
Paul here uses "faith" as the means of securing them into the Christian religion. He gives numerous personal illustrations in this chapter of faith.
As we think of what takes place under Marxism, I'm sure we can find illustration after illustration of the sacrifice of property, character and even life for Christ and His word.
As we think of these thing, I am sure it will cross our mind, "What's the use of holding out if it comes to that? Why don't I just join in with them and enjoy the benefits?"
No doubt this went through these folks mind and Paul pulls out many personal illustrations from Biblical history.
Most striking of all, you will find that faith is consistently standing for God and His word in the face of no results except maybe bad results. No encouragement, only discouragement.
Also through our mind would be "What if I'm wrong? All of this effort would be wasted."
We do not know what the future holds. We have no way of knowing that God is in control. We have no way of even knowing if there is a God. We have no way of knowing anything except the here and now.
Absolutely no way that is, except by faith. The same that we must except that the world was created by God out of nothing, we must believe that God will honour a godly life of obedience.
Heb. 11, I would say is the greatest as well as the most needed of all passages for our day and time. This is especially true as we see that anti-christ crowd gaining in power and authority.
This chapter is even more needed as it seems that God has forgotten about His people here as they face the ungodly people who press for total state control.
There could easily be some confiscation of property ahead for those who will not compromise on the Lord's authority.
This chapter is even more needed as it seems that God has forgotten about His people here as they face the ungodly people who press for total state control.
There could easily be some confiscation of property ahead for those who will not compromise on the Lord's authority.
There could easily be a mental hospital, concentration or internment camps as their was for the Japanese during WW II, maybe prison or even death. There are already reports in this country of lobotomies on people who will not go along with humanism. The insertion of a small knife into the brain so a person will lose all touch with reality.
How will we know if it is worth it to suffer the loss of all things? We won't until after it is all over. This is what faith is.
Most say, "I'll believe it when I see it." Faith is, "I'll believe it if I never see it."
Heb. 11, the most needed passage of our day. To encourage us to press on for God in face of all difficulty.
Heb. 11:1, this is the only definition of faith in the scriptures. The faith here described is not in regards to saving faith but to keeping faith. We will look at it in both lights.
This chapter makes it abundantly clear that faith is not a feeling. Bible faith is action based upon God's word. The faith called for here is to strengthen these believers in the face of the tremendous persecution which they were going through. The truth presented here applies just as much for us today as it did for them.
It is for every child of God who has, is or will, face the pressure to turn back. The pressure to compromise, the pressure to deny the Lord Jesus Christ in action or deed.
We first will look at these statements concerning faith, then we will look at the saving faith and the keeping faith.
Heb. 11:1, now faith the substance of things hoped for. Notice the margin says ground or confidence. There is not a verse in the NT more important than this verse. Here we have the nature of all true faith as well as its definition.
Eternal life depends on faith.
Life pleasing to God depends on faith (Heb. 10:38), for without faith it is impossible to please God, Heb. 11:6.
Substance--- Faith gives the reality or substance to the things hoped for. The word means, "That which is placed under; ground, basis, foundation, support."
It also means, "reality, substance, existence." These things in contrast with the unreal, imaginary or deceptive. Reality vs deception.
The word substance has reference to something which gives reality to things not seen and that reality in opposition to the things which are seen, yet are unreal or illusive. Substance is what enables us to act upon things which to the natural mind seem unreal. It enables us to act upon the unseen as though it were seen. It enables us to act upon the unseen even contrary to the seen. It enables us to act upon the unseen even contrary to the seen.
This substance which is unseen causes us to act as though we see what we are acting on.
I suppose a good illustration would be Fairbanks, Alaska.
I have never been there nor have you. We hear of people who have been there. Many of us have not even seen pictures of Fairbanks. Yet, faith will enable us to act like we have seen Fairbanks with our own eyes.
If we wanted to go there, we would act on that belief or faith that Fairbanks is there. That would be the substance which causes us to act.
We would set out in our car, hitch hiking or taking our money down and buy a plane ticket. We would even invest our money in our faith, confidence that Fairbanks is there and that with proper action we can arrive there safe and sound.
A lack of faith would not result in the confidence which would invest our money in a ticket to get there.
Faith that Fairbanks is there and we can reach it will cause us to act just as though it were before or that we had seen it before our eyes. Even though we have never seen it. This is the substance of things hoped for. We hope to get to Fairbanks, so we act upon it.
This is what the apostle is presenting here. We do not see the eternal things. These eternal things are in direct opposition to the things which we do see, II Cor. 4:18. Faith is the substance that causes us to act as if those things were seen.
We do not see eternity, we do not see God, heaven, angels, the redeemed who are now in glory, the crowns and rewards which are laid up for the faithful. The harps and singing of praise, the spiritual conflict which is taking place.
Yet, faith will cause us to act as though we have seen all of these things. Faith is the foundation, the confidence, the ground work for all of our actions. Faith is what causes us to act on the unseen things. (Promises, conditions, commands as found in the word of God), as though we could see it all.
By faith we make decisions based on eternity as though we could see eternity.
By faith we make our decisions based on the existence of God in heaven that rewards His faithful obedient servants. We make those decisions as though we could see Him upon His throne.
By faith we make decisions based on the word of God just as though we already know the outcome of those decisions.
Tithing is a example which we all can identify with. By faith we obey God in this area just as though we had already experienced the outcome, as thought we had already seen the treasure laid up in heaven, as though we could actually see the funds being deposited in the heavenly bank.
We raise our children, train them properly, as though we could see immediate results.
Let me throw in here. A child is to be raised in the discipline of the Lord. This means discipleship, not chastisement, although chastisement is important.
The discipline of the Lord means the parents living a consistent disciplined life for God before the kids. Temper controlled will result in a child with a controlled temper.
Let me also hit this. When the parents find no pleasure in setting aside the Lord's day for rest in the Lord, neither will the children. If church is a burden or duty to the parents, it will be to the children also.
If the Lord's day is regarded as just another day to work and make extra money for the parents, it will be for the children.
Proper attitude toward authority will be reflected by the children. If it is shown by the parents, no one is out from under authority.
Far too many parents think that because they enforce a set of rules upon their children and maybe have them in a Christian school that they are training them up in the way they should go.
NOTHING could be farther from the truth. Eph. 6:4, Fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Chastisement (according to a set of rules), without the discipleship will result in very wrathful children.
Dad's, if we have no desire or enjoyment in God's word or prayer, neither will our children. Then we wonder why they don't enjoy God's word. If we as parents or teaching, neither will they.
I can remember just after we came here, looking into Jessica's room and there she was reading her Bible. We didn't have to tell her or even suggest to her that she should. She thinks that everyone enjoys reading the Scriptures because she sees this in her parents.
Parent's, Dad's especially, think they can go on in indifference to God, His word, His church and work, and even the Lord's day, and raise children that will enjoy serving God.
If Christian parents, especially dads, would show as much enthusiasm toward God and His work as they do toward their job or toward sports or toward other things which they enjoy, (the TV), we would soon have a godly generation of young people who would enjoy studying Scriptures, prayer, and going to church, serving God and even making sacrifice in order to remain true to His laws.
As long as professing Christian parents show more enthusiasm and enjoyment for the things of this world, than they do for the things of God, we will turn out very carnal children who have no time for God.
The nurture and admonition of the Lord (Eph. 6:4), is the consistent love for God and enjoyment for His word, His work, His day, His house, His law, shown by the parents, fathers especially.
When this is ignored, there is absolutely no way we can expect God to work in the hearts of our children. He can only work in their hearts as we do what is right by faith.
Now, He may see fit to intervene by His mercy and override the indifference of the parents, but this is sure a poor hope. Notice, Heb. 11:23.
Moses parents acted by faith. Their confidence in God's word was stronger than their fear of the King's commandments.
I know of parents in LA, who were proud that their children chose to work on Sunday rather than honour the Lord's day. I'm sorry, Ex. 20:8 is still in the scripture: Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work. Thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maid servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within the gates: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
If you will follow this principle through you will find that honouring the one day in seven is a very important witness before the heathen by God's covenant people.
When those parents permitted and even encouraged their children to work on Sunday, it did nothing but destroy those kids respect for the Lord and His day.
Their kids grew up unable to see any reason to set aside the Lord's day. Why? Because the parents saw no need to, and the parents are now broken hearted over their children's indifference to God and church.
Now, there were/are situations where it was/is necessary. The fellows which had to stand "alert" had to miss that day, but this is a different story.
We are to turn disciples out of our home in our children. I should say, "We will turn disciples out of our home." They will either be disciples which follow a godly manner of life established by us, their parents, or disciples of the world because of the worldly manner of life displayed by their parents.
Faith is the substances which causes us to live before them what we hope one day they will be.
If we want them to grow up seeing the need of honouring the Lord's day and the Lord's house, that is the way we live before them, even at a sacrifice on our part.
If we want them to grow up seeing the need to read and study God's word and to spend time in prayer, that is the way we live before them.
If we want them to grow up seeing the need to make sacrifices for God and what His word teaches, then live that before them. Sad to say, if we want them to see that Christianity and the freedoms we have enjoyed here in this nation are not worth sacrifice, then live that way before them.
I have heard that there is only about a 5% success rate in the Christian schools. This is very close to the same rate as is turned out by the statist, humanist schools. Why?
Because the parents won't wake up to the fact that the discipleship program is in the home, not in the church or schools.
The attitudes which we display before our children, will be picked up by them. We will make disciples of ourselves out of them. Will it be a godly discipleship or a worldly discipleship?
We make the sacrifice now before our kids to be faithful to His law-word. We pay the price now before our kids to live a consistent Christ honouring life before them.
We do this by faith just as Moses mother did in Heb. 11:23. Then when the hard choice comes in that child's life, they will also make the choice as Moses did in Heb. 11:24.
Let me throw this in. What if Moses parents had made the choice in v. 23, based on what it would cost them? What kid of a choice would Moses have bade in vv. 24-26? We want our children to make the choice of vv. 24-26, yet we are unwilling to.
Those parents who make their choice based on financial gain rather than what will please God or glorify God more, will reap the results in their children.
Faith. The substance which causes us to act now as though we have seen the end result. That action contrary to what the reasoning will say is right.
Go ahead parents. Let's lay down a list of do's and don'ts. But, do this apart from a disciplined life on our part which pleases God according to His law and the result will be many tears as we see our children rebel against the list of do's and don'ts.
But, let's live a consistent disciplined life of faith according to God's law and our heart will leap with joy as we see our children also living according to that discipline. Let's, by faith, base our decisions upon how we want our children to turn out, on what we want them to do and be. All done by faith.
By faith we come to Him in prayer. We come boldly to His throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need just as though we could walk in and talk to him and see immediate results.
In fact, the apostle make it clear here that any decision or action not based upon belief in these eternal things is sin.
Of things hoped for. As Christians, we have a hope of: eternal reward, resurrection from the dead, to be freed from sin, to rejoice evermore.
Let's us not keep it so spiritual and eternal it will do us no good now. Paul doesn't because he goes into action. He tells how this confidence in the eternal which could not be seen controlled the actions in the here and now. Actions in the face of pressure and persecution.
evidence of things not seen. Faith is the foundation for the proof of things we cannot see. Again, the eternal things we have already mentioned. God, heaven, angels, the reward, mansion prepared for the redeemed.
Evidence here is used in the sense of evidence, proof, as used to convict a guilty party in a trial. It is the convincing (convicting), argument against the guilty. It is the proof of guilt. The only other use of this word (evidence), is in II Tim. 3:16. (reproof)
"Faith in the word of God and what it says about any subject is the convincing argument which convicts the mind, convincing the mind of the reality of the eternal."
To the god haters, you would never convince him of any such thing, that you could "ague" from faith to reality. They argue from reality to faith which has no life changing power in it.
Isn't it strange, the unsaved would argue to the death over the existence of Fairbanks, Alaska, even though he has never even seen it or a picture of it. Yet, the same man would die before he would accept by faith God and His eternal plan.
Now, before we pursue the practical aspects of faith as outlined by Paul from the rest of this verse, let me point out the salvation part of faith.
Eph. 2:8, 9, gives us a good starting place, as well as II Tim. 3:16. Also, II Tim. 2:25 covers this point.
God in His word presents the plan of salvation. According to Rom. 10:17, so then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God, as the word of God is presented to the unsaved the Holy Spirit works in them to give them the confidence to accept or trust in what Christ did.
It is as the gospel of the substitutionary death, burial and resurrection is preached in faith that the other person is dealt with and believes.
We didn't see what Christ did. We can only read o f it. We cannot see where He now is. We can only read of it.
Yet even though we cannot see any of these things we believe it just as sure as we believe there is a Fairbanks and buy our ticket and get on the plane. Our faith acts on our belief and trusts the plane to get us there safely, just as surely as if we had seen it with our eyes.
As we argue from this position to others who do not believe, the Holy Spirit works in them so they also will take the step of faith. Not faith in the face there is a God but faith, total confidence that He provided substitute for our sins in His only begotten Son.
Salvation is when we place the same confidence in Him as our substitute as we would if we could see Him actually taking our place, Jn. 20:29.
Rom. 8:24, 25 is quite clear on this. We are saved by hope in a person we have never seen. We are saved by a total confidence in something which we did not see Him do. We are promised a home that not even anyone we know has returned to tell us about.
This is like laying down cold, hard cash, then boarding a plane to a place we have only read about and where no one has returned to tell about.
Many have gone there, but none have returned. We are saved by placing all our confidence (faith), in what has been done for us.
Others are, convicted and saved as we speak from and about this hope.
Let's move on to the practical aspect of faith. Faith is that substance which causes to us act as though we had actually seen or experienced something even though, we have not. Faith acts upon that confidence without hesitation.
Let's get it down to a parent-child relationship. When the child has learned by experience that his parent has never deceived him then the child will develop confidence in the parents word. Confidence that will cause the child to act on any promise the parent might make.
The child of God is the same. We have never seen God nor heaven.
We have never seen our Redeemer, nor a body raised from the grave.
We have never seen an angel but we have enough evidence in God's
word to satisfy
our minds that these things are true.
The child of God is convinced that these things are true, even more than if he had seen them. He is so convinced that they are true that he takes action upon them.
Now, the purpose of chp. 11, is not to explain or examine
saving faith. The purpose is far more pointed for us of our day.
It's purpose is to encourage these Christians to remain faithful
to the Lord Jesus Christ and His word in the face of tremendous
persecution and trial. The exhortation here is to remain faithful
to the total lose of everything and even to the death. Faithful
to a person we have never seen, faithful to a cause which seems
hopeless, faithful to a reward which we will not know nothing
about until we get there.
As we have thought about before, faithful to His dear Son and His authority over us even under Marxist form of government.
V. 2. Now the apostle shows these Christians that what they are facing is not new. He also shows them what held the saints of old to their profession.
For by faith, by faith, by this substance, by this confidence
which was based in something not seen. This persuasion of the
mind which was formed by things not seen.
The elders of course the forefathers of the Hebrew race.
Obtained a good report or gained a good reputation as was told of them in the holy scriptures.
V. 3. Through faith we understand-- This is the very basic of all of the Christian life and walk and belief. We have already mentioned, the world or natural man requires understanding before they will believe. We believe, therefore we understand.
Let us point out that we cannot argue for the existence of God. What point will you base your argument on? All things must be considered from Him. Everything must be accepted or argued in relation to Him.
How does Scripture start? In the beginning God--- Everything must start here and Paul does exactly that in Heb. 11:3. Here at the very beginning of this tremendous faith chapter, he states the fact of God. He doesn't argue for God but from God.
Someone may say, "But, they don't believe in God so I have to start by convincing them."
1.) Belong, everyone believes in God, although some may deny it.
2.) It isn't our arguing ability which will change a person's belief. The Holy Spirit is the only one that can reveal the God of the Scriptures to anyone, Lk. 10:21, 22. Our job isn't to convince others about God, our job is to be true and faithful to His word and His job is to reveal Himself to that person. I Cor. 2:10-14; II Cor. 4:3-6.
The determining factor in that person's change of mind concerning God and His Christ is not our ability to argue them down. The determining factor is the work of the Holy Spirit, and He works in accord with His word.
Heb. 11:3, that the worlds were framed---, Paul starts with an explanation or illustration of faith which is most basic. How do we know how the world began? Who was here to record the beginning? Where is the picture? Where is the secular historical record?
Our knowledge on the subject of how did it all start is a matter of faith in the account given to us by God. It cannot be reasoned out nor verified. We simply have God's word on it. There is nothing else to rely on for the record of the beginning.
Our knowledge of the fact of the worlds beginning is obtained only from faith and not from any reasoning ability.
That the worlds--- The plural indicates the existence of more than one world. The stars being plants some what like those we know of.
Were framed--- This is not a reference to created but to put in order or arrange through faith we are convinced that God placed the universe in its present order. God told Job (Job 38:30-33), that HE ordered everything.
By the word of God--- This isn't a reference to the logos (Christ the second person of the Trinity), but a spoken word. Gen. 1:3, And God said, let there be light: and there was light. Etc.
Ps. 33:6, By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.
Faith, the substance which causes us to act on something as though we have already seen it or experienced the end result.
V. 3. So that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. The visible creation was not molded out of pre-existing materials, but was made from nothing. There is absolutely nothing today which will help us comprehend this. Everything we know of was made out of something.
Yet, faith is the substance which allows us to understand that the things that we see today were at one time made out of nothing. God spoke it all into existence.
We have a young man in LA, who got an appointment with a University of LA, professor in Shreveport. He asked the professor how it all began and the professor gave him the long evolution story. The young man waited patiently for him to tell it all then he asked "And where did that come from?" He got another long theory of where the one cell animal came from. Then He asked again, "And where did that come from?" He got his long spill back to the big bank theory. Then he asked, "Where did that come from?"
The professor could not answer him and ran him out of his office. There must be a starting point and ours is God. We argue from God and God gives the faith.
The doctrine clearly presented here is that matter was not nor is it eternal. The material which we see is not reality. The real is God and His word.
This comes back to the argument of faith. Faith is the substance, the physical substance is not the foundational material to make decisions on.
The eternal is the things that do not yet appear. Yet we must act as though they do appear. Again, this is II Cor. 4:18.
Paul is trying to convince these Hebrew Christians (as well as Christians of all ages), to make their decisions based on the foundation of things which are eternal, and therefore, not seen. Here in 11:3, he points out that everything we see has a foundation in things which do not appear.
The rest of the doctrine presented here is that all of the universe, its arrangement as well as the material it is made up of was all accomplished by a simple command of God. "And God said--"
He is tying the two together. God formed all things from things that do not appear. Likewise our faith is not to be based on things that do appear. Our faith, confidence, deciding factor (substance on which we make decisions or act upon), is not on things which we can see, touch or reason out. Rather our every action is based in Him who had the power to create all things that are seen with a mere word. If God can call it all into existence with a mere word, what can He not do?
Starting with 11:4 He tells of past people in history which made their decisions, not on the seen, but on the seen as though it were seen.
The first one Paul mentions is the first one mention in Scriptures, Abel. Here are two offerings compared, Gen. 4. Cain, a tiller of the ground, brought the fruit of the ground. Abel, a keeper of sheep brought one of the flock.
Why did God accept one and not the other? Gen. 3:24 gives us a hint. There was the slaying of the innocent victim to cover the sins. We have no reason to doubt that Adam understood this and that it was the foreshadow of the Redeemer, 3:15.
Adam would have taught this to his children, Cain and Abel. When it came time for them to make the offering for their own sins, Cain brought the fruit of the ground rather than remaining true to the instructions of his father, Adam.
No doubt Cain felt the fruit of his efforts would be just as good as was Abel's, yet we see that God rejected his offering. How did God reject this offering? We don't know.
All we know from Paul's statement in Heb. 11:4, is that Cain's offering was not by faith and Abel's was. Evidently, Abel's offering showed faith in the coming Redeemer. Also, evidently, Abel's offering was made in the face of ridicule, scoffing and pressure from his older brother, Cain.
This would lead us to conclude that Abel did out make the offering from the flock because that was what he had at hand, but he made the offering from the sheep because it was required by God.
The offering was by faith and it was contrary to what would seem to be okay.
This leads us to the way of Cain mentioned in I Jn. 3:12, as well as Ja. 11. Cain did what he felt was best and that being in violation to the word of God. This sin is exceptionally prevalent today.
Maybe there were several reasons for it. Mainly, pride. "Why should I have to go buy a sheep of my brother, goody two shoes. My 'veges' are just as good as his sheep. God will accept this because it is my best."
This is to close to avoid. Sincerity never helped anyone. A person can be as sincere as a heart attack and die and go to hell. Sincerity and the truth alone will please God.
The context of Heb. 11 would lead us to believe that Abel by faith, remained faithful to the desires of God even in the face of cruel mockings by his brother who told him, "it really wasn't that important." This faithfulness led to his death.
Death, yet speaketh--- This could refer to a couple of things.
1.) Gen. 4:10 tells "blood crieth unto God from the ground."
I think this shows us that the blood of those killed for their faithfulness to God cries out to God for vengeance against the ungodly.
Again, keep the context. Heb. 12:4 was written before 70 A.D. In Matt. 23:35 we see that all of the blood of the godly, shed by the ungodly (from Abel to Zacharias), for their stand, was going to require of that present generation. When Heb. 12:4 was written, Abel's blood was still crying out for vengeance by God. That vengeance came, Matt. 23:38.
On this I am not dogmatic, but Rev. 6:9-11, seems to fit here.
This gives us another conclusion from Heb. 11:4. Paul assuring these Christians who are being persecuted by these Jewish leaders (as Paul did at one time, as Saul), that the blood of Abel is crying for vengeance and it will come from God.
In Cain we have the illustration of jealousy and hatred toward the righteous.
Of course, the application for this passage is just as much for today as it was then. Those who are persecuting the body of Christ (the church), will have the vengeance of God against them.
The blood of those who are being killed for their testimony is crying out for vengeance and God will settle all accounts when His time is right.
Let us add with Abel. It took about 4,000 years for it to catch up, but it did. Abel's blood cried out for 4,000 years before God answered. We think it takes a long time for God to hear us.
2.) The second paint this presents (he being dead, yet speaketh), would be that our life lives on far after we do. The life of a righteous person who loves and serves God will live on for many years.
Abel's actions which he did by faith still bears testimony. When he acted on what the word of God said regardless of the pressure or how he felt about it, he gained God's favor. He acted as though he had already seen the results.
Now we come to the next one.
Heb. 11:5. By faith, Enoch--- We find this account in Gen. 5:21-24. There the account of Enoch is very short and to the point. At the age of 365 years, after a godly life, God removed him from the earth.
We have a more complete view of Enoch in the NT. Here in Heb. 11:5, we see that Enoch was a very godly man during that 365 years. We have a further insight into Enoch in Jude 14.
There we see that Enoch was the seventh from Adam who preached the coming judgment of God against the ungodly. We can take it for granted that the world by Enoch's time was almost totally corrupted. Enoch's son was Methuselah. Methuselah's son was Lemech. Lemech's son was Noah.
Noah named him Methuselah's, his name meant, "at his death the sending forth of waters." Enoch was 65 years old, and lived another 300 years. Methuselah lived 969 years and his death brought the flood.
By the time the flood got here there was only 8 persons righteous enough to spare.
All of that to say this. We can safely say that the world was close to totally corrupt in Enoch's day. There are some things which Heb. 11:5 point to:
1.) Enoch was a preacher to a very wicked world. No doubt his preaching drew ridicule, mocking, hatred, as well as abuse and persecution.
He had a son before he was translated named Methuselah. In fact, Methuselah was alive 300 years while his dad, Enoch, was still preaching the coming judgment. Methuselah was named by faith also because his name spoke of the coming judgment.
No doubt that the name also invoked great ridicule and mocking from the ungodly crowd. Also in this name, Methuselah had to bear it by faith in an very ungodly generation. We see that Methuselah was a faithful man because he named his son Lemech who named his son Noah. Noah meaning, "He shall comfort us, Gen. 5:29." Through Enoch, Methuselah, Lemech and finally, Noah, we see the line of faith in God's word still alive in the midst of a very perverse nation.
Enoch appears here in Hebrew and in Genesis as the only voice for righteous, reproving sin and wickedness.
2.) Secondly, we see that Enoch was supernaturally removed. I'm sure as he preached, the ungodly ridiculed, mocked and even persecuted him. He stood fast and would not compromise.
The wicked no doubt, ridiculed his message of righteousness and judgment to come. I'm sure they had convinced themselves that the story of Adam and Eve was a fable passed down and actually they had evolved.
We know he preached judgment to come and that judgment by water (he named his son, Methuselah). We can safely assume that the ungodly mocked him. We can assume that the ungodly world did not believe the message of judgment; of life after death; of a God who would intervene (as we see from Peter, 2 P. 3:4, "All things will continue on as they are"). They would mock any message which spoke of a life, after this life. As far as they were concerned, it's all over when you die, and here is Enoch, preaching that they were wrong.
So what does God do. He takes Enoch out of the world without death. Notice Heb. 11:5, --And was not found. I can see the turmoil now. Here Enoch, no doubt was a very public figure who had been preaching of coming judgment against their ungodliness.
He had named his son to speak of that judgment.
The ungodly had ridiculed his message and now Enoch is taken up. Maybe even in their sight. This would verify what he had preached in a supernatural way. They did not want supernatural intervention because it would speak against their ungodly deeds.
We can be assured that there was a "diligent search" made for him over all the world of their day. Yet he could not be found.
His departure would make an impression which his preaching could never do. Was there a revival? Of course, we don't know anything except that the flood came about 670 years later.
The ungodly could argue against the fact of a life after this and the resurrection all they want to, yet, what happened to Enoch would destroy their argument.
3.) We see with Enoch that it is possible to live a life for God and be faithful to His word in our life and actions in the midst of a world totally given over to wickedness.
"Everyone else is doing it," is no excuse. Enoch lived (as did Noah), in the day when EVERYONE ELSE was doing it, yet they not only refused to join in, they stood against it. They preached and protested in every way they could against ungodliness.
Enoch stood alone in the face of total opposition. For before his translation he had testimony, that he pleased God. He left a godly son to carry on his message also.
We see with Enoch, no matter how much of the world has gone after wickedness and ungodliness, His people can stand no matter how much pressure is applied, His people can stand.
Enoch should be an encouragement for us to remain faithful to God and His Christ no matter what the future may hold. If everyone in the world corrupts themselves, we can remain true.
4.) Another thing with Enoch. God could remove His people from this earth if He wanted to. God could remove those stricken with serious illness. Those facing destruction. Those in persecution, suffering of all kinds if He so desire. So why doesn't He? It isn't because He is unable to.
a.) The grace of God is manifested far greater in His saints who remain faithful in the trials, temptations and sufferings of this life.
This grace will speak to others and in this way the kingdom is advanced.
b.) The grace of God shown in overcoming the natural fear of death is a powerful testimony. It shows that this grace is more powerful than death itself, Heb. 2:15.
c.) Also, the death of the righteous preaches to the wicked concerning their evil deeds. It preaches to the living.
d.) Death even to the most righteous shows that none will escape death. Neither the godly nor the ungodly. Both had better be prepared for that unexpected event.
As we look at Enoch in the context of Heb. 11:5, we see that it would hold special importance to these people. They were facing all kinds of persecution, yet not near as bad as Enoch.
Paul moves right on to Heb. 11:6 from Enoch. This verse would go with Heb. 11:1. To me it further identifies Biblical faith.
for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, Faith that there is a God has just as much confidence as though you could reach over and touch Him or see Him.
I believe there is a Regan even though I have never seen him.
This doesn't include 'conquering' up an image of God in our minds.
And, that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. This is as important as confidence that He is.
It is impossible to approach Him or please Him, unless we are as persuaded that He exists as we are persuaded that our family member exists. The next thing we must be firmly persuaded of is He hears and answers prayer.
Unless we are totally persuaded that He exists, and that He is in a position to hear and answer ANY prayer, we cannot please Him.
Again, the context, Enoch. Enoch was totally convinced of these things and God rewarded him.
The Hebrew Christians were being persuaded to compromise and Paul reminds them of Enoch.
The pressure is on us today and it will probably get much worse before it improves. Yet in all, remember Enoch.
In addition to Heb. 11:6, God cannot be pleased with the person who had no confidence in Him, who doubts the truth of His word and promises; that His ways are right. This persuasion of this truth then governs our every action.
Then we come to Noah. Probably the best known character of the OUT, Gen. 6:8-14; I Pet. 3:20; II Pet. 2:5.
To me, Noah is one of the best examples of faith in the Scripture. Our Lord also refers to Noah, Matt. 24:37; Lk. 17:26.
God warned Noah of the approaching flood. How? He was warned of things not yet seen. The flood was yet in the distant future with no visible signs of it. Noah then both preached and prepared based upon that far off warning.
Based on this warning he prepared the ark and saved his family.
By the which he condemned the world--- His confidence in God's word caused him to act. His righteous actions as he prepared the ark showed the wisdom of his course and the folly of theirs. His actions condemned the world. Do ours?
I think this is one of the major doctrines of Scripture. As we live righteously our life is contrasted with the wicked. This is the most powerful sermon that can be preached. A righteous life produces guilt in the wicked.
He became heir--- Not in the sense of a physical heir, but he took up the actions of righteousness.
There are several things which stand out about Noah's faith.
1.) His faith pertained to a very distant future event. It would be well over 100 years before he would see the word of God come to pass which he had acted upon. In fact, he spent this time building an ark and preaching.
This is much longer than we are required to act by faith. We may be called on to exercise faith for 60 years or so, but probably a lot less than that.
2.) There was not outward evidence that what Noah believed would occur. There was no signs in nature which pointed to the coming judgment. There was only the wickedness in men which we also have to day.
There were no signs of a terrible storm in the far distances. No breaking up of the deep.
The word of God alone was his only evidence which caused action, Heb. 11:1.
So it is now. There is no visible sign of the coming Son of God in judgment. All we have is His word that He will come and judge sin.
3.) The natural order of things was very contrary to what Noah believed. The indication from Scripture is that there had been no rain upon the earth until the flood. Let alone enough rain to cover the world. The course of nature was fixed and had been for 1,600 years or so, II Pet. 3:4.
What Noah was basing his belief (and actions), on was as contrary to the course of nature as anything could be.
Today, the laws of nature are as regular as they can be. We see no raising of the dead; no fire engulfing the earth; no melting of the elements. There has been no interruption of seed time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter.
Yet, we are called on to live as though we have already seen all of these pass away.
4.) There can be little doubt that the 'thinkers' (Philosophers), of Noah's age not only denied such a possibility of a flood, but also ridiculed and mocked Noah as he moved with fear and prepared the ark.
Noah would have had no answer for them except his confidence in the word of God. He would not have been able to prove one point of what he was preaching from science. Yet it happened.
His only answer to their quarries and mockings would have had to been, "This is what God says."
Noah was no fool or fanatic for simply believing God's word in the face of the Philosophies of his day.
Today, we really have no answer to discredit science (so called), and the vain Philosophies of our day except God's revealed word, Col. 2:8; I Tim. 6:20.
Scientific Creationsim is a misstatement. We believe in creation because the word of God says it. Not because it is scientifically superior. All of our arguments must be from God's word.
5.)Beyond all doubt, Noah would be subjected to much ridicule and scorn. Probably far more than we can imagine. He would be seen as a dreamer; fanatic; alarmist.
His preaching of a coming flood as well as the building of an ark which would ride it out would have been seen as totally ridiculous.
This was for 120 years. Can you imagine the plays which were made in mockery? The world-wide joking about it. The news coverage would have ridiculed him unmercifully. The songs and ballads made up about him.
Noah and his boat would have given them a topic for just for 120 years.
Think of the faith this required no Noah's part to continue on in obedience to God's word.
How quick do we meekly back down after we are made a subject of jest.
6.) The jeers and jesting Noah endured would have been heightened by the 120 year delay. This would be four generations in our day. Four generations passed. Birth, old age and still no signs of the flood. Noah would be a fine example of a strong faith.
The church today. Faith in a victorious Christ, yet we see no signs of that victory. Generation after generation pass on, yet we are exhorted to hang onto that hope. The only evidence of the final conquest of Christ which we have is only His word and its promises. Ps. 110:1; Acts 2:35; Heb. 1:13; 10:13, etc.
Ps. 2:8, we see no evidence today of this coming to pass, yet we have a sure confidence that it will. When will it all be given to Him as His inheritance? We have no idea, yet we remain faithful to the promise.
The long delay will be used by the world and the devil to discourage.
The seemingly hopeless state of the church (body of Christ), will be used to discourage.
The outward weakness and subjection of Christianity will be used to discourage.
Yet, Noah, the only man left who feared God enough to act was right and the whole earth was wrong.
The wicked seem to triumph. Yet let's remain firm and strong in Him.
Heb. 11:8, now we come to Abraham. We find his record in Gen. 12. Noah lived some 350 years after the flood. He lived to the ripe old age of 950.
I find these dates and ages quite interesting and very confusing. Therefore let me quote Leupold (Barnes' Notes, Vol. I, pg. 395), in his notes on Genesis.
"For convenience 'sake we have appended three names for
which the requisite information is not found in our chapter. A
comparison yields the following interesting facts. Since Noah
died 2006, he lived fifty eight years after the birth of Abraham.
Shem, for that matter, did not die till Jacob was 48 years old.
Furthermore, Shem outlived even Abraham, as did also Eber. No
doubt, there was a divine providence behind this matter of ages.
Men like Noah and Shem were granted great length of life that,
being historic person ages and survivors of the flood, they might
by their very presence as well as by their testimony offer warning
to their godless successors. For Luther, no doubt, argues correctly
when he deduces from the activity of the godless in their ungodly
projects, that the true children of God will on their part also
have proved themselves active in upholding righteousness and in
directing the OUT church. These godly patriarchs were the repositories
of sound tradition and pillars and bulwarks of the truth over
against the corrupt by error.
We see at this point, too, how very few links there actually were in the chain of tradition from Adam to Abraham. For since Adam lived to the time of Methuselah (or Lemech), and Methuselah lived to the time of Shem, and Shem lived to the time of Jacob, the original truth which Adam possessed was transmitted through but three links of the chain till it came into Jacob's possession.' When we consider besides how these men were all renowned for their piety and their fidelity, we may readily concede that they must have watched over the preservation of truth with zealous care."
All of that to say this. Here was both Noah and Shem still alive. Two men who lived through the total judgment against sin. Yet even while these two men were alive the world grew wicked again. In fact, by Gen. 12, we find it was totally wicked, even including Abraham. Probably the only righteous man alive at this time was Shem.
Now, something we need to understand about Abraham. When God called Abram, Abram was not seeking or serving God. Abram was an idol worshiper as was everyone else at that time. Man is totally depraved, Gen. 8:21. Rather than smiting the earth again as He did with the flood, He is going to chose a people out to work through and to show Himself strong through.
Acts 7:3 gives us another record of Abram call. A even better record is found in Joshua 24:2, 3.
I want us to see this and understand it well. God called Abraham by HIS SOVEREIGN GRACE. He did not call Abraham because Abram was searching or seeking for God. He did not look down on the sins of men and say, "My, my, how about that. Look at Abram there. He has a spark of good in him. He is seeking after me, therefore I am going to speak to him. He is the only one with some good in him or that I see some good will come from him."
No, He looked down and saw Abram serving idols like everyone else was doing at the time. By His grace, and NOTHING else, God decided to speak to Abram.
If we think God choose us because of some god that He thought might be there, we are greatly deceived. Man is conceived in sin and nothing but the grace of God can ever do anything about it.
The decision was totally God's. Based completely in His good pleasure. No doubt, Abram was satisfied with his idols.
God spoke to Abram, while he was in Ur of the Chaldees. His civilization was not some cave man style either. Research has turned up flesh toilets as well as hot and cold running water where Abram lived. God's call involved leaving a highly advanced civilization, the center of the world of his time.
The call involved leaving ease, comfort, security and wealth for the unknown.
Abram was just going about his business, serving the idols of his fathers and God spoke to him. God chaos him to be a representative of Him here on this earth among wicked men. God choose Abram to work through and to bless all of mankind through.
Now the call, Gen. 12:1.
1.) Get out from your own country and people. 2.) Go to a place I will show you. 3.) I will bless you. a.) Make of thee a great nation. b.) Bless you. c.) Make thy name great. d.) Thou salt be a blessing. e.) I will bless them that bless thee. f.) Curse them that curse thee. g.) In thee all of the families of the earth shall be blessed.
Then, Gen. 12:4, Abram acted on this. He had no proof or assurance. He had no substance which he could touch or see to show him this was the right thing to do. He had no way to understand what he was doing.
The only substance he had to base his decision on was the promise of God. He did not know where he was going nor how God was going to do this, but he went. Abraham believed God and it was counted unto him for righteousness, Gen. 15:6. He obeyed not knowing where he was going and he became known as the father of faith.
Now, quickly (well!!!), let's look at this blessing. Let me cover some basic doctrine while we are here. As an introduction let me point out that Abram was giving up a life of ease, security, material prosperity, reputation, comfort, for only a promise. That promise made by a God whom he had not been serving. Abram was called on to renounce the things of the world for only a promise of things to come.
There is a saying, "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush." With Abram, "A promised bird in the bush was worth two in the hand," and he acted.
Idolatry and sin had made its way into Abram family. He also was being influenced by it. God removed Abram from that influence so He could work in him. The call has come down every since to the church. God's call is for us to separate from the ungodly. We are not to be in business with them. We are not to be close friends with them. We are not to date or marry them.
You will notice Heb. 11:17, corresponds with 11:8. By faith Abraham---. First was his call to separate from ANY WORLDLY thing which would interfere with his obedience to God.
Second, was his call to separate from even his only child if that would interfere with his obedience to God. (Note, there is more space dedicated to Abraham here in Heb. 11, than to any other, 12 verses. In fact, he is held up as the example all through Scripture).
Here in Heb. 11, an ungodly attachment to his son, Isaac, is placed on the same level as a ungodly attachment to land and worldly goods.
Let me point out, anything which prevents our obedience to the principles of God's word is an idol. If we base our decisions on what it will cost us in worldly goods or attainment, that is an idol. Or even what it will cost us in our family.
If we base our decision on what affect it will have on our relationship with our children, then they are an idol. If we base our decisions on what we want for our children, that is an idol. All decisions must be based upon what God says in His word. Anything less will cost us our children.
What we want to see our children obtain cannot be our standard. Only what God wants our children to obtain can be our standard. Abram here in Heb. 11 saw this. He was willing to sacrifice even his only son (the son of promise), to the principles of God's word.
I know of parents who won't take a firm stand with their children because they are afraid of making them mad or losing them. That is idolatry.
The only substance Abraham had to make his decision on was the word of God. Look at this:
1.) He was called to leave everything behind.
2.) He was called to go some place he had never been.
3.) He went.
4.) The call included the promise of a marvelous inheritance to his children when he had no children. It would be another 25 years before he would. Yet he believed God's word when everything natural stood against it.
Abraham was quite a rich man, probably one of the richest of his day. He stepped out by faith from his homeland to go, he knew not where. In doing this he put all of his wealth on the line. We know that within a few years, after his trip into Egypt, he was able to put 300 fighting men into the battle to rescue his nephew, Lot (Gen. 14).
Here in Hebrews, we have a very quick overview of our father Abraham. Moses gives us a much more detailed account of Abraham, Gen. 12, 25. In fact, probably more scripture dedicated to Abraham than there is for anyone else other than Christ. As we look at Abraham, I find something very striking.
HE IS A MAN LIKE YOU AND I. He has his faults and his strengths. He made his mistakes and had his successes.
Here in Gen., the Lord, through Moses, shows us a behind the scene view of the man regarded so highly in the NT. In fact, the Jews of Christ's day were exceptionally proud of Abraham.
They believed that in Abraham's faithful obedience to the call of God in 12:1-4, and with the sacrifice of His Son, there was enough favor from God for all of Abraham's succeeding generations.
We know folks like this today. If you try to ask them about their relationship to the Lord, they will start telling you about how much their parents loved God. There are some afraid to get saved because of fear of what their parents might say. "You have always been saved." "You got saved like I did, and I know I'm saved."
If you try to talk to them about getting out of a church which doesn't preach the word of God, they will tell how their dad helped build it, or how mom taught SS there for years, or that their parents, grandparents are buried in the back yard. Yet if their godly fathers knew what was now going on in that church, they would move their own grave.
God, here in Gen., shows us what took place as He called Abraham out.
12:5, we see that God told Abraham to leave his kindred behind, yet he took them with him. Abraham obeyed the word of the Lord by faith and departed from Ur of the Chaldees.
He stepped out by faith, not knowing where he was headed. God promised to direct his path. He arrived according to the promise of the Lord.
There are two points we need to see here. Simple and you have probably already heard them.
1.) He stepped out not knowing where God was leading him. Very seldom does God show us where we are headed when we step out. We are only required to follow his word today. Not tomorrow. Our Lord addressed this very thing, Matt. 6:24-34.
Human nature wants to know what the outcome will be before we act. God says, "Here's my word. Act on it today and I will direct your steps. I will take care of you tomorrow."
Most of us in Abraham's place would have said, "Lord, where are we going? How do I know you can take care of this big group of people I have with me? It will be my luck Lord, you'll get me out there in the desert and forget I am there. Are you sure about this, Lord? After all, I hear there are some ungodly people out there that don't like you, nor anyone who represents you."
Probably even truer would be, "Lord, I would like to go, but see, I have this bill due at the end of the month. The bank wouldn't like the idea of me leaving like this."
Or maybe, "I have it good here Lord. Are you sure you want me to put it all on the line and risk losing it?"
Our requirement is to obey God today. Do what is pleasing in His sight today. We are experts at worrying about tomorrow when we can't control one minute of it. We cannot prevent one hair from turning grey nor falling out. God can and He will take care of our tomorrow if we will take care of His will today.
2.) The second thing here about Gen. 12:5.
Abraham finished what he started. He was not finished until he got to the place God had promised him.
a.) Abraham was 75 years old when he started this journey. It was another 25 years before he received the promised son and he never did see v. 7 accomplished.
It is never too late to serve God. There is something for everyone to do.
Solomon said it well in Ecc. 8:6-8:
1.) God had established the timetable.
2.) No man can control it. (Might mention here. There are two reasons for the high suicide rate. Prov. 8:35, But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul; all they that hate me love death. As our younger generation is taught to hate God, the natural result is a love of death. One of the most popular rental videos today is a video called, "The many faces of death." This is the natural result of removing God from society.
The second reason for the high suicide rate is that suicide is the aliment attempt by man to control his own destiny. This is a reason that Euthanasia is gaining such popularity. Man wants to control birth (abortion and birth control), and death (mercy killing). "Test tube babies" is another attempt to control life. That attempt is in rebellion.
Solomon said (Ecc. 3:1-8), there is a time---. God control that time. Man is his rebellion against God is using every means he can to take that control away from God. Ps. 2, God sits in heaven and laughs at man's foolish attempts.
All of that to say this, God controls birth and death. We are involved in a war against evil during that time and Ecc. 8:8, there is no discharge in that was.
(New Christians and young people, you have a long life of warfare ahead. I have good news for you. It will be hard. There will be heartaches, pain and suffering. Paul made it clear to Timothy (II Tim. 2), that it will be a warfare of strife, sacrifice, hard work, trouble, suffering. It will require tremendous courage and patience.
It will seem as though it is all hopeless. We will see no visible results (more often than not). There will be many people (good and bad), who will come along to side-track, discourage and even mislead you. There will be false teachers by the army.
Your friends will forsake you as you step out by faith in His word. Maybe I should say, "Your fiends will want to remain in Ur of the Chaldees while you want to obey God." They won't really forsake you. What will happen is that you will find that you are going different directions. They want to live after the flesh while you want to obey God's word.
(II Tim. 2:19, Nevertheless, the foundations of God standeth sure, having this seal, the Lord knoweth them that are his, and, let everyone that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.
Notice there is no age limit on this war. If you are old enough to name the name of Christ, we are required to depart from iniquity.
This includes 11, 13, 14, 16 year old girls. This includes 16, 17 year old boys. This includes every person in here today. If you name the name of Christ, depart from iniquity.
You may say, "Boy, trials, separation and suffering for Christ, that sure isn't very good news."
Look at what Paul told Timothy, II Tim. 4:16-22. (I would advise every young person, including young Christians to read II Tim.)
This isn't a very good prospect, presented here, II Tim. 2:3, endure hardness--. And I'm sure some young people in here would say, "I'm not going to risk my friends and my social life on this."
1.) Parents, you claim to be Christians. Enforce a Christian standard on your children. God gave parents to kids to teach them to live right. Now, parents, if you are not willing to live by the standards of Christ and what you profess, you sure can't enforce it on your children. Nor can we expect them to do what we don't do.
2.) Kids, that is not the attitude of the Holy Spirit in you. A person who is not willing to risk their social standing for the Lord had better check their salvation.
For times sake, we'll leave Abraham here.
1.) He stepped out by faith. He left his social standing. He left everything that he was unable to take with him in his obedience.
He did not know were the Lord would take him and he did not worry about it. He just obeyed. Ur of the Chaldees was a very modern community. It had flush toilets and hot and cold running water. Abraham left that for a life of a Nomad living in tents. Why? In obedience to God.
2.) He did not quit until he arrived in the promised place. There is no discharge.
Those of you who have just enlisted-- I should say, just been
If the choice was yours you are in trouble, on the other hand, if God spoke to you, showed you your sinful condition and that He alone was the answer, then you step out, you were drafted into His army. You were drafted just as sure as was Abraham.
Paul made this quite clear to Timothy, II Tim. 2:4.
God in His sovereign mercy and by His grace chose you to serve Him. There is no low or high age limit. If you are saved this morning, you have marching orders, just as sure as Abraham had them.
You have orders to go to war. War against the world, flesh and the devil. This war is hard and seemingly hopeless to the natural man.
This war will cost us friends as we stand on God's word.
This war, no doubt, will cost us our good reputation in the world's eyes. We will be mocked and ridiculed as we try to live godly standards.
This war requires the sacrifice of those things which the flesh enjoys. It requires discipline in His word and prayer. It requires patience as we wait on the Lord to honor our obedience. It requires discernment to avoid the huge army of false teachers. IT requires hard work (II Tim. 2:15) and study.
Yet, the rewards are great.
1.) Godly children who will live a clean life. Grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
2.) God's spirit working in those around us.
3.) Life above the things of the world, flesh and the devil.
Have you noticed, articles everywhere about drug abuse, child (spouse), abuse, suicide, rape, murders, corruption, thief, frauds, education, down the drain (Japan trains 100 lawyers for every 100 lawyers, for 1,000 engineers. We train 1,000 lawyers for every 100 engineers and ½ of those are foreign. (Russian, Japanese, etc.) Education without God only makes man more effective in his rebellion.
Families shot- Men do not want to have to make any kind of sacrifice to see God's kingdom advanced. They want to sail to heaven on their coach in front of their T.V..
Everywhere we look we see nothing but turmoil, rebellion and fighting. What is the answer?
Redemption then training and dedication to serve God. Training on how to apply God's total law-word to their total life. The power of God working in us to daily live above the wickedness and ungodliness around us.
I talked to a young couple last week. A lot of the things they said sounded like they had been here. They told me how people want a "feel good gospel." They mentioned that this is unscriptural. The gospel is one of WARFARE. WAR against the wickedness around us. Sacrifice and suffering for the Saviour and His cause.
As I talked to this young couple, I heard them say something that I thought no longer existed. I didn't say anything to them at the time, but the more I thought about it, the more excited I got.
They were talking about trying to please God with their lives and they mentioned an opportunity which involved just barely enough money to get by on. Both of them were very well qualified in the worlds eyes to make a very good living. Yet, this did not even enter into the conversation or consideration.
In other words, the thought that stood out as we talked was "here we are Lord, do with us as you see fit." Money did not even enter into the picture.
They sure did not pick up this philosophy from our generation.
All of our generation and our children that I know of have only one thing in mind. WHAT IS IN IT FOR ME. It doesn't really matter, "Can I do this for the Lord?" "What does God want me to do?" I'll sacrifice my relationship to God if the pay is good enough.
Guess where they got this attitude? From their parents. IT is a sad, sad day when we have to hire work to be done around God's house. Men can say, "I don't have time," all they want but it shows they love the dollar more than they love God. People ought to be able to see what needs to be done and DO IT.
I told this young couple, as I see young people like them with a love for God's word and a desire to serve Him, I am encouraged for the future. God is raising up young people WILLING TO PAY THE PRICE TO RECLAIM THE MANY LOST AREAS FOR HIM.
The rewards are beyond words for eye hath not seen nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him, I Cor. 2:9. Prepared for those who are willing to step out on faith in His word as Abraham did, regardless of the cost or results.
Young people and young Christians. Let me close with this, I'm afraid my generation and the generation or two before me haven't left you much. The men of our generation are so busy chancing the dollar we have not done our duty for God. The result is a society run rampant after the dollar. God has been forsaken and society to a large extent is in the hands of the devils crowd.
This means that if you are going to stand for God and His word it will cost you twice or three times as much as it has in the past. The men of my generation will be judged for our indifference, but as you stand you will receive a greater reward.
The indifference of my generation toward God and His word and work is appalling. Yet we see God moving in the hearts of young people. Giving them a love for His word and work. Enough of a love that their decisions are not based on how much money is in it for them. Rather, "How can we best advance the kingdom of God.
Now, let's look at the promise (which we are heir to, I might add, Gal. 3:29 is very clear on this).
Now some basic doctrine. The first part of the promise.
1.) And thou shalt be a blessing. This is the center of the promise. There are three on each side of this. Abraham himself will be blessed and he will also be the cause of blessing to all those who bless him. In fact, to all the generations of the earth who, at some future time, will enter into this relationship to him.
On the ground of Abraham's self-denial and unreserved surrender, blessing is poured out upon him. This blessing which is connected with him begins with himself, and extends over all the families of the earth.
Remember, Abraham is called out of the world of idolatry and heathenism by God's freely given grace. We also are called out of idolatry (I Thess. 1:9), and heathenism. As we forsake the heathen influences of the world around us, we also inherit this blessing and we also become a blessing to those around us.
This blessing though is only inherited and passed on the same way it was by Abraham. Only through self-denial and unreserved surrender to His will as revealed in His word. Far too many of His people expect this blessing without the self-denial and unreserved surrender.
And I will bless them that bless thee, and him that curseth thee I will curse: This is one of the most quoted passages in Scripture. Also, in our day, it is misused to support a anti-christ people.
This is the central promise of Scripture. All we believe and all of the NT doctrine hangs on this prophecy or promise given to Abraham.
Actually the NT equivalent to this verse is Matt. 10:40-42. Christ makes it clear, the promise is centered in Him. Those who bless him will be blessed. Those who curse him will be cursed.
The first part of Gen. 12:3 must be taken with the second which says, and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. To start with, we have two things in v. 3. We have Gen. 3:17 and the curse pronounced as the result of sin, (Gen. 5:29). We see from Gen. 12:3, this curse is to be abolished at some future time by Abraham (His future seed, not seeds, Gal. 3:16).
The second point of v. 3 concerns the families. We have this curse in chp. 11:1-9. Here we see that the earth was one big family, of one speech and one location. In vv. 8, 9, we see the Lord scattering them world-wide by confusing their language. He dispersed and separated them because of sin.
The blessing, 12:3. We have the fathering again of the scattered human race around Abraham. This promise is quite easy to follow throughout Scripture. Isa. 11:10-12 is only one of many.
What we have here is two gatherings. Nimrod's goal was to gather all the families of the earth around his city and tower, Gen. 11:4. They wanted to make a name for themselves. God placed his curse against this, 5-9. They wanted to unite all of mankind around man and his works.
Then Isa. 11:10-12 scattered mankind is to be gathered back from the curse, freed from the division caused by sin and united around the cross, the work of Christ.
1.) Nimrod's gathering was for man's glory. 2.) God's gathering is for His praise and glory.
In light of this, I think the last verse of the OUT is quite interesting. Here we find the promise of the reuniting of the families by the Lord Jesus Christ. This is contrasted with the curse. The OUT opens with a curse and closes with a curse, yet in all cases there is the promise of that curse being overcome in Christ.
These blessings promised to Abraham were based in his relationship of faith in God and his union with Him.
There is really no explanation of the nature of this promised salvation here in Genesis. Although we see more clearly the relationship here from the NT references to these things. Because of the many promises given to these OUT Patriarchs, we can rest assured that they realized their descendants would be the cause of salvation of the heathen nations as well as the cause of the Gentiles being made the heirs of the blessing of following God.
The OUT doesn't give the idea that these men yet knew this blessing would come through the person of the Redeemer.
12:3. The blessing promised in 3b does not take away from the curse in 3a. The curse placed upon all who curse him. Zech. 14:16-19, tells us that all the Gentiles shall go up to Jerusalem to celebrate the feast of tabernacles. As he goes on, vv. 171-19 tells us of the punishment of those who refuse to go up.
We have covered this quite extensively in Hebrews, therefore let it suffice to say; the prophet CANNOT be talking of the literal feast of tabernacles as described in the law of Moses. Col. 2:14-17 clearly tells us that all of those feasts, offerings, sabbaths and rituals were a foreshadow of Christ and His work. He fulfilled them all. To reinstate only one of them would be to deny that Christ completed His work.
Anyone who would attempt to rebuild any of those sacrifices, rites, rituals or sabbaths (special days of rest), would be a transgressor, Gal. 2:18.
Based on the completed finished work of Christ, Zech. 14:16-19 cannot be talking of reestablishing this feast. Christ fulfilled it, therefore mankind will never be required to observe it again in order to inherit the blessing of the Father.
So what is Zech. talking about. This is the teaching of the church up until the last 100 years or so. In these verses we have: "Those who curse the church are cursed in turn, by God; so that they must perish, while the eternal seed of the church stands unmoved and unshaken. For which reason, this text agrees with the first promise given in Paradise, concerning the seed which is to bruise the serpents head. For the church is not without enemies, but is assailed and harassed so that she groans under it; but yet, by this seed, she is invisible, and shall at length be victorious, and triumphant over all her enemies, in eternity." (Luther)
We see this very basic prophecy found in several more places. Ps. 22:27. Here we see the fulfillment of the blessing promised in Gen. 12:3, as all the kindred of the nations (families of the Gentiles), shall worship before thee (the Lord).
Solomon also spoke of this in Ps. 72:17. This is exactly the promise. And men shall be blessed in him: all nations shall call him blessed. With these words we see the promise of Gen. 12:3 directly connected with the Redeemer, AND NOT A PHYSICAL NATION.
We also have Gen. 12:3 referred to by our Lord. Jn. 8, we have one of His confrontation with His enemies. Notice the exchange here, v. 52 on.
The main thing we want to look at are the words of our Lord, v. 56. Here we see that Jesus saw Abraham and Abraham saw Jesus. Not the person, but the day of Christ. Jehovah appeared to Abraham and gave him the promise. That in him and his seed all the nations of the earth should be blessed. This promised blessing of all the families of the earth is the day of Jehovah--the day when He will be glorified on the earth. The day which Christ said was my day, v. 56. Abraham saw Christ's day and the blessing of all the families of the earth in and through Christ. He rejoiced in what he saw.
This would fit in well with the doctrine of the angel of the Lord in the OUT. This angel, as He appears in the OUT to the saints, would be an appearance of the Son of God as Jehovah's messenger. Gen. 22:11 is only one instance.
John presents Christ as the messenger of Jehovah, Jn. 12:44, etc. Jn. 8 (56) indicates that Abraham desired to see the say when this promised blessing (of Gen. 12:5), would come to pass and he was shown the day of Christ as the fulfillment of this promise. Christ said that day was right then, while He was present here on earth. The Jews liked that no better then than they do today. The curse of sin was broken by Christ, Gal. 3:13, 14. Christ bore the curse for us that the blessing of Abraham might come upon all mankind regardless of birth. The curse is broken through Jesus Christ.
Peter quotes this promise Acts 3:25, 26. Here he shows that first of all the people of the old covenant are offered this blessing. Then it is opened up to all the kindred (families) of the earth. All includes all. Race has nothing to do with this blessing. It is all by grace and includes anyone who is in Christ, the covenant of God.
Paul makes reference to this in Rom. 4:13. This blessing which is promised is victory over the world. I Jn. 5:4, 5, in order to live a life pleasing to Him. (1689, pg. Confession 38 #1).
The world was cursed by God because of sin. There is victory over this curse. In fact, the curse is turned into a blessing by our faith in Christ and His word. This blessing, is open to all who will come to Him, Gal. 3:8, 14, 16.
As the blessing promised to Abraham came to the Gentiles, the "Jews" or the physical linage were not cut off completely from the blessing. The way is still open through the same faith as is required of the Gentiles. Faith was required before Christ. In Christ the blessing of Gen. 12:3 is opened to al the families of the earth. WHOSOEVER WILL may come.
Gen. 12:3 isn't the only time we see this blessing. It is repeated in 18:18. Here we see that rather than the families being emphasized, it is the nations. The blessing is all comprehensive. It includes the nations, Ps. 33:12.
Then we have a third repeating to Abraham. Gen. 22:18, here we see the other aspect of Abraham's faith which is mentioned in Heb. 11. The willingness to sacrifice that which is nearest and dearest to his heart, his only son, to God.
1.) All the families are covered in this blessing of Gen. 12:3.
2.) All the nations---
3.) Then, Gen. 22:18, all the obedient. To me this third one is the key. Anyone who will obey His law-word can be the heir to the promise blessing. Let us also mention, that which we love so much that it prevents our obedience is an idol and will cost us the promised blessing.
Another point here in 22:18. Instead of in thee, the blessing is in thy seed (or by thy seed).
We can trace the promise on to Isaac, Gen. 26:14 and Jacob, chp. 28:14.
We also see that both by Abraham and by his seed will all the nations be blessed. Through Christ but through Abraham. Rom. 4 we see that Abraham is considered the father of all who obey God.
As we have followed this promise through (esp. Rom. 4:13 and Gal. 3), we see that the real cause of the blessing which is bestowed upon the Gentiles was not the seed of Abraham as a whole, but the cause was from among the seed. The cause of the blessing is the REDEEMER, those who bless the Redeemer and His people will be blessed. Those who curse the Redeemer and His people will be cursed.
It is a deception to believe that the cause of the blessing is through a nation. It is through a person, the person of Christ. The apostle is very emphatic on this. The world would have us to believe something quite different. (See the 1689 Confession, pg. 19 (1))
The fall inflicted a curse upon the earth. Sin caused the dispersion of all families.
The promise to Abraham in Gen. 12:3 spoke of that curse being broken and a blessing replacing it.
The promise to Abraham (Gen. 12:3), spoke of the families being united once again.
This curse has been lifted in Christ. The dispersion has been
overcome in Christ. In Christ is the victory over the world. Christ
fulfilled the promise to Abraham. Man is free from the power of
the curse through the grace of God, through Christ our Lord.
There is absolutely no reason for sin to reign any longer in our mortal bodies, Rom. 6:12.
Along with this. There is no reason that sin should reign in our occupation; in our every day walk and activities; in our amusements, in our thoughts; in our social activities; in our families; in our education; in our social responsibilities, such as welfare, caring for the aged, widows, poor, orphans; in our political activities.
The power, curse of sin has been broken in Christ. We have the power in us to do all of these things plus hundreds more, for the glory of God now.
Not only has the curse of sin been broken but the division which sin caused is overcome. We are now one in Christ. We are now united in Him.
The world tries its best to overcome the curse. Science, education, drugs, technology.
The world tries its best to overcome the division.
This is the major thrust and goal of statist education. They are attempting to undo what God did with Babylon. The statist are attempting to reunite the division caused by sin. To remold our children to fit into a one world society which God judged thousands of years ago.
All of their efforts have only made matters worse. The division has only grown greater. The only answer is to deal with the root. That root is sin and Christ alone can deal with sin. Only through His finished work on Calvary offers any hope.
(Heb. 11:8, see message, 8/21/88 A.M. 1.) He chose. 2.) He didn't quit)
We have already seen Abraham's obedience leaving Ur of the Chaldees. Let's follow Hebrews on some more, and as we do, let's remember the context.
1.) Who it is written to? 2.) Why? 3.) The OUT references and illustrations.
The next part would be Heb. 11:8, --into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed;--
As we have already mentioned, the apostle in Heb. 11 only outlines what took place with Abraham in about 15 chapters. We will only hit the high points which Paul hits. This next high point being the physical inheritance. The land of Canaan.
Again, the OUT promise is Gen. 12:7. We see that as Abraham passed from Haven into Canaan, the land was full of the decedents of Canaan, Gen. 12:6.
Now, these Canaanites were not the best people in the world. We read in Gen. 9:25 that Canaan was cursed because of sin. Evidently the sin of his father, Ham. We also see from Gen. 15:16, they were a very wicked people. In fact, as we read Deut. we will find that there was not any wickedness which these Canaanites were not involved in, (9:5).
These Canaanites were not few in number, whereas Abraham and his group were in comparison.
Let's think here for a moment.
1.) God called Abram to leave the wealth, peace, convenience and security of Ur.
2.) God told him to go to the place He would show him and there HE would make of Abraham a great nation.
3.) Abraham goes and God directs him to Canaan and say to him, "This is the land I told you about. This is the land I am going to give to your seed.
This land was a beautiful land. Really the garden of the whole earth. No doubt Abraham looked at it and rejoiced in its beauty. But there were a couple of problems.
First, he had no children and he was already 75 years old. Here God is promising to give this land to his children.
Second, the land was full of idolatrous heathens who practiced prevision of all kinds. There were a bunch of them. Abraham had only a few in comparison.
Knowing human nature like I do (mine), Abraham probably looked around when the Lord said, "This is the place," and thought to himself, "This is nice Lord, but there seems to be a problem here. Look, Lord, there's a bunch of them. They are wicked and they sure won't make good neighbors, let alone good landlords."
Abraham had left him home (Ur), by faith and now he gets here and the land promised to him already belongs to someone. I would have said, "Are you sure we went the right way back there Lord? I expected someplace with no one there and all I would have to do is move in and set up shop."
But no, that isn't the way it works. The whole world lieth in wickedness, I Jn. 5:19. Given to the devil by Adam. Therefore, it will be a continual battle against the wickedness. But notice where I Jn. 5:19 is placed? (at the end)
Before we get to I Jn. 19, we have some other passages, I Jn. 2:13, 14; 3:8; 4:4; 4:17; 5:4, 5. All seven of these passages have something in common. They all speak of the victory which the Christian has over the world, flesh and the devil. Through our faith in Christ. The same faith which Abraham had.
It is very significant that John places I Jn. 5:19 at the end of his book. In doing this he builds up the confidence of the child of God so that by the time we read and the whole world lieth in wickedness, we should have total confidence in the relationship we have with the One who overcame the world (5:4) and the devil, 13:8.
The world has been in wickedness from the garden, yet God provided all we need to not only survive but overcome the world and be more than conquerors through Him that loved him.
Sure, as Abraham found out, the inheritance is possessed by the pagans but by our obedience to His word we can claim those areas for Him.
The book of I Jn. tells of this warfare which is required to recapture those areas that have been given over to the wicked one. Also this book (I Jn), as well as Eph. Phil., and Col., is quite clear. The wicked one is defeated by Christ. As the child of God exercises the faith of Abraham those areas can be reclaimed for the glory of God.
The power of the grace in the Christian life is power over the hold of sin which enables His people to live above the power of sin. As we have already pointed out, Paul's instruction to Timothy deals with this very thing. All of II Tim., approaches the Christian life as a war against evil and wickedness, and victory in that war for the side of Christ, through His grace.
As we follow Abraham, he arrived in the promised land and it had wicked people already in it. Who were not about to give it up because Abraham was obeying God.
Abraham passed through the land no doubt saying to himself, "Lord are you sure we went the right direction back there at the fork in the road?"
Abraham (Gen. 12:6), proceeded to Sachem (sychar). There the Lord appeared to him again and emphasized the promised with, "Unto thy seed will I give this land." Abraham built an alter, showing his confidence in the Lord to fulfill the promise.
SM Message Heb. 11:8-10
Something else here for us to see. God gives us a promise but we can rest assure, the claiming of that promise will involve work, war and confrontation against a far superior force. But notice the Lord completely ignored the force of the Canaanites. He acted like they were not even in consideration. Why? --will I Give this land--. The Lord was going to give the land as Abraham moved in obedience to the word of God. Abraham's big enemy was not the Canaanites. His enemy was going to be himself and his lack of faith to obey God. His children's problem was not going to be the might of the enemy but the lack of obedience to their God.
Our problem today is not the strength and might of the enemy. It will be (and is), the lack of faith on our part. We grow weak in the faith and fail to follow in His steps as He has directed us to do.
If we expect to go about our daily life as I'm sure Abraham expected in Canaan, with no problems as we live for Him, we are indeed in for a very rude awakening.
If we think the Canaanites (world, flesh and devil), are going to give up their land (hold in our lives and in society), without a fight, we are out of touch with reality.
They will fight through the courts to prevent our reclaiming their land for God. They will use laws and law enforcement agencies. They will use our elected leaders as well as our self-appointed leaders. They will use every means at their disposal to prevent God's people from obeying God so that God will give us their land.
Let us not suppose for a moment that the flesh won't come up with every excuse under the sun to prevent our obedience. Our public worship, our private worship, our family worship, our personal faithfulness to His demands upon us.
It is a warfare. The Canaanites do not want to give it up. But let us not be concerned abut their strength. Notice that as soon as Abraham saw it all, the Lord appeared and said, "Abraham, I will give you seed all of this."
Here in the land that looked hopeless, God's spoke and reminded Abraham who was going to do this. When we are tempted to look at the strength of the wicked around us we need to flee to God's word. Read Eph., Col. and even I Jn. Yes, beyond any doubt, the world is given over to wickedness, but greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world.
The spirit of wickedness and of this world has been overcome in Christ. As these spirits (wickedness, world, flesh), stand against us with all their might, in all areas of society, let us be of good cheer; Christ has overcome the world, Jn. 16:33. Or how abut I Jn. 2:13, 14, which we have already seen. Ye have overcome the wicked one, or I Jn. 5: whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God. See also Rev. 2:26.
Let me throw this in here. Up until the publication of the Scofield Bible, the predominant teaching of the church was that the great tribulation was the tremendous persecution under Rome until Rome completely fell. Really, Rome fell to Christianity. Therefore (up until Scofield), the thinking was that most of Rev. was already fulfilled. (Probably up to about chp. 20).
All of that to say this. Abraham stepped out by faith to go he knew not where. When he got there, the place was already inhabited with some very wicked folks.
It would have been so easy for Abraham to see the hopelessness of the situation. Yet rather than allowing him to emphasize the enemies strength, the Lord appeared and said, "Abraham, I'll do it. You just be faithful to Me." Abraham did and God did.
One other thing. Abraham no sooner than arrived in the promised land than he encounter a famine. Another outward sign that God wasn't in it. Yet the word of God said that God was in it.
Rev. was seen as written to prepare the early church for the horrible persecution which was about to come under Rome. The church who was right then enjoying peace from Rome. Rev. showed this persecution coming and what to expect. Rev. also showed the destruction of the then most powerful nation on earth who was using all of that power to totally eradicate Christianity.
We cannot even imagine what it was like. Foxes book gives some insight but by no means a complete view of what took place in the Roman circuses.
The animals in these circuses were even trained to rape their victims before they killed them and this of course pleased the crowds tremendously.
Let me just give on example. Policarp. This is typical of that period. All he had to do was burn a little incense to Caesar and he could live. If this doesn't sound like Rev. 13, I don't know what does. The Christians of that time, all they had to do was say; 'Caesar is Lord' and they could live. Yet they refused the mark of this beast (Daniel's last beast, Rome), they were killed by the thousands with absolutely no regard for their 'right.'
They had no rights because they were considered traitors to Rome.
The word of God alone must be our standard. Not circumstance nor people.
I found Mackintosh's notes interesting on this. First published over 100 years ago (pg. 63). "The Canaanite was then in the land," and lest Abraham's eye should rest upon the Canaanite, the present possessor of the land, Jehovah appears to him as the One who was going to give the land to him and to his seed forever. Thus Abraham was taken up with the Lord, and not with the Canaanite. This is full of instruction for us. The Canaanite in the land is the expression of the power of Satan; but, instead of being occupied with Satan's power to keep us out of the inheritance, we are called to apprehend Christ's power to bring us in. "We wrestle not with flesh and blood... but with spiritual wickedness in the heaven lies." The very sphere into which we are called is the sphere of our conflict. Should this terrify us? By no means. We have Christ there--a victorious Christ in whom we are "more than conquerors." Hence, instead of indulging "a spirit of fear," we cultivate a spirit of worship. "And there builded he an alter unto the Lord, who appeared unto him.""
Of course, as e have mentioned many times. When we go around emphasizing the strength of the Canaanite we only build fear in God's people. We are to be emphasizing the victory we have in Christ.
Another thing we notice about Abraham, Heb. 11:9, 10, 13-16. As we compare these passages in Hebrews with Gen. 12:8 we find that Abraham (and the rest of the fathers of our faith), spent their time building alters and pitching tents. They invested their time, talents and effort in serving and worshiping God. They based their present activities upon the eternal.
I'm afraid that most of 'Christianity' does just the opposite today. We build houses and pitch up alters. Our efforts, money, time and talent s go into making us more comfortable here rather than laying up for the eternal.
**(See message from pgs. 41-47, in hand written notes)
This is the message:
Abraham built an alter, 12:7. Another one in v. 8. But look what happened in v. 10.
1.) God told Abraham to go to a place he would show him.
2.) He went, but when he got there, the Canaanites were there.
3.) God gave the promise that Abraham's seed would inherit this land. A seed which Abraham did not have.
4.) Abraham believed God. Built an alter, v. 7. Another on v. 8 and in v. 8, he called upon the name of the Lord. The indication here is a public worship. A public preaching or witnessing for the Lord. He publicly identified with the Lord with his actions as well as with his words.
5.) Abraham continued to move on, going South. Down South, away from Bethel, v. 8. And there was a famine in the land, v. 10. He arrived where God told him to go. a.) The Canaanites were here. b.) There is a famine. We would think that these things would be sure indications that God was not in this. All circumstances pointed to this not being where he was suppose to be.
As we talk to people they say many times, "Everything has worked out so well, God must be in it." In fact, we hear this phrase very well worn by the televangelist. "Look at how things have fallen together, God is surely in this." They use the "marvelous workings of God" to prove God is in it and that you should send them your money.
Of course, this is not restricted to just the televangelist. It covers every spectrum of Christianity.
Folks who are not even concerned about serving God will use this well worn phrase, "Everything is working out, so God is in it." But is he?
They will say, "We have been able to borrow this money. God worked it out." Did he? Can we lay that before the throne of God?
Can we say that God worked it out so we could become even more of a slave to the lender?
What is the principle here? If we remain true to the presumption that all the pieces falling together proves God is in it, then the conclusion must be that Abraham was not where God wanted him to be. Why? 1.) Because the Canaanites possessed the land. 2.) There was a famine in the land.
Let's follow the principle through the scriptures with just a few high points. Joseph is the next one we could call to mind. If we remain consistent to, "it's all falling together" therefore God is in it," then we must say that Joseph's slavery and prison experience proved God was not in it.
Another one would be Moses. According to our theory, "It's all working out, therefore God is in it," Moses should have ascended to the throne of Egypt if God was in it. Rather, all his plans fell apart which would seem to indicate that God was in it as he did what he felt was right to do, killed the (Egyptian).
As we pursue this principle on through the scriptures, another one we would come to would be the children of Israel and their taking of Canaan. To remain true to this principle of, "It's all working out, therefore God is in it," we would have to say that because the Canaanites did not flee from the land as Israel moved in, God was not in it. For if he had been in it, they would have not had to fight so hard. There would have been no resistance.
Another instance would be David. To remain true to this principle of, "It's all going so good, this shows God is in it," would place him in trouble. This principle would have of necessity said that if God was in him becoming king then as soon as he was anointed, Saul would have turned the throne over to him.
Of course we cannot fail to mention the preachers of the OT. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea and all of the others. If we remain consistent to our principle which we are considering. Then these men would have all been outside of the will of God.
The list of illustrations would be quite long and we must say as the apostle said in Heb. 11:32. And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of these many men who seemed to be a failure in their attempt to serve God.
We could think of many more illustrations from the OT, yet let's move on into the new just a couple will suffice here.
We can start with the apostles. As these men preached the good news, the Jews did not like it at all. In fact, they arrested them, beat them, and commanded that they not preach and teach the Lord Jesus Christ.
Probably the most obvious of the NT illustrations of the fallacy of this principle would be Paul. After his conversion he immediately started to preach. Right away he had some folks hostile, seeking to kill him, Acts 9:29.
Just before this though would be Acts 9:16. The Lord told Ananias to go to Saul (Paul) and tell him how great things he must suffer for His name's sake. Today we would day, "Suffer, you must be crazy. Suffering for right means. God isn't in it. If God was in it, it would all work out."
There are a great many instances such as this recorded in the book of Acts. Let's look at just one more. This would be found in Acts 16:9, 10. Paul had a vision in which the man from Macedonia asked him to come over into Macedonia, and help us. We read that immediately Paul endeavored to go into Macedonia. They arrived in Philippi and started preaching that following Sabbath.
As we follow Paul and Silas in chp. 16, we find that they weren't there very long before things "fell apart," and they ended up being beaten and thrown in jail. After, their release from jail they were "ask" to leave the city, which they did.
Now, let's examine this in the light of the principle. "Everything is working out therefore God is in it." If we remain true to this then Paul was deceived when he answered the call in Acts 16:10. Why? Because nothing worked out. Sure, there were a couple of people saved. Lydia and the jailer that we have record of. But there was by far more trouble than 'goodness.'
They stirred up the established religion, vv. 16-19. They stirred up the civil authority and were beaten and jailed, vv. 20-24. Then to top it all off they were thrown out of town, v. 39. With these things in view, in order for 'our principle' to be correct we will have to say, "Because things did not work out for them, God was not with them." And we know that this is absolutely ludicrous.
What do we have here? We hear people (Christians as well as non-Christians) say, "Everything is falling together and working out, therefore God is in it." This conclusion cannot be supported scripturally. As a friend of ours says, "That old dog won't hunt."
The scripture is abundantly clear. If there would be a principle here it would be that if the short term results 'work out' that is a good indication that God isn't in it. Things 'falling apart' as we step out by faith is more of an indication that God is in it. Because there is a warfare; because there is opposition; because things do seem to come apart as we do what he wants us to do is even more of an indication he is in it.
Isn't this what faith is all about. Doing what his word demands of us regardless of the trials which arise? Compromise which ends conflict is not of God. We hear of folks who brag that God is in it because the conflict stopped as they 'struck a deal' or compromised. This is not scriptural. I believe that the conflict, warfare, "things falling apart," is more of an indication of God being in it than would be "everything working out."
What does the word of God say? Prov. 28:4, they that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them. Obeying God's word will bring contention with the wicked. Which brings us to this point. 1.) Either the wicked will get right and conform to the law of God and the contention will stop. 2.) The righteous will compromise with the wicked and the contention will stop. One or the other (righteous or wicked) will have to compromise because the law (of God) does not change. 3.) The contention goes on if neither will compromise.
Our Lord reinforced this. Jn. &:17, the world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil. If there is no contention between the child of God and the world, then one or the other has compromised.
Standing on God's word and the total crown rights of King Jesus will bring contention sooner or later. It will bring trials. Things will fall apart. Everything will seem to go wrong. Everyone will seem to be against us. Let me mention here. Young people, if you stand for right and righteousness you will be mocked and ridiculed. If your parents and for right and righteousness you will be ridiculed.
Our Lord Himself told us that the world would hate us if we stand for right. So we can safely say, "If the world's crowd (The Canaanites) is not mocking and ridiculing you there is something wrong with your testimony.
As with Abraham: 1.) The heathen will be in possession and they will not want to give up what they have. 2.) There will be famines.
It is a very serious error to believe that because everything is working out that God is in it. More often than not in the scriptures, everything fell apart when God was in it. The it require faith to remain true to him and his principles of life and action. It was usually several generations before it all worked out.
The only thing that determines if God is in it or not is his holy word. Anything else is presumption and can lead to an open door for our enemy to do a very devastating work in our lives and in our churches.
> Is it built on a close personal relationship with the Lord and a daily walk with Him in His word and in prayer?
> Is it built on faithful obedience to His every law-word?
> Is it built on faithfulness to the basic doctrine of salvation?
> Is it built on the total authority of the Lord Jesus Christ over everything?
Faithfulness to these basic principles (and other principles of his word) alone would be what shows whether God is in it or not. Not the circumstances which developed. Abraham found this out. As he moved in obedience, nothing seemed to work out. What did he do? Like most of us, moved on into Egypt instead of patiently waiting upon the Lord to fulfill His promise.
The word of God sure indicated that conflict is the result of following Him. His word points far more confronting to famine and Canaanites as we step out on faith. I sure calls more for jail as folks obey than for peace and prosperity and praise form the wicked.
The scriptures teach that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. We are inclined to read it, "all the things which prove God is in it are good," then we define good.
Abraham went into Egypt and returned with great material wealth. All things seemed to work out in Egypt for him. To be consistent with our principle, "Things are working out, therefore God is in it," we must say that because things worked together for "great good" for Abraham, God was in it; God was in his going down into Egypt; God was in his lying about his wife. And these assumptions are just that, assumptions contrary to God's word.
We need to remove from our theology the idea that, "Because all of these things are working out, God is in it." It is one of the many false doctrines in affect in Christianity today.
Everything must be viewed in the light of God's word.
Have we bought this well dressed and nice sounding lie?
"Well, all things are working together so I must be saved." "All things are working together therefore I must be right in my decisions." "Look at all the people being influenced, therefore it must be God in it."
No, a thousand times no. What does God's word say. Only His word determines if we are doing it His way or not. Regardless of the conflict or the peace which follows.
Message pg. 41-47, to here.
That covenant promise is not restricted to any nation today.
Back to Heb. 11:9, 10, 13, Abraham the so-journeyer. We see this acted out in Gen. 12. Not only in Gen. 12, but we will find this all through Gen. by all of the patriots.
Gen. 12:6, And Abram passed through; 8, And he removed from thence; 9, And Abram journeyed; 10, and Abram went down; 13:1 And Abram went up; 3, Went hon his journeys.
This can be traced all through Gen.. These men were Nomads. They had no place to settle down and call their own. All they had was the promise of God. Upon that promise they did not build houses or permanent dwellings. They lived in tents.
As they moved about with no real estate to call their own, notice they built alters rather than houses. They claimed the land by faith for their seed (Gen. 12:7).
He left no fancy houses behind. Rather he left behind alters to the living God. Which raises a question. What are we concerned about leaving for our following generations? Alters or houses? What will we be remembered by? The nice houses we built or the service for God we did?
There is nothing wrong with leaving houses but houses at the expense of alters is idolatry. Do our children see a readiness in us to obey God? Or do they see something hindering our service for God?
Others night think we are building alters but our children know the truth. I'm sure no one knew about Abraham's action with Isaac, except Isaac. I'm sure Abraham didn't have to tell anyone, but Isaac did.
As we look at a shameful part of Abraham's life (walk with God), let me mention something. The NT doesn't give us the account of these shameful deeds of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, etc. Rather the NT account is only of their praise worthy deeds.
The reason for this would be that in Christ, God sees only the praise worthy part of us. We stand before the Father in the righteousness of Christ. The Father can see no sin in us if we are in Christ. The NT looks at these OUT saints through Christ.
Although we see that even though they had the righteousness of Christ (by faith), they did not escape the results of their unbelief.
The same is true for His saints today. In Christ, we stand faultless before the throne of Jehovah God. Yet those sins which we allow to control us will have their sure result just as they did for Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses David, etc.
The NT shows us these men through the righteousness of faith. The OUT shows us the truth of what happened in their lives.
The NT account (hell esp.), would present these saints as super humans, yet in the OUT we see that they were people with a sinful nature just as we are. Poor, feeble, imperfect, stumbling, inconsistent in themselves. The NT shows us the glory which is found in Christ through faith.
Gen. 12:10, this brings us to a shameful part of Abraham. As Abraham moved about the land of Canaan he built alters. We have one move by him where he built no alter. This we want to look at for a moment.
Abraham had tremendous faith in his relationship with the Lord. When Abram heard the word of the Lord speak he acted, even staking his whole life on that word of God.
Yet when it came to a practical, every day living faith, he had a problem.
We all have this problem if we will be honest with ourselves. IF we read it in God's word, we believe it. We would stake our lives on what we believe His word says. Creation? Certainly, beyond all doubt. The gospel of the death, burial and resurrection? Absolutely no doubt. The doctrine of the trinity, justification and so on. Totally confident in these things.
Let us leave the abstract and get down to a practical application. A famine in the land, the Canaanites in possession and I have a huge responsibility. Now this is quite a different story. (Let us mention that Abraham's requirement with Isaac wasn't until chp. 22. There would have to be 10 chapters of growing on Abraham's part before this requirement would be made. God doesn't require more than we are spiritually ready to handle.)
"Yes, I believe God's word. I have staked everything on it, but a famine, this is a different story."
Gen. 12:10. We have already mentioned that like so many of us we expect a bed of roses if we are where God wants us to be. Abram did not expect to find famine in God's perfect will. This current day gospel of peace and affluence if you are in God's will is nothing but a lie. There is absolutely no scriptural foundation for this doctrine.
Many (if not most), times God's will involves trials, sickness, famine, WHY? To try our faith.
Heb. 11:9, 10, 13, notice here that Abraham was only a sojourner in this land that Jehovah had promised him. As you look past the surface here in Heb. 11, we see that Abraham realized that the physical land of Canaan was not the total fulfillment of the promise. The final fulfillment was a heavenly fulfillment, 11:16.
Before we get too far from this passage, notice (Gen. 13:15), Gen. 12:7, Unto thy seed will I give this land: "We, see this promise again in 26:3. There Jehovah God appeared to Abraham's son, Isaac, confirming the original promise to give the land to Abraham's seed.
There is a false doctrine going around that says that God did not give all of the land of Canaan to OUT Israel, therefore, this promise is yet to be fulfilled. There is still a future day when the OUT physical lineage of Abraham MUST possess this prescribed piece of land which was promised. In other words, the promise of Gen. 12:7 is get to be fulfilled as is 26:4.
There are at least two verses which expose this teaching for what it is, a false teaching. First is Joshua 21:43-35. Secondly, we have I Ki. 8:56. Both of these passages are quite clear. All of the physical land as promised to Abraham and confirmed to Isaac was possessed in the days of the judges, under David and under King Solomon.
Of course Judaism does not want to accept this because this would mean that their God given to the land they want to claim is no longer there, and besides, they would lose the support of "Christians" world-wide.
Now, I believe we should have respect for Judaism as we would respect the elders of our family. But there is no way we can support, encourage or promote in any way the anti-christ activities of either.
The physical land promised by God was fulfilled. Israel lost the land because of sin. Any nation that will turn from their sin to the living God can possess all of their land in peace.
And there was a famine in the land. The famine was to teach Abram a lesson. He needed to learn a couple of things here.
1.) That being in God's perfect will is not always a bed of roses.
2.) That he must have faith and wait upon the Lord even in God's will. Ps. 37:7; Isa. 40:31.
No doubt, there is a third lesson here for us. That even with the foundational promises of Gen. 12:1-3; even though he is known as the Father of faith; even though he was the father of a great nation (without number as the stars and sand), and even though he was the father of our Lord, even with all of these great things he is accredited with, he is a man like as we are. He faced the same difficulties and trials. He has faith and God is going to try it. I Thess. 3:4; Deut. 13:1-5.
In fact, there is no temptation which has taken us but what is common to man, I Cor. 10:13. (Stay home from church, etc. Character is required when new wears off.
Abraham gets into the land where God told him to be. God had promised to take care of him and now there is a famine. Surely, he is not where he should be. But he is. Again, righteousness or wrongness cannot be judged by the eye or even by circumstances. Only by God's word.
Rather than facing up to the trial of his faith, Abraham went to where it seemed to him the grass was greener. He was where God wanted him to be, yet there was a famine. Egypt was close at hand evidently with plenty of food. There was relief from the pressure which he was under in god's will. Remember, it wasn't just Abraham. It was Abraham, Lot, and a huge amount of followers. Gen. 14:14, tells us he had 318 trained servants, born in his own house with which he perused those who had taken Lot captive. He at least came out of Ur with these 318 trained fighting men. He was responsible for these men and their families. As we said, there were probably a thousand people which Abraham was responsible for. Here and there is a famine in the land of plenty which God brought him to.
Even with this tremendous pressure upon him, his duty is clear. (As H.M.C. says, pgs. 64, 65.) "It is better to starve in Canaan, if it should be so, than to live in luxury in Egypt; it is better far to suffer in God's path, than to be at ease in Satan's' it is better to be poor with Christ, than rich without him."
Abraham gained tremendous wealth (13:1-2) in Egypt. Enough proof we would say, that God was in his decision, but the price would be high.
Notice, this move (12:10) did not result in an altar being built. His move out of Egypt did, 13:4. He moved out of his fellowship with God into Egypt. He moved apart from His word. He lost far more than he gained down there. He escaped the pressure from Canaan, yet faced much more in Egypt. He accumulated great wealth but lost far more than he gained. We should point out plenty is far more dangerous than poverty.
Let us learn from a lesson or two. Mainly, find God's will and stay there. The Canaanites may be there who won't give an inch. The famine may be there and it seems you will starve. The pressure may be there. The 1,000 pairs of eyes looking to you for their supply.
On the other side of the fence, over in Egypt, everything may seem to be fine. (Let me say, any place outside of God's perfect will for us would be our, 'Egypt', or 'world.' Not a physical location necessarily, but any place other than the place where God wants us to be.)
If we grow weak in the faith that God can supply our needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus, and leave our Canaan without clear instructions to do so from His word, the price will be great.
Let us throw this in. Many times we may be in our 'Canaan' yet because of our lack of obedience in our 'Canaan' we face hunger. Then we think we are in the wrong place. No, it all must be compared to His word.
How many times have we left the security of God's will for what the world had to offer?
Many times I, even knowing what God requires of me in a certain situation, has turned my back upon that requirement because my way seemed so much better. Or it might have been something I wanted.
I'm afraid we all must plead guilty to this very thing. We know what God requires in a situation, yet rather than face the danger or pressure we back down. WE flee to Egypt from Canaan just as sure as Abraham did. Then we have to lie to ourselves to justify what we did.
I knew a young man in LA, with five children. He would get a job and be as happy as a bug. Within six months, his feet would itch and offer he would go looking for another job. He would swear that God has spoken to him and that God was in it.
Many believe that God is a woman, changing in his mind like a garment. They would swear it is God speaking.
NO, get in God's will and stay there. (God's will does not change every year or two), God will not move us into an unscriptural situation.
It is better to starve in our Canaan then it gain all the wealth of Egypt. Take our stand for Him and stay put. What is God trying to perform in your life?
Abraham went into Egypt. Gen. 20:13, tells us that before they set out from Ur, Abraham had agreed with his wife to tell people she was his sister (she was his half-sister). Gen. 12:10-13, Abraham reminds her of this. She was 65 years old here. She died at the age of 127, so she was only middle age and had no children.
What Abraham did here (vv. 10-13), was not uncommon in his day. He was very mighty with at least 1,000 people with him as he came into Egypt. It was not uncommon at all for the Pharaoh (king), to send his army to take away a man's wife and kill him. (British Museum has a record of this). As a mighty prince, Abraham no doubt expected Pharaoh to notice Sarah and that Pharaoh would follow the custom of going through here brother (Him), to get to here. Pharaoh didn't and went straight to here. His best laid plans failed.
Pharaoh took Abraham's wife into his house. Then Pharaoh treated Abram well for her sake as he tried to influence this great and powerful prince to place his blessings upon the relationship between himself and Sarah, Gen. 12:16.
Then we see God visiting Pharaoh's house with great plagues because of Abraham's wife whom Pharaoh had taken. Evidently, Sarah had informed Pharaoh what caused the plagues because Pharaoh calls in Abraham. Pharaoh rebukes Abraham for his deception and sends them away. V. 20, Pharaoh escorted Abraham to the border of Egypt.
Now, we need to look at a couple of things here which are lessons for us.
First, we see that Abraham failed in his faith not once, but twice. In the land of Canaan his faith in the provision of God grew weak and he went to Egypt. Then when he got to Egypt, He could not depend upon the Lord to take care of him.
How many times have we grown weak in the faith. Rather than staying where we are at, being obedient to the principles of His word and depending upon Him to take care of us, we move on over to the world. Or maybe not all the way int the world, but just enough to be away from where God wants us to be.
God no doubt wanted to teach Abraham a very basic principle, that He supplies all of the needs for His people who will do right and wait upon Him. There was a famine to teach this, yet Abraham wouldn't stand still long enough to learn it. Things got bad and he fled. I know preachers, when things get bad (or are not as good as they think they should be), they flee from God's place.
I know individuals, the pressure mounts and rather than face the pressure on their job or in their community, they flee. They move where the grass looks more appealing.
NOTICE, the problem was NOT the famine (and Canaanites), in Canaan. The problem was Abraham because he had the same problem in Egypt. The lack of faith which prevented his staying still and learning was still with him in Egypt. We can flee to the farthest corner of the earth and our problem will still be there. The problem was not famine, the Canaanites, nor Pharaoh (the Egyptians). It was Abraham and his lack of faith. His lack of discipline to stick it out where God had him. Let us mention, we will not escape problems. Problems are a way of life. We will only exchange one set for another--either as we grow in the Lord or run from them.
Secondly, we see that Abraham made all the best plans to protect his wife. He was dependent upon the custom of the day that Pharaoh would go through Sarah's brother before he did anything with Sarah, his wife. Abraham had it all worked out according to the wisdom of the day, yet it didn't work.
The wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. It was wisdom to go down to Egypt. It was wisdom to try to protect his wife by lying about here. It was wisdom to depend on tradition and custom, yet, this wisdom of the world only got Abraham into deeper difficulties as Pharaoh gave his presents and honour.
As Pharaoh and his men offered these things to Abraham for Sarah sake, what could Abraham say? Could he tells the truth? Could he refuse the gifts of sheep, oxen, he assess, menservants, maidservants, she assess and camels. 13:2, indicates gold and silver were also offered to Abraham. What could Abraham do now that he had already lied about his wife? Could he say not to Pharaoh's gifts. Could he say, "I lied to you, she's really my wife." Abram was just getting in deeper.
A couple of things for us.
a.) One lie or deception always leads to another. It never stops with just one.
b.) His clear conscious was gone and he could not speak up for his wife's honour. His head was now on the block. He was between a rock and a hard place. He was in a place where either his wife's honours would be sacrificed or his head for deceiving the king of Egypt.
This is not the way he had it planned, yet this is the way it turned out. When we leave God out of our plans, Abraham could handle it on his own. He had it al planned out.
The best of Abraham's wisdom (apart from just waiting on the Lord), had back-fired and was now about to do him in.
His testimony was short with Pharaoh and with his people, Lot especially.
c.) We have mentioned this but here it is again (and again, I might add). The increase of 12:16 was NOT proof that God was in what Abraham did. Today it would be used as proof that the right decision was made both in Canaan and in the deception of Pharaoh.
1.) Abraham failed in his faith when the pressure mounted. Not once but twice.
2.) Abraham made all of the best plans, the wisdom of this world to protect his wife. He left God out and he got caught.
Which leads us to the third point here. God protected Abraham and his wife, Sarah, even in Abraham's foolishness. Abraham denied his wife, yet Jehovah God did not. God prospered Abraham materially, yet at the expense of the spiritual well-being of himself, of Sarah and of Lot.
a. At Sarah's encouragement, Abraham had a child (Ishmael), by Sarah's handmaid which she got from Egypt.
b. Lot made a very bad (devastating), decision based upon this decision made by Abraham. the results was his two daughters had children by their own dad. These two boys were the fathers of the Moabites and the Ammonites. Both of which were a great amount of grief to the children of Israel.
c. We will find this wrong decision by Abraham reflected many times throughout Genesis.
The conclusion for us? 1.) That decision we might make to flee from the difficulty we re facing or place where we are might even result in a physical prosperity, yet there is a tremendous leanness for our spiritual well-being in store. 2.) Our bad decisions never affect just ourselves. Ps. 106:15, and he gave them their request, but sent leanness unto their souls.
When we are tempted (by the devils crowd, the Canaanites, or the lean time [famine]), let us not fall into Abraham's trap. Let us keep in mind, Gal. 1:4, and the promises we have in Christ our Lord. The promise of victory over the world, flesh and the devil which we have in Him.
Yes, God took care of Abraham even when he grew weak in the faith. Yes, Abraham had a tremendous increase in worldly wealth as the king of this world sought to influence him. Yet, there can be no doubt that Abraham looked back on his two decisions and wished he had it to do over again. He, no doubt, cursed the day that he went to Egypt rather than waiting on the Lord in Canaan, no doubt he wished he could say over again, "she is my wife." Yet all of that wishing could not change what already took place.
This would have been especially true as he saw Lot make his decision upon the same principles as Abraham made his, 13:10. Again, we can be assured that our children will live by the same standard which we live by, unless, God really intervenes.
Abram's trip into Egypt was quite profitable in mens eyes, 13:1. It seemed as though his whole family was serving God as they all come out to reestablish their relationship with the Lord. Yet when it came time to make a choice, the one under Abram's authority (Lot), made the same choice. He chose the pleasures of sin for a season over the sacrifice for God.
1.) Abraham, not once but twice, failed in his faith when the pressure came.
2.) Abraham made the best plans humanly possible to protect his wife. Left God out and they failed.
3.) Abraham failed but God did not. God protected even in his foolishness, yet there was a price to pay.
Now a fourth point here. A very important lesson for us. To get the full impact of this point we need to look at another instance in Abraham's life. This is found in chp. 20. Abraham again leaves the will of God and goes to Gerar where he again lies about his wife.
This would be 20-25 years after his experience in Egypt with Pharaoh. We would have though that Abraham would have learned from the situation with Pharaoh but he didn't. He goes right back into the identical situation. So do we. We say, "I'll never do that again if God will only get me out of the mess this time."
God works it out, we escape by the skin of our teeth from a very embarrassing situation and one day, there we are again. Human nature is so very weak. God is so merciful. "Lord, I know I promised, but here we are again." Yet, the results come to pass.
The fourth point we need to see here is Ps. 105:14, 15. This is a reference to Gen. 12:17 and Gen. 20:3. In both cases, there is absolutely no doubt, Abraham was in the wrong. He was not where God had told him to be. He had lied about his wife. He had grown weak in the faith.
In both cases, the rulers of the lands (kings), were in the right. They would have had the 'right' humanly speaking to rebuke Abraham, yet neither did. They were prohibited by God from doing so. (See t of d, Ps. 105, pg. 340)
There are some things which took place:
1.) Pharaoh's and his house were plagued.
a.) We know not hat kind of plagues these were other than: 1.) They prevented Pharaoh from harming Abraham's wife in any way. 2.) They could be traced directly to Abraham's wife.
2.) We see in chp. 20 (v. 3), that the result was going to be death to the king and his nation.
3.) Verses 17, 18, we see that a result was barrenness. This would indicate that Abraham was in Gerar for some time.
There are a couple of things here:
a.) God people have always been a small minority. These patriarch here (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob), were only a very few surrounded by huge amounts of heathens. God protected them. God always has a remnant. He will protect that remnant. The enemy cannot touch His remnant without His permission. Job a perfect example.
b.) The prophets of God are more important to Him than are kings and leaders of great nations. Here is one man, Abraham, who is out of the will of God, really, dragging God's name through mud, yet God is protecting him. Now, Abraham will pay the price for this, but the heathen can't touch him.
Let me throw this in. The minister (pastor), of God holds a unique place in god's eyes. People had better be careful as they might seek to rebuke him. God will take of him when His time is right.
He won't be right all the time anymore than was Abraham. Yet, God would not allow even these kings to rebuke him, or try to set him straight. They could not call him in and say, "Now, Abe, you did me wrong. You had better straighten it all out or you have had it." In fact, Pharaoh let him keep the tremendous wealth Abraham gained. That wealth became a chain around his neck. Abraham paid dearly for that wealth and don't think he wasn't reminded of it.
God rebuked kings for His elect's sake (Abraham).
Skipping down to 13:11-13. Abraham had made his decision based upon what seemed best to him at the time, 12:10. God seemed to bless and honour that decision. Now the time comes for Lot to decide. Notice the principle Lot now makes his decision on. He made his decision upon the appearance, not on principle. Lot's daughters do the same thing some years later.
Abraham made his decision based on what seemed best at the time. Lot made his decision based on what seemed best at the time. Lot's daughters made their decision based on what seemed best at the time.
Abraham was about 75 or 76 in 13:1, and around 99 in chp. 18. This would make Lot's daughters in 19:36, well under the age of 20. The dates and ages are not the important but what is, is the fact that almost immediately Abraham's sinful decision to follow the flesh shows up in Lot then within 20 or so years it starts bearing fruit. Two generations down the road.
Parents, we cannot make those decisions after the flesh and expect those under our authority to make decisions after the spirit.
Yes, God protected Abraham and his wife. God even delivered Lot for Abraham's sake, yet there can be no doubt that Abraham looked back with a broken heart at his dumb decision. All of the riches of Egypt could not justify his decision to do it his way.
Going back to Heb. 11:9.
Abraham, the heir to the promise of this land and that promise given by the Creator, dwelt there as a stranger. He exercised no rights which would have not been the common rights to any stranger. He even bought the piece of ground to bury his wife on.
He owned not one thing in this land, yet he clung to the promise that it would one day belong to his posterity, his seed. He didn't even have a seed (heir) yet.
Heb. 11:9 with Isaac and Jacob.
Abraham was round 100 when Isaac was born, Abe lived to be 175, Isaac was about 60 when Jacob was born.
This would make Isaac 75 and Jacob about 15 when Abraham died. So Heb. 11:9 would be literally true as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob would all be alive at the same time and dwelling together.
All three of these men lived in tents, not owning the land in which they lived although they had been promised this land by God.
What I would like for us to see is that Abraham passed his confidence down to his grandchild, Jacob. As we follow Jacob's children we find this confidence also alive in his children, Joseph especially.
Here Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, none saw this promise come to pass, yet all held fast to it. In fact, (as we will see), these all died in the faith, none of them receiving the promise.
Most of us will try it God's way for a few church services or for a few weeks, a few months or maybe even a few years, but if we don't see the promise accomplished, then we are ready to give it up.
These men had a strong enough confidence that they were able
to pass it down to many generations, Gen. 50:24. Most of us don't
have enough faith to keep us consistent for God, let alone pass
on to our kids.
Even though the land of Canaan was still in the possession of the heathens, the children picked up the promise. What kind of confidence do we pass down to our children?
Heb. 11:10. If find this verse quite interesting. Even though Abraham had the earthly promise of the physical land, this was not his hope. He and those of his household still lived in tents. His promise was a physical inheritance that would be a representative of the kingdom of God on earth, yet his hope was in the heavenly city.
Back in Gen. 12, Abraham was given a promise. In Jn. 8:56 we are told that the promise was concerning the day of Christ, which would be the day we are living in. As he saw this day, he rejoiced.
Now, in Heb. 11:10, v. 16 also, we are told that it was the heavenly city which he looked for as his permanent home.
The main thing we want to see here is that, "There is not the slightest evidence that Abraham supposed that their would be a magnificent and glorious capital where the Messiah would personally reign, and where the righteous dead, raised from their graves would dwell in the second advent of the Redeemer, (Barnes', Hebrews, pg. 267)."
Abraham fully expected the land of Palestine to be given to his decedents, yet his hope was a heavenly one, a permanent city, the heavenly city. [As I was flipping channels I came across Jerry (11/13/88). He was saying that the hope of the church was the rapture.]
Now, this throws a totally different light on the many prophetic passages which speak of the glorious city of God.
We see here that as far back as Abraham, this glorious city of God was seen as a heavenly city whose builder and maker is God.
To try to make the many prophetic passages which speak of a glorious city located in Palestine where the Messiah will physically reign from, would force us to say that Abraham's hope was wrong. His hope was in a glorious heavenly city, not in a glorious earthly city.
All of the prophetic references concerning the glorious city of God (whether called Zion or Jerusalem), of the end days must be viewed from within this frame work. Abraham, by faith, saw the future day of Christ and the glories there of, yet, as he saw this day, he only saw a glorious heavenly city whose builder and maker was God.
I believe here that he saw the church. The glorious city of God, the heavenly Jerusalem which the Apostle goes on to present in Heb. 12:22. This church made up of a vast multitude of people which no man could number.
Which brings us to this. The present Jewish hope of a glorious city where the Messiah will reign from a physical throne cannot fit within this hope of Abraham. If anyone would have been justified in this kind of hope, Abraham would have been.
> He had been promised the land which had the city of Jebus in it.
> He had been met by the priest of the most High God, Melchizedek, the king of Salem and given a blessing (Gen. 14:18).
> He had been promised a very large line of decedents, as great in number as the sands of the sea. Enough to physically conquer any nation on earth, in fact, the whole earth.
> He had been promised kings and princes as well as a mighty nation which would possess the gates of their enemies.
> He had everything promised which would be required to establish a great city and nation which could rule over the whole earth. Nothing was missing. He had a king, mighty people, a land and cities promised to him.
Yet we see here in Heb. 11:10, his hope was not in any of these things. His hope was in a heavenly city.
As we have already mentioned. The hope of an earthly glorious city where a temporal king will reign over all the earth (we should say, Messiah), is not the hope Abraham had. Actually it would be outside of his hope and a denial of the faith of Abraham.
Is this not the conflict which took place between Christ and the religious leaders. They clung to a physical kingdom and a great glorious city here the Messiah would reign over the whole earth. When Christ refused to support that hope, they crucified Him. Again, Jn. 8, contains this confrontation.
The Jews have not lost this hope and many of the church have been brought into this Jewish hope. This is not the hope of Abraham. Heb. 11:10 is clear on this. All of the prophetic references to this city must be viewed within the confines of Heb. 11:10.
Bringing us to Heb. 11:11, '-Sarah herself''- The indication here is that it was quite remarkable, incredible that she should have a child. This may be a reference to Gen. 18:11, 13. Sarah laughed at the announcement. It was so far beyond reason. After all, she is around 90 at the time. This would be comparable to a 60-65 year old having a child today.
But evidently even with the initial laughter, her unbelief was overcome and here in Heb. 11:11 she is credited with great faith.
I think what we should see here that even though the word of God may go against all human possibilities, we can still move mountains through faith.
What I like about Sarah here is that even though initially she saw the promises of God beyond attainment, she later moved into faith that God would move as He promised He would do.
Many times God may deal with us or show us something which is beyond human attainment. We may initially react like Sarah did with, "Are you sure about this Lord." Yet as we go ahead, God develops the faith within us to claim the promises which at first seemed so out-of-reach, II Thess. 1:3.
Heb. 11:12, from one single individual. What the apostle is calling our attention to here is that the whole Jewish race sprang from one person as the reward for his faith, confidence in the word of God. This one man was as good as dead as far as being able to produce a child. Yet God overrode every human obstacle and from this one 'dead person' came a multitude of people as numerous as the stars, the sand.
The promise of God went contrary to all human possibilities. Abraham believed these promises and God fulfilled them.
Of course, the very impressive thing for me is that God did not fulfill those promises in Abraham's timetable but in His time.
Abraham and Sarah both tried to hurry God along because they saw their time running out. The result was Ishmael. Time doesn't run out with God.
God's word is full of promises. If we can read and study it for mire than a week and not find one or more, then we are deader than was Abraham.
We find some promises for us. We have confidence that God will fulfill them but time goes on [and on and on and on]. We do just like Abraham and Sarah did. We grow weary in well-doing. We see time growing short, so what do we do? We go ahead and help God out. We try to help things along. What happens? Along comes an Ishmael, and we have to put up with our hasty decisions for the rest of our life.
Even though Abraham and Sarah became impotent (Sarah actually, but Abraham followed her), this did not prevent God from fulfilling his promises.
Notice Gal. 6:9, the due season is not our due season. We do not control the seasons, God does. He is the one who decides to bring abut the good harvest according to the promises he has given to us.
Abraham's responsibility was to just follow God, do his best and depend upon the Lord God to bring it all to pass in His due season.
Heb. 11:13. This is one of my favorite. These OUT saints mentioned above did not receive what they were promised, yet they died fully expecting God to deliver.
"But having seen them afar off." This indicates that they saw the entire fulfillment of all of the promises. The land of Canaan, the multitude of decedents, the heavenly Canaan. As we have already seen, even the day of Christ, Jn. 8:56.
These men had no written word as we do so it is quite possible that God showed it all to them.
Persuaded, totally confident. What God showed to them that the future held was enough to cause them to make their decision to follow Him.
Embraced--a glad greeting, rejoiced in what they saw in the future.
They were not at home here. They confessed by word and action that this world was not their home, rather that they were strangers and pilgrims.
Let us mention that this world is not any ones home. It is only a stop over on the way to eternity, and a very short one at that. Yet, in this short stop over plans are made for eternity. I'm afraid most of us act like we will be here forever. We become far to attached to this world.
VV. 14. Referring back to the ones mentioned. Their actions plainly spoke that they were only strangers. (They lived in tents and even had to buy a burying place).
What do our actions speak?
V. 15. It would have been just as easy to go back to Ur as it was to come out. Rather they chose to remain in their obedience to God. The same for God's people today. It would be easy to go back to the world's ways and crowd, yet we choose to stay away. Note, the preacher can only point the way. Only you can chose to go that way.
Notice the important teaching of this verse. A tremendous principle.
1.) There are things which will make us mindful of the old country from whence we cam out. These things, though maybe not sinful, will make us homesick (Ray Price, E. Tubb, Hank Williams, Flatt and Scruggs, even Bill Monroe). (This is only one thing wrong with 'Christian Rock'.)
2.) There are worldly sinful things. They will make us long for the pleasures of this world if we entertain them. Rock music, bad language, dirty jokes, wicked movies, sensual dress.
3.) If we meditate on those old things, we will probably go back to the world. Col. 3:5, inordinate=evil desires.
Therefore, we should avoid all those things which would make us homesick for the old life. The Christian life is a voluntary life. We choose to walk the higher way and then God gives us the power to fulfill that choice.
Let us also add not only might have had opportunity is more like they will. If a person is reminded enough they will return.
V. 16. Here we see that their desire was not toward the earthly land or country, but to a heavenly. Their life reflected this heavenly desire for all to see and God was not ashamed to be called their God. The reference here is probably Ex. 3:6. I'm afraid that far to often our actions would show a much stronger tie to this world than to the heavenly kingdom (Matt. 6:33).
For he hath prepared for them a city--. This refers back to v. 10. No doubt the New Jerusalem, heaven. Their first and foremost desire was the cause of God and his kingdom.
Our life is as a vapor and will soon be past. Only what is done for Christ will last.
Now, let's remember what the apostle is talking about. He is defining faith. Faith is the substance, it is the evidence or we could say confidence which we make our decisions on. It is what causes us to make our decisions. He has used Abraham's attitude toward material possessions as a example, now he goes the greatest step possible, His children.
V. 17. This is undoubtedly the greatest illustration of faith in the Scripture, or of all time as far as that goes. This trial was not an enticement to do wrong. Rather it was something to test its (Abraham's faith), strength or genuineness. Abraham was placed in a circumstance which showed the strength of his confidence, in God. (And so are we quite regularly.)
Ja. 2:21, Abraham had received the promise that in Isaac would his seed be called, Heb. 11:18; Gen. 21:12. This call to offer Isaac up to God (call given by God), would test Abraham's faith (confidence), in the promise that God would call Abraham's seed through Isaac.
V. 19. We see that Abraham's confidence in the promise that his seed would come through Isaac was so strong that he believed God would raise Isaac from the dead if need be.
His confidence in God's promise was so great that he offered up Isaac to death, knowing that God would work something out so that He could fulfill that promise.
We also see from v. 19 that as far as Abraham was concerned, Isaac was dead. His determination to obey God was so strong that as soon as God told him to offer Isaac, Isaac was dead. V. 19, we see that the deliverance of Isaac in Abraham's eyes was receiving him back from the dead. Gen. 22:10-14.
The lessons and illustrations here for us are limitless.
1.) Gen. 22:2, Abraham stepped out by faith to go where God would tell him of (compare with 12:1).
2.) V. 4. Three days journey. Any old place wouldn't do. It had to be where God wanted it to be.
3.) The ram (v. 13), was at this place. If Abraham had not obeyed God's word exactly, the ram would have been here and Abraham would have killed his son elsewhere.
Faith is great, but faith without the word of God can be disastrous.
Here we see it could not be partial obedience but total. Yes,
he moved out in obedience but if he had stopped short or only
done part of what he was to do or even gone too far, Isaac would
The principle for us. Our children are to be sacrificed to God. This principle includes any and everything we could think of. What ever is dear to our heart is involved here. In fact, this would be Rom. 12:1. We sacrifice everything to Him. Anything that is more important to us than obeying his word is an idol which must be cast down.
How? We obey God's word toward them regardless of how we feel, and we might also add. All of human reasoning (and even the laws), of society might be contrary to what God's word says concerning our children, but we must still obey God.
When God speaks to us His will is ours to obey, not to reason it out or question it.
Now, what evidence did Abraham have to prove that his seed would come through Isaac? What evidence did he have that God would raise Isaac from the dead if He needed to? None, except God's word. This was the evidence Abraham had to make his decision on.
God wasn't going around at this time raising folks from the dead. But Abraham's confidence was as strong as if God was raising people from the dead.
V. 20. Isaac. This is found in Gen. 27:27-30. Note 28:1-3, Isaac knew which boy was to receive what blessing. Isaac pronounced a blessing upon these boys according to the faith he had in God. Gen. 27:28, is what God gave to Abraham, 12:3.) We see here that what Isaac spoke to his two sons was not what he wanted to happen but it was in the terms of the faith he had in God performing these things.
V. 21. Not only Isaac, but his son Jacob did the same thing. The blessing he gave was in terms of what he believed God would do in fulfillment of His promises.
V. 22. This same faith is passed down to Joseph, as Joseph does the same thing. Joseph had confidence that God would give them Canaan. This faith caused him to mention their departure from Egypt and made them promise to take his bones with them. His confidence, faith in the promise of God caused him to extract a promise from the next generation. Gen. 50:25. The oath showed that Joseph and the hearers believed the promise.
Heb. 11:23. We are told more about the motive of Moses and his parents in the NT than we are in the old.
Here we are told that it was the confidence of Moses' parents which caused them to take steps to hide him from the king of Egypt.
They believed that God had a special work for Moses to do, Ex. 2:2. Was it something about his appearance? It was goodly, (fair, beautiful, very handsome, extra-ordinary beauty). Or was it just their confidence?
Let me ask, what would we do, how would we act if we were totally convinced that God had a very special purpose for our child or children?
Did God reveal something special to these parents to cause them to do this? Or did these parents have so much confidence in God that they did this and God honoured their faith.
I personally think that these people had confidence in God and believe that God had something special for their child without any special revelation. They took steps to protect the child and God honored it.
What would God do for and through our children if we had this kind of confidence or determination that God would use each one of them? What kind of changes would we make if we believed that God had a special purpose for that child? How would we train that child if we thought God had a special plan? What kind of protection would we seek? How would we act around them? Who would we let them around? What would we let them do or get involved in?
Of course, the application could not be anymore obvious. If we were totally convinced that God had a special plan for that child we would do a lot different and the result would be that God would use that child in a very special way.
Another thing about Moses' parents. We see from Ex. 1:22 that the command was to throw every boy baby in the river. Then we see that their confidence in God caused them to not be afraid of this command.
That child was a special child to those parents. They would not turn over that child to the state no matter what the treat was. Maybe the threat was death to the family which refused to obey the king's command. Whatever the punishment was, they had confidence in God. That confidence in God out-weighed any fear which they might have had toward the king.
I believe again, it was the parents confidence that God would use Moses in a special way because we see that not only did God honour that confidence in Moses, but also in Aaron, Moses' brother. They had to do something with Aaron also because the king's command would have covered Aaron. God honoured that confidence of the parents that God had a special job for him also. Aaron became the first high priest. Moses was the lawgiver but the priesthood went to Aaron.
THEIR CONFIDENCE THAT GOD WAS GOING TO USE MOSES FOR HIS PURPOSE, HONOUR AND GLORY OUTWEIGHED THEIR FEAR OF THE KINGS COMMAND.
Another thing about Heb. 11:23 and Ex. 2:2, 3. They acted by faith. Moses was born. Rather than throw him in the river, sacrifice him to the gods of the Egyptians, they hid him in their home.
It wouldn't be to difficult to hide a new born. They only eat and sleep. But now he starts to get older and more active, now what?
The indication here is that they did the best they knew how to do at the time and refused to worry about tomorrow. It would take care of itself, Matt. 6.
I can see most of us with the king's command here:
1.) A child is born.
2.) Immediately we start worrying, "My, my, what in the world am I going to do? He will be nine years old before I know what happened. Then what will I do? I can't keep him locked up in the house hidden forever. My, my, my. Now what?"
No, I don't think this is what happened here. The indication here is that Moses was born. The parents said, "We can hide him in the house for now. When he gets to big to hide then God will show us what to do."
Again the application is very obvious. Let's not try to live tomorrow before it gets here. God only promises his grace and wisdom for today. When tomorrow gets here, God will take care of that. He will show us how to handle the problem when it gets here and not before.
In fact, I'm sure most of us have seen that those things which seem to be mountains off in the distance, when we get there, they are nothing but a mole hill. If that much.
Let us NOT try to figure out or live those problems before we get there.
Yes, they seem monstrous now, but we do not have the grace to deal with them yet. The grace will not be there until we get there.
The prayer is "give us THIS DAY our daily bread." Not the brad for tomorrow. If we do our best for Him today, walk in the light daily as he gives us light and when we get there, we will have the needed direction.
A good illustration would be a very dark night. We have a very bright light which we shine immediately before us. Off in the distance we see a reflection of some eyes. We have no way to make out the form of what is there. Most of us would allow our imagination to run away from us. Yet when we get there we find that it is a racoon which is more afraid of us than we are of it.
Here with Moses' parents, they did the best they could with what they had at the time. By faith they hid Moses in the house. By faith they believed that when he got too big to hide, God would provide something else. By faith they ignored the king's command and God honoured this faith. We see how as we follow Moses on though.
Now, let me also mention here as we look at the space between Heb. 11:23 and v. 24. How much time passes? (forty-years)
Moses' parent DID NOT turn him over to Egypt willingly and by faith believe that God would take care of him. They were forced to do this. Either cast him upon the mercy of God upon the river in hopes that someone in Pharaoh's house would find him or lose him to death.
Don't think that his parents didn't know that the daughter of Pharaoh came down to the river daily in her religious observance. They timed this just right so that she would see the babe when she came, Ex. 2:3-8. Pharaoh's daughter knew who the sister was. She knew who she would get to nurse the child.
His parents were between the devil and the deep blue sea. They were between casting Moses upon the river at the mercy of the world or death.
All of that to say this. We cannot cast our children to the mercy of the world and expect God to take care of them as He did Moses. His parents had no choice. We do. Only as we are faithful for God to the very best of our abilities with our children in training them for God can we expect God to work.
If we were in the circumstances such as Moses was and his parents, that would be a different story.
ONLY AS WE FAITHFULLY DO WHAT WE CAN DO WE EXPECT GOD TO BE FAITHFUL IN DOING WHAT WE CANNOT DO.
Now, let's skip over the forty years of Moses life to Heb. 11:24.
We have a record of this in Acts 7:25. We see here that Moses felt or knew that God was going to use him in a very special way. Where does he get this idea? Did God reveal this to him in a vision?
Again I personally think this was passed down to him from his parents. They were so confident that God would use their children in a special way (Moses, Aaron, their sister Miriam), that they took their chances of the wrath of the king to hide them. Evidently this confidence was passed down to Moses.
Moses was confident that God was going to use him, yet he got in a hurry. Acts 7:19-30. How much like us. We feel like or are confident that God is going to use us and we go ahead. Moses had a lot of schooling to go through before God could use him. Joseph did the same.
I find it quite interesting. God was going to use him. As long as Moses was confident in this God couldn't. It took forty years for him to lose this self-confidence. When God did call him, the excuses which Moses used are quite interesting. Again, Joseph, not until he gave up all hope did God work.
We see from Acts 7:21, 22, that he was adopted by Pharaoh's daughter and brought up in her house. He had all of the best training which the world of his day had to offer. He had all of the glories and pleasures which the world had, at his disposal.
It is significant that both Acts 7:23 and Heb. 11:24 make a point of how old Moses was when he made this choice. This was no emotional choice of a teenager. This was a choice of a mature man who knew exactly what he was doing. Let us mention, no doubt the age of accountability is much older than what we would think. I know of some upper teens who are incapable of making sound decisions apart from their emotions. Of course, they are still responsible.
This decision which Moses makes by faith was probably one of the greatest decisions ever in terms of the contrast.
V. 24, 25. On the one hand he had all of the glories and pleasures of the then most powerful nation on earth. Pleasures of sin--not necessarily involved in actual immorality and debauchery. But sinful things do have pleasure (remember what is sin, anything that is not done by faith, for the glory of God, Rom. 14:23.)
On the one hand we have all of the ease, power and pleasure which money could buy. On the other we have object poverty, slavery. The contrast could not be greater. The wealth and privilege of a earthly ruler contrasted with the poverty of a down trodden slave people. On one hand, no cares except how to spend your time and wealth, the other, how to keep from starving to death and getting enough time to eat and sleep.
Moses could have stayed where he was. Used his influence and maybe even have an affect for good. But this wasn't good enough.
Again, this was not a emotional decision. He was plenty old enough to know exactly the choice. Notice his choice.
V. 26. Esteeming the reproach of Christ. Now, let's go back to the promise. Abraham's faith caused him to act on the promise.
That God would provide the Messiah (deliverer), through his seed and that God would give them the land of Canaan. Abraham's faith in that promises caused him to offer up Isaac.
By faith he passed that promise on to Isaac. Isaac passed it on to Jacob. Jacob passed it on to Joseph. Joseph was so confident that God would fulfill the promise of the Messiah and that he would give them Canaan that he gave commandment concerning his bones, that when they left they would take his body with them.
Many years later we see this confidence that God would send the Messiah as well as give them Canaan, surface again in Moses. Moses is so confident that God is going to deliver his people one day from their bondage and servitude that now he makes a choice. He is so confident that these slave people are on the winning side that he chooses to be identified with them.
This choice goes completely beyond all human wisdom and understanding. On one hand he has all of the glories, riches and treasures of Egypt at his command. On the other hand is poverty with a promise of future reward. Moses chose to be identified with the people of God who were in slavery and poverty. WHY DID HE MAKE THAT CHOICE?
By faith he trusted in the promise which they had.
By faith he looked ahead to the future and made this tremendous choice. Let me add, this choice did not stop with Moses. The choice is still valid today. Can we make it?
On one hand we have a group of people who are despised and rejected by the world. We have a group of people who are oppressed at every occasion by the world.
We have a group of people who do not have the finances of the world.
On the other hand. The world's crowd seems to have all the could desire to have. Ps. 37 and 73 give an excellent contrast of the two.
What a choice. But the oppressed group of people have the promise of greater reward laid up for them. Matt. 6 covers this promise.
Now, we can chose the present pleasures or the future greater reward. To chose the future greater reward requires faith. V. 26 says Moses turned his back on the pleasures in hand for the future greater reward.
Heb. 11:25, 26, is a challenge to everyone of us. Can we accept this challenge?
When the time comes to make the choice, he did not fear the power of Egypt. He knew that he would create hate from the king when the word got back that he chose to turn his back on all that Egypt had to offer. Yet he did Acts 7:23, 24a. When he reached maturity he again decided he wanted to be identified with the slave people. He went out to visit them. He saw one suffering wrong and he defended the Hebrew. He full well knew what he was doing. He knew he would incur the wrath of the king when he did this but his faith in the promise of God caused him to chose to be identified on the side of the oppressed people.
No doubt he had it all planned out. He would identify himself with the slaves, children of Israel. He believed that God would use him to help fulfill the promise of deliverance and claiming the promised land, Acts 7:25.
Ex. 2:12, He saw his chance to show the slave people that he was on their side so he killed the Egyptian. He thought he could do this in secret from Egypt and the Hebrews would accept his leadership and he could lead them. He knew (believed) that God was going to deliver them and to him, now was the time.
Well, he soon found out that the Israelites would have nothing to do with him. In fact, turned against him. Now he had Israel against him (contrary to what he had expected), He no doubt planned to join with the people of the promise by showing them that he was also opposed to their oppressors. He didn't fear the wrath of the king in this decision.
But there is a problem.
Now Israel won't allow him to come among them. The king has found out and now Moses must flee for his life. This is not at all the way he had it planned. But the providence of God had this all worked out. God had to cut him off from Egypt as well as show him the uselessness of human power and wisdom. Did Moses expect to lead an insurrection with the 600,000 men of Israel and come out with armed might?
Let us mention. God was not in the murder, although God used the murder. If Moses had been patient, God would have used other means to train and prepare him to do this mighty work.
V. 27. By faith he forsook Egypt--
This is a reference to the second time Moses left Egypt. We are expressly told that the first time he left Egypt he was fearful, Ex. 2:14, 15. He feared for his life.
But the second time he left Egypt he went out with a high hand. This time when he went out he had no fear of Pharaoh nor dread of what he might do to him. Ex. 14:8, Moses did not fear even though Pharaoh perused them.
He had no doubt that God had called him and would preform a great deliverance as well as supply their every need. His confidence in the promised deliverance and provision of God caused him to endure all of the hardships which came with that deliverance.
11:28, the passover. Again, there are a series of studies in each one of the points including the passover. Maybe we will come back one day to the deliverance from Egypt. But for now let's stick with Heb. 11.
The passover kept by faith. Again, Moses believed the promise of God of the Messiah and deliverance from Egypt to Canaan. Although let us make clear. Moses' hope (also the rest of these great men of faith), was not in Canaan. It was not a physical hope, but a spiritual. As they looked forward to the eternal reward and eternal city for their obedience, vv. 13-16.
The passover. God told Moses he would deliver his people through the passover. Moses believed this and ordered it kept. Those who kept the word of God were delivered. Those who did not were slain. It was kept by faith. If they believed God would do what he said he would do, they did what he told them to do. Let us mention that the passover was/is not the meal which they were commanded to keep, I Cor. 5:7. The passover was the Lamb.
Then v. 29, the passing through the Red Sea on dry ground. Again, God directed Moses to go by the way of the Red Sea, rather than by the way of dry land. Moses obeyed by faith even though the people fussed and complained.
Moses was definitely between devil and the deep blue sea, yet he went where god told him to go and did what god told him to do. God opened the sea.
The Egyptians attempted to follow and they were destroyed.
For us? All of the passage concerning Moses goes against all human reason, yet he did these things by faith and God blessed him. (The Egyptians sought to do the same and were drowned.)
Faith moves contrary to all human reason.
I think it bears observation concerning the removal of God's people from Egypt in the Exodus.
They were content in their bondage until things got so rough for them that they cried out. This would bring up a question for us. What will God have to allow to come to pass before his people get tired (fed up), of the bondage which they are bound up in today? It seems like as long as there is a good income, folks just don't have any desire to follow God and his word.
They really seem to have no urge to rock the boat yet when it got bad enough they cried out to God for deliverance.
V. 30. When we identify faith as that motivation factor which causes us to make a decision which is contrary to all human reason, this also fits right in.
Jericho. This was no small insignificant city. (Read 5th paragraph down in Thompson, pg. 338, Arch. Supp.)
Modern God haters would have us believe that it was a small bury and a natural event for the walls to fall. An earthquake or some other natural force. But no, its just like God said it was. They marched around the wall one time a day for seven days. Then on the seventh, they gave a shout and God told the stones to fall. They did.
Archeology has proved that the walls fell outward, flat so that the people could march over them.
We see this record in Josh. 6, notice that in vv. 1-5, God gives the history of what happened before it happened.
Something which I want us to see. Can you imagine the scorning and ridicule which the heathen inhabitants had towards God's covenant people as they started around the walls on the first day. The great noise as they marched around this strong city. Remember, they blew the trumpets as they marched around this city.
They did this six days in a row. The walls were strong. The people secure behind the walls and well hardened in their sin. By faith the people marched and the priests blew the trumpets. God had told them if they would then on the seventh time the walls would fall flat.
Six days, rising early in the morning. The priests circled the city. Blowing their trumpets. The seventh day they circled the city seven times in silence. I'm sure the people of the city mocked and jeered them. It was quiet now and they could hear the mockery. But on the last trip there was not a sound until Joshua said so. When he said so the people sounded and the walls fell down flat.
There is a tremendous lesson here for us. Notice 6:1. Now Jericho was straitly shut up. These heathens were shut up tight behind their walls thinking that they were safe.
We know people who are shut up tight behind their high walls. They are shutting out the voice of God and are confident in their safety from God.
But we notice here that no matter how tight the gate, high or secure the wall, it will fall down flat at the command of God, 6:20.
The voice is compared to a trumpet, I Cor. 14. As the voice is raised in obedience to God. Those hardened in sin have no hope. It is at the command of God that their walls will fall and their city conquered for God. Maybe the voice is met with scorn and ridicule but God can bring the strongest of walls crashing down. In our darkest day of discouragement we need to remember Jericho.
Think of how discouraging or hopeless the cause would have been to Israel here. No matter how hopeless that unsaved person may be, continue to sound the trumpet and God will command the wall to fall down flat. He alone can command it to fall and he will if we don't fail. God has power over the human heart as he does Jericho. If we will have the faith of Heb. 11:30, we can also expect the walls to fall.
Heb. 11:31, Rahab. We have already talked about her in a sermon (½2/89), so we will move on.
We have been in a series in Hebrews for quite some time now. We have come to Heb. 11:30 and 31. Here is a message far too important for us to pass over lightly. Also it presents a principle which we must act upon here.
V. 31. actually takes place before v. 30 so we will look at them in their chronological order. V. 31, Rabah is the only person, male or female listed in Heb. 11 who is not a part of the direct physical Hebrew linage or who is not in the direct line of heirship of the promise given to Adam.
We will look at her story first. The historical record of Rahab is found in Joshua chp. 2.
Here we see that Joshua is now preparing to take Jericho. Jericho is no small insignificant town. It is a large city, very well fortified at the border of Canaan. We could safely say that this front line city had fought off many hostile attacks which sought to invade Canaan and control the land.
1.) Joshua chooses two men and he sends them to spy out the land, even Jericho. Why? Maybe to see where their weak points were or whatever. But it really seems quite useless to spy out the land. The promise of God was to give the land so why did they waste their time going to Jericho? (We'll see in a moment.)
2.) We have absolutely no reason to question the godly character of these men. Undoubtedly they were godly men chosen to do a difficult and dangerous task, walk right into the enemies stronghold.
Remember, her house was on the wall, probably close to the gate.
4.) As was not at all uncommon in that day (nor is it today), this public house had harlots available for the strangers and Rahab was one of them according to the Scriptures. Remember, this is a chief Canaanite city probably on a major trade route with heavy traffic.
5.) As soon as the two men entered into the city they were recognized as two men from the Israelite nations and there was absolutely no doubt why they were there. (Evidently by their manner of dress they stood out.)
a.) I find it strange. These people knew all about the power of God (v. 10), yet rather than welcome the chance of repentance they sought to kill his men.
6.) They follow the directions to the public house operated by Rahab and Rahab also recognizes them. We see that the word had traveled far and no doubt the Jerichoites had these people with great interest as well as concern.
a.) Rahab, rather than providing a room in the house, took them right to the roof, (v. 6). She knew what was going to take place so she hid them in the stacks of flax which was on the roof.
7.) As the men travel toward Rahab's hotel: the news of their arrival travels to the king of the city. Again, we see (v. 2), that the people as well as the king knew what to look for and what was going on.
a.) The report also told the king that the men had sought out a public house and had been directed to Rahab's house.
8.) The king sends his messengers to Rahab's house to bring back the two men to him.
9.) Rahab, knowing what was going to happen, had hidden the two men so now she tells the kings messengers, "Two men came to me but I did not know who or what they were. When it came about time to shut the gates at dark the men left. I don't know where they are now but I'm sure if you we'll hurry you can catch them. They just left not long ago.
a.) The city gates were shut as soon as the kings men went out in hot pursuit and they went as far as the Jordan trying to catch the spies.
10.) The kings men are gone so Rahab goes to the roof to talk to those she had hidden up there. Vv. 9-11 is what she tells them.
11.) The people of Canaan know all of this and are fearful, yet have no desire to do anything about it, to make peace with the God who accomplished all of these things, and how like the fallen nature. Men know the answer is God and his word, but they would rather fight God and die in their sins. I know of folks who would rather die and go to hell than to admit that what they have is not salvation.
12.) Notice what Rahab says, v. 9. I know that the Lord hath given you the land---. How did Rahab know this? God had shown her.
13.) Now, look what Rahab does. V. 12, she extracts a promise from these men for her protection as well as the protection of her loved ones.
14.) The men give their word, v. 14.
15.) She lets them down over the wall to safety. She tells them the way to safety, v. 16 (hid three days).
16.) The men (vv. 17-21) tell Rahab what to do if she wants to claim salvation for her and her family.
a.) Then they follow her advice and reach home safely, 22-24.
I think there is a tremendous lesson here for us in this story of Rahab. Not only a tremendous lesson, but a principle which is followed through into the NT and must be obeyed.
Let's sum up the story of Rahab.
1.) Joshua )sent) commanded the two men to go check out the pagan city. A city which was totally given over to absolutely every form of heathenism. There was not one vile, evil practice what was not going on in Canaan at this time. This is one reason that every man, woman and child was under the death sentence.
2.) I'm sure these two men expected hostility in the city, but by now their confidence in God was strong enough to deliver them. (40 years of schooling). Therefore they could walk boldly into this wicked city depending on God to protect them.
3.) As we read the story, what these men did NOT expect to find was a woman who was receptive to them. Especially not a harlot or one who had been involved in their pagan practices.
4.) Let's look at Rahab a moment. She knew what was in store.
Rahab was aware of the same thing that the rest of the inhabitants
were aware of. The difference was that here Rahab had a desire
to unite with this God who she was hearing so much about. Maybe
she had already given up her harlotry in hopes that this marvelous
God would remember her. This we don't know. We do know though
that she was not only aware of this God but she was looking for
the opportunity to "switch sides."
5.) Then the fifth point. God worked in his divine providence to bring the two together. The two spies and Rahab. I think as we look at this whole record, this caught the two men completely by surprise. They expected hostility and here they are welcomed with open arms.
But it didn't catch them so much by surprise that they didn't know what to do. They made their promise and she was spared from the destruction.
God was working on both ends. He worked to send the men to the pagan city. He worked to create a need in Rahab. Then he worked to bring them together.
What would have happened if:
1.) They had refused to obey Joshua's's command. "Joshua, we aren't going to stick our neck out there. Someone will chop it off."
2.) When they crossed the Jordan. Rather than going in to check out the city they had said, "That man Joshua is crazy. We aren't going over there into that city. They will be waiting for us and will kill us."
What would have happened? 1.) They would have faced the wrath of God AGAIN for not obeying. 2.) Rahab would have perished.
Now, the application. It is obvious.
I. Our Joshua (Jesus is the NT name for Joshua), has given us a command. This is not a "if you feel like it" command. It is very blunt and to the point and that command is found in Matt. 28:19, 20.
The command is go and teach the gospel to all nations. The margin reads make disciples of or make Christians of all.
In Mk. 16:15, he is recorded as "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
In other words, our Joshua has given this command to us. Go and teach the gospel to everyone.
II. The area into which we are to go is held by the pagans. They are scheduled for destruction. They are involved in wickedness of every kind [what can we expect out of a pagan except drunkenness, adulteries, whoredoms, murders, in fact, ungodly activities of all kinds].
a.) But our Joshua has commanded us to go. We are assured of His presence protection and power as we go so there is no need to be fearful. No one can do anything which He does not permit.
III. Like the spies, we cannot expect to be warmly received. Even though these pagans have heard of our God, even though they know he is the one who is going to be victorious and even though they know we represent this mighty God, they will not receive us. In fact, like the king of Jericho, they will seek to get rid of any representative of this God.
a.) Also like the spies, we can expect to confront those who not only could care less about the Lord but who would much rather you not even be around them as a representative of the Lord. They would not mind us representing Avon or Tupperware, but not the God of heaven.
IV. The fourth thing here. Like with the spies, there are some Rahab's out there. Those who God is working in. Those who are living among others who are salted for destruction. Those who he is dealing with their heart. Those who must be reached for the kingdom of God before it is eternally too late, before they are destroyed.
There is that destruction coming. The kingdoms of this world are going to be judged. The ungodly are going to spend an eternity in hell. There are some out there that want deliverance from their pagan life style now.
Our job is not to be afraid of the strong walls and the stout looks of the inhabitants of the land. Our job is to follow our Joshua's command, Lk. 14:21-23.
Our job is to go into the highways and streets even in the lanes and hedges of the pagan cities and communities. Our job is to persuade men no matter where they are found to come and follow our Great King.
Notice with Rabah. No doubt, this was not the person who these men would have had in mind if they even imagined there would be someone in that pagan city who was being dealt with. I'm sure they would have chosen a find upright citizen but God was working in Rahab.
Those who God may be working in probably will not be the ones we expect, yet our job is to go and allow the providence of God direct us to those he is dealing with.
There are folks around us in this community, on the job, or even among our friends, who God is working in the same as was in Rahab.
It is our responsibility to go no matter how hopeless the land may look in its dedication to paganism. It is God's responsibility to work in the hearts. It is God' responsibility to direct us to those he is working in.
Also notice the command has no age limit on it. If the person is physically able they fall under this requirement. They are responsible to go.
Back to the spies.
1.) Probably the most important for us. I'm sure to these two men it seemed useless to go.
These heathens were slated for destruction. They were involved in all types of ungodly activity. They wanted absolutely nothing to do with the God of Israel. Everyone from the king down was against this God and his messengers. The victory had already been promised, so why go?
Again, the application is obvious.
We are commanded by our Joshua to go. As we look around us at a world totally given over to the wicked one it would seem as useless as can be.
The heathens are salted for destruction and that destruction will be nothing which is not deserved. They are indifferent to God, want nothing to do with him as they continue on in their hot pursuit of pleasure.
God has already promised his people the victory. So why go?
The reason is because our Joshua has commanded us to go.
1.) We are disobedient if we do not go to the pagans.
2.) There are some 'Rahab's' and their families out there. God is dealing with them about 'switching sides.' They will perish with the rest of the heathens who are slated for destruction and we will be held responsible for not going.
1. Are you one who needs to switch sides?
If you are not saved, you are with the crows which is slated for destruction. How long will you wait.
2. Have you been faithful in obeying Joshua's command or are we allowing the city to be destroyed without checking it out.
Do we allow the wickedness of the heathen to discourage us? Do we allow their indifference to our God discourage us?
How do we expect the wicked unsaved to act?
Our responsibility is to be faithful in going. God's responsibility is to create the hunger and desire in their heart.
V. 32. Here we see that for lack of time the apostle does not go into detail as to what these men did. By listing these men, Paul does not condone all that each one did. Some of these had some very glaring sins in their lives. The apostle is only referring to their faith, not their weaknesses and sins. Let us add, our faith in Christ does the same for us before the Father.
V. 31. Notice what their faith accomplished. Some subdued kingdoms, some wrought righteousness, carried the laws of justice into execution, esp. against guilty nations. The executed the purpose of God in punishing the wicked and cutting off his foes.
Some obtained promised or through their faith obtained the promised blessings of God for their posterity.
Stopped the mouths of lions, Daniel of course.
V. 34. Quenched the violence of fire, again, the book of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshack and Abendnego.
Escaped the edge of the sword. Elijah fled from Ahab and Ahab sought to kill him. Also Jezebel. David escaped from Saul's evil design.
Out of weakness were made strong. People who were weak in the world's eyes were made strong and victorious. This would be I Cor. 1 and 2.
Waxed valiant in fight. They gained courage in the battle. As we have mentioned, grace (courage), isn't provided until it is needed. IN BATTLE, not at home. We won't gain courage or victory in front of the T.V.. It is in battle. It is as we go into battle that the grace will be provided for that courage.
Turned to flight the armies of the aliens. The invaders fled.
Women received their dead. Elijah restored the widow's son to life (in Zarephath).
Others were tortured. Probably refers to the many forms of torturous beatings and notice that they refused the deliverance which was offered to them. They refused to compromise upon the word of God. There was hope in the future resurrection as was Moses' and Abraham's. The hope in the future city of God caused them to hold on to their profession in the face of tremendous persecution.
He continues on in v. 36. Here he refers to scorn and mockeries. Along with the physical persecutions, as well as whippings, chains and imprisonments.
V. 37. Stoning was common among the Jews. Stephen's death was a good example of this. His faith saw him through it.
Saw asunder. Tradition has Isaiah being put to death in this manner.
Tempted. This is probably a reference to being tempted to renounce their faith in order to be delivered from torture and/or death. This would have been prevalent in Paul's time. The Jews torturing the new Christians and all these Christians had to do was admit that you could mix Jewish customs and rites with Christ. We also saw Jeremiah a couple of weeks ago. All he had to do was stop speaking against the sins of the people. Otherwise they desired to kill him.
Also a reference to Rome. All the Christian had to do was seek a license from Caesar and he could go on about his business of preaching the gospel. Sprinkle a little incense on the alter and say 'Caesar is Lord."
We se this offer also in the image in the book of Daniel. All they had to do was bow to the image and they could go on and worship the Jewish God.
Slain with the sword. Their faith did not deliver them from the sword as those in v. 34, but delivered them to the sword. It is not always God's purpose to deliver his people from the evil of wicked men.
At times it is to deliver his faithful servants to their evil devices. The natural man doesn't like this message. It likes the message of deliverance from trials and persecutions.
Wondered about in---. Here they were driven from their homes and had to live off the land. They lived in destitution. All they had to do was compromise and they could enjoy the pleasures and benefits of the world (for a season). Yet they chose the poverty, afflictions and torments.
V. 38. continues on saying that the evil was not worthy of their presence. They were driven from their homes for their faith, separated from their families and loved ones having to live in the desert, mountains, den and caves. They had to wander from place to place for their food. Again, David an excellent example of this.
VV. 33-34a, would cause anyone to rejoice (notice these things were accomplished through faith, not prayer. Acting on the word of God when all else was contrary.
Then 35b through 38 is the opposite. The message of victory and prosperity of 33-35a would draw a tremendous crowd. Peace and effluence. My, how we love this message.
But the message of 35b-38 is just the opposite. Lose all, suffer and persecution. This one would lose the crowd. This message of sacrifice and suffering for your faith won't draw a crowd. It sure is contrary to the current rash of peace and prosperity of our day. Yet as we look back through past history, this is the primary message of faith.
V. 39. These all kept on by faith and obtained a good report from God. Yet they received not the promise. When they died they were still looking forward to the future, 11:13.
V. 40. Better things. The fulfillment of their promises, the Messiah. Without the Messiah the promises would not have been made perfect.
Heb.11. No doubt the greatest single chapter in the scripture as he illustrates the faith we are to live by. In it he sums the total walk of man upon earth from Adam to his present day and shows how we are to walk.
Examples such as Noah who had the word of God concerning future events and acted accordingly.
I saw a picture the other day and the caption on it read, "IT WASN'T RAINING WHEN NOAH BUILT THE ARK." Sad to say, we read God's word and find instructions concerning our children or concerning our activities and we look around and it isn't raining. Therefore, we continue on in the way we think is best. Then the rain starts. Its too late to build the ark then.
Through faith these folks made the right decisions and it earned them a good report with the God of the universe. It earned them ridicule with men.
Or maybe we make those choices based upon the way which holds the most prosperity and pleasure. We don't want the problems or mockeries or even the lose of friends and pleasures which come from the right decision, but the rains come. Then it is to late.
God gives us tremendous examples here in chp. 11. We need to read and learn from these great saints of God from the past and we can avoid the pitfalls which lie ahead for those who walk by sight rather than by faith.