Study #7 “Promises That Conquer” Hebrews 11:23
by Bob Burridge ©2021
There’s a cosmic conflict going on between God’s kingdom and forces of Evil. This war isn’t a battle with tanks, bombs, and rifles. Battles with earthly weapons are just the outworkings of a deeper battle.
The Bible says in Ephesians 6:12, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
But the enemy’s spiritual warfare is certainly not invisible. All around us we see attacks taking place tearing at our families, our liberties, our moral standards, and tearing at the soundness of the church of Christ itself.
What can we do when so much of the world around us is dominated by those who oppose God’s ways and promises?
God’s word gives us an example to learn from in the life of Moses. Hebrews 11:23 says, “By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.”
This is one of God’s great promises: A true and sincere faith triumphs over those who dare to oppose God’s ways.
This study takes us back to Exodus 1&2.
The setting is a time of intense
persecution of God’s people.
It was when Israel was held captive in Egypt after going there to escape a great famine in their homeland. Many generations had passed, and the children of Jacob had multiplied into a large nation just as God had promised, but they had also become a nation of slaves to the Egyptians.
The Pharaoh at that time didn’t know Joseph. Joseph’s godly testimony and the promises of God’s covenant were unknown by those in the royal palace. The growing size and strength of the people of Israel worried the Egyptian king. He was afraid that if an enemy came, the Jews would side with them and Egypt would loose its population of slaves.
Pharaoh issued an edict designed to end to growth of Israel (Exodus 1:9-11). Taskmasters were assigned to make Israel work harder. By oppressing them and discouraging them he hoped to stop their growth in size and spirit. But it didn’t work! God’s people continued to grow.
Next, the Hebrew midwives were told to kill all Jewish male children at birth. But the midwives refused to be a party to the mass killings. They knew God’s law about murder. They remembered God’s promise to Jacob, “Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make you into a great nation.” (Genesis 46:3)
When Pharaoh’s plan failed, he ordered all the male babies of the Jews to be thrown into the Nile River to die. Officers were allowed to search out the newborn sons right in their homes and immediately drown them.
In times like this, God’s people need to put their faith into action. As we’ve learned from our study of Hebrews 11 so far: Biblical faith isn’t just optimistic wishing. It’s a full trust in God’s revealed promises.
Two faithful parents trusted in God’s revealed word over the words of men. Amram and Jochebed already had at least one son, Aaron, and a daughter Miriam (Exodus 6:20). Now another son was born. We know him today as Moses. By law they were commanded to have him killed. If not, they would be executed for disobeying the king.
But God had spoken very clearly. From the beginning he taught that human life was to be valued and preserved. Killing babies has always been wrong. Furthermore, God had promised Jacob that Israel was to grow while in Egypt. She wouldn’t be diminished. They knew God wanted all children to survive.
These clear promises and principles of God demanded their trust and obedience, even over the threats of a King! Acts 5:29 “We must obey God rather than men.”
Their faith was a living faith. It made them act on God’s promises. When they saw the beautiful son God gave them, they were reminded that they could never kill this little life. They decided that the law of the King had to be disobeyed, even at the danger of losing their own lives.
Their faith wasn’t just talk, It moved them to obedience. They hid their son for three months. When they couldn’t hide him any more they wanted to get him into a safe home. Jochebed made a box out of a now extinct species of the Papyrus plant. She covered it with pitch and set the baby afloat in it where he would be found and taken in by an Egyptian.
In God’s amazing providence he was taken in and raised in the house of Pharaoh! God has often used his enemies to confound their own plans! Not only did Pharaoh fail to destroy God’s deliverer, he unwittingly raised this child, and trained him in his own palace!
People of faith don’t get discouraged by the attacks raised against them. They know, love, trust, and obey what God says.
– The Hebrew midwives disobeyed the king’s edict to kill the babies.
– Moses’ parents disobeyed the king (they hid their baby).
There are many examples as history unfolded of others who didn’t just go along with evil instructions.
– Shadrack, Meshach, and Abednego refused to obey the King and bow to an idol, even when threatened with being thrown into a fiery furnace. God delivered them.
– Daniel continued to pray, even when the King made it illegal. God delivered him from a fierce lion.
– The Apostles continued to preach, though the Roman rulers forbade them and threw them in jail. God used them to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the Roman world.
Moses’ parents weren’t afraid to disobey the king. They knew the promises of God were more certain than the plans of the Pharaoh. The foolish laws of men only condemn them. Puritan John Owen endured persecution too. He said, “Let men make what laws they please, and execute them with all the subtilty and rage they think meet.” The ancient Empire of Egypt is gone. The Pharaoh of that ancient oppression is forgotten. Archaeologists don’t even agree on which Pharaoh it was.
The darts of angry men are aimed at God, but they strike their own hearts. In spite of Pharaoh’s attempt, Israel multiplied in Egypt just as God said she would.
This took place 80 years before the grown up Moses was called to deliver God’s people. His parents had agreed to trust what God said. Their baby was saved! When we agree to trust God and refuse to give in to the world’s demands, our children will benefit from it. When we fail to trust God’s ways, and dare to ignore God’s teachings, our children will suffer greatly. The next generations will not know our great heritage of faith, and will be ignorant of what God has said. We also deny ourselves the amazing blessings of God’s promises.
There have been many times in history
when oppression has challenged God’s people.
After the time of the Apostles, the church started to add to God’s word and confuse what God had actually said. When the corrupted church became a powerful ruler of nations, faithful believers were persecuted and killed.
It could happen to us too! Our freedoms are not so secure that they can’t be taken away. Could government agents someday come into our homes to make sure we don’t have any forbidden books? to make sure they know exactly how much money we have and how much we own? Could laws keep us from raising our children in a Christian environment? keep us from operating our churches and worship the way the Bible directs us? keep us from supporting missions and seminaries? These are not far-fetched possibilities.
Today, like it was in the time of Pharaoh,
evil tries to stop the growth of God’s influence.
1. Evil tries to weaken us by attacking our homes.
Marriage is no longer seen as necessary for sex and for bearing children. Today many children born in the United States are born to unmarried mothers.
Parenting is under attack. Some have accused Christian parents, Churches, and Schools of child abuse because they practice responsible discipline and make their children learn about the Bible.
Homosexuality is recognized as normal in government programs, by the media, and in the schools. It’s protected by civil rights laws. Their lobby would have churches, private schools and individuals charged with civil rights violations for teaching that homosexuality is sin, and for not allowing homosexuals to serve as Pastors or other ordained church officers.
2. Evil tries to weaken us by attacking the sanctity of human life.
Abortion is not only legal, it’s protected as a human right, and is supported by the taxes we pay. The unborn are no longer guaranteed the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Instead, the law protects those who brutally kill them! About a million unborn babies are dismembered or chemically maimed in the womb every year through abortions.
3. Evil tries to weaken us by attacking the worship of God.
The free exercise of religion is restricted by forbidding prayer and the use of Scripture in many public situations. God’s Sabbath has become the best day of the week for doing certain kinds of business,
and for paying others to work serving and waiting on us.
4. Evil tries to weaken us by attacking our entertainment and communications.
The entertainment industry entertains us with immorality and violence as a solution to our problems. It promotes nudity, illegal drugs, disrespect for authority, and ridicules the church.
Social Media providers block conservative postings flagging them as “hate speech”. Some legislators have tried to revoke the licenses of Christian broadcast stations. They believe it’s “unfair” for them to promote only the Biblical view of things.
5. Evil tries to weaken us by attacking the victims of crime.
The rights of accused criminals are often treated as more important to the courts than the victims hurt by the crime. Some want to remove the right to bear arms. But such laws only impact those who honor the law. Criminals break the laws. Gun laws only keep firearms out of the hands of law keepers, the victims of crime.
6. Evil tries to weaken us by attacking civil leadership.
Many politicians are more concerned about winning over voters, than about upholding the constitution, behaving morally, or being honest in what they say.
Governments often spend our taxes on things the constitution doesn’t empower them to pay for.
The oppressors are already on the march to silence God’s truth and restrict God’s people. They would, if they could, keep the true church discouraged, defensive, and ineffective.
We should not let the powers of this world scare us. Don’t give up in fear. We may have to bring up our children in an immoral world. We face the temptation of keeping quiet and going along with ungodly trends to be accepted by others.
But we aren’t actual slaves like the parents of Moses. It’s tragic that many who say they trust in Christ give up and give in to the world. They vainly search for self-esteem and comfort in secular pop-psychology rather than in God’s ways. To live undisturbed, many who could be a testimony to God’s holiness, simply ignore the horrors of abortion, the demands of the homosexual revolution, the flood of immoral entertainment, and the eroding of personal liberties as the government takes them away little by little.
We need to be like the parents of Moses. Our duty is to take God at his word, even though it’s unpopular. It might mean danger to your reputation in the community, in the neighborhood, in school or on the job.
However, God honors his promises to those who love and obey his ways. Count on it, act on it just as did Amram and Jochebed; heroes of the faith.
Note: Bible quotations are from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.
Hebrews 11 index: “Faith and What Flows From It“