Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 1 * BOOK 52
The Father’s Chastening
Hebrews 11:24 – 12:17
As you know by now we’re just an informal Bible study and we’re strictly non-denominational. I can’t find denominations in this Book; I just can’t find them. So, we’ll just teach the Word and we’ll just sort of, as I’ve said, let the chips fall as they may.
And again, we always like to thank our listening audience for your prayers and for your financial support. My, I think this last month was one of the best months we’ve ever had and for most ministries summertime is the doldrums. But you’ve been faithful and we just thank the Lord for each and every one of you.
All right, in our last program we were in Hebrews chapter 11 and we left off with verse 23 with the review of the faith of Moses. And remember that Hebrews chapter 11 is a chapter that just simply reminds of the faith of all the Old Testament Patriarchs. Now over the months that we’ve teaching Hebrews, I’ve been constantly reminding all of us, myself included, that the Book of Hebrews is written to Jewish people who were primarily being plagued with the dilemma of coming out of Judaism and all of its Law-keeping and stepping into Paul’s doctrines of Grace.
And we compare it with cult people today. It is hard for someone who has had these things drummed into them for years and years to finally just make the break and pull away from it and not be drawn back. Well, the Jewish people were under the same kind of a dilemma. Judaism was just pulling them back. Now you want to remember that when Hebrews was written, Jerusalem hasn’t been destroyed, the Temple is still operating with all the sacrifices. See, that’s why he said back in chapter 6, that if they were to go back into Temple worship and sacrifices (which had no validity whatsoever, and even though the Jews were still doing it every day in Jerusalem), they would be canceling out Grace.
But now, as I feel Paul is the writer of the book of Hebrews, Paul is going to appeal to his Jewish readers or listeners – that on the basis of all the Old Testament Patriarchs, it’s always been by faith. Always. Many people will call and ask me, “Well what was the basis of salvation back in the Old Testament?” Well, it’s always been by faith. Not faith plus nothing, like we are today in this Age of Grace, but it was always based on their faith, first and foremost. And so this great chapter 11 is a review of the faith of these Old Testament people by which we learn.
Now I think before we go any further, that we’ll flip back to Romans chapter 15 – and I like to use a verse like this just to show that we cannot come into some of these Old Testament portions, or into a Book like Hebrews for example, and find the plan of salvation and lead someone to the Lord. Looking ahead when we get to the epistles of James, and Peter, and John, they too were all predominately Jewish. You can’t go into one of those letters and find the plan of salvation and lead someone to the Lord – it’s next to impossible because it’s not in there.
And as I’ve said from day one, the plan of salvation isn’t in the Book of Hebrews; it’s not in the Old Testament. You have to go to Paul to find that. But, look what Paul says in Romans chapter 15 verse 4, and this is the whole crux of the idea. This is the heart of why we study all of the Scripture even though we pick up our basic doctrines from Paul. We ‘learn.’
“For whatsoever things were written aforetime (Old Testament, they) were written for our learning,…” Because even though we are saved by faith plus nothing, yet our faith has to rest on all that’s gone before and so in order to have a good understanding of what you believe, you have to go back to the beginning and see how all of this has progressed up through human history and so this is why Paul says, “all these things were written for our learning.” So that you’ll know why you believe what you believe. So repeating the verse again:
“For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” Well, that’s the whole purpose then, of studying all these Jewish portions of our Bible. All right, come back to Hebrews chapter 11 and we’ll move on. And now it’s by faith then in verse 24:
“By faith Moses, when he was come to years,…” Now we in the English-speaking world, we immediately think of what age? Twenty-one years old. But it wasn’t 21 in the case of Moses – it was 40. When Moses was 40 years old, after having spent those first 40 years in the house of Pharaoh (as Pharaoh’s daughter, remember, picked him up out of the river Nile). Forty years he had been living as a son of Pharaoh. Now again, we’ve got to go back to Acts chapter 7, that great dissertation by Stephen.
And Stephen picks up with things that were left out in the Old Testament account, and that’s why we have to look at some of these other portions. Acts chapter 7 verse 20. And remember Stephen is rehearsing all this to the Nation of Israel, which of course, they’re going to reject and they’re going to stone him by the time we get to the end of the chapter. But here’s what he says:
“In which time (that is after the Pharaohs and after Joseph had died) Moses was born, and was exceeding fair, (we covered that in a previous verse in our last program) and nourished up in his father’s house three months: (his legitimate parents) 21. And when he was cast out, (that is in the little ark in the river Nile) Pharaoh’s daughter took him up, and nourished him for her own son.” Now look at verse 22, as a son of Pharaoh’s daughter, living in the palace:
“And Moses was learned (educated) in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds.”
Now you’ve heard me say this over and over – in antiquity, Egypt was the United States of that period of time. Egypt was the consumer nation of antiquity. Egypt was the high point of civilization. So Moses isn’t stuck in some antiquated, pagan, uncivilized society – it’s a thriving economy. They’re building, they’ve got tremendous military; and for their day and time, they were the innovators and the scientists – and you see the Scripture tells us that Moses was educated in all of that. He had everything going for him. And on top of being the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, he got all of the perks that went with it. The lifestyle, the sumptuous living, the banqueting, the beautiful women, just like our pro athlete’s today – you know, there’s nothing withheld from them.
Well, it was no different back here, probably even more so. And so Moses had all of this at his disposal. Non-Scripture information tells us that he was probably even a civil engineer – they think Moses was probably one of the ‘movers and shakers’ of building some of the cities of Egypt. He was a tremendous individual. All right, now come back to Hebrews and I’m doing all this to show what Moses turned his back on. All right, chapter 11 verse 24:
“By faith Moses, when he was come to years, (when he was 40 years of age. Having been educated and enjoyed all of the good things of Egypt,) refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; 25. Choosing.…” Now here we come to what people are confronted with today and what is it? Choices. People will call that they’ve got a loved one, or someone who’s a drug addict, or this or that. Well, how did they get there? Choices. Bad choices. But you see, every human being, every one of us have been faced with choices. We are what we are by virtue of what we have chosen to do. All right, Moses was no different. These people were just as human as we are. They too, had to make choices and so Moses makes a choice now (in spite of all that’s going for him; the sumptuous living, his clout, his power politically, militarily and in business – he had it all). Second man in Egypt. But now he makes a choice. And so “when he came to years, he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.”
“Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, (now I’ll add the word, ‘rather’) than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;” You see why I made reference to our present day athletes? And how all of the pleasures of the immoral world are at their disposal. It was no different. Moses had the same thing and he had all the opportunity for the pleasures of sin. And let’s face it, especially during the youthful years, sin can be pleasurable. Oh, it’s going to take its toll sooner or later, but while they’re in it, they think they’re having a good time. And Moses was no different, but when he was 40 years old, right at the prime of life, what does Moses choose? The other direction. And he turns his back on all the sumptuous living – all of the sinfulness that was at his disposal, and he chose rather to cast his lot with the people of God.
Now even for young people today, that’s not an easy choice, is it? We sometimes wonder why our kids are so reluctant to choose the Christian lifestyle. Well, that’s not where the exciting pleasures lie. Not for the time. But that’s when many times they make wrong choices that will lead them deeper and deeper into these situations from which they can’t withdraw. But always remember, the Scripture is so adamant that we are faced with choices, and Moses here is the perfect example – that he chose of his own volition (by of course God’s leading), to “suffer the affliction of the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin (in Pharaoh’s household) for a season.”
Now there again, I suppose I could go 10-15 minutes on just those three words. “For a season.” What does that tell you? Sin can be ever so great for a little while. But how do most of them end up? Suicide. Alcoholics. Drug addicts. Sleeping under the bridge. How many of our successful athletes, especially, end up poverty stricken. Why? They enjoyed the pleasure of sin for a little while, but it doesn’t last. And then they pay the wages of it. Well, you see, Moses was in the same place. He could enjoy the pleasures of sin for a little while. Now verse 26:
“Esteeming the reproach of Christ.…” Now you’ve got to remember that the word Christ, we do not have it back in the Old Testament. In other words, when you read about Moses in Exodus, you don’t see the name Jesus Christ. But it’s the same person. Jehovah was the same person, He was in His Old Testament economy, but it was the same person of the Godhead that was dealing with Moses and the Patriarchs as deals with us today.
Today of course, we now have the benefit of that finished work of the Cross, but nevertheless, so far as his operating out of the Godhead, the Person of the Godhead that dealt with Moses was the same one that we deal with today. And so that’s why the terminology is correct.
“Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt:.…” Now don’t lose sight of the fact that Egypt was the America of its day. They lived sumptuously. They knew how to live, as we say, ‘high on the hog.’ And they knew how to throw fancy banquets. They knew how to dress with beautiful clothes. They had all that going for them, and yet Moses turns his back on all that and aligns himself with the slaves out there in the brick kilns of Israel in Goshen. Quite a choice, wasn’t it?
And yet, the lesson for us is it’s no different today. And oh, if our young people could realize that Moses knew what he was doing when he “esteemed the riches of Christ as a greater treasure than the sins and the pleasures of Egypt.” And why did he make the choice? We find the answer in the last half of verse 26:
“…for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.” He suddenly got, I think, a spiritual understanding of “the recompense of the reward.” Now you want to remember that for the pleasures of sin, even if they could enjoy it to the full, up until the end of a normal lifespan, we’ll even go on up into the 80’s and 90’s, what if? What if we could enjoy all those youthful pleasures all the way up until we die? What is it compared to eternity? Nothing! Absolutely Nothing! It’s just a blink of the eye compared to eternity.
Now I made the comment, several months ago I guess on one of the programs, that I had read the back of a T-shirt and that was a T-shirt I wish more people would wear. And it said,“Eternity. Have you thought about it?” Well, someone turned right around and made a lapel button out of that very same thing and we got a few in the mail the other day and would to God that more people would consider eternity. That’s forever. And for the believer it’s going to be enjoying all the rewards of our right choices, not just for a lifetime, but forever!
But on the other hand, for the lost person who has chosen wrong, he’s going to suffer the ramifications of that forever. Eternity is forever. Someone came up with the answer, but it wasn’t me. How long is eternity? As long as God lives! Isn’t that what it was, Joy? As long as God lives! That’s eternity. And He’s from eternity past to eternity future. Now that’s beyond our human comprehension. But this is what Moses considered. Moses considered that these pleasures of Egypt for a little while were nothing compared to the rewards of eternity. And oh, if we could only just get this across to people – stop and think. It’s not just for a few years. Not even for a few hundred years. It’s for forever. Verse 27:
“By faith, he forsook Egypt,.…” Moses didn’t just take off blindly. Moses just didn’t take out into the wilderness wondering what was going to be his lot. Moses knew that God was in control. Now I think I made the comment in our last program, just before we closed, that they didn’t have any written Bible in those days. He didn’t have the written Word to depend on like we do. So how did these people keep the faith generation by generation? By the word of mouth. They passed it on to their kids. And that’s the statement I think that I made in our closing remarks in our last program. That’s where we have failed. We haven’t passed it on to our younger generation and so now we’re living in a society where most kids don’t even know anything of the Scripture.
It’s just mind boggling of how ignorant most of our younger people are of Scripture. They can’t tell a Bible verse from a sentence from a poem. Iris can tell you that. Years back, she went into a card shop and asked the young lady behind the counter to help her find a card with a Bible verse. And what do you suppose she came up with? What was it honey? “God Bless You?” Something like that. It wasn’t a Bible verse. But she thought it was. Now, that’s pitiful. But anyway, Moses left Egypt knowing, by faith, that he was under God’s control.
Now of course, the circumstances were less than perfect because you remember he had killed the Egyptian, and because of that he had to flee. But, nevertheless, by faith he left Egypt:
“By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: (who of course, put a price on Moses’ head.) for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.” What does that tell you? What kept Moses going was his faith in the invisible God, and he never lost that. Now verse 28:
“Through faith he kept the Passover,…”
Now, as the Scripture does so often, we skip 40 years. Because 40 years have gone by from the time that Moses flees from Egypt; goes to the backside of the desert, remember? And he herds sheep for 40 years. And then one day he saw the burning bush. Now that’s all been skipped here in the verses of Hebrews. Well, after he stopped to see the burning bush (it was God speaking), the Lord told him that now it was time to go back into Egypt and to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt.
Now if you know your Old Testament at all, I hope you realize that that in itself was not a shock to Moses, to lead Israel out of Egypt, because that’s what he wanted to do in the first place. That’s why he went out to the Children of Israel when he killed the Egyptian and again, that’s in Acts. Let’s go back there again. Acts chapter 7 just fills in so many of the details that the Old Testament doesn’t give us. Acts 27 verse 23.
“And when he was (this is speaking of Moses now in Egypt) full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren, the children of Israel. 24. And seeing one of them (an Israelite) suffer wrong, he defended him, and avenged him that was oppressed, and smote (or killed) the Egyptian:” I don’t think he intended to murder him. He probably just hit him harder than he intended to and he killed him. All right, now verse 25 – this is what I wanted you to see. This is what Moses was thinking when he turned his back on Egypt and went out to the children of Israel. This is what was on his mind.
“For he supposed (he thought) his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them: but they understood not.” So what did Moses really have on his mind when he went out to visit the children of Israel? That he was going to start the ball rolling to move the Nation of Israel out of Egypt and back to the Promised Land. Because that was all handed down by faith, you see?
But the whole problem was, it wasn’t in God’s timing. Moses was hoping to do it under his own power, because of his own ability, his own political situation instead of waiting for God. Sound familiar? But forty years later, now, God can call him aside at the burning bush and say, “All right, Moses, now I’m ready to have you lead the children of Israel out of Egypt.” So, all of this was still based on the man’s Faith.
All right, so come back to Hebrews chapter 11 and verse 28. After skipping those forty years on the back side of the desert, we skip that time of the plagues with the Pharaoh’s there in Egypt and we come down to the last event that Israel experiences in Egypt. And what is it? The night of the Passover. The night of the Passover when the blood was applied to the doorpost and the death angel passed over.
“Through faith (taking God at His Word!) he kept the Passover, and the sprinkling of the blood,…” Which we know from Exodus was simply taking a piece of hyssop, dipping it in the basin of blood and applying it to the two side posts and the lentil. And that here it’s just referred to as “the sprinkling.” But, it’s the application of the blood of that Passover lamb and it is what caused the death angel then, to pass over the houses of the Israelites, now reading on in verse 28:
“…lest he that destroyed the firstborn (that is of Egypt. All the firstborn of Egypt remember, were stricken) should touch them.” The blood of the Passover lamb kept the death angel from touching the children of Israel. Now again, what did it take to take the lamb’s blood and apply it to a doorpost? Faith! They had nothing else to go by. But God had said, if you apply the blood in such and such a way, as the death angel is striking the firstborn all across Egypt, if I see the blood, I’ll pass over you. And so what was the basis for putting the blood on the door? Faith. They had no other way of knowing. They had no way of knowing that that death angel would pass over, they could only take God at His Word.
Now you see, we come right back to that same concept today. Over and over I have to ask people, “Are you trusting nothing but that finished work of the cross for salvation?” Or are you trusting your denomination? Are you trusting your local church? Now there’s nothing wrong with all those things but they will never save anybody. Our faith has to be in what God has said. And what has God said? “That when I see you place your Faith in that finished work of the cross, you’re Mine!” And we take that by faith. We believe it in our heart! But oh, it’s so hard for people to leave it alone after believing in your heart. But human nature says what? But I’ve got to do…something! No we don’t!