Already, we have seen that Biblical faith is alive, full of movement, full of action, full of conviction, full of struggle, full of decisions, and full of choices every day that passes. We are making decisions based on our convictions and our growing knowledge of God, which becomes a key point in this portion of Scripture. How much of God do you know?
How much you know of God will determine your faith. Choices that we make are in direct relation to our commitment to please and honor God. We are being led by God. The person who doesn’t know that they are being led by God is a person who is not moving. There’s a cliché:
God blesses a moving vessel.
Well, that is true. Columbia Space Shuttle guidance system only kicks in when it is several miles up in space. God’s guidance system kicks in when you are in motion. Meaning, you must get off the launch pad. When you are in a place where you are praying:
Lord, I won’t make a move until I hear from you
He is saying:
You will hear from me once you have done what I have already told you to do. You will hear from Me when you keep moving.
Sometimes we know what God wants but we don’t like it, so we pray hoping He will change His mind and rubberstamp our desires. Sorry, He is not going to do that. Bottom line, when we follow God, you will go out not knowing as much as you want to know.
Stepping out in faith means that there comes a time when you must move in the direction God is pointing. Will you have unanswered questions and unspoken concerns? Absolutely.
Just like your car head lights don’t shine around the corner or over the next hill, God will give you direction on a need to know basis. If you are walking and moving forward in faith, God will give you everything you need to know while you are walking, and He will give it to you at the right moment, which is what is amazing about the Lord. In 2 Corinthians 5:7, Paul writes:
for we walk by faith, not by sight
In fact, it is the only way to go. It keeps you close to God, dependent on God, and helps you to remember when the credit comes, where the credit belongs. God’s guiding system is infallible and understood by those who are pressing on in their faith.
When we are considering the life of Moses and the Exodus generation, immediately, you get the sense of the struggle of living by faith. The portion of Scripture we are examining displays the next three of the five instances of faith from the life of Moses.
Remember, the problem that the writer of Hebrews is bringing to, mostly a Jewish audience, is that he is trying to counter the real possibility that some of the recipients of his message were ready to forsake Christ for the safety and security of a religious system. At that time, that system was called Judaism, which includes Moses, God’s commandments, and the sacrificial system.
The author of Hebrews paints the picture, which he brings to the mind again, of the greatest example of someone who follows Christ is Moses himself. If you don’t want Christ, then don’t follow Moses, but if you follow Moses, he will lead you to Christ. Thus, the author gets this “catch-22” situation and removes all the problems in their minds. John 5:46 says:
For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me.
Let’s examine the next three of the five acts of faith in the life of Moses. Up until this point, we have learned that a faith that endures overcomes fear. We overcome fear by faith in God and His promises. Secondly, a faith that endures chooses more wisely. By faith, God moves out will, He changes our mind, and He fixes our eyes upon our lasting reward, which is Christ.
Thirdly, a faith that endures sees God more clearly. A faith that presses-on through whatever happens sees God more clearly through the struggles, through the problems, in the problems, and in the struggle. They know who is leading them. Hebrews 11:27 says:
By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen.
Some have had difficulty figuring out whether this passage is talking about Moses’ first flight out of Egypt, or his second flight out of Egypt, which became his final flight out of Egypt. Well, I am going to try to solve that this morning.
The first departure from Egypt mentions it quite differently than what is mentioned in Hebrews 11:27, and if you notice in Hebrews 11:27, he left not fearing. Let’s look back at his first flight and how he left in Exodus 2:14-15:
But he said, “Who made you a prince or a judge over us? Are you intending to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?” Then Moses was afraid and said, “Surely the matter has become known.” 15When Pharaoh heard of this matter, he tried to kill Moses. But Moses fled from the presence of Pharaoh and settled in the land of Midian, and he sat down by a well.
If it was speaking of his first flight, Moses wasn’t ready because he was full of fear. He was afraid of him being exposed. He was afraid of Pharaoh. He was afraid of the Egyptian law. He was afraid, and he ran. When you are afraid, you run.
Now, he is forty years old, and as it says in Exodus 2:15, he departs to Midian. I call this faith boot camp. If you are going to live by faith, you will go through faith’s boot camp. Everyone of us must be taught who God is. Often, I say that everything you knew about God before you become a Christian is all wrong. God must get our minds on who He is if he is ever going to get us where we need to go.
Now, Moses is in the wilderness, which is the wilderness training, and God humbles him by changing Moses’ Egyptian world view. He drives the world out of him, and He drives the sin out of him. Pretty much, Moses lives as a shepherd, and He humbles him down to the lowest rum. Of course, He teaches Moses who he is, and what he wants him to do for the next forty years.
Brethren, forty years God keeps him in boot camp. That is a long time. However, what does God do there? In Acts 7, you will find that several things happen in the wilderness. First, he gets married and has children. In Acts 7:29, it says:
At this remark, MOSES FLED AND BECAME AN ALIEN IN THE LAND OF MIDIAN, where he became the father of two sons.
Remember, God’s people are people who realize that they are living in a foreign land. This world is a foreign land, and we’re aliens here. We are not home yet. So, Moses had to learn that, so he felt that he became an alien in the land of Midian. He got married, learned what it was to have a wife and raise a family. Secondly, he met God in Acts 7:30-33:
After forty years had passed, AN ANGEL APPEARED TO HIM IN THE WILDERNESS OF MOUNT Sinai, IN THE FLAME OF A BURNING THORN BUSH. 31“When Moses saw it, he marveled at the sight; and as he approached to look more closely, there came the voice of the Lord: 32‘I AM THE GOD OF YOUR FATHERS, THE GOD OF ABRAHAM AND ISAAC AND JACOB.’ Moses shook with fear and would not venture to look. 33“BUT THE LORD SAID TO HIM, ‘TAKE OFF THE SANDALS FROM YOUR FEET, FOR THE PLACE ON WHICH YOU ARE STANDING IS HOLY GROUND.
Here, Moses sees a manifestation of the presence of God in this burning bush. Also, he hears God speak. When he hears God speak, he learns to tremble with Godly fear. He realized that he was in the presence of someone he has never been in the presence of, which caused him to fear; then, God spoke.
Part of the reason why he feared is because he began to realize, after God spoke to him, that in God’s presence is the presence of holiness. God is not like man. God is separate from man. God is pure and holy. God is a blazing light, and no man could come up against Him.
If Moses had to learn that, then so do we. We must learn Godly fear. We must learn God’s holiness. We must learn how serious God is about what He says. We must learn to listen to God, and to see God the way He has revealed Himself in Scripture. If Moses had to learn that, then of course we must learn that.
Then, God commissions Moses in Acts 7:34:
I HAVE CERTAINLY SEEN THE OPPRESSION OF MY PEOPLE IN EGYPT AND HAVE HEARD THEIR GROANS, AND I HAVE COME DOWN TO RESCUE THEM; COME NOW, AND I WILL SEND YOU TO EGYPT.’
He is learning that God sees oppression. He is learning that God hears the groans of His people. He is learning that God has a plan to rescue them. Isn’t that good to know about God? The Lord doesn’t do anything in a corner where we don’t know what is going on. He is right out there. In fact, God’s plan is so simple it is ABC and bullet point 1-2-3. You don’t have to miss it, and God doesn’t intend us to miss it.
So, he is learning that God is immanent, or close to us, not transcendent and illusive. God is close, near, and He hears. He hears your groans, your cries, and when you can’t put things into prayers, but knows exactly what is going on in your heart. He is our great high priest, so He understands those things. Also, Moses learned that God is a God of compassion, full of long-suffering, gentleness, and kindness.
In our passage of Hebrews, it says that Moses saw Him, who is invisible. In other words, Moses saw the One not able to be seen. Moses saw the One not able to be seen but exists. Moses must be firmly established and convinced of the existence of God. He mentions that in Hebrews 11:6:
…for he who comes to God must believe that He is…
Some say they are agnostics, and according to the philosophic definition, and agnostic is one who neither believes or disbeliefs in the existence of God, and the existence of God is a real, continuing open-question. This a doubter in the existence of God, but not as strong as an atheist, who believes that God doesn’t exist. Of course, an agnostic wants evidence to believe.
However, the problem is that you can stack up evidence between now and kingdom come, and they still won’t believe. In any case, the Scripture tells us that if a person has bad philosophy, then that is all they will have. In turn, they shut themselves off to any further and true revelation of God. They deny what their sense tells them and suppress that knowledge. They walk outside every day, see creation, and see that God is there, but deny it and suppress that by saying there is no evidence.
In the next forty years, Moses will come to know the Lord more intimately. He will come to know His light, holiness, presence, and compassion. Also, Moses will come to know and learn His name. Up until this time, the Lord has never told anyone His name. The fact is that God does exist, God does have personality, and He can be known. He tells Moses in Exodus 3:14:
God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”
When he goes back to Egypt, he tells the people God’s name, “I AM.” Remember, “I AM” means that God has always existed. He never had a beginning, He was never created, He was always alive, and He has always been and will always be the same. There was never a time where God did not exist. God will never die. Thus, he must go to Israel and tell them, “I AM has sent me.” Hebrews 1:2 adds to that:
in these last days has spoken to us in His Son.
A.W. Tozer said:
Faith is subjective, but it is sound only when it corresponds with objective reality. The man’s faith in the mountain is valid only because the mountain is there; otherwise it would be mere imagination and would need to be sharply corrected to rescue the man from harmful delusion. So God is what He is in Himself. He does not become what we believe. "I AM That I AM." We are on safe ground only when we know what kind of God He is and adjust our entire being to the holy concept.
Since true faith rests upon what God is, then it is of outmost importance to limit our comprehension of who is wrong. In fact, we could not trust God if we just understood God based on our own terms. It was the Psalmist who said this in Psalm 9:10:
And those who know Your name will put their trust in You, For You, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You.
The name of God is the verbal expression of His character, and confidence always rises and falls with known character. In other words, we know the kind of God He is based on what the word of God says about Him, and we will put our trust in Him because of that. Because of that, our faith and trust will increase. We are made in such a way that we trust good character, and we distrust bad character.
Most, if not all of us, will not by a car from a dealership that bares the name, in reality or by word of mouth, lucifer’s shady car deals. That would be a bad choice of name for a car dealer. Yet, we know there are car dealers that don’t have that name, but they are shady. We distrust people who don’t have character, which is why unbelief in God is so wicked. It was John who informed us in 1 John 5:10:
The one who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself; the one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given concerning His Son.
So, Moses met God and was never the same again. He understood things about the character and nature of God he did not know before. In fact, the Bible tells us that Moses saw the form of God. The song we sang where Moses desired to see the glory of God, which was Moses’ hunger growing for God. That is faith growing for God. Paul says in Philippians 3:10:
that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.
Faith brings you to the place where your hunger for God is so intense, it must be satisfied. You must beg God to show you more, and that is what Moses did. In fact, in Numbers 12:7-8, notice what God said about His servant, Moses:
Not so, with My servant Moses,
He is faithful in all My household;
8With him I speak mouth to mouth,
Even openly, and not in dark sayings,
And he beholds the form of the LORD.
Why then were you not afraid
To speak against My servant, against Moses?”
This word form means shape, so he saw God’s shape. In the Greek translation of the Old Testament, it is translated as glory, brightness, radiance, splendor, or majesty. He has seen the glory of the Lord. In fact, we can translate as:
He sees the Lord as He is, and he wants more.
The Hebrew word used in Psalm 96 means weightiness. When he uses the word glory it means importance or significance. Moses came to a place where he understood the weightiness of God. Psalm 96:1-4 says:
Sing to the LORD a new song;
Sing to the LORD, all the earth.
2Sing to the LORD, bless His name;
Proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day.
3Tell of His glory among the nations,
His wonderful deeds among all the peoples.
4For great is the LORD and greatly to be praised;
He is to be feared above all gods.
Then, Psalms 96:6-9 says:
Splendor and majesty are before Him,
Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.
7Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples,
Ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
8Ascribe to the LORD the glory of His name;
Bring an offering and come into His courts.
9Worship the LORD in holy attire;
Tremble before Him, all the earth.
Simply, it is saying that when we see God, we should see God like this. We should see God as so great and indescribable that we get lost in who He is, and we begin to tremble before Him because we know the weight.
In a sense, it is heavy to learn about God. It is heavy to learn the terror of the Lord. It is heavy to learn about the compassion and plan of the Lord. It is heavy to learn about the character of God. However, when you learn, it changes everything about your life. You can never be the same again.
The secret of Moses’ faith was that he knew God personally. To every task, he went into the presence of God, and came out from the presence of God with the boldness in his God. He learned to face God before he learned to face people.
It was told, before a great battle, Napoleon would stand in his tent alone. He would stand there and send for his commanders to come to him, and one by one, they would come. When they came in, he would say no word, but look them in the eyes, shake their hand, and they would go out prepared to die for the general, whom they loved. Exodus 33:11 says:
Thus the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend.
Here’s the key to all of it: the source of true faith is God. No matter how difficult or impossible, why is Moses able to face all things that came his way? Moses lived as one who sees Him who is invisible. In Hebrews 11, now he can face the king of Egypt. Now, he is ready to stick his finger in the face of the kind of Egypt and say:
Thus, says the Lord, let my people go.
In Hebrews 11:27, this is the second departure from Egypt. In fact, Moses comes back to Egypt and prepares the people. He is not fearing the king because he just spent forty years in boot camp, training for this moment.
He knows that God is greater than Egypt. God is greater than the powerful Egyptian army. God is greater than the Gods of Egypt, especially since all the plagues were against the God of Egypt. God was greater than Pharaoh, god on earth. Moses had to know that, or he would have still been shaken in his boots.
The word left that the Holy Spirit used, in Hebrews 11:27, means to leave behind and never to return. This word is setting up the context to point Moses to his second and final departure from Egypt. Exodus 10:28-29 says:
Then Pharaoh said to him, “Get away from me! Beware, do not see my face again, for in the day you see my face you shall die!” 29Moses said, “You are right; I shall never see your face again!”
This is not in the context in which Pharaoh was talking about, but in the context in which what God was going to do to him. See, that is boldness. Again, Moses did not fear, and when Moses did not fear, the people did not fear. The leader didn’t fear, and the people didn’t fear. Psalm 78:50-53 says:
He leveled a path for His anger;
He did not spare their soul from death,
But gave over their life to the plague,
51And smote all the firstborn in Egypt,
The first issue of their virility in the tents of Ham.
52But He led forth His own people like sheep
And guided them in the wilderness like a flock;
53He led them safely, so that they did not fear;
But the sea engulfed their enemies.
See, they didn’t fear. Not just Moses didn’t fear, but a bold, growing faith causes other people to have bold, growing faith. Where they see God high and lifted up, they see God the way He ought to be seen and they learn to live that way. By cultivating the knowledge of God, we, at the same time, cultivate our faith. We overcome fear by faith in God and His presence.
Fourth, we learn a faith that endures relies entirely upon God’s remedy. He says in Hebrews 11:28:
By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood, so that he who destroyed the firstborn would not touch them.
By faith, Moses started something that would become the most important celebration of the Hebrew calendar. The verbal term he kept is in the perfect tense, which means he attended to a celebration that was the inauguration of a divine institution. What God was doing here was going to have eternal effects.
In other words, what was done in Egypt was to be repeated as an annual memorial, and that memorial is called the Passover. On this special holiday, the Jews would eat a special meal, similar to the one their ancestors ate, as they prepared to flee Egypt. It included a lamb, and the lambs blood was put on a doorpost as Moses had instructed them. This becomes a very significant event for both Israel and the church. Exodus 12:1-3 says:
Now the LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, 2“This month shall be the beginning of months for you; it is to be the first month of the year to you. 3“Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying, ‘On the tenth of this month they are each one to take a lamb for themselves, according to their fathers’ households, a lamb for each household.
Then, Exodus 12:5 says:
Your lamb shall be an unblemished male a year old; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats.
Then, Exodus 12:7-8 says:
Moreover, they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. 8‘They shall eat the flesh that same night, roasted with fire, and they shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.
Then, Exodus 12:11 says:
Now you shall eat it in this manner: with your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste—it is the LORD’S Passover.
In other words, eat and get ready to be delivered. Every year, this holiday is celebrated around March or April, and the Passover became the most important holiday in the Israelite calendar. It commemorated one of God’s most powerful interventions in the nation’s history.
The Passover marked the time when God brought a final plague upon Egypt. In the plague, God destroyed the firstborn born of the Egyptians, and He spared, or passed over, those Israelites, who have followed the command to place the blood of the Lamb on their doorpost. Exodus 12:12-14 says:
‘For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments—I am the LORD. 13‘The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. 14‘Now this day will be a memorial to you, and you shall celebrate it as a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations you are to celebrate it as a permanent ordinance.
Now, we know that its final fulfillment is in the complete sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Christ’s blood fulfills the prophecy of the Passover lamb, or it is Christ’s death that protects from the wrath of God. It is the blood over us, in which God passes over in judgement, to us who know Christ. Someone who doesn’t know Christ and who does not have the blood of Christ over them, then they are still under God’s wrath. Christ did die on the Passover. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 5:7:
Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.
Don’t miss it, ignore it, or refuse Jesus as the Passover lamb. Notice the warning given, in Hebrews 12:24-25, based upon the sprinkling of the blood of Christ over those who believe in Jesus Christ alone for their eternal salvation:
and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel. 25See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven.
In other words, all of God’s messengers and prophets warned, from earth, so what about God, who warns from heaven? Eternal life cannot be found outside of Christ. Deliverance from judgement is only found in Christ, and Scripture affirms that the work of Christ is the only necessary means provided by God for eternal salvation for all peoples, all times, no matter what religion influenced them prior. Jesus Christ is the Passover.
When you get to a book like Revelation, it combines Moses and the Lamb of God in the same sentence. It says in Revelation 15:3:
And they sang the song of Moses, the bond-servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying,
“Great and marvelous are Your works,
O Lord God, the Almighty;
Righteous and true are Your ways,
King of the nations!
In other words, Moses becomes very significant because Moses is a type of Christ, looking forward to what Jesus Christ would do, and he lived that way by faith. Those who follow, even today, will believe in Jesus Christ as the only way to be made right with God and delivered from the wrath of God because it is the blood of Christ that washes away our sins where God’s judgment passes over us.
That is where faith brings us. We overcome God’s wrath by faith, God, and His provision. Moving and growing in faith, in the character of God, always brings one to understand quite emphatically that nothing is too hard for the Lord. It brings us to what God told Abraham: is anything too difficult for the Lord? Job learned this in Job 42:2:
“I know that You can do all things,
And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.
You know that by faith in the invisible God, who has made Himself known. There is one fifth thing, in Hebrews 11:29, which is a faith that endures moves through difficulties victoriously:
By faith they passed through the Red Sea as though they were passing through dry land; and the Egyptians, when they attempted it, were drowned.
The most powerful, skillful military, in the world, is a very small thing against God’s immense power and wisdom. It may have appeared to be bad military strategy to place the weak Israelites between the Egyptian army and the Red Sea with no place to go. In fact, that would be bad military strategy, and no General would even attempt it.
If the King of heavens army is God himself, then there is no problem. If the King of heavens army is for you, then who could be against you. How can you lose? No one could be against you. Whether the Egyptian military attempted to pass through the Red Sea, as the people of God did, they were overwhelmed and consumed by the waters. In fact, they failed, and God very simply allowed them to drown.
Faith brings us to the place where we realize that we overcome difficulties by faith in the power of God. There is nothing impossible with God. When you get to that place, the doubt, wondering, and questions are gone because you simply trust Gods character.
You trust in what God has promised, and if He has promised it, He will bring it to pass. This is what it means to walk in faith. You learn to trust Him, who is invisible, yet who exists. Someday, because of your faith, you want to know more of Him, you want to please Him more, serve Him more, and then, knowing that you live as an alien in this world, you want to finally depart from here to be with Him.
That is the natural flow of growing, moving, and enduring faith. It will bring you right into the presence of God, in which you always wanted to be in the first place. See, that’s where I want to grow too, and I know anyone who knows the Lord, Jesus Christ, as their Savior, wants the same.
If Moses went through this process, then so must we. We cannot go around the wilderness, but we must go through it. We cannot say, “I can’t go through the boot camp.” No, you must go through it, but when you go through it, you will come out the other end a person you weren’t before. You will come at the other end to a place where you really love and trust the Lord.
I pray that this example of faith would bring us to the place where we overcome difficulties by faith in God’s power. That we overcome fear by faith in God’s presence. Also, that we over come God’s wrath by faith in God’s provision, the very Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. Let’s pray:
Lord, I Thank You that Your word is clear, convicting, and honest as anything. Lord, I pray that it’s to be desired more than the sweetness of honey. I ask You, Lord, that You would increase our faith. I pray that we would all desire what You gave Moses. I pray, Lord, that we would all come to the place where we understand these things by experience. I pray that they wouldn’t just be theory, but they would be the way we live. You are great, Lord, and You are greatly to be praised. Let us never take lightly what the Bible says is heavy. Lord, let us all come to You with the desire to know more of You. Even Paul says, “the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings.” O, Lord, we want to know more. Lord, even though sin sidetracks us, confuses us, and puts us in a place where we get deluded, Lord bring us back. If we are not saved, save us, Lord. Let us put our faith and trust in the Passover Lamb, Jesus Christ. Lord, do Your work in us, by Your spirit, and make us a people of faith. I pray this, in the name of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.