Faith in a Crisis

“By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land” (Hebrews 11:29).

“The people” referred to were the Israelites who followed Moses out of Egypt. The Lord had rescued them from bondage and had promised them a homeland of their own. When we read their story in the book of Exodus, some of these people were not shining examples of faith. But here, at least, was one occasion when they got it right.

The New Testament writer of Hebrews draws our attention to the faith of the people that enabled them to obey God and pass through the parted waters. The writer treats this event as a true fact of history and not as a fictional pious legend. He wants his readers to remember that the God of the Bible is a God of miracles. The Lord is keeping his promise to his people to deliver them by means of a great miracle.

The first century and twenty-first century readers of the book of Hebrews are being reminded that “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6). The Old Testament people of Israel are examples of faith. Moses led them in faith. When God told him to stretch out his staff over the waters of the Red Sea, he did so and the waters parted miraculously (Exodus 14:10-31).

The Israelites were in a desperate situation. In front of them was the sea. Behind them came the Egyptian army in pursuit. It was like being caught in a vise. They were trapped and helpless. The Lord was teaching them to trust him. He wanted them to learn that he is trustworthy and true to his promises.

Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still” (Exodus 14:13-14).

The Lord wanted the Hebrew people to trust him in every situation. He wanted them to know that he was determined to save them and make of them a great nation. Their part was to believe, to rest in him, and to stand still and see his glory at work on their behalf.

This is the lesson the Lord wants us to learn. Living by faith means that we put our full trust in the promises of God. It is trusting God when all we have to go on is his word. The people crossed over on dry land because they had faith that God would not forsake them or forget them. God will not forget us, either. He will be with us if our faith is in him, no matter what impossible situation we may be facing.

Zane Hodges told a story about an elderly gentleman known as Uncle Dudley. He had lived all his life in a small town in West Virginia. A friend who was an aviation enthusiast invited him to take an airplane ride over the town. They flew around, looking at the familiar sights below. When they landed, the pilot turned to Uncle Dudley and asked him if he was scared during the flight.

“No,” came the hesitant reply. Then Uncle Dudley added, “But I never did put my full weight down.”

That is what some Christians try to do. They have trusted in Jesus Christ for their eternal salvation, but they have not put their full weight on him to meet the struggles and difficulties of this life. They try to solve their problems in their own inadequate strength. They have never put their full weight down. They have not learned that the Christian life is to be lived by faith.

Hebrews 11 begins with a concise definition of faith. “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1). Faith is our response to what God has said in his word. It takes seriously God’s revealed truth. It anticipates the future with hope because of God’s infallible promises and his loving presence.

Pastor Randy Faulkner

Moses’ Faith, and Yours

The main subject of Hebrews chapter 11 is faith. Verse 6 says, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” As examples of faith, the writer of the letter to the Hebrews calls our attention to  some of the prominent personalities of the Bible. They show us what it is to live by faith.

One of those people was Moses. The Bible tells us he was “educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians” (Acts 7:22). As the adopted son of the Pharaoh’s daughter it is possible that he was trained in military science, agriculture, economics, architecture, law, and diplomacy, among other things. He doubtless had access to great wealth and influence.

“By faith he left Egypt” (Hebrews 11:27). He abandoned the power, prestige, pleasures, and possessions Egypt offered him. Actually Moses left Egypt twice. The first time he left was in fear for his life. He had killed an Egyptian taskmaster for beating a Hebrew slave. He left as a fugitive to live in the desert of Midian as a shepherd. For the whole story read Exodus 2:11-25.

The second time he left Egypt was after God had called him to lead the Hebrew people to freedom. Moses conquered his fear and failure to live by obedient faith in the true God. He went back to Egypt to confront the powerful Pharaoh with the Lord’s message: “Let my people go!”

Hebrews 11:27 says that this time he was unafraid of the king’s anger. Instead, “he persevered because he saw him who is invisible.” This is a way of describing Moses’ close relationship to God. “The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend” (Exodus 33:11). This close relationship began when the Lord called Moses from the famous burning bush (Exodus 3:1-22). It sustained Moses through many difficult days.

“By faith he kept the Passover” (Hebrews 11:28). Probably this means that he instituted, or established the Passover, following God’s instructions. Through Moses the Lord had given the king of Egypt repeated opportunities to relent and allow the Hebrews to leave. God had sent one plague after another against the Egyptians to display his power over their idols. Each time the Egyptian ruler became more resistant and rebellious.

The final plague was a terrible sentence of death against the firstborn in every Egyptian household. Only those dwellings were spared whose doorposts and lintel were sprinkled with the blood of an unblemished sacrificial lamb. God had said, “When I see the blood I will pass over you” (Exodus 12:12-13).

These instructions were unusual and unprecedented, but the people of Israel obeyed them by faith. There was nothing like this in Moses’ previous experience, either. He had nothing to go on but faith in the word of God. Because the blood of the Passover lamb was seen on the entrances to the houses of the Hebrews, they were spared the awful judgment imposed by God’s angel of death. The people of Israel were permitted to leave Egypt after that.

We may learn several practical lessons from the faith of Moses. First, we are reminded that faith pleases God and that unbelief displeases him. Pharaoh denied the Lord’s existence and power and it cost him  his life. Moses believed the word of the Lord and God was pleased to invite him into a special relationship.

Another thing we notice is that early mistakes (Moses was guilty of manslaughter) do not permanently disqualify one from serving the Lord. Moses’ brother Aaron led the people to worship a golden calf idol. Yet he was forgiven and eventually anointed as Israel’s high priest. Think of the early mistakes and sins of Jacob, Samson, David, Peter, and Paul.

Also, it is obvious from the story of Moses that nothing is wasted in the plan of God for a believer’s life. Without a doubt, Moses’ early training among the young aristocrats of Egypt helped prepare him for leadership among the people of God. Not only that, his years in the wilderness of Sinai made him familiar with the geography and topography of the region where the Israelites would travel on their long journey to Canaan.

Finally, the New Testament teaches us that Jesus Christ is our Passover Lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7). It is through faith in his shed blood (Ephesians 1:7) that we may be saved from eternal destruction and given the gift of eternal life. When John the Baptist introduced Jesus he said, “Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

Pastor Randy Faulkner

Finding Purpose and Meaning

American author Richard Bach has been quoted as saying, “Here’s the test to find whether your mission on earth is finished: If you’re alive, it isn’t!”

Recently I read about the celebrated potter Warren MacKenzie, who in his nineties continues to produce works of such beauty that they bring the art world to his door. In an interview, he said, “A good potter can make forty or fifty pots in a day.” Out of these, “some are good and some of them are mediocre and some of them are bad.” Only a few will be worth selling and fewer still “will continue to engage the senses after daily use.”

Early in his career as an artist, MacKenzie gave up drawing and painting, silk screening and textile design, and concentrated on ceramics. He had found his lifelong passion and purpose.

If you take time to think about your purpose in life, you may suspect that God created you to do something significant. Do you know what it is? George Eliot said, “It is never too late to be what you could have been.” If you want to discover your destiny, look to your Creator, the Author of life. He is the source of purpose and meaning.

God’s purpose for our lives starts right where we are. If we miss it, it may be because we are listening to the wrong voices or not going through the doors God has opened for us. Elisabeth Elliot wrote, “Other than the incarnation, I know of no more staggering truth than that a sovereign God has ordained my participation” (in doing his will).

Author Bill Peel said that the purpose of God for our lives is not a big secret. He is not hiding his will from us. He suggests three principles for discovering God’s purpose. (1) God desires that we know him in a personal way. (2) God desires that we submit to his authority and are conformed to the image of Christ. (3) God wants us to be involved in his mission on earth.

Moses discovered his purpose in life and he acted on it. “By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt” (Hebrews 11:24-26).

These verses pass over the first forty years of Moses’ life. Reared with royalty and luxury, he was being groomed for high office in the kingdom of Egypt. As he grew up he noticed the difference between the lives of the Hebrew people who retained their faith in the true God and the Egyptians who worshiped false gods.

Moses made the mature, and costly, decision to exchange the visible for the invisible, the temporary for the eternal. He made the calculated choice  to align himself with the people of God. The Egyptians saw them as slaves. Moses saw them as people of destiny. God had a purpose for these people, and for him.

He chose “disgrace for the sake of Christ.” This is the writer’s way of saying that Moses’ identity with God’s people was also his identity with God’s Messiah. The Hebrews were the people through whom the Christ would come.

Visitors to Egypt today are awestruck by the splendor and opulence of the ancient Egyptian civilization. Their temples and tombs have yielded unspeakable treasures. This may indicate the fabulous wealth and luxury available to Moses as an adopted son in the royal family. He “left Egypt” “because he was looking ahead to his reward” (Hebrews 11:26).

He found his purpose. He was looking ahead. Like the son of missionaries who would introduce himself this way: “Hi. I’m Eric Crain. I was born in Germany, I go to school in France, I live in Portugal, but my home is in heaven!” That’s what Moses discovered. He had a heavenly destiny and a heavenly reward and a heavenly purpose.

This enabled him, by faith, to turn his back on the prestige, power and wealth of Egypt and to be identified with the people of God.

Pastor Randy Faulkner

Faith Filled Parenting

In my daily prayers I regularly give thanks for my parents who brought me up to have faith in Jesus. My prayers also go up to the Lord for my children as they rear their children in the faith. I desire that my grandchildren, too, might pass along true gospel faith to their descendants after them.

This sentiment is expressed by the prophet Isaiah. “‘As for me, this is my covenant with them,’ says the Lord. ‘My spirit, who is on you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will not depart from your mouth, or from the mouths of your children, or from the mouths of their descendants from this time on and forever,’ says the Lord” (Isaiah 59:21).

The recent birth of my thirteenth grandchild, a beautiful baby girl, has reminded me again of the important role of parents in the training of children. I am praying that my son and daughter-in-law will bring up this precious child to know and love Jesus as savior.

God ‘s word makes it clear that parents are responsible for the guidance and instruction of their children in the ways and will of the Lord. It is certain that in our world there are all kinds of negative influences and godless ideas that are impressed upon children every day. Church youth pastors and Sunday School teachers can support parents in their role, but there is no substitute for Mom and Dad in the spiritual teaching of children.

Hebrews 11:23 is an illustration of this principle. “By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw that he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.”

This verse is a brief tribute to two people whose courage and faith insured Moses’ survival and shaped his early life. Amram, his father, and Jochabed, his mother, were from the tribe of Levi, but along with the rest of their fellow-Israelites, were slave laborers in Egypt. To inhibit the rapid growth of the Israelite population the Egyptian king had issued an order that male babies born to the Hebrews were to be killed. I notice two things about Moses’ parents.


There is an ancient Jewish tradition, reported by the historian Josephus, that Moses’ father received a vision that his son was a child of destiny. Amram believed that God had special plans for Moses and was going to use him as a great leader in Israel. The story as reported in Exodus highlights the role of Moses’ mother.

Even though they were under orders to have the baby killed, “they were not afraid of the king’s edict.” They had faith in the God of Israel, not in the gods of the Egyptians.


The book of Exodus describes how they disobeyed the king’s decree, at great risk to themselves. They hid the child for three months then placed him in the Nile River in a little floating vessel made of papyrus reeds. Apparently the location was strategically chosen because it was the place where the Pharaoh’s daughter came to bathe.

When she found the baby she had pity on the child and wanted to keep him. Moses’ sister Miriam approached the princess and offered to “go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you” (Exodus 2:7). When the princess agreed, Miriam brought Jochabed to her as nursemaid for the baby.

In the faithful providence of God, Moses’ own mother  got to be the earliest spiritual influence in his life. We cannot know for sure the full extent of that influence, but surely she implanted in the child as best she could, a knowledge of the God of Abraham and his identity as a member of the Hebrew nation.

I have read that fifty per cent of a child’s basic attitudes are formed during the first three years of life. If that is true it emphasizes the importance of the parents in the early spiritual training of their children. No one can take the place of Mom and Dad in setting the right example and teaching the truths about God.

“What we have heard and known, what our fathers have told us, we will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord . . . which he commanded our forefathers to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands” (Psalm 78:4-7).

Pastor Randy Faulkner