Study 10 THE VICTORY OF FAITH – THE RED SEA
Studies in Hebrews Eleven
by Francis Dixon
(Scripture Portions: Hebrews 11:29; Exodus 12:29-39; 13:17-22;
14:5-14, 19-25, 30-31)
This is our last study in Hebrews Eleven, and in it we shall consider the great victory which God gave to Moses and the Children of Israel as He led them through the Red Sea on dry land. It would help if you read Exodus, chapters 4-14, to see the whole background of this deliverance, and the record of the deliverance itself. Notice that in Hebrews 11:23-28 the faith of Moses is emphasised, but in verse 29 it is the faith of Moses and of the Children of Israel. It was Moses’ faith and their faith too. It was important for Moses to obey the Lord, for if he had disobeyed and failed God through unbelief, then he would have influenced the people to do the same! A great responsibility rests on those whom the Lord has appointed to positions of leadership and influence. It is a great thing when God’s key-men (or women) are in touch with Him, and when ‘by faith’ they do His will. It is even greater when under their leadership the people of God are led ‘by faith’ to do His will. The Children of Israel were a complaining and rebellious people. Look up Exodus 14:11-12; 16:27-28; 17:1-3. Yet under Moses’ leadership, ‘by faith the people passed through the Red Sea’. Read Exodus 12:37, 38 and 51, and the beginning of chapter 14, and try to picture this nation leaving Egypt. There were probably about 2.5 million of them, and the Lord led them. Look up Exodus 13:20-22. Picture them being pursued by Pharaoh and his army - look up Exodus 14:1-9; and this vast multitude of people hemmed in, with the Red Sea in front of them and the enemy behind them. Little wonder that they were afraid and that in their dilemma they prayed for help. Look up Exodus 14:10! - and compare with Jonah 1:5-14. How utterly impossible the situation was! But, as has been said, ‘Man’s extremity is God’s opportunity’. In this victory over Pharaoh and his army at the Red Sea, we shall notice some of the characteristics of the victory of faith.
1. A VICTORIOUS FAITH IS A FAITH WHICH IS GREATER THAN ANY FEARS.
Notice the first three words which Moses spoke to the Children of Israel - recorded in Exodus 14:13. How natural for them to be fearful! Indeed, how fearful we would have been had we been part of that great company; and yet, if our trust is in God, how unreasonable and how unnecessary it is for us ever to be fearful. It has been said that in the Bible there are 366 ‘Fear nots’ (or similar expressions) - one for every day of the year, including Leap Year! A victorious faith banishes fear, for fear and faith cannot live together. So let us learn so to trust in God that we are able to say - look up Isaiah 12:2. If you are fearful now, remember that faith banishes fear.
2. A VICTORIOUS FAITH STANDS STILL AND TRUSTS GOD TO WORK.
We learn this from Exodus 14:13-14. How difficult it is when we are ‘hemmed in’, when we are in ‘a cul-de-sac’, to do absolutely nothing - see verse 13, and to say nothing - see verse 14! It is always much easier to prepare to fight our Egyptians, and to try to ‘bridge’ our Red Sea, than it is simply to wait and do nothing except trust. But a victorious faith leaves the whole issue in the hands of God. His is the power and His is the victory; and faith stands in His victory and says - look up 1 Corinthians 15:57. Are you hemmed in at the moment, in a kind of cul-de-sac? Look to the Lord and trust Him to deliver you, and He most certainly will.
3. A VICTORIOUS FAITH IS READY TO FINISH PRAYING AND TO GO INTO ACTION.
We learn from Exodus 14:15 that there comes a time when praying has to stop and action has to be taken. There are some people who go on praying when they should be doing. Prayer is not wrong, and we must always begin by praying; but when the Lord has revealed His will to us through prayer, the next step is to do His will, to do what He says. The Lord had told Moses to ‘go forward’, and there was only one thing to do, and that was to obey Him. Is it possible that you are still praying about something that you should now be doing, because God has answered your prayer and has shown you His will, so there is no need for further prayer? What is now needed is action.
4. A VICTORIOUS FAITH STEPS OUT ON THE IMPOSSIBLE.
How thrilling it is to read Exodus 14:21 - ‘Moses stretched out his hand…the Lord drove the sea back.’ When Moses stretched out his hand he was demonstrating his absolute confidence and his faith in God and in His promise, the very promise which is recorded in Exodus 14:16. Humanly speaking, the situation was quite impossible; but ‘faith laughs at impossibilities and cries, “It shall be done!” ‘ So Moses obeyed God, impossible as the whole situation seemed; and as he stretched out his hand the Lord came into action. If there is some seemingly impossible Red Sea situation in your life, the Lord can do the same for you. All He asks is that you trust Him, and then, when the time comes, that you step out in faith - in humble reliance upon Him and in obedience to His Word.
5. A VICTORIOUS FAITH ENDURES TO THE END.
In Exodus 14:22, we have a picture of God’s people passing through the Red Sea, and we can just imagine what faith they needed, not only to step out - but to step in, to step on and to step through! Indeed, every step of the way they needed to trust in the Lord. Fear said, ‘Suppose these walls of water collapse and we are all drowned!’; but Faith replied, ‘They cannot, for God has spoken and He is faithful!’ Look up Numbers 23:19, and relate it to your own situation of straitened circumstances and need. God will never let you down!
In concluding this study let us ask the question: What are the results of a victorious faith? In other words, when in our Red Sea situations we banish our fear because we realise how great the Lord is, and we look to Him to work for us, and we ask Him for His undertaking, and we do His bidding, and we step out in faith and go on in faith, then what is the result of all this?
- First, the Lord’s Name is honoured. To get the force of this read Exodus 14:17-18,25; 15:1-19.
- Second, the people of God are delivered. Look again at Exodus 14:29-30, and notice that in verse 31 the people’s faith was greatly increased as they saw God working mightily on their behalf.
- Third, the powers of darkness are overthrown. We see this in Exodus 14:27-28; 15:1-8 - and look up and compare Ephesians 6:10-17; 1 John 5:4.