The Book of Hebrews – Rahab was Redeemed by Faith

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“It was by faith that Rahab the prostitute was not destroyed with the people in her city who refused to obey God. For she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.” Hebrews 11:31 Rahab had an understanding of God’s character; an understanding that many of His covenant people lacked. As terror spread throughout the land, because of the Israelites camped at the Jordan awaiting entrance into their Promised Land, Rahab made a deal with the spies hidden in her house and God honored it. The account of Rahab’s faith is an amazing story of redemption. When Joshua sent spies into the land to bring back a report, they stopped at Jericho entering into Rahab’s house. As a prostitute, her house gave them opportunity to blend in. After hiding them on the roof, she redirected the king’s servants, who were looking for them, into the countryside on a wild goose chase. She reveals to the spies that the entire land was shaking with fear because their God’s fame and mighty works had proceeded them for decades. Rahab’s next move was amazing, she asked the spies to exchange her kindness for a sign that she and her family would be spared when Jericho was defeated. Agreeing to her terms, they instructed her to keep the scarlet cord, on which they escaped in the window. Assuring that everyone remained inside would be spared. What is interesting about this, is that Rahab made this deal based solely on God’s grace. She was from Jericho, she was a harlot, she had no right to ask anything. Secondly, she put herself in grave danger by helping the spies and then remaining in the city surrounded by enemies who could turn on her if they knew her part in helping the Israelites. And yet, her token […]

The Book of Hebrews – It Takes Faith to Break down Walls

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“It was by faith that the people of Israel marched around Jericho for seven days, and the walls came crashing down.” Hebrews 11:30 This account of the defeat of Jericho truly belongs in the Hebrews hall of fame. This was a crowning moment for Israel as they trusted God to make good on His promise to them. After wandering the desert for forty years, due to their unbelief, the first mission in the Promised Land of Canaan was to conquer Jericho, a fortified city whose walls were thick and impenetrable. As they prepared to defeat the city, instructions were given about how to do it. The entire army was to march around the city every day for six days. On the seventh day they were to march around the city seven times. Then the priests were to blow their trumpets while the people shouted and the walls would fall down for them to enter and fight. The Ark of the Covenant would go before them to remind them of their covenant with God. The idea of marching around the city day after day, believing at the end, the walls would cave in to deliver it into your hands takes faith.  Joshua was helping them along forbidding them to speak any doubt. In fact, I believe each day it probably got harder and harder to march around the city. I’m sure there were people camped on the walls shouting insults which only got worse with each passing day. I’m sure it would have been easy for the Israelites to talk themselves out of the victory even if only one person started voicing doubts. Instead they remained silent which allowed them to walk out their faith in what God had instructed them to do. The result was complete and total victory. On […]

The Book of Hebrews – It takes Faith to Step Out

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“It was by faith that the people of Israel went right through the Red Sea as though they were on dry ground. But when the Egyptians tried to follow, they were all drowned.” Hebrews 11:29 I have a book in my library, “If you want to walk on water, you’ve got to get out of the boat.” It’s a story about Peter walking on water. This story of Peter is like the story of the crossing of the Red Sea. I hear people say that we just can’t take the risk and do that. The story of Peter and the Red Sea are not stories of risk taking. They are stories of obedience. So many times, we are not obedient to God because we fear stepping out. When we step out, we don’t know the end, but God does. God knows all about us and our future. When God called me to the ministry many years ago, we stepped out and moved across the country. We did not have a place to live or a job. We had never been to the place that God called us to move. All I had was the promise of God that He would take care of me and my family if I would just obey. It was the greatest adventure of my life and God provided everything we needed. The Lord responded to Moses faith and delivered His people as promised. Moses acted in faith by raising his staff and stretching out his hand over the sea and in return God moved the waters creating an escape path of dry ground. The angel of God blocked the way of the Egyptians so the Israelites could safely escape. After the entire nation was safely across, the Egyptians pursued, only to be drowned as the […]

The book of Hebrews – Moses Had it All

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“It was by faith that Moses, when he grew up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.  He chose to share the oppression of God’s people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin. He thought it was better to suffer for the sake of Christ than to own the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to his great reward. It was by faith that Moses left the land of Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger. He kept right on going because he kept his eyes on the one who is invisible.  It was by faith that Moses commanded the people of Israel to keep the Passover and to sprinkle blood on the doorposts so that the angel of death would not kill their firstborn sons” Hebrews 11:24-28 To the world Moses had it all. He was rescued by the daughter of Pharaoh as a baby, raised under Pharaoh’s influence, wealth and position. In every sense of the word, he had it all. He had power, authority, riches and family connections. But this doesn’t compare or hold a candle to what God offers. Moses willingly gave it all up to be associated with the mistreated people of Israel and for the sake of Christ. This is amazing. This shows that Christ Jesus is and will always be the pinnacle of history. His work on the cross was so wonderful that Moses looked forward to it and it changed the course of his life and what he considered valuable. The world and all of its splendor didn’t compare to the riches of glory. It took Moses eighty years before he realized God’s call on his life. He had the faith in God to wait. Most of us would not have that kind of faith. We want everything […]

The Book of Hebrews – Our Examples

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“It was by faith that Isaac promised blessings for the future to his sons, Jacob and Esau. It was by faith that Jacob, when he was old and dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons and bowed in worship as he leaned on his staff. It was by faith that Joseph, when he was about to die, said confidently that the people of Israel would leave Egypt. He even commanded them to take his bones with them when they left.” Hebrews 11:20-22 These great leaders of the Bible are our examples. I know that at times it is hard to have faith. It is hard to believe what we just don’t see is happening. None of these great leaders had it easy. Every one of them had problems and at times I am sure that they lost faith, but in the end, God did what He had promised. They were all looking forward to what God had for them in the future. Isaac was the son through whom God would fulfill His promise to Abraham, yet the building of the nation would ultimately take place through his sons, Jacob and Esau. Isaac passed the promise he had received from his father to his sons. This demonstrated his trust in God’s promise he had received from his father. Jacob also trusted God to keep His promise. Even as he neared death, he still had the faith in God. His faith was future oriented and fixed on God’s faithfulness. Joseph looked forward in faith and trusted that God would redeem his people from Egypt. He anticipated the day he would return to Israel. That was only going to happen when God led Israel out of Egypt and into the promise land. His faith was so great that he even told his sons to […]

The Book of Hebrews – Believe God No Matter What

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“It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him. Abraham, who had received God’s promises, was ready to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, even though God had told him, “Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted.” Abraham reasoned that if Isaac died, God was able to bring him back to life again. And in a sense, Abraham did receive his son back from the dead.” Hebrews 11:17-19 Abraham is called the father of faith for a reason. He acted in faith when the circumstances seemed to contradict the promise. He reasoned that God would remain faithful to His promises so he made up his mind to follow God’s instructions no matter the cost. Abraham had been promised these things by God, first, God promised him that He would make him into a great nation. Secondly, God was going to bless Abraham. Next, He was going to make his name great. Lastly, all nations and future generations on earth would be blessed through him. God confirmed this promise many times to Abraham. The only thing required on his part was to believe what God had told him. Abraham did, this is why righteousness was credited to him. Abraham had a long history of believing God and seeing these promises fulfilled just as God said they would be, Abraham followed God’s instruction to sacrifice his one and only son of promise. He reasoned that God was able to raise him up from death because the covenant still had things waiting to be fulfilled. It stated that the entire world would be blessed through Abraham and his Seed, meaning the Christ, “God gave the promises to Abraham and his child. And notice that the Scripture doesn’t say “to his children,” as if […]

The Book of Hebrews – They Could See God’s Promise

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“All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. Obviously, people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” Hebrews 11:13-16 Faith has the ability to see the invisible, the impossible and the improbable. Faith takes what doesn’t make sense to the natural mind and becomes the substance that moves the invisible forward until it becomes reality. There are many things in God’s kingdom that require faith. The Word is full of promises that only become reality when mixed with faith and believed. All of these men and women previously mentioned in Hebrews 11 died in faith, waiting for their promises to come to pass. It does not mean that the promise of God did not happen in their lifetime. God always fulfills His promises. In Abraham’s lifetime, he only got the down payment of the promise. Isaac was the beginning of its fulfillment but what was promised reached so far into the future that Abraham died in faith looking forward to a time when all would be fulfilled. That takes faith, and faith is what pleases God. These examples of faith show that these great men and women understood they were temporary residents on earth. They looked forward to their true home in heaven with God. They greeted the reality of their promises from a […]

The Book of Hebrews – Have Faith when it Looks Impossible

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“It was by faith that even Sarah was able to have a child, though she was barren and was too old. She believed that God would keep his promise.  And so, a whole nation came from this one man who was as good as dead—a nation with so many people that, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore, there is no way to count them.” Hebrews 11:11-12 It would be easy to become discouraged and hopeless in a situation like this. Abraham and Sarah waited for years hoping to have a child only to grow old without an heir. The possibility of reproduction gone with each passing year. The history of trying to conceive over and over without success would be more than enough to dash any hope for the future. Then the Lord appeared to Abraham telling him at the same time next year Sarah would have a son. Sarah laughed as she overheard the conversation but the Lord replied to her, “Is anything too hard for the LORD? I will return to you at the appointed time next year and Sarah will have a son.” Confirming the Word, he originally gave Abraham that through him he would be the father of many nations. Faced with a decision to believe God for the impossible, both Abraham and Sarah took the steps of faith required to conceive. Because of faith Sarah received the physical power to get pregnant although she was long past the ability to do so. The key lies in the fact that she considered God faithful who had promised a son. She chose not to consider the circumstances surrounding the situation only the guarantor of the promise. When circumstances look impossible, that is the time that we need faith in God. That […]

The Book of Hebrews – Abraham Left Everything

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“It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going.  And even when he reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith—for he was like a foreigner, living in tents. And so, did Isaac and Jacob, who inherited the same promise.  Abraham was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God.” Hebrews 11:8-10 Abraham left everything to obey God. Abraham did not know even where he was going. He only knew that God told him to leave his home and to go where God showed him. Even when he reached the place that God told him to go, he lived there as a foreigner. Living in a tent. Today what if God told you to leave your home and your family? To travel to a country that you knew nothing about. You did not know anyone. Would you leave it all? Abraham had faith. He had faith that no matter where he was God would take care of him. We are too attached to the world and the things of the world. We must realize that we are only foreigners in this world. We have a better place that we are going. We are going to spent eternity in heaven with Jesus. The older I get the less the world means to me. I have too much stuff. We are in the process of getting rid of some of our stuff and it is very freeing to have less stuff. I cannot take any of this worldly stuff with me when I die. If we are going to truly follow God, things of this […]

The Book of Hebrews – Noah was Obedient

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“It was by faith that Noah built a large boat to save his family from the flood. He obeyed God, who warned him about things that had never happened before. By his faith Noah condemned the rest of the world, and he received the righteousness that comes by faith.” Hebrews 11:7 God told Noah to build an ark. I can hear Noah now “An ark, we don’t even have any water that is large enough to float an ark. We have never had rain. Are you sure God you want an ark? Maybe I could just do something else that is less crazy. What are the people going to think of me when I start this project in my front yard? I don’t want people to think I have lost my mind.” Have you ever had this discussion with God? I have many times. Over thirty years ago God called me to the ministry. At the time God and I had many discussions about this call. I felt that God made a mistake and to a point I still feel that way. I have been obedient and God has blessed me with such a peace that passes all understanding. God is still calling me to be obedient. Noah was obedient and he was considered righteous. “But Samuel replied, “What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.” (1 Samuel 15:22) More than anything else God wants us to be obedient to His voice and His calling. “If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully keep all his commands that I am giving you today, the Lord your God will set you high above […]