Today’s Scripture: “By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible. By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, lest he who destroyed the firstborn should touch them. By faith they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land, whereas the Egyptians, attempting to do so, were drowned.” (Hebrews 11:27-29)
I once read where the ancient Greeks had a race in their Olympic games that was unique. The runners would all compete with their own individual torch. Interestingly enough, the winner of this particular race was not the runner who finished first. The one declared the winner was the runner who first crossed the finish line with his torch still aflame. And in order for this to happen, the runner would need patience and endurance.
True saving faith is an enduring faith. Without endurance in the Christian life, we aimlessly wander and are subject to much discouragement and despair. Within these verses, the writer of Hebrews explains how Moses possessed an enduring faith.
First, notice his enduring VIRTUE.
The Bible says in verse 27, “By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king.” In complete trust, Moses turned his back on Egypt not once, but twice. Once when he was fleeing by himself, and second as he was fleeing as the leader of God’s people. The first time, he fled because of his decision to kill an Egyptian taskmaster who was abusing a fellow Hebrew. Exodus 2:14 says, “So Moses feared and said, ‘Surely this thing is known!’ When Pharaoh heard of this matter, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh.” Fear was definitely a factor in his first decision to flee Egypt. Here in verse 27, I believe that the writer of Hebrews is referring to Moses’ second decision to flee Egypt with God’s people. If you remember, a very important event transpired in Moses’ life during his years in the desert–he had a personal encounter with the Great I AM! There on the backside of the desert, Moses personally and intimately learned just who God is. He was motivated by faith rather than by fear. When you come to the place where you know God as the I AM, what more is there to fear?
- Opposition? He is your Defense!
- Failure? He is your Success!
- Want? He is your Provision!
Fear cripples faith because it is a failure to recognize the perfect sufficiency of the Lord Jesus. Where there is no rock-solid confidence that Jesus Christ is our all in all, fear will rule in our hearts. The Bible says in Psalm 27:1, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”
Second, notice his enduring VISION.
The rest of verse 27 says, “For he endured as seeing Him who is invisible.” Moses looked beyond Pharaoh and the obstacles of Egypt and saw the glory of God through the eyes of faith. He caught a glimpse of heaven’s glory, and it resulted in perseverance in his life. The way would get tough, the obstacles would be overwhelming, and the situation would seem impossible. But he endured because his focus was elsewhere. Vance Havner once said, “Moses chose the imperishable, saw the invisible, and did the impossible.” It was through the eyes of faith that verse 28 says he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood. Such faith was that the blood of a lamb would protect a household from death. It was all a foreshadowing of the death of Jesus Christ and the blood that would be shed for sin. Thus, Moses’ faith looked to the invisible Christ.
If you and I are to endure through the hardships and the difficulties of life, then we must possess an enduring vision of the glory of Christ. It is only as our hearts are aflame with passion for Him and our spirits are submitted to Him that we are fueled with strength for the journey. We should always remember that vision is crucial. Where I am looking will determine where I am going!
Third, notice his enduring VICTORY.
Verse 29 says, “by faith they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land, whereas the Egyptians, attempting to do so, were drowned.” When Moses and the people came to the impasse of the Red Sea, Pharaoh’s army was hot in pursuit. From their perspective, it would see that they were trapped with no way of escape. But faith doesn’t give up when the way grows hard. It looks to God for the answer. Instead of following his own wisdom, Moses sought the face of God, and God came through in a powerful way as the sea was parted and the people crossed on dry land.
Herein lies the test of our faith—will we trust God when all we have are His promises? Will we endure in faith when the way grows tough? When the water is piling up around us on all sides, when the enemy is hot on our heels, will we simply trust God to carry us safely across to the other side? The Word of God tells us in 1 John 5:4, “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.”