Deliverance by Faith

Hebrews 11:23-29

Deliverance is unimportant until you realize you are in bondage. Deliverance by definition is: “the action of being rescued or set free” Spurgeon once shared this as a parable: “There was once a tyrant who ordered one of his subjects into his presence, and ordered him to make a chain. The poor blacksmith—that was his occupation—had to go to work and forge the chain. When it was done he brought it into the presence of the tyrant, and he was ordered to take it away and make it twice the length. He brought it again to the tyrant, and again he was ordered to double it. Back he came when he had obeyed the order, and the tyrant looked at it, and then commanded the servants to bind the man hand and foot with the chain he had made and cast him into prison. “And,” Mr. Spurgeon said, “that is what the devil does with man.” He makes them forge their own chain, and then binds them hand and foot with it, and casts them into outer darkness.” My friends, that is just what these drunkards, these gamblers, these blasphemers—that is just what every sinner is doing. But, thank God, we can tell you of a deliverer. The Son of God has the power to break every one of these fetters if you will only come to Him.

As the Holy Spirit breathed His Words through the pen of the author of Hebrews, we see in these verses that our attention is drawn to the great deliverer God brought to Israel. Moses. But, as we will see it focuses not just on His faith, but the faith of His parents and that of God’s people. 

Let’s look at this text in 5 points:

  1. Faith is courageous, not fearful (25)
  2. Faith identifies itself with God and His people (24-26)
  3. Faith sees Him who is invisible (27)
  4. Faith Celebrates redemption in light of coming Judgement (28)
  5. Faith Trusts God to Deliver (29)

  1. Faith is courageous, not fearful (vs. 23)

“by faith Moses, when he was born, was in for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.” Moses is here mentioned as our focus in verse 23 but it is not his faith that is being commended. It was his parents who had him by faith. We know little of Moses’ upbringing, but what we can piece together from scripture is that his father’s name was Amram and his mother’s name was Jochebed. They had three children: Miriam, Aaron, and Moses. We know from verse 22, that by faith Joseph had looked into the future seeing the Exodus and that the people of God should take his bones when they left Egypt. So, generally speaking, the people of God were expecting to leave Egypt at some point and now with the addition of persecution of the Pharaoh and his people, the Israelites may have been sensing that the time was near for deliverance. Our text tells us that Moses was hidden for three months because they saw the child was beautiful and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. So two things here, first, Moses was a beautiful child.  Well what does this mean? I mean, isn’t every child beautiful? In Stephen’s preaching in Acts chapter 7 verse 20 he states “that it was at this time that Moses was born and he was a beautiful child in God’s sight…” So even God is saying that he was a beautiful child. So there you have it, if God says you are beautiful, you are beautiful and don’t you forget it! But surely, The Holy Spirit who inspired this text is not suggesting that Moses’ parents merely looked on his outward appearance to make their decision to keep him. No, it tells us here in verse 23 that it was by faith that they hid Moses for three months and so there is inference here that Moses’ parents believed God would send a deliverer and that Moses would be used of God in some way. Josephus wrote in antiquities that Moses’ parents had received some kind of vision concerning the future of the child. Now, we don’t have that here in the text of Scripture but it is possible based on this passage of Hebrews that his parents did trust that God would use this child, saying that he had been spared these three months and they were willing to place him in a basket and placed in the reeds where it was seemingly known that Pharaoh’s daughter came to bathe. It seems clear from the text of Exodus chapter 2 that Moses could no longer be kept a secret after three months.  Now it is hard to keep a child’s existence secret, but definitely after 3 months! For those of you who have a child over 3 months old you know what I am talking about. And, most definitely it is hard to keep a secret that they exist. And so to keep him alive place him in a basket in the reeds near where Pharaoh’s daughter came to bathe. This was an act of faith and then they left Miriam there to watch what became of him probably because his parents could not bear to watch. Of course in God’s plan, when the baby was discovered, Pharaoh’s daughter had compassion on the crying baby. This is when Miriam offers to get a Hebrew woman to nurse the child. Who better than momma herself? She is then paid by Pharaoh’s daughter to nurse the child. Why don’t we have programs like this anymore? Pretty good deal. God took a bad situation and turned it around for good to raise up an instrument of his redemption. Had Pharaoh known the future of this child he most definitely would have put the child to death. This should be an encouragement to parents today also. Even in a world where a child’s future is uncertain, and your government is out of control and has no regard for life itself let alone the author of life, God can be trusted to keep, Sustain, and use our children for His purposes and for their good. It was stated in the news in September that climate change alone was a reason to be fearful of bringing a child into the world. however, our text reveals that God’s people have always taken the creation mandate seriously and have by faith had children against the odds of an evil world, hard lives, bad financial times, and yes, even climate change. The whole reason Pharoah had ordered that the Hebrew baby boys be killed was because he was threatened by the Hebrew’s tremendous fruitfulness in spite of their slavery. Our text indicates that the climate that needs to change in the context of persecution is that the temptation to fear should be overcome by courageous faith. Which is exactly what the end of verse 23 encourages us with. It says “they were not afraid of the king’s edict. John Calvin once said, “when the light of divine providence has once shown upon a godly man he is then relieved and set free not only from the extreme anxiety and fear that were pressing him before, but from every care.“ So, faith is courageous, not fearful. Secondly,

  1. Faith Identifies with Christ and His people (24-26)

“By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.” 

The text of exodus and that of Stephen’s sermon in acts seven and hearing this text tell us that when Moses had grown up but he did not identify as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. As with others in this hall of faith, Moses’ failures and at times lack of faith are not mentioned. Again, this ought to remind us that what God is doing in us and through us is a work of his Holy Spirit. In the context of the epistle of Hebrews, new Jewish believers could persevere through difficulty identifying with God’s people rather than settling in to a comfortable status quo. Moses was not innocent of faithlessness. It tells us in the context of Exodus that at the age of 40 he identified with the Hebrew people when he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew and instead of just watching he took things into his own hands and struck down the Egyptian and hid his body in the sand. This again is an example of Moses trying to do God’s will his way. And while God was going to use Moses in a miraculous way to deliver his people, it was not going to be of his own doing. It was God and God alone who would deliver. Notice here in verse 25 that Moses chose to be mistreated with the people of God then to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. It is interesting to note that it mentions the people of God rather than Israel itself. This is important in the context of first 26 which states that he considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. In no other text of scripture is this connection made. In other words, in all ages, faith identifies with God’s people, specifically Christ’s church. This helps us understand that what Egypt was to Moses so the world and its system is to Christ’s church. A practical application question here would be “Why o believer do you separate from Christ’s Church and refuse to join a local church and be counted as one sanctified from the world. Further, identification with Christ and his people always means warring with violence against sin. Moses no doubt was tempted by the luxuries of Egypt. As an adopted grandson of pharaoh, he could probably have had anything he wanted. We might ask, “why not use this for good and rise up in government to affect change?“ And while God did this through the life of Joseph or Daniel or even Esther, these also identified with God’s people. It is when positions of authority go the opposite direction of God and his people that the Saint must stand firm. It was prophesied that Egypt would not be the dwelling place for God’s people. And so Moses acted accordingly by faith. For us, this is not our home. Therefore, we are not act like it is but rather pursue the same country that these forefathers did: one in which righteousness shall reign rather than wickedness.Really the lesson here for us and for the first century Hebrews is not to trade heavenly things for earthly things. As Colossians 3:1-4 puts it, 

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 

5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming.”

As we looked at last year in Deuteronomy chapter 18 verse 15 that God would raise up another prophet like Moses. And so we see that Moses had faith that indeed identification with God and his people was the way of salvation. Verse 26 tells us that Moses did not just identify with some vague idea of God’s people conquering in the future, but with Christ himself. God would in fact bring a savior who would deliver his people from their sins. Since God would in fact bring a Savior who would deliver his people from their sins. And so while sin can be pleasurable for a season it must be refused because it is rebellion against God in the joy that he wants his people to have in him. Only God can truly satisfy the human heart. As Charles Spurgeon said of this verse, “pleasures are certainly better than afflictions, according to any ordinary judgment. But Moses came to this conclusion: although affliction might be God’s worst, it was better than the pleasures of sin, which is evil’s best. Moses counted reproach to be better than the treasures of Egypt. God’s fast is better than Egypt’s feast. We should view life as Moses did, in connection with the reward and commence a life for God and holiness.“ And so we have seen that true biblical faith is courageous instead of fearful, faith identifies with the people of God and now let’s look at how…

  1. Faith sees Him who is invisible (27)

“27 By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible.” 

 it would seem as this passage progresses chronologically that this verse is referring to Moses first out of Egypt to Midian but we know from The Exodus Passage that Moses fled in fear for his life after killing the Egyptian. In fact,  Stephen’s sermon in Acts 7:25 again gives us insight that Moses thought that the people would recognize him as their deliverer in this event when in fact he was not recognized. It simply was not God’s timing. God’s will, God’s way, even when it seems that it is in our hands to “accomplish His will” God will not share His glory with another. When God delivers, He delivers completely. So, leaving Egypt  by faith is speaking of The Exodus and indicating that Moses’ courage was motivated by seeing him who is invisible. For first century Christians and for us: do we think it’s possible to endure in this Christian Life without keeping our eyes on Jesus? Faith calls for us to keep our eyes on Jesus. Truly, in the context of Hebrews 11 Moses is living out the very definition of faith that we have already discussed from verse 1:  “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

“God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:24 as Jesus spoke to the woman of Samaria revealing His identity. As we have seen in weeks past, faith gives us eyes to see what the eyes of the body cannot. As Hebrews 12:2 states., “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith”… Does not fear  the Wrath of an Earthly King who can be seen but instead looks in faith upon a  Heavenly King who is unseen but shall be revealed in due time. 

Biblical faith does not fear but is courageous, identifies with God’s people, it sees Him who is invisible and…

  1. Faith celebrates redemption in the light of Judgement (28)

“By faith he kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the Destroyer of the firstborn might not touch them.”

The Passover was commanded by God in light of the last and final of the 10 plagues  to come upon Egypt: The death of the first born. This speaks of the faith of Moses to lead the people  to obey God and do what he said so that they might enjoy His Deliverance. While the context of the Hebrew people being in slavery at the mercy of Pharaoh must have been scary,  it is eclipsed by the expectation that God indeed was going to deliver them that very night. 400 years of slavery may have challenged the faith of God’s people to have hope in a Deliverance from His hand, but after seeing  God’s Great Deliverance through the plagues they could be assured that obeying God in finding a passover lamb and sprinkling its blood over their doorposts gave them deliverance from the Destroyer. We know from The Exodus account that the Destroyer was in fact God Himself.  God delivered through the blood of the lamb and the death of the first born. What was death to the Egyptians brought life to the people of God. 2 Corinthians 2:14-16 “ 14 But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. 15 For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, 16 to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life.”

For the 1st century Hebrews their deliverance was not by their own doing but by the blood of the Lamb the firstborn Son of God. For us, there is no deliverance from the Destroyer unless one looks with faith upon the Son of God and his death and resurrection on their behalf. Is He coming as a Destroyer or Deliverer for you this morning? You should not tarry in your repentance, for He is at the door. Today is the day of salvation. Faith however as displayed in the life of Moses will always celebrate with God’s people the redemption that is theirs in God’s Son in light of coming judgement. While compassion causes us to urge the unbelieving world to repent and obey God and see the blood applied, ultimately the Destroyer will come. Who will be found full of faith? So, faith is courageous, identifies with God’s people, sees Him who is invisible, celebrates redemption in light of judgement and finally,…

  1. Faith Trusts God to Deliver

29 “By faith the people crossed the Red Sea as on dry land, but the Egyptians, when they attempted to do the same, were drowned.”

You remember the context I trust, that as the people of God fled Egypt they were pursued by Pharaoh and his army. They became trapped at the sea in front of them and Pharoah behind them. There was seemingly no escape. The amazing thing is that God in His providence allowed them to be trapped! As Spurgeon once said, “We believe in the providence of God, but we do not believe half enough in it.” Many of you may feel trapped in life. Perhaps it is your sin. You see no way to stop doing what you are doing. There is hope, only trust the Lord. Maybe you feel trapped by something else, a job, a marriage situation, a child situation, and health situation. No matter the situation, God does not look to deliver in the way you expect. Surely this is how the Hebrews of Moses’ day were looking at it and perhaps the Jewish believers of the first century as well. Where do we go when the Jews threaten our lives as well as Rome? Perhaps God will deliver through death, perhaps in another way. Robert Morgan in his book The Red Sea Rules says, “When God does not deliver overtly (through a miracle) or covertly (by providence), He will deliver mysteriously, with a deeper level of intervention than we can discern; in the end it will be better for us though for a time we may be perplexed.”

This verse reveals that the faith is attributed to the people of God. Moses is certainly in view here of leading them, but again we find that they complained in the Exodus text saying, “were there not enough graves in Egypt that you have lead us out to the desert? (14:11) So while there was much unbelief before, during and after the Exodus, the faith of God’s people is commended here. While Moses and the people of God were trapped Moses by faith looked again to His faithful God, and God directed him to lift up his hands over the sea and God made a way! In one of the most spectacular miracles of the Old Testament, God made a way for His people to cross on dry land. But, as our text says, “the Egyptians, when they attempted to do the same, were drowned.” As one commentator noted, here lies the brazenness of the sinner’s heart and the boldness of the believer. Homer Kent in his commentary on Hebrews says of this verse, “the Egyptians were daring, but faith isn’t daring.” So, church, just because we do something that seems crazy or daring in the name of God, we may find ourselves drowning in the misery of our own plans! And so, faith trusts God to deliver however He sees fit. We need only to trust Him. Or in the words of Moses to the people of Israel, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. 14 The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”

We have been looking at true biblical faith through this chapter. We have seen today that faith is courageous as Moses’ parents demonstrated, faith identifies with God and His people as Moses did, Faith sees Him who is invisible, celebrates His redemption in light of the judgement we deserved, and faith trusts God to deliver in His own unique way. What about you? Are you living by faith? Do you believe God? Do you look to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and present you blameless before the presence of His glory with great joy as Jude 24 says? This amazing God presents Himself to you this morning in the text of His Word. He has displayed His wonders throughout history and wants to work wonders in you and through you as you become His instrument for His redeeming purposes in a world that is united against Him and His Christ. When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth? (Luke 18:8)

Let’s Pray.