Hebrews 11:23 – 29
Our attention is brought back to the audience of this great writer as he makes yet another presentation to his fellow unbelieving Jews and brethren. He continued in the statement that he made about their ancestors and elders before he branched out with the examples he cited. His thrust was still on verse 2 where he pointed out that through FAITH, the elders (ancestors) obtained a good report. In other words, the elders got endorsed by God as they believed and accepted the message presented to them by God. Not only did these elders know or believe that God exists but also made a choice based on the instructions they were given by God. The Jews were very much aware that their history would not be complete without these elders and ancestors.
The elders had to make a decision.
This is the reason why the writer has come this far to get his audience to believe in the message of the Gospel. Salvation does not only involve knowing that Jesus became the last sacrifice as He was slaughtered and nailed to the cross for the world; it also involves assenting and accepting Him into your life as your Lord and Savior. These unbelieving Jews knew about God just like Cain but had to approach God through the way provided as compared to Cain who chose to access God through his own way. So Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph at a point in time, had to make a decision based on the message they received from God.
As we continue in this discuss, we come to another very important and vivid example of another elder and ancestor as the writer begins to wind down on his presentation to convince these unbelieving Jews to positively respond to the message of the Gospel. He was driving them to a point where they would have to make a decision through UNDERSTANDING AND REASON. He did not use the slogan we use today in the Pentecostal circle where we claim to hear the voice of God and by that people are not allowed to use their God-given ability of knowing and thinking.
This writer has come from the angle of presenting and making a case for the Gospel with so many examples of the people who believed in GRACE THROUGH FAITH ALONE. He believed and trusted God that his fellow Jewish brethren would get to that place where they would make a quality and wise decision and not from a standpoint of FEAR. Salvation is by Faith and not Fear.
I am sure many of us would agree with the fact that the course and the quality of our lives are somewhat determined by the decisions we have made, are making and are going to make, rather than by our circumstances. When we are running out of gasoline in our cars, we know to make a decision to stop at a gas station for a refill or face the consequence of getting stranded and possibly damaging the car. The decision to stop by the gas station is as a result of our knowledge of cars and what is needed for the car to move on the roads.
One way or the other, we are going to be involved in making decisions and someone once said that not making a decision is also a decision in itself.
The writer makes another convincing reason why his fellow unbelieving friends had to respond positively to the message of the Gospel. He cites an example of another who was classified as one of the most respected figures of the Old Testament. In my mind, apart from the story of Abraham, this example could become the cutting edge and the most convincing for his audience.
Here is how the story started.
The plan from the beginning was that the Israelites would be slaves in a strange land and the idea according to what God told Abraham in Genesis 15 was that they would gravitate from that strange land to the Promised Land. So it was not a plan-B. God knew that at a point in time this man would have to appear on planet Earth to contribute his own quota in this peculiar history and story we read in the pages of the Bible today.
At a very crucial time when Pharaoh gave an order to kill all newborn babies, in particular the male ones, this man was born and was hidden away from the killers. His parents, Amran and Jochebed ignored the pressures of the verdict of the Land and had to walk in FAITH because they saw that God had given them an unusual child and so were not afraid to disobey the King’s command. They had never seen God, they had seen and experienced the wrath of Pharaoh yet they knew that saving this child was God’s Will.
It was part of the plan that the child would be brought up in the palace and that he would be cared for by his mother. Not only would the mother care for him, she would also educate him about his source and where he originally came from. She would make him aware of Abraham and what God told him, more so how they ended up in Egypt and their expectations of God concerning the Nation of Israel. Based on this, as he grew up, he refused to be called the grandchild of Pharaoh. All the best education he received from the palace could not impair his knowledge not to talk of the privileges that were enough to make him change his mind about being an Egyptian.
We would have associated the privileges, the education and the many material things he was exposed to as the “blessings from God” in today’s language. We would have cursed him today as he decided to leave the palace to join with his people who suffered in the hands of their taskmaster and Pharaoh. Many would have condemned him because the idea of FAITH to many today is going from RAGS to RICHES. This was the contrary as he turned forty; he chose rather to share in the suffering and oppression of God’s people instead of enjoying in the palace. To some he left all for nothing and from the spiritual standpoint, he left nothing for all. He looked to the reward, the same Abraham looked towards in hope. Like his ancestors, he too was looking for that city whose foundation and maker was God. This man believed that God had given him an assignment and also knew that he would be better off at the end of it all. In hindsight he was going to be the delivered.
He left Egypt in FAITH not knowing where to go and besides it was going to be a horrible one for him because to move from the material gains and pleasures of the palace into the wilderness would have been a switch from one end to the other. He didn’t care about what would happen to his reputation or what people would say about him. He lived in the wilderness for another forty years where he met his wife who was a keeper of sheep.
Finally, he came back in FAITH for his people, kept the Passover as instructed by God who told him to sprinkle blood on the doorpost so that the angel of death would not kill their first born sons. By a strong hand Israel was led out of Egypt and by FAITH again they walked through the Red Sea on dry ground and we know what happened to the Egyptians when they tried the same.
It was Moses who left RICHES for RAGS in the language of today’s Church. I guess the end justifies the means as they say. C.H Spurgeon said, when he taught on the subject of PARADOX that, “Oh, how many things you and I have still to gain by losing! How much we are to be enriched by our losses! How we are to make progress by going backward! How we have yet to mount by sinking! How we have yet to rise by descending!”