Heroes With Feet of Clay! – XV Hebrews 11:32

(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

There are a total of fourteen judges mentioned by name in the book of Judges. But only six are given a description of more than three verses! Also, it is written that certain judges brought peace to the Israelites, some for twenty years, or forty years, and one, Ehud, brought peace to Israel for eighty years! But the rule of the judges was generally not over all of Israel. Such rule was more localized, and there might be two or three, or more judges whose times had some overlap. But the need for judges was because Israel kept repeating the cycle of…

  • …turning to Jehovah God!
  • …turning away from the LORD and toward idolatry!
  • …God’s punishment of oppression by Canaanite nations!
  • …repentance of their idolatry and sins!
  • …returning to Jehovah God!

And this cycle was repeated for about 400 years!

I don’t know why the writer of Hebrews listed the heroes of verse 32 out of order. Gideon, whom we studied in the last Gem is featured in Judges chapters 6 through 9. But Barak’s story is two chapters before Gideon’s. But we’ll follow the listed order in Hebrews 11:32.

We will concentrate on verse 32 for awhile because there are six named heroes in this one verse! And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets.The second one listed is Barak, and his story is in Judges 4:1 through 5:31. And, of course, you can’t examine Barak without including the prophetess Deborah! But it is Barak who displayed the feet of clay!

     ...the children of Israel again did evil in the sight 
     of the LORD.  So the LORD sold them into the hand of 
     Jabin king of Canaan....And the children of Israel 
     cried out to the LORD, for Jabin had nine hundred char-
     iots of iron, and for twenty years he harshly oppressed 
     the children of Israel. (Judges 4:1 through 3).

Deborah was a prophetess who lived near the towns of Ramah and Bethel in the mountains of Ephraim (about ten miles north of Jerusalem). She was one of Israel’s judges, the only woman of the fourteen judges featured in the book of that name!

     Then she sent and called for Barak the son of Abinoam
     ...and said to him, “Has not the Lord God of Israel 
     commanded, ‘Go and...take with you ten thousand men...
     and against you I will deploy Sisera, the commander of 
     Jabin's army, with his [nine hundred] chariots and his 
     multitude at the River Kishon; and I will deliver him 
     into your hand’?”  (Judges 4:6 and 7).

Barak’s clay feet showed forth! – “And Barak said to her, ‘If you will go with me, then I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go.’ Apparently, he didn’t totally believe God’s promise, and so he didn’t have the courage to obey and go it alone! So Deborah agreed to go with him. However, she gave him a warning:

     ...she said, “I will surely go with you; nevertheless 
     there will be no glory for you in the journey you are 
     taking, for the LORD will sell Sisera [King Jabin’s 
     general] into the hand of a woman.”  Then Deborah arose 
     and went with Barak to Kadesh [a march of about 90 miles 
     north]... (Judges 4:9). 

Barak and his army of 10,000 won the day! It says in Judges 4:15 through 17:

     And the LORD routed Sisera...and all the army of Sisera 
     fell by the edge of the sword; not a man was left. How-
     ever Sisera had fled on foot to the tent of Jael, the 
     wife of Heber the Kenite; for there was peace between 
     Jabin king of Hazor and the house of Heber the Kenite.

Who was Heber the Kenite? Judges 4:11 identifies him as “…of the children of Hobab the father-in-law of Moses….” But there is a problem. In Numbers 10:29 Hobab is identified as…the son of Reuel the Mideanite, Moses father-in-law….This makes him Moses’ brother-in-law, not his father-in-law! How is this reconciled? The following is from The Expositor’s Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel. Zondervan, 1992. Page 405).

     The Hebrew language originally consisted only of conso- 
     nants....Later on, small markings were added above and 
     below each word to guide in pronunciation and allow for 
     easier reading....in the original Hebrew manuscripts the 
     small markings...would not have existed leaving both 
     words identical....‘Father-in-law’ can be ‘brother-in-
     law’ with no change in consonants....

Anytime a supposed discrepancy is seen in the Bible, further study will rectify it. The Bible, as it came to man from God, is free of errors!

Back to Deborah, Barak, and especially Sisera! The song of Deborah and Barak (see Judges chapter 5) is what they sang after winning the battle against the Midianites. In verses 19 through 21 of the song it is written:

     The kings...of Canaan fought In Taanach, by the waters 
     of Megiddo....They fought from the heavens; the stars 
     from their courses fought against Sisera. The torrent 
     of Kishon swept them away, That ancient torrent...of 

Apparently, God sent a downpour of rain and the River Kishon flooded! Most likely the nine hundred chariots of King Jabin’s army got mired in the mud of the floodwaters! That’s why it is recorded in Judges 4:15, “…Sisera alighted from his chariot and fled away on foot.

What happened next fulfilled Deborah’s prophesy concerning Barak in Judges 4:9: “…there will be no glory for you…for the LORD will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.

  • Judges 4:17 – “…Sisera…fled away on foot to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, for there was peace between [King] Jabin…and the house of Heber….
  • Judges 18 – Jael met him and said, “‘Turn aside, my lord, turn aside to me; do not fear.’ And when he had turned aside…into the tent, she covered him with a blanket.” Apparently he was worn out from the battle with Barak, and from running from the battlefield!
  • Judges 4:19 – “Then he said to her, ‘Please give me a little water…for I am thirsty.’ So she opened a jug of milk, gave him a drink, and covered him.” According to Becky Kerkenbush, a registered dietitian and media representative for the Wisconsin Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (https://restonic.com/blog/ warm-milk-bedtime-ritual-5389):
Milk can potentially help a person sleep because it  
     contains the amino acid tryptophan, a precursor to 
     serotonin....We can thank serotonin for milk’s snooze-
     inducing properties. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter 
     that plays a role in appetite, sleep, behavior, mood, 
     body temperature and coordination....also...milk is a 
     rich source of calcium, which helps muscles relax. And 
     when milk is warmed, it has a soothing effect.

So Jael was giving Sisera a sedative to lull this tired army general into a deep sleep!

  • Judges 4:21 – “Then Jael…took a tent peg and…a hammer…and went softly to him and drove the peg into his temple, and…into the ground….So he died.
  • Judges 4:22 – “…As Barak pursued Sisera, Jael came out to meet him, and said… ‘Come, I will show you the man whom you seek.’ And when he went into her tent, there lay Sisera, dead with the peg in his temple.

The woman in Deborah’s prophesy was Jael. Jael got the glory, and Barak got none! Yes, God used him, but his feet of clay was a bit of cowardness, not believing that the LORD could use him to win a victory for God’s people – without the help of Deborah the prophetess!

We are told in II Peter 1:3 and 4 (Lexham English Bible):

     ...[God’s] divine power has bestowed on us all things 
     that are necessary for life and godliness, through the 
     knowledge of the One who called us by His own glory and 
     excellence of character, through which things He has be-
     stowed on us His precious and very great promises, so 
     that through these you may become sharers of the divine 

In other words, when God calls us to accomplish His bidding, He supplies us with everything we need to do it! And the main way He bestows…all things that are necessary for life and godliness…is…through the knowledge of the One who called us by His own glory and excellence of character….” How do we acquire such knowledge? By reading, studying, and meditating on Scripture; even memorizing pertinent truths found in the Bible! As we are told in Colossians 3:16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly….

Be ready! Be filled with God’s promises!
And when He calls you to action, obey and do it!

Heroes With Feet of Clay! – XIV Hebrews 11:32

(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

The next verse in the Hall of Heroes is Hebrews 11:32. And in this one verse there are mentioned a number of heroes of the faith! The first one listed is Gideon: And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets.Six named heroes, and a large number of unnamed “prophets”!

Let’s consider Gideon. This hero had a large set of clay feet! For he is known as the man who, because of his doubts, tested the LORD! But I like Gideon! For, you see, even though he had his major doubts, God still used him! And he reminds me of me!

Israel had slid into idolatry – again! They were worshiping Baal, the storm god of the Midianites (see Judges 6:1-33). “So Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Mideanites, and the children of Israel cried out to the LORD.” (Judges 6:6). God appeared to Gideon with the directive to deliver Israel from its enemies. This man was an unlikely deliverer!

     ...the Angel of the LORD appeared to him, and said, 
     “The LORD is with you, you mighty man of valor!...Go 
     in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel 
     from the hand of the Midianites.  Have I not sent 
     you?” (Judges 6:11 and 14).
  • Gideon’s first objection to God’s commission is in Judges 6:15: “O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” God’s answered, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Mideanites as one man.” (Judges 6:16).

There are two verses in Jeremiah and one in Matthew (repeated in Mark and Luke):

        Jeremiah 32:27 – “Behold, I am the LORD, the God 
         of all flesh.  Is there anything too hard for Me? Jeremiah 32:17 – “Ah, LORD God!  Behold, You have 
         made the heavens and the earth by Your great power 
         and outstretched arm.  There is nothing too hard 
         for You.Matthew 19:26 – “...Jesus...said unto them, ‘With 
         men it is impossible; but with God all things are 

Isn’t Gideon’s argument pretty much the same one we use when God’s leads us to do something for Him we consider difficult? “…LORD, how can I…? …my [family]…is the weakest…and I am least in my father’s house.But what is written in our Bibles?

       Matthew 28:18 through 20 – Jesus said,All au-
         thority has been given to Me in heaven and on 
         earth.  Go, therefore and make disciples...and 
         lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the 
         age.Hebrews 13:5 – “I will never leave you nor forsake 
         you. Philippians 4:13 – “I can do all things through 
         Christ who strengthens me.
  • Gideon’s second objection is in the form of a test:…show me a sign that it is You who talk with me. Do not depart from here…until I come…and bring…my offering and set it before You.” (Judges 6:17 and 18).
     If it is really You, God, prove it!Do we ever 
         challenge the Lord like that – especially when He 
         tells us to do something we really don’t want to 

     ✡   But God accepted Gideon’s challenge!  

             Then Gideon...prepared a young goat, and 
             unleavened bread... and...broth in a pot
             ....The Angel of God said to him, “Take 
             the meat and...bread and lay them on this 
             rock, and pour out the broth….” Then the 
             Angel of the LORD put out...His...staff 
             and fire rose out of the rock and consumed 
             the meat and...bread. And the Angel of the 
             LORD  departed out of his sight. (Judges 
             6:19 through 21).
  • God’s next command is in Judges 6:25 and 26: “…tear down the altar of Baal that your father has, and cut down the wooden image that is beside it; and build an altar to the LORD…and offer a burnt sacrifice….The timid character of Gideon shown forth in his response: “But because he feared his father’s household and the men of the city too much to do it by day, he did it by night.” (Judges 6:27).

What does the Word of God admonish us to be and do?

     Joshua 1:9 – “Have I not commanded you?  Be strong 
         and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dis-
         mayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever 
         you go. Ephesians 6:10 – “...be strong in the Lord and in 
         the power of His might.

And the LORD honored this doubting man’s request!When he rose early the next morning and squeezed the fleece together, he wrung the dew out…a bowl full of water.” (Judges 6:38).

But it wasn’t enough for Gideon! For his fourth objection, he tested God again!Do not be angry with me…let me test…just once more…let it now be dry only on the fleece, but on all the ground let there be dew.” (Judges 6:39).

The LORD is so patient!And God did so that night. It was dry on the fleece only, but there was dew on all the ground.” (Judges 6:40).

  • There was a fifth test, but I think we can forgive Gideon on this one. He called together an army of Israelites 22,000 strong! And God reduced it, first to 10,000, and then to 300! (see Judges 7:1-7).
     ✡   Consider the enemy Gideon was facing: 

             Now the Midianites and Amalekites, all the 
             people of the East, were lying in the val-
             ley as numerous as locusts; and their camels 
             were without number, as the sand by the sea-
             shore in multitude. (Judges 7:12).

And he was to fight them with just 300 men?

     So God sent him and his servant clandestinely down 
         to the enemy camp, saying, “If you are still afraid, 
         go down to the camp...and...hear what they say; and 
         afterward your hands shall be strengthened...” (Jud-
         ges 7:10 and 11).  There they overheard two of the 
         enemy talking:

     Said one, “I have just had a dream: To my 
             surprise, a loaf of barley bread tumbled 
             into the camp...; it...struck...a tent...
             so that...the tent collapsed.” (Judges 

His companion replied, “This is nothing 
             else but the sword of Gideon...a man of 
             Israel; for into his hand God has deliv-
             ered Midian and the whole camp.” (Judges 

This gave him the confidence he needed! Gideon took his 300 men, his only ‘weapons’ being pitchers, torches, and trumpets – and he won the battle! Or I should say, God won the battle! He caused the enemy such confusion in the middle of the night, they turned on one another, and wiped each other out! The details are too long to reproduce here. You will just have to read it from Judges 7:15 through 25.

Yes, I have my doubts, but Gideon and his story encourages me! And it should do the same for you!

No one is too insignificant or too timid
to be used of God!

Heroes With Feet of Clay! – XIII Hebrews 11:31

(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

Hebrews 11:31 reveals an unlikely candidate for the Hall of Heroes: By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace.How unlikely of a candidate?

  • She was a Canaanite! And God gave strict orders to Israel to annihilate the Canaanites! (see Deuteronomy 7:1-5).
  • The LORD gave instructions concerning two Canaanite tribes in Deuteronomy 23:3 through 6. Here are verses 3 and 6:
     An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter the congrega-
     tion of the LORD; even to the tenth generation none 
     of his descendants shall enter the congregation of 
     the LORD....You shall not seek their peace or their 
     prosperity all your days forever.

The same could be said of any member of one of the seven nations in Canaan – including Rahab!

  • She is called a harlot three times in the Old Testament (Joshua 2:1; 6:17; 6:25), and twice in the New Testament (Hebrews 11:31; James 2:25).
The Hebrew word is זָנָה (pronounced zaw-naw’) meaning 
         “...to commit fornication, to be a harlot, play the 
         harlot....” – Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Definitons. 

     The Greek word is πóρνη (pronounced por-nay’) meaning 
         “...a woman who sells her body for sexual uses...a 
         prostitute, a harlot, one who yields herself to defile-
         ment for the sake of gain....” – Thayer’s Greek Defin-

According to Deuteronomy 22:20 and 21, a young woman who has played the harlot before she is married is to be stoned to death!…because she has done a disgraceful thing in Israel, to play the harlot in her father’s house; so you shall put away the evil person from among you.” Especially in Israel, harlotry was a sin very much looked down upon!

Not only is Rahab included in the Hebrews 11 Hall of Faith, She is also included in the royal genealogy of Jesus Christ through His stepfather Joseph! (see Matthew 1:5). She is King David’s great, great grandmother!

I don’t think we have to look far to see that Rahab, like the rest of us, had feet of clay! But there is another issue to point out: Rahab lied! When the two spies Joshua had commissioned to reconnoiter the city, Rahab …had brought them up to the [flat] roof [of her house] and [had] hidden them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order on the roof.” (Joshua 2:6). When two men were sent by the king of Jericho to arrest the spies…

     ...she said, “Yes, the men came to me, but I did not 
     know where they came from. And it happened as the gate 
     was being shut, when it was dark, that the men went 
     out. Where the men went I do not know; pursue them 
     quickly, for you may overtake them.” (Joshua 2:4 and 5).  

She then told the two spies:

     “I know that the LORD has given you the land...and 
     that all the inhabitants of the land are fainthearted 
     because of you.  For we have heard how the LORD dried 
     up the water of the Red Sea...and what you did to the 
     two kings of the Amorites...Sihon and Og, whom you 
     utterly destroyed.  As soon as we heard these things, 
     our hearts melted...for the LORD your God, He is God 
     in heaven above and on earth beneath.”

That is a statement of faith in the true and living God! And believing in the LORD’s promises (in this case God giving the Israelites the entire land of Canaan) is the basis of His salvation in both the Old Testament and the New!

  • As it is written of Abraham in Genesis 15:5 and 6:
     Then [God]...brought him outside and said, “Look now 
     toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to 
     number them....So shall your descendants be.”  And 
     [Abraham]...believed in the LORD, and He accounted it 
     to him for righteousness.
  • In the New Testament, God has promised, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved….” (Acts 16:31).

So in spite of being a Canaanite, a harlot, and one who lied, Rahab was saved through her faith in Israel’s God!

After the king’s men left her house, and after she made that wonderful statement of faith, Rahab helped the two spies escape! She…let them down by a robe through the window, for her house was on the city wall…” (Joshua 2:15). And the two spies told her, “…bind this line of scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down….And it shall be, when the LORD has given us the land, that we will deal kindly and truly with you.” (Joshua 2:14 and 18).

The city of Jericho was taken in a most unusual way! (see Heroes With Feet of Clay – XII). All the inhabitants of the city were annihilated……. except Rahab and her family!

     And the young men who had been spies went in and brought 
     out Rahab, her father, her mother, her brothers, and all 
     that she had.  So they brought out all her relatives....
     And Joshua spared Rahab the harlot, her father’s house-
     hold and all that she had.  So she dwells in Israel to 
     this day, because she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent 
     to spy out Jericho. (Joshua 6:23 and 25).

What of the red cord by which she let down the spies from her window on the wall of the city?

  • It served as a means of escape for the spies, and then it served as a marker in Rahab’s window to show the attacking Israelite army the ones they were to protect and deliver from destruction!
  • As has been said, “…the red line of atonement runs right through Scripture.
        It started in Genesis 3:15 (called the proto 
         evangeliumor the first mention of the gospel):  
         “And I will put enmity between you [the serpent, 
         the devil] and the woman, and between your seed 
         and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you 
         shall bruise His heal.   It continued six verses later, in Genesis 3:21:  
         “Also for Adam and his wife the LORD God made 
         tunics of skin, and clothed them.Fig leaves 
         (see Genesis 3:7) just couldn’t cover their nak-
         edness!  So God had to kill an animal to provide 
         leather tunics for them – the first incident of 
         the shedding of blood!

     ✞   The red line ran through Rahab’s house in Jericho! 
         For the red cord in the window saved her and her 

     ✞   The red line culminates in Jesus!  For...the 
         blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from 
         all sin.

Have you partaken of that Red Line of Atonement?

Heroes With Feet of Clay! – XII Hebrews 11:30

(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

There isn’t much to tell about the clay feet of Joshua! According to the Bible record, he conducted himself pretty well! And he is listed in the Hall of Heroes in Hebrews 11:30: “By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days.” This refers to the most unusual military victory in the history of warfare!

Moses had died on the eastern side of the Jordan River. He wasn’t allowed to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land because he and Aaron had disobeyed the LORD at the Wilderness of Zin, when to get water for the congregation, he struck the Meribah rock twice instead of just speaking to it, as God had said! (see Numbers 20:7-12).

But God had raised up another capable leader, “…Joshua, the son of Nun…” (Deuteronomy 31:23). It was Joshua who led Israel into the Promised Land! It was Joshua who commanded the Israelite army that defeated the seven pagan nations dwelling in Canaan! Hebrews 11:30 refers to the first battle after the Israelites miraculously crossed the Jordan River (see Joshua 3:14-17). This is when God gave Israel victory over Jericho! Here is a brief account of what happened, from Joshua 6:2 through 5:

     ...the LORD said to Joshua, “See, I have given Jericho 
     into your hand....You shall march around the city, all 
     your men of war; you shall go around the city once.  
     This you shall do for six days.  And the seven priests 
     shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark.  
     But the seventh day you shall march around the city se-
     ven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets.  
     Then it will come to pass, when they make a long blast 
     with the rams’ horn, and when you hear the sound of the 
     trumpet, that all the people shall shout with a mighty 
     shout; then the wall of the city will fall down flat.

That’s not the way a war is fought, or how conquests happen! You don’t send out seven priest blowing seven trumpets, to go out first ahead of the army of fighting men! Well, you don’t……..unless they are terrible at their jobs and you want to get rid of them!!! Ok, unless God tells you to do just that!!!

The exact mechanics of how it happened at Jericho, we really don’t know!

  • Was there some vibration set up by the blowing of the rams’ horns and the shout of six hundred thousand plus soldiers (see Numbers 26:51), that caused the walls to crumble?
  • Did God so direct the builders of the walls, however long before, to use a certain kind of mortar, or lay the stones in a certain way, that centuries later the walls would “come a’tumbin’ down”?
  • Were unseen angels there to instantly dismantle the walls?

However, we do know one factor in the taking of Jericho by Israel – faith! From what we learn from Joshua’s tactical methods following the destruction of Jericho, he was a warrior who had good military acumen and used good military tactics! And he was led by God!

  • The next city after Jericho Joshua attacked was Ai (about eleven miles northwest of Jericho). At the first try they did not succeed. “…Achan, the son of Carmi…” (Joshua 7:1) had taken loot from Jericho that was to be totally dedicated to the LORD. Because of his disobedience, the three-thousand-man Hebrew army suffered defeat at the hands of the army of Ai, and 36 Israelite soldiers were killed! (see Joshua 7:1-5). But God showed who was at fault, and Achan and his family were put to death! (see Joshua 7:10-26). Sin just does not pay!

Under the LORD’s direction, Joshua then set an ambush against Ai, with the main army out in plain sight. When the men of Ai engaged the Israelite army, Joshua feigned panic and retreated, drawing the enemy army away from the city. Ai was left open and defenseless and then the ambush appeared and set the city on fire! The army of Ai was promptly defeated! (see Joshua 8:1-29).

The next campaign was against the armies of five Amorite kings: …the kings of… Jerusalem…Hebron…Jarmuth…Lachish, and…Eglon….” (Joshua 10:3).

     And the LORD said to Joshua, “Do not fear them, for I 
     have delivered them into your hands; not a man of them 
     shall stand before you.”  Joshua therefore came upon 
     them suddenly, having marched all night from Gilgal.  
     So the LORD routed them before Israel, and killed them 
     with a great slaughter.... (Joshua 10:8 through 10).

…and with the help of a God-sent miracle and hailstones! (see Joshua 10:11-14).

  • Then the cities of Makkedah, Libna, Lachash, Gezer, Eglon, Hebron, and Debir fell next, and their people were wiped out!
  • Joshua then turned his attention to northern Canaan, where he engaged a federation of kings joined by the “…the Canaanite…Amorite…Hittite…Perizzite…Jebusite…and… Hivite [armies]” (Joshua 11:3).
     So they went out, they and all their armies with them, 
     as many people as the sand that is on the seashore in 
     multitude, with very many horses and chariots....But 
     the LORD said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid...of them, 
     for tomorrow about this time I will deliver all of them 
     slain before Israel....And the LORD delivered them into 
     the hand of Israel, who defeated them....They attacked 
     them until they left none of them remaining. (Joshua 
     11:4, 6).

In Joshua 11:7 through 24, there is a list of thirty-one Canaanite kings the Israelites defeated!

But that first assault against Jericho was unique! God gave Joshua instructions that just didn’t make sense…to the human mind! But by faith he followed the LORD’s instructions, and victory resulted!

Hebrews 11:1 and 6 tell us:

     Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the 
     evidence of things not seen....But without faith it 
     is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God 
     must believe that He is [exists], and that He is a 
     rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

The instructions that God gives us to live our lives and accomplish His work cannot be comprehended by human reasoning based on our five natural senses: touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing. Faith makes the things of God we can’t see real and solid! So, “…the just shall live by faith…,” we are told four times in the Bible – Habakkuk 2:4, Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11, and Hebrews 10:38. God uses words sparingly! If it is written four times in Scripture, it must be important! There is no other way but by faith to please our Heavenly Father!

That’s why Joshua was successful! By faith he believed the LORD! It might have sounded foolish to General Douglas McArthur of World War II fame, to march around a city blowing rams’ horns and shouting. But…the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” (I Corinthians 1:25).

That’s why Joshua is listed Hebrews 11 in the Hall of Heroes, those who lived by faith!

What is God leading you to do by faith?

The Miraculous Red Sea Crossing! Hebrews 11:29

Red Sea Crossing | We Are Israel

(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

In this Gem I am using the same featured Scripture as in the last Gem, Heroes With Feet of Clay! – XI: By faith…[the Israelites] passed through the Red Sea as by dry land, whereas the Egyptians, attempting to do so, drowned.” I have been thinking about this miraculous Red Sea crossing, and I want to bring these thoughts to you.

How many Israelites left Egypt under the leadership of Moses?

  • According to the first census recorded in Numbers 1:45 and 46:
     ...all who were numbered of the children of Israel, by 
     their fathers' houses, from twenty years old and above, 
     all who were able to go to war in Israel – all who were 
     numbered were six hundred and three thousand five hun-
     dred and fifty. 

603,550 men of fighting age, 20 years old and above! The passage does not say anything about an upper age limit for soldiering. It does say that Caleb, at 85 years old, was still ready to fight the Canaanites (see Joshua 14:10-12). But there must have been a number of older men who could not be counted as soldiers.

  • What about women, children, and young men under twenty? By the census records in I Chronicles, the first ten chapters, some of the Hebrew families were quite large – even up to ten or more children! (see Judges 8:30; I Chronicles 8:38, 40; 21:20).
  • Also, according to Exodus 12:38, “A mixed multitude went up with them also….” How many, we don’t know, but they are called a multitude.

Conservative estimates of the number of people who, led by Moses, left Egypt are about two to three million! But if 75% of the men of soldier age were married and had families, and the average family consisted of six people, then a better estimate of Israel’s size (plus the mixed multitude and older non-soldiers) would be three to four million people!

As discussed in the last Gem, the Gulf of Suez is the most likely route the Israelites took as they crossed that northern arm of the Red Sea:

  • The Gulf of Suez is 12 to 20 miles wide. If we take a median width, the crossing of this gulf would be 16 miles.

The average depth of the Gulf of Suez is 130 feet, with a maximum depth of 230 feet. Again, taking the median depth of 180 feet, that is about how high the walls of water would be on either side of the Israelites as they crossed the dry seabed!

How long would it take for the children of Israel to cross the Gulf of Suez?

  • Let’s take for example a wagon train traveling west 150 years ago. With oxen or horses pulling the covered wagons; with children sometimes walking; with herds of cows, horses, sheep, goats – a wagon train might travel at about 2 miles per hour, and cover ten miles a day, maybe 20 miles on a very good day! (see https://www.californiatrail center.org).
  • Although we don’t know the width of the path through the water, let’s work with some figures:
If the width of the path between the walls of 
         water was 100 feet wide, maybe 20 people (plus 
         animals) could form the first line (although 
         I’m quite sure it was not an orderly marching 
         body of people).  That would give each person 
         five feet of left-to-right space.  But the 
         length of the crossing Israelites would be 
         150,000 lines of people!  And if each line had 
         five feet front-to-back in which to walk, the 
         line of Israelites would be 142 miles long!

So if we widen the path through the Gulf of Suez 
         to 500 feet, the line would be almost 28 and 1/2 
         miles long!

     Widen the path to a mile wide between the walls 
         of water.  The length of the line of the crossing 
         Israelites would be 2 and 7/10 miles long!

All this to say, it was a massive movement of people and animals that crossed the Gulf of Suez! It probably took a full 24 hour day! The Scripture does not say exactly how many hours it took to cross the gulf, but here is what is written:

  Exodus 14:21 – “Then Moses stretched out his 
         hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea 
         to go back by a strong east wind all that 
         night....Exodus 14:22, 23 – “So the children of Israel 
         went into the midst of the sea on the dry ground
         ....And the Egyptians pursued and went after them 
         into the midst of the sea....Exodus 14:24, 26 – “...in the morning watch...
         the LORD said to Moses, ‘Stretch out your hand 
         over the sea, that the waters may come back upon 
         the Egyptians....Exodus 14:27 – “...and when the morning appeared, 
         the sea returned to its full depth....So the LORD 
         overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea.

From these Scriptures, it seems to indicate that when God parted the waters, the east wind He sent blew all night, and completed the job by the morning of the next day. The next 24 hours, the Israelites crossed. Then, on that morning, when His chosen people were safe on the Sinai side of the gulf, God made the sea waters return, and the Egyptians drowned!

It must have been an exhausting day for the Hebrew people!

  • They marched all day and night across the dry seabed!
  • I think many were terrified, especially at the beginning of the march, to walk a path through the gulf with waters standing on either side up to 180 feet high!
  • Also, the entire Egyptian army began to follow them, with chariots, horses, and foot soldiers rushing to overtake the fleeing Israelites!

But they had a leader with total confidence in the LORD! For He had told Moses, and Moses told 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. The LORD will fight for you, 
     and you shall hold your peace. (Exodus 14:13 and 14).

What can we learn from this? God is mighty, and He can accomplish anything! Also, He raises up leaders who are in touch with the Almighty, and who will help us find a way through to victory! And He gives us His Word…

     ...thus says the LORD, who created you...and He 
     who formed you...“Fear not, for I have redeemed 
     you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine. 
     When you pass through the waters, I will be with 
     you; and through the rivers, they shall not over-
     flow you. When you walk through the fire, you 
     shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch 
     you. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One...
     your Savior....” (Isaiah 43:1 through 3).

It is as Jesus says to us in Hebrews 13:5; Matthew 28:20:

I will never leave you, nor forsake you….
I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

Heroes With Feet of Clay! – XI Hebrews 11:29

(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

Moses, that great Old Testament hero of faith listed in Hebrews 11. I thought that two, maybe three Gems would cover his six-verse entry in the Hall of Faith! But this is the fourth Gem concerning him! Hebrews 11:29, our featured Scripture, doesn’t mention him, either by name or pronoun, but he figures prominently in this short verse!By faith…[the Israelites] passed through the Red Sea as by dry land, whereas the Egyptians, attempting to do so, drowned.

  • Moses was called by the LORD to lead the children of Israel out of slavery in Egypt. But he tried to fulfill that call on his own initiative when he rescued a fellow Hebrew from being whipped, killing the Egyptian taskmaster! Pharaoh found out, and Moses ran for his life!
  • Forty years later, after being gentled by a shepherd’s life in the wilderness of Sinai, God called him, saying, “Come now…and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.” (Exodus 3:10). Moses tried to argue his way out of this task, but you don’t win many arguments with God!
  • Ten plagues later, with the tenth being the death of all the firstborn of man and beast throughout Egypt, Moses led the Israelites, about two to three million strong, out of the land of their slavery!
  • God personally showed the way! We are told in Exodus 13:21, “…the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light….
  • But He led them …to turn and camp before Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, opposite Baal Zephon…” (Exodus 14:1). By all human logistics, God escorted them into a trap – the mountains behind them, the Red Sea before them, and, with the king of Egypt reconsidering having let all those Hebrew slaves go, “…all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, his horsemen and his army…overtook them camping by the sea…” (Exodus 14:9).
  • …the children of Israel…were very afraid….‘Because there were no graves in Egypt,” they wailed to Moses,have you taken us away to die in the wilderness?” (Exodus 14:10 and 11). But Moses calmed the people, saying, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD….For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever.” (Exodus 14:13).
  • Moses held out his hand holding the rod of God over the water, “…and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea into dry land, and the waters were divided.” (Exodus 14:21).

This is where our featured Scripture comes in: “By faith…[the Israelites] passed through the Red Sea as by dry land, whereas the Egyptians, attempting to do so, drowned.

  • It took faith to believe in a deliverance when the vast Egyptian army was almost upon them!
  • It took faith for Moses to stand there at the edge of the Red Sea, holding out the rod of God, believing that the LORD would make a way through the water to victory!
  • It was by faith that the Israelites walked the sea bed with great walls of water on each side!
  • It took faith to believe the pursuing Egyptian army would not overtake them in that path through the waters! And they didn’t! They all drowned when God brought the liquid walls down upon Pharaoh’s army!

I did a bit of research on the internet concerning the Gulf of Suez, the most likely route of the Israelites as they crossed that northern arm of the Red Sea:

     ✡   The Gulf of Suez is 12 to 20 miles wide.  It would 
         have taken the Israelites a full day’s march, and 
         maybe more, for two to three million people to cross 
         that seabed!

     The average depth of the Gulf of Suez is 130 feet, 
         with a maximum depth of 230 feet.  That means the 
         walls of water on either side of the Israelites as 
         they marched across the sea bed was about 150 feet 

But Hebrews 11:29 says nothing about Mosesclay feet (his short-comings). So where do his feet of clay come in?

  • Previous to this episode in the life of this great man, we certainly have seen blunders, doubts, and angry actions as Moses struggled with the LORD’s leading! Look back over the preceding three Gems if you can’t call to mind his clay feetthinking and actions!
  • It wasn’t but three days after the miraculous crossing of the Red Sea that the Israelites complained against Moses about having no water (see Exodus 15:24); and again about lack of food (see Exodus 16:2, 3); and yet again they griped because they were thirsty! (see Exodus 17:1, 2).
  • According to Exodus 18:13 Moses tried to take on himself too much: …Moses sat to judge the people; and the people stood before Moses from morning until evening.” It wasn’t until his father-in-law Jethro told him, “Both you and these people will surely wear yourselves out. For this…is too much for you…” (Exodus 18:18). Upon Jethro’s advice, “…Moses chose able men and made them heads over the people….So they judged the people at all times.” (Exodus 18:25 and 26).
  • Again, in Numbers 11, the people complained about the lack of variety in their diet. They only had manna – God’s daily provision of …angels’ food…” (Psalm 78:25). So they griped, Who will give us meat to eat?” (Numbers 11:4). This time Moses ‘lost itbefore God!
     Why have You afflicted Your servant? And why have I 
     not found favor in Your sight, that You have laid the 
     burden of all these people on me? Did I conceive all 
     these people? Did I beget them, that You should say 
     to me, “Carry them in your bosom, as a guardian car-
     ries a nursing child,” to the land which You swore 
     to their fathers?  Where am I to get meat to give to 
     all these people? For they weep all over me, saying, 
     “Give us meat, that we may eat.”  I am not able to 
     bear all these people alone, because the burden is 
     too heavy for me.  If You treat me like this, please 
     kill me here and now – if I have found favor in Your 
     sight – and do not let me see my wretchedness! 
     (Numbers 11:11 through 15).
  • Perhaps the biggest incident in which Moses showed his clay feet is found in Numbers 20:7 through 12. The people complained about having no water. So God told Moses, Take the rod…and…Speak to the rock before their eyes, and it will yield its water.
     So Moses took the rod from before the LORD....And Moses 
     and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the 
     rock; and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels!  Must 
     we bring water for you out of this rock?” Then Moses 
     struck the rock twice with his rod, and the water came 
     out abundantly....

Why was it so wrong when Mosesstruck the rock twice”? God had said, “Speak to the rock…! So the first reason is Moses disobeyed God! But there are three more reasons concerning this incident that we can learn from the New Testament:

  • Paul says of the Israelites in I Corinthians 10:4, They…all drank from the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual rock that followed them, and that rock was Christ.
  • Jesus Christ only needed to be smitten once, and that when He was mocked, beaten, and crucified! As it says in Hebrews 9:25 and 26:
     ...not that he should offer Himself often, as the high 
     priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with the 
     blood of [the sacrificial animal]...He then would have 
     had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; 
     but now...Christ was offered once to bear the sins of 
  • Now that He has been smitten once, all we have to do is speak to Him to procure blessings from Him! As we are told in Hebrews 4:16, “Let us come boldly before the throne of grace [just speaking to our Lord Jesus], that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Moses was a faulty human being, just like the rest of us! But, with all his faults, he offered himself to God!

Even with all our clay-footedfaults,
if we offer ourselves to God,
He will do mighty things with us and through us!

Heroes With Feet of Clay! – X Hebrews 11:28

(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

Hebrews 11:28 speaks of an act of faith by Moses and all the Israelites the night before they were driven out of Egypt: “By faith he [Moses] kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, lest he who destroyed the firstborn should touch them.” The Passover had not been kept before, or even named until that fateful night when the angel of death took life from every firstborn child of every Egyptian family, as well as the firstborn of all the country’s livestock! But for every Hebrew family, God gave instructions though Moses to escape the devastation, telling them…

     On the tenth day of this month...take...a lamb...a 
     male...without blemish...of the first year...and...
     keep it until the fourteenth day of the...month.  
     Then...kill it at twilight.  And...some of the blood 
     ...put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel....
     For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that 
     night, and will strike all the firstborn...both man 
     and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will 
     execute judgment; I am the LORD.  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...destroy you when I strike the land 
     of Egypt. (Exodus 12:3, 5-7, 12, 13).

…I will pass over you…This is where the annual celebration of Passover gets its name! And the Jews have celebrated this holy day for over 3, 400 years! This killing of the firstborn was the tenth plague sent upon Pharaoh and the Egyptians. Each plague not only incrementally destroyed the land and impoverished the people, but each one was also designed by God to show forth His power over the many gods of Egypt!

  • The Nile River was the lifeline of Egypt! The water nourished the crops, provided fish for food, and was a main means of transportation.
     ♀   The god Khnum was viewed as the giver and guardian 
         of the Nile!  

     Hapi was the god credited with the necessary annual 
         flooding of the river that replenished the topsoil 
         and filled the marshes with birds and other game.  

     ♀   The gods Sodpet and Satet were also linked to the 
         annual flooding.  

     ♀   The Nile was thought to be the bloodstream of Osiris, 
         god of the underworld!

When Moses brought forth the first plague (see Exodus 7:19-21) by striking the water with the rod of God in his hand, the entire river turned to blood, as well as the water in pots and jars throughout Egypt! The fish died and the land stank! For seven days there was blood throughout the land!

  • Heqet, goddess of birth and wife of the creator of the world, was depicted with a female body and the head of a frog! The primordial gods Nun, Kek, and Heh were each depicted as a man with a frog’s head! So the second plague (see Exodus 2-6) was a supernatural and overpowering invasion of frogs!
  • The third plague (see Exodus 8:16, 17) was the dust of the land becoming lice! Geb was supposed to bring forth bounty from the land. Instead of bountiful crops, the ground produced bountiful lice! The god of healing was Imhotep, and the god Har-pa-khered was supposed to ward off dangerous creatures, but the three gods all failed in this plague!
  • In the original Hebrew language, the forth plague (see Exodus 8:20-23) is not “…swarms of flies…,” but just “…swarms… of some type of flying insect, most likely the scarab beetle! The god Kheper was depicted as a man with a scarab beetle (a dung beetle) in place of his head! Dung beetles pushed balls of manure around the ground. So Kheper, as a dung beetle, similarly pushed the sun across the sky! The god of the dung beetle was defeated!
  • Moses announced the fifth plague to Pharaoh in Exodus 9:3 and 4: “…the hand of the LORD will be on your cattle…horses…donkeys…camels…oxen…and…sheep….the LORD will make a difference between livestock of Israel and the livestock of Egypt.” According to verse 6, “…the next day, all the livestock of Egypt died; but…of Israel, not one died.” This judgement was against the following Egyptian gods…
     The creation god Ptah was represented by the Apis 

     The creator sun gods Atum and Re were represented 
         by the black bull Mer-wer.

     Sky and creation goddesses Nut and Neith were de-
         picted as a celestial cow giving birth to the uni-
         verse and other gods.

     The great mother goddess was Hathor, depicted as 
         a cow-headed goddess.
  • The sixth plague is described in Exodus 9:8 through 10: “…the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, ‘Take…ashes from a furnace, and…scatter it toward the heavens….it will become fine dust…and cause boils…[and] sores on man and beast….Again, nothing happened to the Israelites! This dealt a severe blow to Egypt’s healing deities; Imhotep, god of medicine; Thoth, the god of intelligence and medical learning; Nefertem, god of healing; Sekhmet, goddess of healing and war; and Isis, who was thought to have brought the dead god Osiris back to life! They all could do nothing!
  • The seventh plague was hail and fire which beat down “…the flax and…barley…and broke every tree…,” except “…in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel were…” (Exodus 9:25, 26, 31). Totally discredited were Nut, the sky goddess; Shu, the god of air and bearer of heaven; Horus, the hawk-headed sky god of Upper Egypt; Seth, god of storms and protector of crops; Neper, god of grain crops; and Osiris, ruler of life and vegetation.

The Egyptians had already lost all the fish in the Nile (see Exodus 7:21), now their barley was gone, further reducing their food supply. Flax, was much in demand because they made fabric for clothing from this plant.

  • Locusts, the eighth plague, brought further devastation! …Moses and Aaron… said…to Pharaoh…‘…locusts…shall cover the…earth…and…eat…what is left…from the hail, and…every tree…of the field. They shall fill your houses…’ ”(Exodus 10:3-6). Where was Anubis, guardian of the fields? And Osiris, the chief agricultural god? What about He, Isis, Seth, and Neper? Shu, god of the air, and Amun, god of the wind – all these gods were supposed to protect the Egyptians – but all failed!
  • The ninth plague was darkness! Here is what it says in Exodus 10:21 through 23:
     ...the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand to-
     ward heaven, that there may be darkness over...Egypt, 
     darkness which may even be felt.” So Moses [did so]...
     and there was thick darkness in...Egypt three days. 
     They did not see one another; nor did anyone rise from 
     his place....But all the children of Israel had light 
     in their dwellings. 

There were only two other times when there was such darkness:

     Genesis 1:1 and 2 – “In the beginning God created the 
         heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and 
         void; and darkness was on the face of the deep.    ✞    During Jesus’ crucifixion in Luke 23:44 and 45 – “And 
         it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness 
         over all the earth until the ninth hour.  And the sun 
         was darkened....

The god of the sun was the most important god in Egypt! In this land of sunshine almost every day, three days of utter darkness, when nothing could be seen, had to be a terrifying experience! This darkness dramatically showed forth the impotence of the sun god Amon-Ra! As were all the other gods of Egypt, Amon-Ra was power-less before the omnipotent God of Israel!

  • The tenth and final plague is described in Exodus 12:29:
     And it came to pass at midnight that the LORD struck 
     all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the first-
     born of Pharaoh...to the firstborn of the captive...in 
     the dungeon, and all the firstborn of livestock. 

Again, none of the gods of Egypt could challenge or change what the LORD God of the Hebrews was doing! It was the final straw! Pharaoh told Moses and Aaron, Rise and go…both you and the children of Israel….serve the LORD as you have said. Also take your flocks and herds…and be gone….” (Exodus 12:31 and 32).

None of the children of Israel were harmed in any of the ten plagues! Our featured Scripture highlights the last one, when the Israelites marked their doors with the blood of the lamb! God’s judgment of death did not touch anyone safely behind the blood!

Does this remind you of the following most important truths in the New Testament?

  • God’s judgment of eternal death is upon everyone! In Romans 5:18 we are told, “…by the offence of one [our first father Adam] judgment came upon all men to condemnation….
  • Romans 3:23 – “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
  • Romans 5:8 – “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
  • We must do what Romans 10:9 says:…if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
  • John 1:29 – “The next day John [the Baptist] saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!’
  • Jesus, the Lamb of God, shed His blood on the cross – for you, for me, for all people!
  • Revelation 1:5 – “…Jesus Christ…loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood….
  • Now all who are under blood of the Lamb of God (behind the blood-stained door, as it were) are eternally safe from God’s judgment of…the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8).
  • By the way, Jesus also said in John 10:9, “I am the door [like the blood-stained door of the Israelites in Egypt]. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.

There is one more thing to learn from the LORD God’s defeat of all the so-called powerful Egyptian gods. As He said in Jeremiah 32:27, “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me? ” Now link this all-powerful God to what is written in Romans 8:31 and 32:

     What shall we say to these things?  If God is for us, 
     who can be against us? He who did not spare His own 
     Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not 
     with Him freely give us all things?

By faith he [Moses] kept the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood….” (Hebrews 11;28). By faith let us claim eternal life in Jesus Christ our Savior, and let us claim all that He has given us in this eternal life!

As shown in the last two Gems, Moses had feet of clay! But…

…isn’t it amazing what God can do with imperfect people?

Heroes With Feet of Clay! – IX Hebrews 11:27

(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

This Gem is the second of three concerning the life of Moses. It is based on Hebrews 11:27: “By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible.

This incident in Moses life takes place 40 years after he fled Egypt and the wrath of Pharaoh when he killed an Egyptian taskmaster who was beating a Hebrew slave, and hid his body in the sand. Stephen, in recounting the incident in Act 7 tells us in verse 25, “For he supposed that his brethren would have understood that God would deliver them by his hand….But his fellow Hebrews rejected Moses’ first attempt of deliverance! (see Exodus 2:14). He was right in thinking that God was going to use him to free the Israelites from Egyptian bondage, but his timing was just a little off – forty years off!

So he ran! And he ended up along the eastern coast of the Gulf of Aquaba, in Midian (now part of Saudi Arabia and Jordan). There, by a well, he rescued seven daughters of the priest of Midian who were being bullied by some shepherds! Their appreciative father invited Moses to stay with the family, and he ended up marrying Zipporah, one of the seven! For forty years he stayed in Midian, working as a shepherd, caring for his father-in-law’s sheep, the sedentary life of a sheep farmer…..until he …came to Horeb, the mountain of God…! (Exodus 3:1 – also known as Mount Sinai).

     And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of 
     fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, 
     the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not 
     consumed....So when the Lord saw that he turned aside 
     to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush 
     and said, “Moses, Moses! ...I am the God of your father
     — the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of 
     Jacob....I have surely seen the oppression of My people 
     who are in Egypt....So I have come down to deliver them 
     out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up 
     from that land...to a land flowing with milk and honey 
     ....Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh 
     that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, 
     out of Egypt.”  (Exodus 3:2, 4, 6-8, 10).

Although Moses argued with God that he could no longer be the deliverer of Israel, God finally won out! (see Exodus 3:11-4:17). So Moses went back to Egypt, and through several confrontations with Pharaoh, and ten terrible plagues upon the Egyptians, the Hebrew slaves were finally set free! It was the last plague that tilted the scale in favor of the Israelites:

     Then Moses said, “Thus says the LORD: ‘About midnight I 
     will go out into the midst of Egypt; and all the first-
     born in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn 
     of Pharaoh who sits on the throne, even to the firstborn 
     of the maidservant who is behind the handmill, and all 
     the firstborn of the beasts. (Exodus 11:4, 5). 

But God gave instructions to all the Israelites to kill a lamb and smear its blood on the lintel and two sides of the entrance doors to their houses…

     For I will pass through the land of Egypt...and will 
     strike all the firstborn...both man and beast....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...destroy you.... 
     (Exodus 12:12, 13).

The Jews have celebrated this Passover event for over three thousand years!

Back to our featured Scripture, Hebrews 11:27: “By faith he [Moses] forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible.” Because he was “…not fearing the wrath of the king…,” this cannot refer to the first time he ran from Egypt forty years before. For we are told in Exodus 2:14 and 15, “…Moses feared and…fled from the face of Pharaoh….This verse refers to the multiple confrontations Moses and Aaron had with Pharaoh concerning the ongoing plagues, and the king became more and more angry as time went on! And when he forsook Egypt this second time, Moses led about two million Israelites out with him!

But what about the second part of Hebrews 11:27? “…for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible.This was the motivation that kept him and his brother going through the (apparently) months long process of administering the ten plagues! How could he see Him who is invisible?

  • For God told Moses in Exodus 33:20 – “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me and live.
  • And we are told in I Timothy 6:15 and 16 – God…is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see….

While Moses did see God’s back (see Exodus 33:21-23; 34:5-7), he never saw the face of God! But it says in Hebrews 11:27 that he did see Him who is invisible! And the way it is written, “…seeing Him who is invisible…,” it gives the idea that Moses was constantly living with God in view! How? As it says in Hebrews 11:27, “By faith…he endured as seeing Him who is invisible.” It is written in Hebrews 11:1 and 6:

     Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evi-
     dence of things not seen....for he who comes to God must 
     believe that He is [that He exists], and that He is a 
     rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

No, we can’t physically see the One who dwells in unapproachable light! But we can see Him by faith! As Jesus said in John 20:29, “Blessed are those who have not seen…Me…and yet have believed.Blessed indeed!

  • Moses kept on going, even in the face of what sometimes seemed like insurmountable odds, because by faith he kept his eyes on the invisible God!
  • We also have more means to build our faith than Moses had! He had very few words of God to grow his faith! We have the complete Bible, which reveals our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who …is the image of the invisible God…” (Colossians 1:15). And remember: “…faith comes…by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17). As Paul wrote in Colossians 3:16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly….

So keep on dwelling in the Word of God!
And that will keep your eyes on Jesus!
And keep on serving the Lord!

Heroes With Feet of Clay! – VIII Hebrews 11:24-26

(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

Moses is such a great figure in the Old Testament that just one Gem could not do him justice! So we will feature him in two or three Gems. This first one needs quite a bit of study because, at first glance, it does not seem to reflect accurately the Old Testament record. Here is Hebrews 11:24 through 26:

     By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be 
     called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather 
     to suffer affliction with the people of God than to 
     enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the re-
     proach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of 
     Egypt, for he looked to the reward.

The picture above represents a dark episode in Moses life. This is what happened according to Exodus 2:11 through 15:

     Now...when Moses was grown [when he was forty years 
     old according to Acts 7:23]...he went out to see his 
     brethren and looked at their burdens.  And he saw an 
     Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his brethren.  So
     ...when he saw no one [looking], he killed the Egyp-
     tian and hid him in the sand.

But someone did witness the murder! The next day Moses went out again. Seeing…

     ...two Hebrew men fighting, and he said to the one 
     who did the wrong, “Why are you striking your com-
     panion?”  Then [the man]...said, “Who made you a 
     prince and a judge over us?  Do you intend to kill 
     me as you killed the Egyptian?” (Exodus 2:13, 14).

Moses was found out! And when word got to Pharaoh, …he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled….” (Exodus 2:15).

In Stephen’s testimony recorded in Acts 7, he gives an added detail in verse 25: “For he supposed that his brethren would have understood that God would deliver them by his hand….” So, apparently, Moses had an idea of his call as Israel’s deliverer at least forty years before God called him at the burning bush in Exodus 3!…when…he went out to see his brethren and looked at their burdens…,he had already in his mind identified with his fellow Israelites instead of the Egyptian royalty of his upbringing!

What does it mean when it says in Hebrews 11:25 and 26, He had opportunity to “…enjoy the passing pleasures of sin…[and] the treasures of Egypt…”? Some Bible scholars think that Moses, being the adopted grandson of Pharaoh (see Exodus 2:10; Hebrews 11:24), may have been in line to ascend to the throne of Egypt as the next Pharaoh!

There are another couple of phrases in our featured Scripture from Hebrews 11 that need our attention and an explanation. It says, Moses chose “…rather to suffer affliction with the people of God… esteeming the reproach of Christ…for he looked to the reward.Where did all that come from? Remember back in Exodus 2:7 through 10 the story of his birth and first three months of life?

     Then his sister [Miriam] said to Pharaoh’s daughter, 
     “Shall I go and call a nurse for you from the Hebrew 
     women?”  And Pharaoh’s daughter said...“Go.”  So 
     [Miriam]...called the child’s mother.  Then Pharaoh’s 
     daughter said to her, “Take this child...and nurse 
     him for me....”  And the child grew, and she brought 
     him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son.

Back in Bible days, mothers nursed their children for a much longer time than in modern America. Some sources say up to twelve years of age, but a more reasonable age to wean a child is at three years. There is a passage in the Apocrypha, II Maccabees 7:27, where a mother is encouraging her youngest son to stand strong in the face of persecution:

     My son, have pity on me. Remember that I carried you 
     in my womb for nine months and nursed you for three 
     years. I have taken care of you and looked after all 
     your needs up to the present day. 

So Jochebed had total influence over Moses for at least three years! And I imagine that Pharaoh’s daughter, who showed kindness at the beginning of Moseslife, kindly allowed that strong connection to continue between mother and son! If that is true, what do you think Jochebed and her husband Amram would have done with that time they had with their son? They would have poured their knowledge of Jehovah God and the history of the Israelite people into young Moses! Is it any wonder he had a strong affinity for his fellow Hebrews?

But he had a poor sense of timing! It took another forty years for God to form the leader of the Exodus!

Clay feet? Yes, Moses had them, as they say, in spades! But starting at age 80, God used this man for His glory as no other!

And He can do the same for you and me!