Read Hebrews 11:28-29 – 28 By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, lest he who destroyed the firstborn should touch them. 29 By faith they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land, whereas the Egyptians, attempting to do so, were drowned. In describing the faith of Moses, the writer mentions two significant events of the Exodus.
- What was the outcome of Moses’ message in Egypt? The most obvious result was the liberation of Israel. But Israel’s exodus from Egypt was also designed to sanctify them as God’s special people. Sanctification is a common concept in the Bible. The word itself (along with associated words, i.e. sanctify, holy, holiness, saint) points in two directions:
- It signifies a separation, especially indicating a separation for God’s purposes and use.
- It also connotes a cleansing or purity. Only that which is pure can be sanctified for God’s use.
- Holiness or sanctification is rooted in the uniqueness of God. As He is unique, so His people must be distinct from others. Sanctified from the world around them.
- I. Sanctification & the Exodus: God’s design toward the sanctification of Israel in the Exodus can be seen in several ways: (Go back to Exodus once again)
- In the calling of Moses, He proclaimed Himself as Israel’s God; “I am the God of your father – the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob”. (Exodus 3:6) The Israelites were called upon to accept the unique position of Jehovah above the so-called gods of Egypt.
- Later, In Moses’ appearance before Pharaoh, Israel is presented as the Lord’s “firstborn son.” Ex 4:22 – “Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord:”Israel is My son, My firstborn.” The message to Pharaoh was, these people do not belong to you, but to Me. They are My children.
- The discriminatory nature of the supernatural plagues was designed to indicate God’s choice of Israel as His people. After third plague (lice) God began to exempt the land of Goshen where the Israelites were living. Ex 8:22 – And in that day I will set apart the land of Goshen, in which My people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there, in order that you may know that I am the Lord in the midst of the land. 23 I will make a difference between My people and your people. This distinction continued to the end, when only the firstborn of Egypt suffered death.
- In preparation for the final plague, God commanded Israel to distinguish themselves from the Egyptians by keeping the Passover. [Heb. 11:28 – By faith he (Moses) kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, lest he who destroyed the firstborn should touch them.]
- In preparation for the Passover meal, the Israelites were commanded to remove all leaven from their houses. This was designed to signify the urgency of their departure (leave in haste). Their separation from Egypt would not be gradual, but sudden and complete.
- On the evening of their departure from Egypt, the Israelites ate a meal of unleavened bread and bitter herbs, along with the flesh of the lamb that had been killed. The blood of that lamb was placed upon the doorposts and lintel of each Israelite house.
- 3. This special meal, and the blood on the doorpost identified the homes of God’s people, as opposed to the homes of the Egyptians. The feast itself was a work of divine sanctification (separation). In the end it signaled the difference between life and death. Ex 12:11-13 – 11 And thus you shall eat it: with a belt on your waist, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. So you shall eat it in haste. It is the Lord’s Passover. 12 ‘For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord. 13 Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. Moses’ faith was demonstrated in his willingness to obey God’s seemingly unreasonable commands. His obedience called for a hopeful confidence in what was about to happen. He had to be ready to go.
E. Following the first Passover, the people of Israel, left Egypt as one group. As God promised, they were given provisions by the Egyptians as they left, and thus plundered their captors. (Ex. 12:35-36) But was their liberation complete? Were they free? The crossing of the Red Sea was a further call for faith, and thus sanctification. [Heb. 11:29 By faith they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land, whereas the Egyptians, attempting to do so, were drowned]
1. Soon after Israel left Egypt, Pharaoh’s heart was once again hardened against God’s message and he pursued Moses and the people. Ex 14:5-7 – Now it was told the king of Egypt that the people had fled, and the heart of Pharaoh and his servants was turned against the people; and they said, “Why have we done this, that we have let Israel go from serving us?” 6 So he made ready his chariot and took his people with him. 7 Also, he took six hundred choice chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt with captains over every one of them. Vs. 9-10 – o the Egyptians pursued them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, his horsemen and his army, and overtook them camping by the sea beside Pi Hahiroth, before Baal Zephon. 10 And when Pharaoh drew near, the children of Israel lifted their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians marched after them. So they were very afraid, and the children of Israel cried out to the Lord.
2. The appearance of the Egyptian army elicited fear and regret in the hearts of God’s people. They wanted to return, concluding that “it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness.” (Ex 14:12) The people found themselves in a seemingly inescapable situation. The only accessible route was now blocked by the approaching Egyptian army.
a. Was God able to finish their deliverance? Notice Moses’ unshakable confidence in God. Ex 14:13-14 – 3 And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. 14 The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.”
b. Moses commanded the people to…
- “be not be afraid” – marshal your emotions by walking in faith, not sight.
- “Stand still” – not a command to do nothing, but rather to take a stand, or station yourself here. God gives the command for them to “go forward” (v. 15)
- “See the salvation of the Lord” – Unaided by anyone, God would save His people.
- “The Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever” – When they looked out, they could see a lot of Egyptians. Moses indicated a great confidence in God willingness to fight for them. (v. 14) He tells them to quit whining (hold your peace)
c. God responds to the people’s fear… vs. 15-16 – 15 And the Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward.16 But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. And the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.
- “Tell the children of Israel to go forward” – go where? Toward the sea? The call was for the people to move toward an seemingly unsurmontable obstacle, as they put their trust in God to make a way. This was a call for faith.
- “Lift up you rod and stretch out your hand…” Moses obeyed the command to stretch out his staff, and the sea retreated as a wall on each side, and the Israelites crossed over on dry land.
c. Ex. 14:19-20 – And the Angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud went from before them and stood behind them. 20 So it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel. Thus it was a cloud and darkness to the one, and it gave light by night to the other, so that the one did not come near the other all that night. Notice the divinely provided separation. The presence of God was one thing to the world, and quite another to His people. This distinction was, no doubt, a great comfort to the Israelites. It is always better in the light. The truth (by which we are sanctified – John 17:17) is an obstruction to those who harden their hearts against it. But to those who are ready to obey, the truth is salvation. 1 Cor 1:23-24 – but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
II. Faith, the Exodus, & Me: The writer of Hebrews had good reason to mention these two events of the Exodus as expressions of Moses’ extraordinary faith. Even though God brought Israel out, the whole process of Exodus was animated by Moses’ faith. So it is with us. God saves us by grace. But it is a salvation by grace through faith. As with Moses, saving faith demanded comprehensive obedience.
A. Moses’ Faith accepted God’s Provision by Keeping the Passover: The blood was not magical. It was powerful only as it was obediently applied as God commanded. The Israelites, including Moses, did not understand the full significance of the ceremony. But faith demanded obedience.
1. In this, the all sufficient sacrifice of Christ’s blood was typified. The efficacy of even Jesus’ blood toward my salvation demands my faith in God’s provision. Rom 3:24-25 – “being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith,…”
2. When the redeeming power of Jesus’ sacrifice was revealed for the first time, those who heard were called upon to exhibit their faith in God’s work through repentance and baptism. Acts 2:38 – 38 Then Peter said to them,”Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Jesus Himself said, “he that believes and is baptized will be saved…” (Mark 16:16)
B. Moses’ Faith acted upon God’s Promise by Passing through the Red Sea: When the people assessed their circumstance at the Red Sea, they lost heart. They wanted to turn around. But God’s promise was clear and certain. I will destroy your enemies and deliver you today.
1. The call of faith demanded that they act upon God’s word and walk across the riverbed with the water piled up on each side. Nothing was of their own doing or under their control. They had to trust God’s word. In the end God drowned all their fears in the Red Sea.
2. The final freedom that Israel gained from Egypt was the beginning, not the end, of their sanctification before God. Later Paul recounts this story and uses it as an admonition against disobedience. 1 Cor 10:1-5 – Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, 2 all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3 all ate the same spiritual food, 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. 5 But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. He goes on to warn against materialism (v. 6) idolatry & hedonism (v. 7), sexual immorality (v. 8), and even murmuring (v. 10).
3. The exercise of my faith demands the obedience that brings initial freedom and the continuing sanctification from the world around me. We must choose to live as God’s people – to live like we have been delivered.
- Rom 6:3-7 – Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 7 For he who has died has been freed from sin.
- Rom 6:11-13 – Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. 13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.
Those who walk by faith are sanctified from the world around them. It is through these people that God will show His glory. “Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.”
Conclusion: The faith of Moses proved itself over and over again. He was called upon to trust in God and stand alone. Faith demands that I take God at His word, and respond in obedience. I dare not harden my heart and fail to respond to God’s commands. When I respond in obedient faith, God sanctifies me for His purposes through forgiveness.