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land; and the
* it, were
Amplified: [Urged on] by faith the people crossed the Red Sea as [though] on
dry land, but when the Egyptians tried to do the same thing they were
swallowed up [by the sea].
Bible - Lockman)
KJV: By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the
Egyptians assaying to do were drowned.
NLT: It was by faith that the people of Israel went right through the
Red Sea as though they were on dry ground. But when the Egyptians
followed, they were all drowned. (NLT
- Tyndale House)
Phillips: By faith the people walked through the Red Sea as though it
were dry land, and the Egyptians who tried to do the same thing were
Wuest: By faith they passed through the Red Sea as through dry land,
which the Egyptians having attempted, were drowned. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: By faith they did pass through the Red Sea as through dry land,
which the Egyptians having received a trial of, were swallowed up;
J Ligon Duncan
Explore the Bible
F W Farrar
F B Hole
Jamieson, F, B
S Lewis Johnson
S Lewis Johnson
J Vernon McGee
A W Pink
A T Robertson
C H Spurgeon
Today in the Word
Hebrews Study Guide
Hebrews 11 Commentary
Hebrews 11 Commentary
Hebrews 11:30-31 Faith to Conquer
Hebrews 11 Commentary
Hebrews 11:20-29 The Faith of
Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses
How can I get to Heaven?
11:1-3,6-8,13-19,24-26 Exhibit Your Faith
Hebrews 11:17-22 Promises That Inspire
Hebrews 11:23-31 The Eyes of Faith
Hebrews 11:31 Rahab and the Power of Earth
Hebrews 11:32-40 The Remnant of the
Hebrews 11:26-29 Things Faith Accepts and
Rejects, Part 2
Hebrews 11:24-29 The Crisis of Decision
Hebrews 11:30-40 The
Pinnacle of Faith
Hebrews 11 Sermons -
by Puritan writer - >1000 page Pdf!
Thru the Bible Commentary
Hebrews 11:32 Faith
and Its Power of Achievement -p 465
Hebrews 11:23-29 The
Maturity of Faith
Hebrews 11:30-31 A
Hebrews 11:32-40 The
Triumph of Faith
Hebrews 11:26, 27
Hebrews 11 Word Pictures
Hebrews 11:30 The Faith Of Joshua
Hebrews 11:31 Something Better For You
Letter to Hebrews -
329 page commentary
Hebrews 11 Exposition
Faith Made Visible
Hebrews 11:8-38 The
Activities of Faith
Hebrews 11:8 - 12:2 How Faith Works
Hebrews 11:23-29 The Faith of
Moses and the Israelites
Hebrews 11:30-31 Faith
Exhibited at Jericho
Hebrews 11:32-38 A Summary of the Faithful
Hebrews 11: Word
Hebrews Inductive Study Part 2
BY FAITH THEY PASSED THROUGH THE RED SEA AS THOUGH THEY WERE PASSING
THROUGH DRY LAND; AND THE EGYPTIANS, WHEN THEY ATTEMPTED IT, WERE
DROWNED: Pistei diebesan (3SAAI) ten Eruthran THalassan os dia ceras
ges, es peiran labontes (AAPMPN) oi Aiguptioi katepothesan. (3PAPI): (Exodus 14:13-31; 15:1-21; Joshua 2:10; Nehemiah 9:11;
Psalms 66:6; 78:13; 106:9-11; Psalms 114:1, 2, 3, 4, 5; 136:13, 14, 15; Isaiah
11:15,16; 51:9,10; 63:11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16; Habakkuk 3:8, 9, 10)
Ex 14:10, 13, 14,
Ex 14:21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30
John MacArthur reminds us
Faith is trusting completely
in God’s Word. It is unconditional confidence in what He says,
strictly on the basis that He has said it. The fact is that we either
trust what God says or we are left to trust our own intellect,
instincts, and attitudes. These are our only two options. Our own way
is the way of unbelief; God’s way is the way of faith. The faith
illustrated in Hebrews 11 is that which takes the bare word of God and
acts on it, risking all. It is faith that does not question or ask for
signs or miraculous direction. Looking for signs and wonders and
explanations that we can understand or glory in is not faith. It is
doubt looking around for proofs. Anything that demands more than
God’s Word is doubt, not faith. God sometimes gives explanations and
reasons for His Word, but He is not obligated to give them, and faith
does not require them. As Jesus said to Thomas, "Blessed are they who
did not see, and yet believed" (John 20:29). Faith is therefore
opposite from human nature, opposite from the world system. It often
requires accepting from God that for which we can see no logic or
John: Hebrews. Moody Press)
They - Who is "they"?
Obviously this refers to the nation of Israel.
They passed through the Red Sea
- Their action was a response to their faith in God's Word. They
believed God and acted upon His promise.
Guzik comments that...
The difference between the
Israelites crossing the Red Sea and the Egyptians who followed them
was not courage, but faith. The Egyptians had as much (or more)
courage than the Israelites, but not the same faith - and they each
had different fates. The Israelites passed through, and the Egyptians
were drowned. (Hebrews 11
Passing through dry land -
This fact is repeated three times in the Exodus account to emphasize
the miraculous nature of Jehovah's way of salvation.
Here is the original text...
Exodus 14:13 But Moses said to the
people, "Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the LORD which
He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen
today, you will never see them again forever. 14 "The LORD will fight
for you while you keep silent."
15 Then the LORD said to Moses,
"Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the sons of Israel to go forward.
16 "As for you, lift up your staff and stretch out your hand over the
sea and divide it, and the sons of Israel shall go through the
midst of the sea on dry land. 17 "As for Me, behold, I will harden
the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them; and I
will be honored through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots
and his horsemen. 18 "Then the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD,
when I am honored through Pharaoh, through his chariots and his
God's promise of the humanly
"impossible" was safe travel through the impassable Red Sea, although
at this point He does not state exactly what He will do to the
Egyptians. Biblical faith is trust in God's Word (including His
promises) and as in the present case that faith is manifest by
appropriate response (cp obedience) by walking through the obstacle
via the way God had promised.
19 The angel of God (cp
Angel of the LORD
), who had been going before the
camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud
moved from before them and stood behind them. 20 So it came between
the camp of Egypt and the camp of Israel; and there was the cloud
along with the darkness, yet it gave light at night. Thus the one did
not come near the other all night.
21 Then Moses stretched out his
hand over the sea; and the LORD swept the sea back by a strong east
wind all night and turned the sea into dry land, so the waters were
divided. 22 The sons of Israel went through the midst of the sea on
the dry land, and the waters were like a wall to them on their
right hand and on their left.
23 Then the Egyptians took up the
pursuit, and all Pharaoh's horses, his chariots and his horsemen went
in after them into the midst of the sea. 24 At the morning watch, the
LORD looked down on the army of the Egyptians through the pillar of
fire and cloud and brought the army of the Egyptians into confusion.
25 He caused their chariot wheels to swerve, and He made them drive
with difficulty; so the Egyptians said, "Let us flee from Israel, for
the LORD is fighting for them against the Egyptians."
26 Then the LORD said to Moses,
"Stretch out your hand over the sea so that the waters may come back
over the Egyptians, over their chariots and their horsemen."
27 So Moses stretched out his hand
over the sea, and the sea returned to its normal state at daybreak,
while the Egyptians were fleeing right into it; then the LORD
overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. 28 The waters
returned and covered the chariots and the horsemen, even Pharaoh's
entire army that had gone into the sea after them; not even one of
them remained. 29 But the sons of Israel walked on dry land through
the midst of the sea, and the waters were like a wall to them on their
right hand and on their left.
the LORD saved Israel that day
from the hand of the Egyptians,
and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore.
31 When Israel saw the great power
which the LORD had used against the Egyptians, the people feared
the LORD, and they believed in the LORD and in His servant
Steven Cole in his sermon on
Faith trusts God for deliverance
from overwhelming problems (He 11:29).
This verse shifts from Moses’ faith to the faith of Israel. I do not
know why the shift did not take place in He 11:28, since all Israel
had to believe in the Passover sacrifice. Either way, there is a
difficulty, in that as the author of Hebrews has already told us, the
generation that came out of Egypt was evil and unbelieving (He 3:8, 9-note,
He 3:10, 11-note,
The apostle Paul explained that although all Israel was baptized into
Moses, so to speak, when they passed through the sea, “with most of
them God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the
wilderness” (1Co 10:2, 5). But here the author indicates that they
passed through the Red Sea by faith.
Probably the solution is that the faith of the believing
believing remnant (note)
generalized to cover the entire nation (John Owen, An Exposition of
Hebrews [The National Foundation for Christian Education], 7:170;
Calvin, p. 299 adopts a similar solution). There is a similar
situation in the New Testament when everyone on the ship with Paul was
saved because of Paul’s faith, even though they did not believe God.
In both cases, it was temporal deliverance only for the unbelievers.
But the exodus pictures spiritually how genuine faith delivers us from
overwhelming problems, beginning with the salvation of our souls.
Briefly, note two things:
A. Faith does not exempt us from overwhelming problems, but rather it
often leads us into such problems.
If Israel had stayed in Egypt, they wouldn’t be in the mess they were
in at the Red Sea. Some of the unbelievers sarcastically said to Moses
Is it because there were no graves
in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness?
But the fact is, Moses
had not led them to the dire situation that they were in; God had led
them there and He had hardened Pharaoh’s heart so that he would chase
after them (Ex 14:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)!
So by God’s direct actions, this defenseless bunch of slaves had the
Red Sea in front of them and Pharaoh’s army charging at them from
behind. They were doomed unless God intervened, which He planned to
do. But they had to learn that salvation is completely from Him. There
was no place for human ingenuity or some scheme to escape. God led
them into this desperate situation to teach them to trust Him as their
That’s how God grows our faith. We know in our heads that we must
trust Him totally, but we don’t believe it in practice until He throws
us into situations where there is no way out if He does not act. We
need to learn in experience that “salvation belongs to the Lord” (Ps
B. God delights to turn our overwhelming problems into exhibitions of
His mighty power when we trust Him.
The situation that the enemy thought would bring them an easy victory
led to their defeat. God miraculously piled the water up as a wall on
both sides for Israel to walk through on dry ground (Ex 14:21, 22).
He moved the pillar of cloud behind them until they all passed
through. Then He let the Egyptians pursue them in blind fury. They
should have looked to both sides and seen the trap. But as John Owen
observes (pp. 173-174),
There is no such blinding,
hardening lust in the minds or hearts of men, as hatred of the people
of God and desire for their ruin.
The Egyptians abandoned reason and common sense and
rushed into the sea to their own destruction. And so a helpless,
defenseless, unorganized band of two million slaves were delivered
from a powerful, well-equipped army. Nothing is too difficult for the
Lord (Jer 32:17)! (Steven
Cole's Sermon on Hebrews 11:27-29 Overcoming Faith)
BY FAITH THE WALLS OF JERICHO FELL DOWN, AFTER THEY HAD BEEN ENCIRCLED
FOR SEVEN DAYS: Pistei ta teiche Iericho epesan (3PAAI) kuklothenta (APPNPN)
epi hepta hemeras: (Joshua 6:3-20; 2Corinthians 10:4,5)
By faith - Faith in
Jehovah's unusual command was manifest by obedience to His charge.
Once again we see that faith that pleases God is faith that obeys God.
To say one believes and yet to fail to obey is not true faith.
Spurgeon wrote that...
Believing and obeying
always run side by side...Faith and obedience are bound up in the same
bundle. He that obeys God, trusts God; and he that trusts God, obeys
God...(In short) Obedience is the hallmark of faith.
- Jericho like the Red Sea
presented an obstacle to Israel. We need to remember that obstacles to
us are "opportunities" for God to show Himself great and mighty in our
Here is the
account of this great God glorifying event from Joshua 6...
1 Now Jericho was tightly shut
because of the sons of Israel; no one went out and no one came in.
2 The LORD said to Joshua, "See, I have given Jericho into your
hand, with its king and the valiant warriors. 3 "You shall march
around the city, all the men of war circling the city once. You shall
do so for six days. 4 "Also seven priests shall carry seven trumpets
of rams' horns before the ark; then on the seventh day you shall march
around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets.
5 "It shall be that when they make a long blast with the ram's horn,
and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout
with a great shout; and the wall of the city will fall down flat, and
the people will go up every man straight ahead."
6 So Joshua the son of Nun called
the priests and said to them, "Take up the ark of the covenant, and
let seven priests carry seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark
of the LORD." 7 Then he said to the people, "Go forward, and march
around the city, and let the armed men go on before the ark of the
Faith believes the promise of God
and acts on that promise, regardless of how unusual that promise might
be. If God says it, that settles it. Our choice will always be to
believe it or not. Belief is not manifest by halting hesitation but by
immediate obedience, an obedience which is complete and without
"caveats" or "disclaimers"! It is trusting in Jehovah with all our
heart and not leaning on our own understanding. Joshua exhibited such
a great faith. Notice that he does not interrogate or hesitate but
instead he motivates his priests and people to obey implicitly.
8 And it was so, that when Joshua
had spoken to the people, the seven priests carrying the seven
trumpets of rams' horns before the LORD went forward and blew the
trumpets; and the ark of the covenant of the LORD followed them. 9 The
armed men went before the priests who blew the trumpets, and the rear
guard came after the ark, while they continued to blow the trumpets.
10 But Joshua commanded the people, saying, "You shall not shout nor
let your voice be heard nor let a word proceed out of your mouth,
until the day I tell you, 'Shout!' Then you shall shout!" 11 So he had
the ark of the LORD taken around the city, circling it once; then they
came into the camp and spent the night in the camp.
12 Now Joshua rose early in the
morning, and the priests took up the ark of the LORD. 13 The seven
priests carrying the seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark of
the LORD went on continually, and blew the trumpets; and the armed men
went before them and the rear guard came after the ark of the LORD,
while they continued to blow the trumpets. 14 Thus the second day they
marched around the city once and returned to the camp; they did so for
six days. 15 Then on the seventh day they rose early at the dawning of
the day and marched around the city in the same manner seven times;
only on that day they marched around the city seven times.
16 At the seventh time, when the
priests blew the trumpets, Joshua said to the people, "Shout! For the
LORD has given you the city. 17 "The city shall be under the ban, it
and all that is in it belongs to the LORD; only Rahab the harlot and
all who are with her in the house shall live, because she hid the
messengers whom we sent. 18 "But as for you, only keep yourselves from
the things under the ban, so that you do not covet them and take some
of the things under the ban, and make the camp of Israel accursed and
bring trouble on it. 19 "But all the silver and gold and articles of
bronze and iron are holy to the LORD; they shall go into the treasury
of the LORD." 20 So the people shouted, and priests blew the
trumpets; and when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, the
people shouted with a great shout and the wall fell down flat, so
that the people went up into the city, every man straight ahead, and
they took the city.
The walls of Jericho fell down
- Liberal scholars try to explain away this supernatural intervention,
but faith sees it as a clear indicator of God's mighty power at work
on the part of His people.
Beloved, we need to remember that He is the same mighty God in each
of our lives.
What are the insurmountable
walls in our life?
John Phillips observes
To them, Jericho was
insurmountable, but that is exactly where faith triumphs.
"By faith the walls of Jericho fell" (Heb 11:30). Human wisdom would
have advocated the purchase of slings and catapults and the amassing
of huge stockpiles of stones for ammunition. Human wisdom would have
suggested digging trenches to enable sappers to creep up to the walls
and undermine them. Human wisdom would have called for starving the
people of Jericho into submission. But faith had a better way. Faith
does not oppose Satan's devices with human devices. "For the weapons
of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling
down of strong holds" (2Co 10:4-note).
(Exploring Hebrews: An Expository Commentary)
William MacDonald comments
Reason would claim that such an
impregnable fortress could be taken only by superior forces. But
faith’s methods are different. God uses strategies that appear foolish
to men in order to accomplish His purposes...Military experts would
write off the method as ludicrous. But it worked! The weapons of the
spiritual warfare are not worldly but have divine power to destroy
strongholds (2Co 10:4-note).
W & Farstad, A. Believer's Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson)
Summary lessons gleaned from
Israel's march around Jericho (see Steven Cole's full
1) God’s way of victory over these
enemies accentuates His power and our weakness.
2) Faith must obey God
3) Faith must wait upon God.
4) Faith must wait on God
The soundings of trumpets, though
one were to sound for ten thousand years, cannot throw down walls, but
faith can do all things (quoted by Jamieson)
Murray writes that...
The strength of the enemy, in which
he trusted, in view of the impotence of God's people, availed nothing
before the power of faith. When shall we learn, in quiet patience and
perseverance, to wait upon God our seven days too, the circle of a
completed time, until He gives the possession of the promised rest.
Let our faith claim it; we are the children of a God who does
impossibilities; we are called to a life of faith that expects and
receives them. Let our life be—faith in God. (Hebrews 11:32 Faith
and Its Power of Achievement -p 465)
Steven Cole's sermon
Faith to Conquer and Convert
Hebrews 11:30, 31
Josh 2:8-14; 6:2, 3, 4, 5, 22, 23, 24, 25
John Gardner wrote [source
unknown], “We are faced with a series of great
opportunities-brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems.” What
disguised opportunities do you face today?
Some have trusted Christ as Savior, but have the disguised opportunity
of some besetting sin that keeps bringing them down. They promise God
that they won’t do it again, only to repeatedly fail. Some are
engulfed by problems in their marriages, or with their kids. They
don’t see any viable solutions. Some struggle daily with serious
health problems or personal problems. Some face problems at work.
Others wish they had work to have problems with! They struggle to make
ends meet. Some have drifted into worldliness and spiritual apathy,
but they don’t even realize that they have a problem. Churches have
problems, too, which are a conglomerate of all of the problems of
As a leader in Israel after Moses’ death, Joshua had a pile of
disguised opportunities. He had to lead this fledgling nation of
refugee slaves out of 40 years in the wilderness, across the Jordan
River, and into the promised land that happened to be filled with
evil, violent giants. The first disguised opportunity was to conquer
the fortified city of Jericho. God gave Joshua the plan for victory.
By faith, the walls of that fortress crumbled.
Meanwhile, inside the city, a prostitute had a huge disguised
opportunity. She had heard of how God had miraculously delivered this
people from Egypt 40 years before. She heard how they had defeated two
powerful kings across the river. She knew that her city was next and
that she and all of her family would perish, unless somehow the God of
the Jews-the God of heaven and earth- intervened on their behalf. Then
the impossible happened-two spies from that feared people came to
lodge with her. She hid them from the authorities and they promised to
spare her family and her, if she followed their directions. By faith,
she and her family did not perish when her city was destroyed. These
two stories that took place during the conquest of Jericho illustrate
God conquers our powerful enemies by faith and converts hopeless
sinners by faith.
1. God conquers our powerful enemies by faith (He 11:30).
Faith is not some magical force. Rather, faith links us with the
unseen God, who spoke the universe into existence. Faith is the
channel through which God’s blessings flow to us.
Jericho was the first obstacle of many that Joshua and the army of
Israel faced in conquering Canaan, which God had promised to their
forefather, Abraham. As he was pondering how to take this walled city,
the Lord appeared to Joshua in human form as the captain of the Lord’s
army and revealed to him the plan for victory (Josh 5:13, 14, 15, 6:1,
2, 3, 4, 5). The Israelites were to march silently around the city
once a day for six days with the tabernacle, while seven priests blew
on rams’ horns. On the seventh day, they were to circle the city seven
times. When Joshua gave the signal, the priests were to blow the rams’
horns and the people were to shout. The walls of the city would
crumble and the Israeli soldiers would march straight into the city
and take it.
There are many lessons in that story, but I focus on five:
A. Salvation brings us into conflict with powerful enemies.
We saw this with Israel and Pharaoh’s army at the Red Sea. But it
bears repeating. Salvation does not insulate you from huge problems.
Rather, it often brings you into conflict with problems that didn’t
even bother you before you were saved. Before you were saved,
selfishness, pride, greed, lust, and many other sins didn’t trouble
you. You may even have thought that some of them were virtues! But
then you get saved and realize that there are many fortified cities
that must be conquered, and many of them are en-trenched in your
Not only do you face these enemies within, but now you face enemies
from without that previously caused you no problems. Family members
don’t like your newfound faith, because it threatens their favorite
sins. Bosses don’t like the fact that you won’t help them cheat to
make a profit. Former friends malign you be-cause you won’t join them
at their corrupt parties (1Pe 4:3, 4).
B. God’s way of victory over these enemies accentuates His power
and our weakness.
Marching your army around a walled city for seven days while blowing
trumpets is not a sensible plan for victory! It must have seemed silly
to many in Israel and to everyone inside Jericho. If Joshua had held
meetings with his top commanders, none of them would have suggested
this plan. One might have argued for a direct assault, with siege
ramps and battering rams to overpower the city. Another may have
suggested waiting it out until the city was starved into submission.
But no one would have suggested doing what God commanded Joshua to do.
Why did God choose this strange approach? I think that He wanted to
teach Israel a major lesson at the outset of their conquest of Canaan:
Victory over powerful enemies comes when we do not trust in
our-selves, but trust totally in the Lord. The repeated trips around
Jericho served to drive home the lesson, “You cannot conquer this city
in your strength. You must trust in My power.”
Often our problem is not that we are too weak, but that we think that
we are strong in ourselves. Because we’re so prone to pride, if God
granted us victory, we would take at least some of the credit for
ourselves. So God’s plan for victory humbles our pride by accentuating
His power and our weakness.
You see this in the story of Gideon and his army trying to conquer the
hordes of Midianites (Judges 6-7). He rallied an army of 32,000 men
against 135,000 enemy troops, but God told Gideon that he had too many
soldiers, not too few. If they won, they would boast in their victory
(Judges 7:2). So, Gideon sent home 22,000 warriors who were afraid.
But God said, “You’ve still got too many.” So Gideon weeded them out
until he was left with 300 soldiers. Finally, being weak enough, God
could grant them victory and they would give Him the glory!
Paul entreated the Lord to take away his thorn in the flesh, but the
Lord told him that His power is perfected in weakness. Paul testified,
“when I am weak, then I am strong” (2Cor. 12:10). Hudson Taylor said
that when God wanted to open inland China to the gospel, He looked
around for a man weak enough for the task.
So God’s means for victory always involves faith, because faith
acknowledges our inability and God’s total ability (see 2Chr
20:1-12). Faith humbles our pride and exalts God’s glory.
C. Faith must obey God implicitly.
Faith and obedience are inseparable, just as unbelief and disobedience
go together. Genuine faith always obeys God. Israel could have said,
“That’s an interesting plan, Joshua, and we believe that God could do
it that way. But we’re going to try a more sensible approach.” That
would have been faithless and disobedient.
To obey God, they had to march silently around the city once a day for
six days. The seventh day, when Joshua told them to march around it
seven times, there may have been some groans. Each time around the
city took between 30 minutes to an hour (depending on whom you read),
so the seven times took at least three and a half hours. By the
seventh day, some could have been grumbling under their breath, “This
is dumb. Nothing has happened yet.” But if any said that, it is not
recorded. They obeyed what God had commanded. When they shouted, the
walls miraculously came crashing down.
There are two factors involved in such obedience:
(1) To obey God, we must know what His Word says about our
God had appeared visibly and spoken audibly to Joshua. While I often
wish that He would do that today (I’d settle for the audible voice!),
such direct communication from God is very rare. How does God speak to
us? He “has spoken to us in His Son” (Heb. 1:2), and the sum of His
word to us is recorded in the Bible. While sometimes it is difficult
to know how the Bible applies to our specific problem, it is obvious
that we cannot obey His Word unless we know what it says and how it
applies. Yet I’ve often seen Christians who are disobeying the clear
commands of God’s Word, but they wonder why God isn’t blessing their
(2) Knowledge of God’s Word must be followed by obedience, no
matter how much it goes against conventional wisdom.
God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, nor are our ways His ways (Isa.
55:8). Moses’ leading two million refugee slaves down to the Red Sea,
with no way of escape from Pharaoh’s army, was not in line with
conventional wisdom. But he did it in direct obedience to God. Taking
the same group out into the barren wilderness seemed like a sure
formula for major disaster, but God had commanded him, and Moses
Conventional wisdom says, “You can’t get ahead in your business unless
you cheat your customers and lie to the IRS.” Faith obeys God, even if
it leads to financial loss. Conventional wisdom says, “Everyone sleeps
together before marriage. How else will you know if you’re compatible?
Besides, God will forgive.” Faith says, “I’m going to obey God. I
won’t compromise, even if other Christians are doing it.” Faith obeys
D. Faith must wait upon God.
Why didn’t God say, “March around Jericho once, blow the trumpet and
shout! The walls will fall down”? Every night they marched back to
camp thinking, “We didn’t accomplish anything today!” Each day tested
their faith, and each day that victory was delayed, the test increased
in intensity. Perhaps they heard jeers from those on the wall who were
watching this futile daily parade. The jeers tempted them to take
action to silence these scoffers. But they had to wait for God’s
E. Faith must wait on God expectantly.
They believed that God was going to act when they obeyed. There is no
record that Joshua told them in advance what was going to happen. They
just knew that he knew what God had commanded, and they obeyed. But
when he told them to shout, they shouted expectantly, and God caused
these impenetrable walls to crumble. Even though faith waits, faith
waits expectantly, knowing that God will act in His power in His time.
But while Israel was marching around Jericho that week, an-other drama
was taking place inside one house in the city. A prostitute named
Rahab was crowded into her house with her extended family, waiting
anxiously to see what would happen. Her story, condensed into one
verse, shows us that…(Click
here for the last part of this sermon from Hebrews 11:30-31 Faith to Conquer
harlot did not
those who were
after she had
Amplified: [Prompted] by faith Rahab the prostitute was not destroyed along
with those who refused to believe and obey, because she had received
the spies in peace [without enmity].
Bible - Lockman)
KJV:By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not,
when she had received the spies with peace.
NLT: It was by faith that Rahab the prostitute did not die with all the
others in her city who refused to obey God. For she had given a
friendly welcome to the spies. (NLT
- Tyndale House)
was because of her faith that Rahab the prostitute did not share the
fate of the disobedient, for she showed her faith in the true God when
she welcomed the Israelites sent out to reconnoitre. (Phillips:
Wuest: By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish with those who were
disobedient, having received the spies with peace. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: by faith Rahab the harlot did not perish with those who
disbelieved, having received the spies with peace.
BY FAITH RAHAB THE HARLOT DID NOT PERISH ALONG WITH THOSE WHO WERE
DISOBEDIENT, AFTER SHE HAD WELCOMED THE SPIES IN PEACE: Pistei Raab e
porne ou sunapoleto (3SAMI) tois apeithesasin, (AAPMPD) dexamene (AMPFSN)
tous kataskopous met' eirenes: (Joshua
2:1-22; 6:22, 23, 24, 25; Mt 1:1,5; Jas 2:25) (He 3:18; 1Peter 2:8;
3:20) (Joshua 1:1; 2:4-24)
- God is here shown to be the God of both Jews and Gentiles and that
both approach Him in the same way -- by faith (cp Heb 11:6).
Vine writes that...
hers was a simple faith and very
elementary, but it was real. She knew what God had determined, and
acted accordingly. She grasped the unseen, and put her belief into
action. Hence her life was lifted out from the influences of her
Canaanitish condition, and her faith brought her from her alienated
state into the fellowship of God’s people.
W. Collected writings of W. E. Vine. Nashville: Thomas Nelson)
the harlot - Scripture is brutally honest. Yes, she became
Rahab the believer, but the
Scripture reminds us of how God is able to take us from the "guttermost" and
lift us to the "uttermost", from eternal death to eternal life,
independent of how evil we were before we entered into His great
salvation by faith. In summary, Rahab was saved by God's grace
and by her personal faith which was shown to be genuine by her good
works of preserving the life of the spies.
Steven Cole summarizes the
truths gleaned from the story of Rahab (see below for full
(1) Rahab was an unlikely candidate
(2) Rahab’s faith saved her from perishing.
(3) Rahab’s faith separated her from her disobedient contemporaries.
(4) Rahab’s faith was an obedient faith.
(5) Rahab’s faith resulted in the
salvation of her pagan family.
(6) Rahab’s faith brought her into covenant with God and His people.
Here is Rahab's first
encounter with the Israeli spies and her exercise of faith...
Joshua 2:1 Then Joshua the son of
Nun sent two men as spies secretly from Shittim, saying, "Go, view the
land, especially Jericho." So they went and came into the house of a
harlot whose name was Rahab, and lodged there.
2 It was told the king of Jericho,
saying, "Behold, men from the sons of Israel have come here tonight to
search out the land." 3 And the king of Jericho sent word to Rahab,
saying, "Bring out the men who have come to you, who have entered your
house, for they have come to search out all the land." 4 But the woman
had taken the two men and hidden them, and she said, "Yes, the men
came to me, but I did not know where they were from. 5 "It came about
when it was time to shut the gate at dark, that the men went out; I do
not know where the men went. Pursue them quickly, for you will
overtake them." 6 But she had brought them up to the roof and hidden
them in the stalks of flax which she had laid in order on the roof. 7
So the men pursued them on the road to the Jordan to the fords; and as
soon as those who were pursuing them had gone out, they shut the gate.
8 Now before they lay down, she
came up to them on the roof, 9 and said to the men, "I know that the
LORD has given you the land, and that the terror of you has fallen on
us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before
you. 10 "For we have heard (Implying that the other
inhabitants had heard the truth about Jehovah!) how the LORD dried up the water of the Red
Sea before you when you came out of Egypt (Note that this was 40
year old news about Jehovah!), and what you did to the two
kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og,
whom you utterly destroyed. 11 "When we heard it, our hearts melted
and no courage remained in any man any longer because of you; for the
LORD your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath (A
great confession and good theology for a Canaanite harlot!). 12 "Now
therefore, please swear to me by the LORD, since I have dealt kindly
with you, that you also will deal kindly with my father's household,
and give me a pledge of truth, 13 and spare my father and my mother
and my brothers and my sisters, with all who belong to them, and
deliver our lives from death."
14 So the men said to her, "Our
life for yours if you do not tell this business of ours; and it shall
come about when the LORD gives us the land that we will deal kindly
and faithfully with you."
Joshua 2:16, 17, 18
15 Then she let them down by a rope
through the window, for her house was on the city wall, so that she
was living on the wall. 16 She said to them, "Go to the hill country,
so that the pursuers will not happen upon you, and hide yourselves
there for three days until the pursuers return. Then afterward you may
go on your way."
17 The men said to her, "We shall
be free from this oath to you which you have made us swear, 18 unless,
when we come into the land, you tie this cord of scarlet thread in the
window through which you let us down, and gather to yourself into the
house your father and your mother and your brothers and all your
father's household. 19 "It shall come about that anyone who goes out
of the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on his
own head, and we shall be free; but anyone who is with you in the
house, his blood shall be on our head if a hand is laid on him. 20
"But if you tell this business of ours, then we shall be free from the
oath which you have made us swear."
21 She said, "According to your
words, so be it." So she sent them away, and they departed; and she
tied the scarlet cord in the window. 22 They departed and came to the
hill country, and remained there for three days until the pursuers
returned. Now the pursuers had sought them all along the road, but had
not found them.
23 Then the two men returned and
came down from the hill country and crossed over and came to Joshua
the son of Nun, and they related to him all that had happened to them.
24 They said to Joshua, "Surely the LORD has given all the land into
our hands; moreover, all the inhabitants of the land have melted away
Then in Joshua 6 we read the
conclusion of the account of Rahab...
22 Joshua said to the two men who
had spied out the land, "Go into the harlot's house and bring the
woman and all she has out of there, as you have sworn to her." 23 So
the young men who were spies went in and brought out Rahab
and her father and her mother and her brothers and all she had;
they also brought out all her relatives and placed them outside the
camp of Israel. 24 They burned the city with fire, and all that
was in it. Only the silver and gold, and articles of bronze and iron,
they put into the treasury of the house of the LORD. 25 However,
Rahab the harlot and her father's household and all she had, Joshua
spared; and she has lived in the midst of Israel to this day, for
she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.
Sir Robert Anderson comments
on the phrase Rahab the harlot...
Rahab the harlot! Those who seek
for proofs of the divine authorship of Scripture may find one here.
Was there ever an Israelite who would have thought of preferring that
woman's name to the names of David and Samuel and the prophets, and of
coupling it with the name of the great apostle and prophet of the
Jewish faith, "whom the Lord knew face to face," and to whom He spoke
"as a man speaketh unto his friend"! And what Jew would have dared to
give expression to such a thought? But God's thoughts are not our
thoughts. And He who immortalized the devotion of the widow who threw
her last two mites into the Temple treasury has decreed that the faith
of Rahab who, like Moses, took sides with the people of God, shall
never be forgotten.
comments on by faith...
By faith. Let this be the motto of
our life. In every need and perplexity, with every desire and prayer,
with every work and trial, with every thought of ourselves and of God,
let this be the one thing we seek—ever to breathe a living faith in a
living God. Once again I say: As absolute and universal and undisputed
as is the supremacy of God, is to be the supremacy of faith in our
heart and life. We can only have as much of God in our heart as we
have of faith. And because God is All, and must be All to us, faith in
us must be all too. (Ibid)
The exercise of faith by
Rahab the harlot brought her not only salvation but into the line
of the Messiah for she was the mother of godly Boaz, a man who in many
ways pictured the "Greater Boaz" Christ Jesus...
The record of the genealogy of
Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham...Salmon
was the father of Boaz by Rahab (Gentile saved proselyte), Boaz was the father of Obed by
Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse. (Mt 1:1, 1:5)
James includes her in the
"same breath" as the venerable patriarch Abraham as a prime example of
genuine, saving faith writing...
In the same way (cp Jas 2:21, 22,
23-note), was not Rahab the harlot
also justified (in this context, the verb means "shown to be
righteous") by works when she received the messengers and sent them
out by another way? (Jas 2:25-note)
Warren Wiersbe quips...
Imagine a pagan harlot becoming a
part of the ancestry of Jesus Christ! That is what faith can do! Rahab
is certainly a rebuke to unsaved people who give excuses for not
trusting Christ. “I don’t know very much about the Bible” is an excuse
I often hear. Rahab knew very little spiritual truth, but she acted on
what she did know. “I am too bad to be saved!” is another excuse. But
Rahab was a condemned heathen harlot! Another excuse is, “What will my
family think?” Rahab’s first concern was saving her family, not
opposing them. She stands as one of the great women of faith in the
perish along with
= with, speaks of an intimate association +
from apo = away
from or wholly + olethros = state of utter ruin <> ollumi
= to destroy <> root of apollyon [Re 9:11] = destroyer) means
to destroy together. The destruction in this context is one of losing
their lives but not to causing them to cease to exist. Apollumi
as it relates
to men, speaks not of the loss of being per se, but is more
descriptive of the loss of well-being. Apollumi then has the
basic meaning of describing that which is ruined and is no longer
usable for its intended purpose.
The failure of the rest of the inhabitants of Jericho to possess
eternal life by faith resulted in utter ruin in this life and the life
to come, a life of eternal uselessness. Apollumi in no way
speaks of cessation of existence (cp, annihilation) as some "scholars"
Lake Of Fire
Sunapollumi is used 11x in
11v most in the non-apocryphal
- Ge 18:23; 19:15; Nu
16:26; Dt 29:19; Ps 26:9; 28:3; Da 2:13; Heb 11:31.
Lest one is tempted to accuse God
of being too harsh in destroying the entire population of Jericho,
John MacArthur makes the point that...
The destruction of the Canaanites
was as great a social as it was a spiritual gain to the welfare of
humanity. They were a debauched, idolatrous, and wicked people. They
were noted for their grossly immoral and perverted sexual practices as
well as for their general cruelty. Among other things, they frequently
put live babies in jars and built them into their city walls as
foundation sacrifices. They were begging for judgment.
John: Hebrews. Moody Press)
from a = without + peítho
= persuade) literally describes one who refuses to be persuaded and
who disbelieves willfully and perversely. Apeitheo means
not to allow oneself to be persuaded, not to comply with and
refuse to believe (eg, in the truth, in Christ, in
the Gospel). Apeitheo describes the inhabitants of Jericho who
in spite of reports of the greatness of Jehovah (reports which Rahab
appears to have believed), continued to manifest a stubborn, stiff-necked
attitude of disbelief and disobedience, in this case manifest by a
refusal to be persuaded by the truth about
Jn 3:36, cp the phrase "obey the gospel" in 2Th 1:8, 1Pe 4:17).
is opposite of
which is the verb translated "believe" or "trust", precisely
what Rahab did.
In studying apeitheo it is
important to understand that
the stem peith- (pith-,
poith-) has the basic meaning of trust (cf. Latin fido, fides).
Trust can refer to a statement, so that it has the meaning to put
faith in, to let oneself be convinced, or to a demand, so that it gets
the meaning of obey, be persuaded. The active meaning of the verb stem
peith- then is to convince and persuade and is especially
characteristic of Greek thought. In secular Greek it interesting to
note that "Peitho" (art of persuading) was even regarded as a
Brown, Colin, Editor. New International
Dictionary of NT Theology. 1986. Zondervan)
of a primary verb) means to to receive something offered or
transmitted by another (Luke
2:28) and so to be receptive toward someone (as in Heb 11:31, cp
"receive" in Lk 10:8, 10).
Dechomai means to accept with a deliberate and ready reception
of what is offered, to receive kindly and so to take to oneself what
is presented or brought by another (e.g., reception of the Word of
truth, Jas 1:21-note). In the present context
means that Rahab welcomed the spies into her house even as one would
welcome a friend or a guest! Rahab in a word accepted the Israeli
spies with an open arm, mind, and heart, going beyond normally
expected gracious hospitality (especially hiding them so they would
not be discovered).
(kataskopos from kata = down +
skopeo = to take aim at or look
toward an object and so to spy out) means to spy or scout, the verb
form kataskopeo being used to describe the false brethren who
snuck in among the believers in order to bring them from a state of
freedom in Christ to a state of bondage under the law (legalism) (Gal
eiro = to join or bind together that which has been separated)
literally pictures the binding or joining together again of that which
had been separated or divided and thus setting at one again, a meaning
convey by the common expression of one “having it all together”. It
follows that peace is the opposite of division or dissension.
Peace is a state of concord and harmony and is the opposite of war
which is how all the rest of the inhabitants of Jericho felt toward
Israel. This lack of enmity further describes Rahab's welcoming
Here are the
concluding expository remarks from Steven Cole on Rahab the
God converts hopeless sinners by faith (He
Rahab’s story is a wonderful exhibit of God’s grace! It contains seven
lessons that I can only touch on briefly:
A. Rahab was an unlikely candidate for salvation.
From a Jewish perspective, Rahab had three strikes against her: she
was a woman; she was a Canaanite; and, she was a prostitute. Except
for Abraham’s wife, Sarah, Rahab is the only woman mentioned by name
in Hebrews 11. Jewish men would sanctimoniously pray, “Lord, I thank
You that You didn’t make me a Gentile or a woman!” But God saw fit to
save this Gentile woman.
But not only was Rahab a Gentile woman, she was also a prostitute.
From early times, many commentators have tried to dodge this, saying
that she was only an innkeeper. But the Hebrew and Greek words are
clear: she was a prostitute. (There is a different Hebrew word for
temple prostitutes.) I’ve wondered why these spies would go to a
prostitute’s house. Thomas Aquinas (cited by Philip Hughes, A
Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews [Eerdmans], p. 503) explained
that they did not go there to sin, but be-cause it was a good hiding
place. Such houses are open, especially at night, when the men arrived
(Josh. 2:2). Harlots receive their guests without discrimination or
asking many questions. The king of Jericho seemed to accept as normal
that these men would visit her in the night and leave almost as
quickly as they had come.
But behind all of the spies’ reasons for going to Rahab’s house was
God’s providence. Even though Rahab was an unlikely candidate for
salvation, God’s grace had reached down to her. The fact that she is
called “Rahab, the harlot,” even after her conversion, underscores
God’s abundant grace toward sinners. The spies did not know when they
went there that God had a mission for them besides spying, but He did.
Sometimes we go somewhere on some errand, but God has another purpose,
to use us to lead to salvation someone whom we would call an unlikely
I once met a man who had been a full-blown hippie, living with his
girl friend and doing drugs. One morning he was driving in a remote
canyon in Southern California when his muffler fell off his car. It
happened in front of the house of a pastor, who had prayed with his
wife that morning, “Lord, give us an opportunity to share the gospel
with some lost soul today.” That unlikely candidate for salvation met
Christ that day because God caused his muffler to fall off right at
that place in the road!'
B. Rahab’s faith saved her from perishing.
God commanded Israel to kill everyone in Jericho. Modern critics, who
must be wiser than God, think that God was cruel (or Joshua was
mistaken) to order the extermination of everyone in Canaan. But God
had given the Canaanites 400 years to fill up the measure of their sin
(Ge 15:13, 14, 15, 16). For 40 years, they had heard how God delivered
Israel from Egypt through the Red Sea (Ed: Which was in fact
instrumental in Rahab's conversion - see Josh 2:8, 9, 10, 11). For
several years, they had heard how God had defeated the Amorite kings,
Og, on the
other side of the Jordan. For seven days, they had watched Israel
march around their city. But did they repent of their sins? Only Rahab
did, and perhaps her family.
Rahab could have complained that God was unfair to judge her city. She
no doubt lost many friends in the conquest. But instead, she knew
that she deserved death for her evil lifestyle. She knew that the
LORD, God of Israel, is “God in heaven above and on earth beneath”
(Josh. 2:11). Although the entire city trembled with fear of the
impending attack (Josh 2:11), their fear did not lead to repentance
and faith (Ed: cp Jesus' acknowledgment of the role of repentance in
salvation = Mk 1:15, cp Acts 26:20). Rahab’s fear led her to turn from her sin and to believe in
God (Ed: Cp the pagan response to the gospel in Thessalonica 1Th 1:9-note). By faith, she “did not perish along with those who were
disobedient” (He 11:31).
Many think, probably correctly, that Rahab had come to faith in God
before the spies arrived at her house. When God providentially brought
the spies to her house, she saw it as the means of deliverance for
herself and for her family. Although she did not understand much
theology, she had enough faith in the one true God to save her.
past life of sin did not disqualify her from salvation. God delights
to save notorious sinners for His glory!
C. Rahab’s faith separated her from her disobedient contemporaries.
Those who perished are called disobedient (Heb 11:31). They were not
“basically good people.” They had heard of God’s power, but they
refused to submit to Him (cp Ro 1:18, 19-note,
Ro 1:20-note). They erroneously thought that their walled
city would protect them. To be saved, Rahab had to break away from her
people, her culture, and her source of income.
Although that is never easy and she must have wrestled with her
decision, by faith she made the break.
We are not told whether she warned her fellow citizens of the coming
judgment, or whether they mocked her for holing up in her house while
Israel’s armies strangely marched around the town.
But it is still
true today: saving faith means making a distinct break from this evil
world, so that we often stand out as weird in their eyes.
(Ed: cp 1Pe 4:1, 2, 3, 4, 5-note)
D. Rahab’s faith was an obedient faith.
James 2:25 (note) lists Rahab next to Abraham as one who was justified by
works. James is not denying justification by faith alone, but rather
is making the point that genuine faith always results in good works
(cp Jas 2:17-note).
Her faith led her to hide the spies and send them away secretly, even
though it put her life at great risk (cp Mk 8:35, 36, 37). She had to obey the explicit
instructions that the spies gave her, to put the scarlet rope in her
window and to have all of her family inside the house with her, in
order for them to be saved. It may have seemed silly to them to watch
Israel marching silently around the city for 13 times. They may have
been tempted to join others on the wall shouting insults to the troops
below. But they obeyed and they were saved.
Granted, Rahab’s faith was not perfect in obedience. She was a pagan
woman from a pagan culture, and it was a difficult situation when the
king’s messengers came to her house looking for the two spies, so she
lied. Lying is sin, even when it is for a good cause. But God was
gracious to take Rahab’s obedient faith as seen in her welcoming the
spies, and overlook her lie. If you will come to Christ in faith, just
as you are, He saves you and then begins to work His holiness into
E. Rahab’s faith resulted in the
salvation of her pagan family.
We do not know for certain that her family was saved spiritually,
although I think it is probable. But we do know that they were saved
physically from destruction at Jericho, and they became a part of the
people of God. Presumably they not only learned about the true God of
Israel, but also came to believe in Him personally. God can use the
salvation of an unlikely person, like Rahab, to reach an entire family
through her faith.
F. Rahab’s faith brought her into covenant with God and His people.
James Boice (Joshua: We Will Serve the Lord [Revell], p. 45) points out
that Rahab actually became more Jewish than many of the Jews by birth,
in that she believed God, whereas they did not.
Matthew Henry (Matthew
Henry's Commentary [Revell] VI:950) comments,
A true believer is desirous, not
only to be in covenant with God, but in communion with the people of
God, and is willing to cast in his lot with them, and to fare as they
Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus Christ (Mt 1:5,6)
includes the surprising fact that Rahab married a Jewish man, Salmon,
and they had a son, Boaz, who married Ruth. Their son, Obed, was the
father of Jesse, the father of David. So Rahab, the harlot, became an
ancestor of Jesus Christ! What a great testimony of God’s abundant
G. Rahab’s faith changed her life from futility to fruitfulness.
Prostitution is never glamorous. It is ugly. Men pay to use a woman’s
body, with no regard for her as a person. Prostitutes are never
respected for what they do. When their bodies become too old to be
attractive, they are out of work, lonely, and unloved.
But God reclaims the lives of the worst of sinners who turn to Him in
repentance and faith. Rahab married and became a mother and
grandmother (Ed: Mother to
Boaz, grandmother to
Obed see Ru 2:1-note,
Ru 4:17-note). She became a partaker of all of Israel’s spiritual
privileges, and even became linked to Christ Himself! Any life
outside of Christ is futile (cp 1Pe 1:18-note) and headed for eternal destruction.
life that God saves by His grace through faith becomes fruitful and
headed for eternal glory.
Jericho is a picture of this evil world, opposed to God. Either you
are by faith on God’s side, with some “Jericho’s” in your life that
you need to conquer. Or, you are comfortably living in Jericho,
thinking that you are safe. But you’re headed for destruction, whether
you know it or not.
Whichever describes your situation, the key to victory is faith. Faith
in the Lord Jesus Christ and His death on the cross in your place will
deliver you from the coming destruction. If you’re in God’s camp,
faith in His mighty power will give you victory over the intimidating
enemies that threaten to destroy you. What great opportunities,
disguised as insoluble problems, do you face? God has whatever
resources you need to overcome them. Trust Him!
1. Why doesn’t God grant instant deliverance from our problems? Why do
some problems linger on for years?
2. How can we know God’s will in
specific problem situations?
3. How can we get faith when we
lack faith? Where is the heart of the problem of unbelief?
4. Must sinners clean up their
lives before they can be saved? Where does repentance fit into the
process? (Hebrews 11:30-31 Faith to Conquer
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