Abraham to Moses
Chapter 11: 17-29
“By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, 18 of whom it was said, ‘In Isaac your seed shall be called,’ 19 concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense. 20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come. 21 By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff. 22 By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the departure of the children of Israel, and gave instructions concerning his bones.
23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king’s command. 24 By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, 26 esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward. 27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, lest he who destroyed the firstborn should touch them. 29 By faith they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land, whereas the Egyptians, attempting to do so, were drowned.”
By now, hopefully, you are getting more and more secure in your faith. Even if you already had very strong faith, there may still be room to grow. I remind you of the definition of faith that we encountered a few weeks ago:
This definition of faith contains two aspects: intellectual assent and trust. Intellectual assent is believing something to be true. Trust is actually relying on the fact that ‘the something’ is true. A chair is often used to help illustrate this. Intellectual assent is recognizing that a chair is a chair and agreeing that it is designed to support a person who sits on it. Trust is actually sitting in the chair.
These men and their families lived by this kind of faith, the faith that drove them to do extraordinary things. The kind of faith that made them do things that, to us, look like they were crazy, but nothing could stop them from obeying God, not even their own family. These godly men and women are just like us, normal, flesh and blood, and our God is the same God. He is the Supernatural power that gave these men and women the ability to obey God.
- Abraham trusted God for His Son Twice, verses 17-19
Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was born; he had waited 25 years for him, for the promise. He was way beyond the childbearing age. His wife Sarah was 90 years old when they had Isaac. She was way past the normal times that women give birth. God did it this way so that there was no doubt that Isaac was a gift from God. But then, in Genesis 22: 1-2 (NIV), God comes to ask Abraham to sacrifice his son to Him.
“Sometime later, God tested Abraham. He said to him, ‘Abraham!’ “Here I am,” he replied. 2 Then God said, ‘Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.'”
Isaac was a grown young man by this time, able to ‘take’ the old man if necessary. But Abraham had instilled in this young man such an example of faith that he went with his father, helped him build the altar, and then laid on it to be killed. Abraham, we are told, believed that God could and would raise Isaac from the dead; in practical application, God had already done that. Sarah had become pregnant in a dead womb, so to speak, and since God had promised to use Isaac to grow Abraham’s seed, then God would have to raise Isaac from the dead. We know the story; God provided a ram, a substitute to die in Isaac’s place, and in it, we see the picture of Jesus dying in our place. Isaac taught this faith to his sons Esau and Jacob, and of course, we know that Jacob is the chosen line of Israel.
- Jacob and the Departure from Egypt, verses 21-22
God had promised Abraham the land of Canaan; he told it to Isaac, and he, in turn, told it to Jacob. While living in Egypt, Jacob reminded his sons that Egypt was not their home. God would come one day and take them out to the Promised Land. Egypt was just a temporary stop; there, they would grow and have kids in a safe environment. But one day soon, we know it to be about 400 years, God would send and take them out of Egypt. Joseph made the people promise to take his bones out with them to the Promised Land. For the next 290 years, until they left, they passed on this promise to Joseph, reminding the next generation that they would be leaving Egypt one day and to be sure to carry his bones. Thus, when Moses showed up, they were looking for a deliverer. By faith, they had passed on the promises of God from one generation to the next, and as usual, God made good on His promises.
- Moses the Deliverer, verses 23-29
Moses would rather be identified as a Jew with the powerless people than be numbered with Pharoah’s hoards. He understood that identifying with God’s people was true riches, the kind of riches that last an eternity, not just for a few dynasties. Moses observed the very first Passover; we still sing about his acts of faith: ‘When I see the Blood, I will pass over you.’ We still sing about the ‘horse and rider’ falling into the Sea. The Ten Commandments is still one of the most-watched movies. This man’s faith still lives on as an example to us today. God called on him to do extraordinary things, experience extraordinary things, and often take the road and the way less traveled. He is described by God, in Numbers 12:3, this way:
“Now the man Moses was very humble, more than all men who were on the face of the earth.”
What a tribute from God! Because he was humble, God used him in mighty ways, as he simply allowed God to do with him as He pleased. We serve the same God. What if you and I set a goal to be even more humble or to be as humble as Moses? Imagine what God would do with us and how He would “increase our faith,” a cry often heard in the New Testament, Luke 17:5.
God bless you,
Dr. Sean Gooding
Pastor of Mississauga Missionary Baptist Church
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