Lesson 22 – Hebrews 11:20-24
Lesson 22 – Hebrews 11:20-24
Hebrews 11:20-23 Moving faith from theory to reality is an essential, yet tough assignment. It’s always easier to talk faith than it is to walk faith. By nature we fight the concept of faith constantly. We tend to resist trusting God. We would rather walk by sight, since that’s a lot more predictable. But walking by sight doesn’t please God (2 Corinthians. 4:16-18; 5:7).
The best place to teach, learn, and cultivate faith is in the home, with our families. In our passage before us this evening we have 4 examples of families, and faith operating in them. These four families provide us with illustrations of the reward of faith in spite of behavior that at times demonstrated the best and the worst of conduct.
1. Isaac Hebrews 11:20 ‑ By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, even regarding things to come. Genesis 27 chronicles the chain of events involved in this particular incident. Isaac was a worldly man in many ways. In fact there is less written about Isaac then any of the patriarchs. He sought to give the birthright to Esau when God made it quite clear that the blessing was to go the Jacob.
Esau in Genesis 25:27ff made it clear that he cared more for himself than for the things of God. Jacob valued God’s blessing through Isaac (Genesis 25:27-33). Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob. The boys grew up, and Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the open country, while Jacob was a quiet man, staying among the tents. Isaac, who had a taste for wild game, loved Esau, but Rebekah loved Jacob.
After wrongly attempting to give the blessing to Jacob and realizing the near disaster of disobeying God, we find him trembling at his realization (Genesis 25:33). But Isaac’s faith is written here because he knew that God overruled his mistake and disobedience. Faith is not of works, as Isaacs life so clearly makes plain.
2. Jacob ‑ Hebrews 11:21 Jacob by faith passed on the blessing in spite of a life whose actions demonstrate over and over again that we walk by faith not by sight; that our walk is by faith not by works. Jacob’s mature life began with an act of deceit. His life was like his father in many ways. He was up and down spiritually. Sometimes he walked by sight while at other times he walked by faith.
Jacob was a man who learned that it was one thing to have God as a Redeemer and Father and another to have God as His Lord. It was when he had completed his experience with Laban that a real change occurred in His life (Genesis 32). But even after this great encounter with The Angel of the Lord and God’s grace in the encounter with Laban, Jacob outwardly failed again in his relationship with his sons. He favored Joseph over his other sons.
His favoritism had the direct result of causing his sons to conspire to kill Joseph. Yet In Gen. 48 by faith Jacob passes the spiritual blessing to Judah by virtue of the failure of Reuben when he defiled Jacobs’ concubine (1 Chronicles 5:1). e, and Simeon and Levi because of their violence with the Hivites after Shechem had sought to marry Dinah, their sister. Joseph however received the material blessings of the firstborn; when Jacob gave Joseph a double portion by blessing the two sons of Joseph and making them equal to his sons, even though they were grandsons. Even though he was dying in Egypt, he gave a blessing with regard to the future and the possession of the land of promise.
3. Joseph’s faith Hebrews 11:22 – Joseph was 17 when he arrived in Egypt as a slave. He prospered greatly in Egypt. Yet in spite of all of his success, and influence he never gave up on the promise of God. His faith was deeply entrenched in his heart, life, and hopes. His faith was evidenced in his actions toward his brothers when he reiterated the promises of God to them in Genesis 50ff.
He once again reminded them that the Lord would take care of Israel and bring them from Egypt to the land promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. By faith he knew what the future held. He knew that before the promise could be fulfilled Israel as a nation would have to come out of Egypt. Joseph did not want to be counted in the history of Egypt but rather of Israel. When Joseph would be resurrected he wanted to rise in the land of promise. He knew that the promises of the land and the resurrection were certain.
4. The Family of Moses ‑ Hebrews 11:3 “By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the kings edict.” This was a significant time of testing. Pharaoh saw Israel as a 5th column that would rise against him. He began the first recorded act of genocide.
Pharaoh marshaled all of his powers to insure that his edict concerning the death of all male children was carried out. But the parents of Moses saw that he was “beautiful”. This was a faith that saw that the child was good or beautiful in the sight of God. It was faith that gave them strength to defy the king’s edict.
Their faith also trusted God for the care of this child. They went against the government when the government defied God and His word. Note they brought him to the Nile where the sentence of death was to be carried out. Their belief that God had a special plan for Moses was rewarded by his escape from death. He not only escaped but was one of the greatest sons of Israel.
Faith is not theoretical it is something that we are to see operational in our homes. This is ever the history of faith. We need to remember that our homes are training bases and not holding tanks. We need to develop in our homes a confidence in God, and not just a stiff upper lip mentality. A faith that is alive and certain because faith is more caught than taught.
If our children and relatives who know us best see this kind of faith lived out in our daily walk and talk it will speak louder than any creeds or doctrines we might embrace. Life is made up of decisions. Some are simple and unimportant, and some are complex and extremely important. Many are made almost unconsciously, whereas others we think about carefully for a long time. Some decisions are made by default.
When we put off deciding, a decision is made for us. But it is still our decision, because we decide to put it off. The course and the quality of our lives are determined much more by our decisions than by our circumstances.
Christian living involves making right decisions. You can note the maturity of a Christian by the decisions he makes. When Satan tempts us, we decide either to say yes or no. We decide whether or not to take time to read the Bible and to pray. It is not a matter of having time but of taking time, and taking time requires a decision. In business we often have to choose between making more money and being honest and ethical, or between getting ahead and giving enough time to our families and to the Lord=s work. Virtually everything we do involves a decision.
Right choices are made on the basis of right faith. Often we cannot see the consequences of our choices. Satan tries to make his way seem attractive and good and God’s way seem hard and unenjoyable. When we know God’s will in a matter, we choose it by faith. We know it is the right choice because it is God’s will, even before we see the results.
God’s will is the only reason we need. When we choose God’s way, we put up the shield of faith, and the temptations and allurements of Satan are deflected (Ephesians 6:16). All of these men learned to make the right choices as they grew in their faith. We too must learn to make the same choices that our faith might be alive and transferable to others.