Memphis Belle

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Hebrews 1:1-14
Hebrews 2:1-18
Hebrews 3:1-19 Hebrews 4:1-16
Hebrews 5:1-14
Hebrews 6:1-20 Hebrews 7:1-28 Hebrews 8:1-13
Hebrews 9:1-28 Hebrews 10:1-39 Hebrews 11:1-4 Hebrews 11:5-8
Hebrews 11:9-16 Hebrews 11:17-22 Hebrews 11:23-27 Hebrews 11:28-31
Hebrews 11:32-40 Hebrews 12:4-29 Hebrews 13:1-25 What is Faith ?

 

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Hebrews 11:28-31

 

“Through faith he [Moses] kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them.  By faith they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land:  which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned.  By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.  By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.”

 

‘By Faith Moses Kept The Passover’

 

“Hebrews chapter 11, we’ve come to verse 28, we’re following along the lives of so many of these individuals, that of God giving us a picture of the things that took place in their lives and through their lives by their exercising a faith toward him.  As he comes to a crescendo as it were of the life of Moses, and Moses gets more print than anyone in this particular passage on faith in Hebrews chapter 11.  Verse 28 is kind of like the coup de gras of the life of Moses, it says, “Through faith he [Moses] kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them.”  “By faith,” or “through faith,” same word, “he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them.”  Through faith, interesting as you go back and rehearse that chapter, back in Exodus chapter 12, it’s telling us ‘by faith.’  And you look at what took place there as God spoke to Moses, and he had to go to the children of Israel, and he said, ‘This is what you’re gonna do now, and this day on the 14th day of this month [Nisan on the Hebrew calendar] will now be the beginning of months for you, you change your calendar now, to this particular day [and month].  And as you do that, I want you to go out and everybody’s going to get a lamb, and you’ll slaughter that lamb for your family, and if there aren’t enough people in your family, you get your neighbours, and you gather together, as many as it will take you to eat that lamb.   And then you get bitter herbs and you get unleavened bread, and this is what you do with it, and this is why you do the things that you do with it, and the lamb is to be roasted in the fire, not to be boiled, it’s not to be cooked in some other way, and if there’s anything that remains until morning, it can’t be eaten, the rest is to be burned, consumed by fire,’ of course because it becomes a picture of Christ, and that they should do all of this in a particular way.  ‘And then they were to take the blood of the lamb, and they were to put it on the doorposts and on the lintels, and that blood of the lamb, where they slaughtered it there at the door of the house,’ it says, ‘was to be collected in the basin,’ twice, it’s from the Egyptian word “sop” which was the threshold of the door.  We often have a threshold that goes up, but in Egypt they would have a threshold that went down, it would make a basin so if water ran it wouldn’t come in the door.  And here you had the picture where the lamb was slain, and then the blood was put on the posts and on the lentils, and you have a lamb slain between two crosses.  ‘And this is the way you do it, and you do this perpetually from generation to generation.’  This is a pre-Law feast, this is pre-Levitical, it was given long before the Law was given, it was established.  And Moses has to give all these details.  And he says ‘In the years to come, when your children ask you, Why do we do this? you explain to them, you tell them, This is why we do this.’  And you know now, he’s telling it to these people that are slaves in Egypt, that have become hostile towards Moses, because Moses has promised them over and over again, ‘This time Pharaoh’s going to let you go,’ and we came to this place, and the River turned to blood, and the frogs came up upon the land, and the dust of the earth turned into lice, and you follow through the plagues, and the darkness over Egypt while it was light in Goshen, and all of the things that took place, and time after time what God said he’d do for the children of Israel hadn’t taken place.  And now he’s coming, telling them to do this, ‘and you take this blood and you splatter it on the outside of your door,’ and these people never saw the movie.  They’re not saying, ‘This is the one,’ this is all strange to them, and all of this intricate detail, and they’re probably thinking, ‘What’s he telling us to do now?  You know, over and over again, he’s making us these promises, and their little kids are  saying, Why are we doing this?  Why’s daddy putting blood all over the house?  Does mommy want the house painted red?  Why’s this going on?  No, don’t ask us, he’s telling us to do something else, he’s making us more promises.’  And in the mean time, Egypt is hostile, Pharaoh keeps going back on his word, he’s aggravated with the children of Israel, he doesn’t know that very night his firstborn will be slain, there’s all kinds of problems surrounding  them in the midst of them enacting all of this, and they’re probably saying ‘What difference could this possibly make?  What difference could the blood of a lamb possibly make in our lives in regards to setting us free and giving us life?  What difference could the blood of one lamb make in regards to delivering us from the bondage that we have been in for so long?’  And that was exactly the point.  That’s why it says here, ‘By faith Moses kept and celebrated the Passover,’ because he had to do this while the people were grumbling, he had to do it while Egypt was hostile, he had to have them enact this thing, and he had not yet gone through the chapter, he never read chapter 12 of Exodus, he hadn’t written it yet.  He would write it some day, but he hadn’t read it (or written it) at this point.  And he’s being asked by God to enact all of this, and then tell the children of Israel ‘The angel of death is going to come and go through the camp, and when the angel of death sees the blood on the door, he will pass over, he will pass by,’ and God said that, ‘When I see the blood, I will go by, I will pass over,’ Passover, the Feast of Passover.  Not when they feel safe, it wasn’t just faith, have faith.  The Egyptians had faith, they had faith in Pharaoh, they had faith in their idols, they had faith in their military.  You know, it was the object of faith here, God said ‘When I see the blood applied to your house, to your life, that’s when I’m going to pass over, the angel of death will go by, when I see the blood,’ not when you feel saved, not when you feel spiritual, not if you feel worthy---because there could be a family sitting there saying ‘We’ve never sinned, we feel worthy, God loves us,’ if they didn’t have the blood on their door, they were gone.  And then they could have the most wretched family in all of Israel, Joshua tells us that the Israelites were worshipping idols in Egypt.  You could have a family there that's been in idolatry all along, and God said, ‘When I see the blood, I’ll pass over.’  “By faith”, “By faith” it says, “Moses kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them.” (verse 28)  What a strange thing for God to require, and yet obedient to God, yielded to God’s leading, by faith, that’s why it says ‘by faith, the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.’  It had never happened, they’d never seen the movie, he enacts this, ‘lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them.’  [For a complete detailed and historic study of all the plagues, and Exodus from Egypt, see http://www.unityinchrist.com/lamb/exodus1.html]

 

‘By Faith They Passed Through The Red Sea’

 

“By faith they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land:  which the Egyptians assaying” attempting “to do were drowned.” (verse 29)  “By faith they passed through the Red Sea” not by faith they parted the Red Sea.  That was not their business and not their work.  It was by faith they passed through the Red Sea.  Now notice here, it doesn’t say ‘by faith they passed through the Reed Sea.’  Ok?  You know, the Holy Spirit could have said ‘I need to correct the text, Moses, that knucklehead, he wrote Red Sea in the Old Testament, and it was really the Reed Sea that  they passed through, it was a swamp, and we need to correct that now that we’re inspiring the New Testament, we need to get hold of things there.’  No, it says “By faith they passed through the Red Sea…”  Some of our modern scholars should drown in the swamp, and the Reed Sea.  The children of Israel passed through the Red Sea.  If they had been in a swamp like anyone had said, the Egyptians would have gone around the north and flanked them and destroyed them on the other side [and any good military man could see that truth].  They passed through the Red Sea, and it says the Egyptians attempting to do the same thing “were drowned.”  Our word means “to be sucked downward.”  Doesn’t sound like a swamp.  ‘Oh, it’s quicksand.’  Ok.  It means “to be swallowed.”  Jesus said to the Pharisees, ‘You swallow a camel and you strain at a nat.’  That’s our word.  Paul says ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’  That’s our word.  Revelation chapter 12 we have the children of Israel fleeing, and Satan spews out this flood to destroy them, and it says ‘God opened the earth and swallowed up the flood’ that tried to destroy them.  It means “to be engulfed, to be swallowed up,” passing through the Red Sea, Yom Suf, the sea of sludge.  It tells us that Jonah, when he was in the belly of the whale, he had sea-weed suf wrapped around his head.  And whales don’t normally feed in the swamp.  He had sea-weed wrapped around his head.  Exodus chapter 14, I’m going to read some passages, if you want to follow you can, you can at least listen, or do your best, try to stay awake.  I’m in Exodus 14, verse 21, “Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.  And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground:  and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.” (verse 21-22) it does not sound like a swamp. As some scholars say, ‘that’s not the word for “wall.”  Well it’s used over 150 times in the Old Testament for “wall”, the walls at Jerusalem, the walls of Jericho, the walls of Babylon, it’s the word “wall.”  It’s “wall” everywhere.  “the water was a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left”, you look over in chapter 15, verse 3, it says, “The LORD is a man of war:  the LORD is his name.  The Pharaoh’s chariots and his host he cast into the sea:  his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red sea.  The depths” interesting swamp, “have covered them:  they sank into the bottom as a stone.  Thy right hand, O LORD, is become glorious in power:” must be more than a swamp, “thy right hand, O LORD, hath dashed in pieces the enemy.  And in the greatness of thine excellency thou hast overthrown them that rose up against thee:  thou sentest forth thy wrath, which consumed them as stubble.  And with the blast of thy nostrils the waters were gathered together, the floods stood upright as an heap, and the depths were congealed in the heart of the sea.” (verses 3-9)  Verse 10 says, “Thou didst blow with thy wind, the sea covered them:  they sank as lead in the mighty waters.”  That’s some swamp.  Isn’t it?  [Comment:  in verse 8 where it says “the floods stood upright as an heap” that occurs out at sea when two large waves coming at each other from other directions collide, and the combined waters in them “stand upright as an heap.”  It happens out there, when two storms hundreds of miles apart send waves toward each other.  I’ve seen it out in the middle of the Atlantic, on my submarine, with 30 foot waves colliding like this.  So imagine these two “walls” of water separated by God in the Red Sea, all of a sudden released, and coming slamming together.  The result would be described as “floods standing upright as an heap.”  Again, Pastor Joe is right, that’s no swamp.]  The mighty waters, Nehemiah chapter 9, verses 9-11, “And didst see the affliction of our fathers in Egypt, and heardest their cry by the Red sea; and shewedst signs and wonders upon Pharaoh, and on all his servants, and on all the people of his land:  for thou knewest that they dealt proudly against them.  So didst thou get thee a name, as it is this day.  And thou didst divide the sea before them, so that they went through the midst of the sea on the dry land; and their persecutors thou threwest into the deeps, as a stone into the mighty waters.”  Again, Psalm 106, and there’s many places in the Psalms, I’m just taking a few of these.  Psalm 106, verses 9-11, “He rebuked the Red sea also, and it was dried up:  so he led them through the depths, as through the wilderness.  And he saved them from the hand of him that hated them, and redeemed them from the hand of the enemy.  And the waters covered their enemies:  there was not one of them left.”  Isaiah, some remarkable passages in Isaiah 51.  Isaiah 51, verse 10 says, “Art thou not it which hath dried the sea, the waters of the great deep; that hath made the depths of the sea a way for the ransomed to pass over?”  Over in verse 15 he says, “But I am the LORD thy God, that divided the sea, whose waves roared:  The LORD of hosts is his name.”  “whose waves roared”  the LORD  says, and again in Isaiah 63, it says, verses 11-14, “Then he remembered the days of old, Moses, and his people, saying, Where is he that brought them up out of the sea with the shepherd of his flock? where is he that put his holy Spirit with him?”  “brought up out of the sea”  “That led them by the right hand of Moses with his glorious arm, dividing the water before them, to make himself an everlasting name?  That led them through the deep, as an horse in the wilderness, that they should not stumble?”  You don’t divide a swamp to make an everlasting name.  “And as a beast goeth down into the valley, the Spirit of the LORD caused him to rest:  so didst thou lead thy people, to make thyself a glorious name.”  “As a beast going down into the valley,” look, there’s a point in the text.  By faith, they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land, which the Egyptians attempting to do, were drowned, they were sucked down and destroyed.  There’s a point to it.  Because they had come to a place, there are Red Sea’s in all of our lives, and certainly they measure differently, but all of us will come to an impasse.  To a situation ‘Lord, how do I get past this?’  And as we look at the children of Israel, they come to this place in the wilderness, against the Red Sea, it tells us before Pi-Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, it gives us a description [a box canyon, surrounded by mountains on both sides, the Egyptian army behind them, and the Red Sea in front of them, nowhere to go, nowhere to hide], they’re kind of in a box canyon, they’re trapped there, it tells us.  And the Egyptians have them trapped against the Red Sea.  And they begin to cry out.  They’re not there because of rebellion.  They’re not in a bad situation because they sinned.  Sometimes we get in a tough situation, we start examining everything, ‘Oh Lord, did I do this, did I do that? I’ve, should I’d have done this? maybe, what about if I had done this?  What about if I did that?’  They’re not there out of rebellion.  They followed the Pillar of Fire, they followed Moses, they’re there for a reason.  They’re not there because they’re lost, because they lost their way.  They’re not there in a tough situation they can’t get out of because of their weakness, because it was with a great mighty arm that God brought them out of Egypt.  They’re in a situation that logic would tell them, ‘Wait a second, why would God bother to deliver us from Egypt, the blood of the lamb on our doors, all that stuff, and now he brought us out here, as Edward G. Robinson said in the movie, ‘He brought us out here to die, that Moses,’  and that’s what they were all thinking anyway.  And it tells us something very interesting, and I’m always amazed at this, and you don’t have to turn back there, it says that, I have to find it here, verses 19-20 I believe, and it talks about the pillar of God, God’s presence, it says ‘it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel.  It was a cloud and darkness to the Egyptians, but it gave light unto these.’  On one side of the same pillar, to God’s people, in a horrendous situation, the presence of God was giving light.  And on the other side of the same pillar, to the enemies of God, it was darkness, the very presence of God.  In a situation that looked hopeless, at an impasse, in a way there’s no way out of this, it says somehow in a situation like that, the presence of God gives light to those that are his, and at the same time, those who do not believe are mystified, they’re in darkness, they don’t understand what’s taking place.  And God had led them there to reveal something of himself to them.  Now I don’t like these lessons, I want to take the correspondence course.  I don’t like Red Seas in my life, I don’t want to go there.  But it says “By faith,” why is it by faith?  Because it says they went down, this is happening at night, the pillar of fire is behind them, the water parts.  How long did that take?  How high was it standing up?  It says it was walls on either side.  It says when they went in they went down, as a beast going down into the valley, and the water was congealed on either side of them, evidently roaring over the top.  [Watch the movie Leviathan for good special effects on this one.]  Imagine that.  Way better than the Prince of Egypt, it didn’t even capture the, just imagine that, by faith, headed down into this valley, they hadn’t read the chapter, looking up on either side and seeing these walls of water turned solid, congealed on either side.  And all night long it took to pass through.  How long does it take 2 to 3 million people to cross over?  No wonder, all the way through the Old Testament, all the way to Hebrews 11, it says ‘God did it to demonstrate his glorious arm.’  For you and I, there are situations in our lives, ‘Oh yea, I believe ya, God can part the Red Sea, but he can’t deal with this thing at work.’  [I’ve experienced him repeatedly dealing with things I had, insurmountable obstacles, that he dealt with, in all the careers I held at work.]  ‘God, he can part the Red Sea, and the Egyptians,’ their whole army is going to be destroyed, ‘but he can’t deal with these two people gossiping about me.  Yea, God can do that, I believe that, I saw the movie.  But he can’t deal, come to this place in my own life,’  You see, the truth is, we need a Red Sea God, not a swamp god.  I’ve come to some circumstances in my life, and I needed the kind of God that could part the Red Sea, I needed a Mighty God with a glorious arm, not somebody who needed scholars to help me get through the swamp.  And God over and over and over and over affirms that he can part the mighty waters.  I don’t know about you guys, the ocean freaks me out.  I know some of you are boat-people, some of you love to be out there.  [If I’m anyways out there, I only want to be on a good old American diesel Fleet Boat submarine, not on any surface-skimmer boat.  It’s the only safe way to view that real majesty and power of the ocean.  I have a lot of respect for the ocean, but I love it, and flying too.]  So does flying, I’m a shepherd, I like to be on the ground, that’s my occupation, you know, I just like to be on the ground.  I’m not made to fly, I’m not made to, I just don’t like it out there.  The ocean, if you’ve been out in heavy seas, it is just awesome, it is just enough to make you say ‘God, if you get me back, I’ll never come out here again.’  [Watch “The Perfect Storm” starring George Clooney, if you want to visually experience that awesomeness safely in your living room, excellent visual effects, conveys it all.]  The mighty waters, God parted them, the Red Sea.  I tell you, when we stand around his throne on the Sea of Glass and fire, and we get the idea of the Red Sea he had to part, as it were, for you and I to come to heaven, we’re going to be amazed at what he’s able to move out of the way to get us where he wants to get us to.  The mountain of sin, the heavy waters he removed of our, of what we deserved of punishment, of death.  To think what he parted to get us to where we’ll stand one day, on the other side of death, on the other side of sorrow and pain, on the other side of the curse and of sin, on the other side of this temporary existence.  “By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: and we are too, we’re passing through.  With the Egyptians, when they tried to do it, they were drowned, they were drowned. 

 

‘By Faith The Walls Of Jericho Fell’

 

“By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they had compassed about seven days.” (verse 30)  “By faith, after” I like to see those two ideas in one sentence.  “By faith, after.”  In fact, the construction is ‘By faith the walls of Jericho, having been encircled for seven days,’ in other words, the idea is, ‘by faith, yes, after those walls had been encircled for seven days, after that, they fell down.’  After their obedience, having been encircled for seven days, again.  And I know it’s written in here, because there are Jericho’s in our lives, that’s got to be why the lesson is written and referred to more than once, and picked up here again in regards to faith in the New Testament.  Those places in our lives that seem like impossible situations, they seem like they will never, it’s an impasse, the walls are never going to come down.  And what God tells us to do in a situation that seems completely illogical, this is what I want you to do, ‘That’ll never work, God, I know it worked in the Old Testament, it does not work in Northeast Philadelphia.’  Joshua, having come across the Jordan River, God stopping up the Jordan River, standing it up in a heap so they could come across, he’s in Gilgal, walking in the evening, and he encounters the Captain of the LORD’s host, and he says to Joshua the same thing the burning bush said to Moses, ‘Take thy shoes from off thy feet, where you’re standing is holy ground.’  Joshua says, ‘Are you for us, or are you against us?’  He says ‘Neither, but as the Captain of the LORD’s host am I come forth.  This is what I want you to do in regards to Jericho, because I want you to understand every battle you’re going to have in the land.’  Take note of that, the land of Canaan is not heaven.  I know there’s lots of spirituals and songs that talk about crossing over Jordan, like that’s going to heaven.  The problem is, when you get into the land of Canaan, there’s battles, giants, there’s wars, ‘I was hoping heaven was going to be a little different than that when I got there.’  [analogy-wise, crossing over Jordan is more like when Christ and the resurrected, immortal saints come back to Jerusalem and into the land of Israel, and have to conquer the armies of the world.  That won’t be heaven, but it will mark the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth.  See, http://www.unityinchrist.com/kingdomofgod/mkg1.htm]  Canaan is a picture of our inheritance in this world, we’re saved now, but we’re not supposed to go living defeated while we’re waiting for heaven.  So, they’re crossing over, and God wants them to understand in this first battle, that he’s the one that goes before them.  So he says to Joshua, ‘This is what I want you to do, I want you to take the armies of Israel, take the ark, you take the priests, and I want you to walk around,’  ‘Yea, that’s good war tactics, surround the city,’  ‘NO, no, no, no, I want you to walk around the city of Jericho completely silent, just walk around it, and come back to your camp.  Ok?  And then the next day, then I want you to go out, I want you to walk around the city of Jericho, completely silent, go around it, and then come back to your camp.  And the next day, and the next day, and do this for six days.  And on the seventh day I want you to walk around the city of Jericho seven times, completely silent.  And on the seventh time, I want everybody to scream, and I want the priests to blow the trumpets, and the walls will fall down.’  Now you can imagine Joshua calling his staff meeting, head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, his military’s generals, his captains, you know, ‘What are we going to do, Joshua?  Moses has passed off the scene now, he’s handed responsibility to you, he heard from God all those years, now we know you hear from him now. What do we do?’  ‘Well, ah, this is the plan. We’re gonna march around the city,’  ‘Good, we’re going to surround the city,’  ‘No, no, just going to be completely silent, we’re going to walk in the open, we’re going to come around, and we’re going to come back to camp.  And then we’re going to do that for six days, we’re not going to make a noise, and on the seventh day we’re going to walk around the city seven times, we’re going to blow our trumpets, and we’re going to scream, and the walls are going to fall down.’  You can see these guys.  ‘Now we know Moses heard, Joshua, when he was with the LORD, are you sure that you heard?  Are you sure this is what’s going to happen?’  It seems illogical, and it says here ‘it was after they did it, that the walls fell, after they encircled the city for seven days,’ it wasn’t going to happen beforehand.  There are times in our lives when God is telling us, I want you to do this, ‘But Lord, that’s illogical, if I do it that way it’s never going to work.’  1st Peter chapter 3 says, ‘Wives, any of you who have a husband whose not living according to the Word,’ capital W, ‘then you without the word’ small “w”, without your mouth, ‘by your chaste conduct, without saying a word,’ ‘what I want you to do is march around him for seven days, completely silent,’ ‘Don’t say anything, just let him see you out there.’  ‘Lord, you don’t understand, you’ve never been married to a man, you don’t know what they’re like, his walls will never come down, it will never happen, that’s completely illogical, I understand that maybe ok, it’s not gonna work for me, it’s completely illogical, if I do it that way it’s not gonna happen, so I’m going to take things in my own hands, and I’m going to do this myself, the Holy Spirit’s not helping, so I’m going to do this myself, I make a better Holy Spirit than the Holy Spirit anyhow, so I’m going to go on and deal with my husband,’ you know.  Sometimes, when there are these situations, and we can laugh about it, but there are people here with broken hearts.  And the Lord is telling you, ‘I want you to do this my way.’  And you’re saying ‘That is illogical, it is never going to work, those walls are never going to come down.’   ‘Husbands, I want you to lay down your lives for your wife,’ ‘I don’t have to lay it down, she tramples all over me every day anyway, I don’t have to lay it down, she’d just kill me, why should I lay it down?  In fact, the difference between her and a buzzard is a buzzard waits till your dead before he eats your heart out.’  [laughter]  I don’t know where that came from.  [loud laughter]  And the Lord says, ‘No, this is obedience,’ you know, it’s the after thing that gets me, I don’t like patience, ‘after, I want you to do this,’ it seems illogical.  ‘I want you to quietly obey, and if you do this my way, even though it doesn’t seem logical, those walls will come down.’  Think of Naaman, the Syrian, a little Israelite maid working for him, saying ‘You know, there’s a prophet in Israel that does miracles,’ and how Naaman comes there to Elisha, and he’s covered with leprosy, he’s one of the greatest military commanders in the world, and Elisha doesn’t even come out to see him, he says, ‘Tell your master to go on down to the Jordan and dip himself in the river seven times, the leprosy will go away.’  Naaman says ‘What!?  The Jordan River, it’s a muddy, a little muddy dirty creek, I got real rivers in Damascus, I could have stayed home and dipped in a real river, he’s telling me to go down there, who is this guy?  I should just, I’m going home, take my leprosy with me, I’m outa here.’  And his servants finally said, ‘Wait, if he asked you to do something difficult, if he told you to ride house to house on a ten-speed, you would do that. If he told you to wear a suit and go door-to-door knocking, you’d do that.  If he told you to do this to be cleansed you’d do that, why don’t you just give it a try, and if it doesn’t work, you can go back and kill him then.’  It’s illogical, seven times.  And you know that he was healed, he was cleansed.  And this exercise of faith in this verse has this patience thing attached to it.  ‘After, by faith, the walls came down, after, that they had encircled the city for seven days,’ there’s this time period, there’s this waiting, there’s this doing things obediently, in a sense that’s illogical.  And of course you’ve got the Red Sea scholars saying ‘Well what it was, was the thumping of their feet for seven days, as they went around, caused shock waves, causing an earthquake, or it was the resonance of the trumpets and screaming, ever see how someone does that to a champagne glass.  It was that, when they all screamed, the walls…’  Oh please, it was obedience, and it was faith.  It was God that knocked the walls down, they obeyed.  Because it didn’t make sense.  And it did take time.  And God was asking them to do something that was not according to man’s wisdom, and would never appeal to the natural mind.  And that’s obviously the exception in our lives, but there are those times that come in our lives when God is asking us to do something, and we can say ‘This doesn’t make any sense, I’m not good at waiting.’  Abraham made his mistake there, he took Hagar instead of waiting.  God told him to wait, that Sarah would conceive.  Moses, thinking that he was the deliverer, murdered an Egyptian, God hadn’t told him to deliver anybody yet.  He didn’t wait.  And I don’t like to wait.  I’m not good at supermarket checkout stands.  I don’t like to drive behind someone in a 35 mile an hour speed zone that’s doing thirty-four and a half, it’s a waste of time.  And there are times in my life when God tells me to wait, ‘Do this my way, I will deal with it if you do this my way, it will collapse, it will fall down.’  I’m not always good at that.  There, I feel better. 

 

‘By Faith Rahab Perished Not’

 

Verse 31, is to me the interesting finale here, “By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.”  ‘By faith, Rahab the prostitute,’ now she’s the last one that’s elaborated on, because you see verse 32 it says “what more could I say? for time would fail me, I’d like to tell of Gideon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets” and he goes through this list.  So the last one he really elaborates on is Rahab the harlot, Rahab the prostitute.  “By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not,” your translation may say “obeyed not” but in Hebrews that’s the whole point, ah, unbelief is disobedience in this book, to believe is to obey in this book.  So, she “perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.”  Rahab, isn’t it interesting, we come through this parade of remarkable characters we kind of look up to, there’s Noah there, ‘Wow, man, what a great guy, there’s Abraham, there’s Sarah, Moses, Moses, [he laughs], dum, dee, dum! you know I get stuck there in the movie.  And now there’s a prostitute tagged on the end!  What’s the point?  The point is, none of them would be in this parade of Biblical characters without faith.  And it is only by faith that they stand there together.  And in the eyes of a holy God, a prostitute is no less of a person, when she puts her faith in him, than Moses, or Noah, or Sarah, or the rest of them.  She is not inferior in any way, Romans tells us ‘All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.’  Those that we look up to, and we do look up to Moses, we do look up to Noah, some of these men, Abraham, no different before the eyes of God than this prostitute living on a wall, in the city of Jericho, who trusted him, no different.  And I think because many of us will say, ‘Well I’ll never built an ark, this is a great chapter, but I’m never going to build a giant boat in my driveway.  This is a great chapter, but I’m never going to pack up like Abraham and move to a strange land,’ most of us won’t.  “It’s a great chapter, but I’m never going to lead 2 million people through the wilderness.’ 

 

How Does Rahab Get Into This Scene?

 

So it ends, by faith, Rahab, the prostitute, the person that would be most despised, standing in the portrait with those who would be most admired, to include all of us, to include all of us.  Rahab, a woman, a prostitute, a Canaanite, living on the wall. How does she get into this scene?  Well obviously it’s by faith.  Romans 10:17 says, ‘faith comes by hearing, hearing by the Word of God.’  Joshua chapter 2, Joshua had sent two spies into Canaan.  This is before he receives the instruction from the LORD, spying out the land, figuring out what to do.  They come into the city, I’m not sure how they get to the house of Rahab, except to say it was God’s sovereign hand that led them there.  And as they come in, the king of Jericho is told, ‘We saw these two men come in, of the Israelites, and they’re here somewhere, and we saw them go up toward Rahab’s place on the wall.’  And she hid them, she buried them under the piles of flax that she had in her house up on the roof, and she said, ‘Yea, they came in, I saw them come in, and they were here, but they went out through that gate before the sun went down, and they headed in that direction,’ and the soldiers from Jericho ended up on a snipe hunt, chasing around two invisible Israelites through the woods, while these two men are on her roof.  She has an interesting conversation with them, she says this to them, she said to the men, ‘I know that Jehovah, the LORD, Yahweh,’ capital L, capital O, capital R, capital D,’ she knows his name, ‘I know that the LORD hath given you the land,’ past tense.  ‘I know that this land is yours, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you.  For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea,’ not the swamp, ‘when you came out of Egypt, and what you did unto the two kings of the Amorites who were on the other side of the Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed.’  Now, you have to understand, Og, strange name, I know, but you would say ‘Og sir, nice to meet you.’  You wouldn’t make fun of him.  We know that it was either his bed or his coffin is thirteen and a half foot long.  Og was somewhere over 12 foot tall.  And he wasn’t a big, skinny, unproportionate guy, he was a big 12-foot Mike Tyson.  He was a big man, he was one of the giants, it tells us there were 60 cities of the giants in Bashan, in that area.  And if you’ve got Jameson Fawcett & Browne sitting on your shelves at home you can go to their commentary on Deuteronomy, they’ll mention the archeologists that have been there, that have seen some of it and taken some of it back to the museum in London.  ‘We heard what you did to the giants, you guys just wiped them out.’  That’s one of the reasons Jericho had these walls, they were terrified of those giants in Jericho.  ‘What you did to Sihon and Og, you utterly destroyed them.  And as soon as we heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you, for the LORD your God, he is God,’ she says, ‘in heaven above and earth beneath.  Now therefore, swear unto me by the LORD, since I have showed you kindness, that you will also show kindness unto my father’s house, and give me a true token, and save us alive.’  And they of course, they promise to do that.  When they crossed the Red Sea, we read earlier, back here in Exodus, it says this, as they crossed the Red Sea they’re singing this song, and it says ‘The people shall hear and be afraid, sorrow shall take hold of the inhabitants of Palestine, the dukes of Edom shall be amazed, mighty men of Moab trembling shall take hold upon them, and all of the inhabitants of Canaan shall melt away,’  That’s what she just said, ‘for fear and dread shall fall upon them by the greatness of thine arm, they shall be as still as a stone, till thy people pass over, O LORD, till the people pass over which thou hast purchased.’  She said this very thing (which was recorded in this song of Moses in Exodus 15).  ‘We heard, our hearts melted within us,’ this is 40 years after it happened (the Red Sea crossing).  They were wandering in the wilderness for 40 years.  She said ‘we’ve heard, word has gotten here,’ ‘faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. Word had gotten to Jericho. 

 

Anybody Can Be Saved

 

And God is holding up this Canaanite prostitute to us, saying, that nobody has an excuse.  Anybody can exercise faith, and anybody can be saved, I think it’s important for us to see.  Because America is built on a wall that’s going to come down, it’s gonna come down.  And it breaks my heart, because I love this country.  The Bible is clear about the days we’re headed into.  She heard one prophecy, what she heard changed her life.  Think of all the things we have written about the days that we live in.  And how do we respond?  She said to these guys, ‘Make me a promise, your God is God, we heard what he did at the Red Sea, we heard what he did to Og and Sihon, and we know he’s given you this land, promise me, because I’ve shown you kindness,’ she’s exercising faith here, ‘that you’re going to show me, give me a sign,’ and they said, ‘ok, do this, hang a red line, a red cord down the side of the wall from your house, and when we come in to take the city, we won’t destroy your house.’  Now this is before they know about the plan, walk around it for seven days, and the walls are going to fall down.  So they give her this advice ahead of time.  And they must go back to Joshua and say ‘Ok, this is what’s going on, there’s this Rahab, and we made her this promise,’ and Joshua at some point is saying ‘You know, maybe we should tell her to slide down the red cord and get out of there before we…’  And you know what happened on that seventh day?  Those walls fell down, except for one little part of that wall that stayed standing up, with a red cord hanging out the window.  The walls of Jericho fell down except for one part of that wall that stayed standing, where the house of this woman was.  Anybody can be saved.  It told us in Genesis chapter 15, God said ‘I’m not ready to destroy Canaan yet, because the iniquity of the Amorites has not yet come to a full,’ that was 400 years before this.  God said, ‘I know what’s going on in Canaan, and ultimately I’m going to use my people to judge them, but that’s 400 years from now,’ God measures time morally, not by the clock.  And he said ‘there is a time when their iniquity will become full, and my heart will be broken, but there is a time when there will have to be judgment.’  400 years.  Tagged onto the end of that 400 years was a 40 year period for those Canaanites to hear the truth.  For 40 years they thought about it.  She heard 40 years before this that God had parted the Red Sea and destroyed the Egyptian army, and it started cooking in her mind.  Was she a little girl when she heard that?  God is so gracious to wait and to wait, and to warn us, and to warn us, and to warn us.  Within two years of when they get there she heard ‘now the Israelites have destroyed Og, they’re getting close to our border, they’ve destroyed Sihon,’ she’s getting word again, she knows God is so close, warning, warning, warning.  And she’s about to hear and she’s able to exercise faith, watching through the walls of Jericho.  And you have to understand, as the children of Israel came down to the Jordan, before it parted, as they stood on the wall they could see the pillar of fire coming down with them.  Standing on the walls of Jericho, they could see the Jordan river pile up as a heap and part, and they just stood and watched from the walls of Jericho as the children of Israel, between 2 and 3 million, walked across the riverbed on dry ground, God giving time, giving time, giving time.  They camped for seven days in Gilgal, seven more days given to them.  And then seven days of marching around the city, every day, God still extending, God still extending, God still warning, God still giving his grace.  God patiently warns. 

 

Rahab Had The Kind Of Faith That Enabled Her To Stand Alone

 

But she did have this kind of faith.  It was the kind of faith that stands alone.  She was not politically correct in Jericho.  Jericho said ‘We’ll never fall.  These walls have withstood against Og and his big buddies over there, we’ll laugh at them, they’ll never get in here.’  Well she had the kind of faith that was willing to stand alone.  And yours may have to stand alone also.  Maybe she heard, and I think, you know, maybe she heard, ‘You know what, when they came out of Egypt, by God’s mighty stretched out arm, a mixt multitude came with them, a number of Egyptians came out, God allowed those idolatrous Egyptians to be saved, and to pass through the Red Sea, and to join the people of Israel.  Perhaps God will let me, maybe God will let me,’ maybe she heard that, ‘God permitted some of those Egyptians to become part of his people, maybe God will let me become part of his people.’  Now here we are, 3,000 years later, and God is saying to us, tonight, ‘you heard about all of these people of faith, let me tell you about the last one, she was a prostitute, how many men had she slept with?  how immoral was she? how much would we despise her? but I’ll tell you this, I wrote her story, because she believed when she heard, and I wrote it down so that you can believe, and trust me, and know that if I loved her, and I saved her, I’ll love you, and I’ll save you.’  It wasn’t easy, she had to stand alone.  She had to convince her family, ‘Dad, get mom, get the relatives, because the children of Israel are going to walk around, they’re coming, but God’s going to preserve us.’  And they must have stood there, because they didn’t know the plan.  Here they come, marching around the city, one day they all leave again, her family looked at her and said ‘Well, ok, Rahab, we’ll see ya, ok, bye.’  Then the next day, they come back again, and you can imagine, day after day she had to convince them, ‘No, no, no, no,’ and finally, finally, on the last seventh day, imagine them going around seven times, you know, waking around, everybody’s getting dizzy, and finally those walls go down, it tells us this beautifully, in the 6th chapter of Joshua, verse 25, “And Joshua” after the walls of Jericho came down, and they have complete victory, “And Joshua saved Rahab the harlot alive, and her father’s household, and all that she had; and she dwelleth in Israel even unto this day; because she hid the messengers, which Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.”  God was not only merciful to her, God loved her, and he holds up her life for you and I to take note of.  Matthew chapter 1, tells us this, the genealogy of Jesus Christ, “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the son of David, the son of Abraham.  Abraham begat Isaac;” be patient, because we’re going somewhere, “and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren; and Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram; and Aram begat Aminadab; and Aminadab begat Naason; and Naason begat Salmon; and Salmon begat Booz [Boaz] of Rachab [Rahab];” Salmon, one of the sons of Judah had a son name Boaz of Rahab.  “and Boaz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse; and Jesse begat David the king.”  She becomes the grandmother of David, the King of Israel.  And she becomes the great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, [add about 30 “great’s” here] grandmother of Jesus Christ the Lord of lords and the King of kings, the Messiah of Israel, our Saviour.   Rahab the harlot, by faith, was saved alive and did not perish with those who refused to believe.  She takes away all of our excuses, all of our excuses.  We’re going to have the musicians come and we’re going to sing a last song together.  And I want to do this, look if you’re here tonight, and you don’t know this God we’re talking about, you don’t know Christ as your Saviour, we want to give you an opportunity.  You noticed, we took away all of your excuses tonight, ‘Well you don’t understand Pastor Joe I’ve been selling drugs, you don’t understand Pastor Joe, I’m a prostitute,’ you’re just the person the Lord’s looking for, we were all prostitutes, what did we sell ourselves for, money? fame? pleasure? drugs? alcohol? power?  We all had a price.  We all served other masters.  And you know the thing is, I look at this, and I think of God, that stretched out his glorious mighty arm and parted the Red Sea, the same God stooping down, stooping down to this prostitute, living on a wall, somewhere, an obscure woman in Canaan, within an entire nation to be destroyed.  And the heart of God attached to a single individual who had lived a broken and immoral life, and knew that person was sitting there thinking ‘Could this God love me?  Could this mighty, powerful God include me in his family, amongst his people?’  And God putting Rahab in this great photo of all of these folks that we look up to, Noah, Moses, Abraham, Rahab the harlot, grandma to David, great, great, great, great, great grandmother to little Jesus born at Bethlehem, part of the family, part of the family.  But no one else would have her.  God had her, and embraced her, and loved her…[transcript of a connective expository sermon on Hebrews 11:28-31, given by Pastor Joe Focht, Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia, PA  19116]

 

Related links:

 

For a complete and historic account of the Exodus from Egypt and the first Passover, see,

http://www.unityinchrist.com/lamb/exodus1.html

 

For an expository study on Rahab the harlot, see,

http://www.unityinchrist.com/rahab/Rahab.htm   

 

 

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