Faith and attitude in relation to the One who redeemed us. For ye are not your own, ye have been bought with a price.
Now all the following words are involved with the Christian walk of faith.
Trust. Steadfastness. Commitment. Consistency. Determination.
The reason I am bringing up these words is because the O.T. saints quoted in Heb.11 are said to have all these characteristics. In fact their failings are not recorded in Heb.11 at all. We find that they trusted the Lord regardless of circumstances. Some subdued kingdoms and escaped the edge of the sword, but others were tortured, stoned, and slain by the sword. Those that triumphed you would say instantly, yes, the Lord was with them, but those that were murdered, in today’s language most people, including Christians, would consider them God forsaken losers. But not according to the word of God, they are as well listed in God’s Hall of Fame, for their faithfulness, and unswerving determination to do that which is right. Committed to carry out what God commanded them to do, regardless of the consequences, regardless whether they would be praised, mocked or even loose their life. No need to mention the contrast when compared with today’s so called Christianity.
This poses the question: "What motivated these Heroes of Faith in the O.Test."?
Just think of it. The list of names supplied in Heb.11 were all pioneers. By Faith, we are told, they accomplished things of which they had no previous example. Everyone, without EXCEPTION was rewarded. They not only have their name written in the Book of Hebrews, but their names are written in heaven, "This world was not worthy of them", Heb.11:38. From Ruth and Rahab which you might call the lower or poorer class of people, in contrast with Moses, who was in line for supreme control over Egypt. And of course from that position he could have organized a better life, a better deal for his own people the Israelites. But the Lord had other plans. He used one of the male children whom Pharaoh decreed should die as an infant, to overthrow this ungodly nation. Moses’s mother taught him well. His mother would have told Moses of God’s promise of Gen.15:3, that Abraham’s descendants would be in bondage for 400 years. Moses, like most of us, was impatient in fact tried 40 years earlier than when God had decreed it would happen. That was just a side step. We are told, By Faith, Moses refused and made choice for the people of God. Here again, worldly speaking you would have said he was a fool to pass up such an opportunity. Instead, Moses lost everything the human heart values. Position, power, prospects, popularity, privileges, but Moses knew that all these things are like grass and whither away. And here is the key; Moses looked past the temporal, and regarded the spiritual and heavenly things higher than the earthly.
Heb.11:24-26. Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt. Christ had followers before He was born. For he had - that is Moses- had respect unto the recompense of the reward. Recompense means to pay back, he understood that the Lord would make it up to him. Moses heard from God,- for faith cometh by hearing.
Moses walked by faith, and not by sight. He was occupied with the future and not the present. Ex.33:13-14. Side-step 2. The Lord appeared to Moses and Abraham, you don’t ever read that of Enoch or Noah.
In Gen.14 , when Abram returned from the slaughter of the Kings (Chederloamer and mates), he, in the presence of Melchisedeck and the King of Sodom, we are told, that Abram lifts his hand to the Lord, the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth, and refuses to take of the spoils of the battle from the King of Sodom, verse 23, lest thou shouldest say, I, (that is the King of Sodom) have made Abram rich. What the king of Sodom offered seemed quite reasonable since Abram’s special task force brought the victory in that battle. But Abram refused to take anything from the King of Sodom, he practically considered it a bribe of earthly wealth. Abram expected his prosperity to come from the Possessor of Heaven and Earth. Not just earthly things either. That’s why he paid tithes of all he had to Mechizedeck, priest of the Most High God. What happens right after this which is so amazing, for this we read, Gen, 15:1. AFTER THESE THINGS, the Lord comes with this Promise, "I am thy Shield",- a man just returned from battle, and more, "I am thy Reward", not earthly spoil,- but a heavenly Person. I AM THY REWARD, - the Lord assures Abram of the incorruptible, the eternal, and that is Himself.
What greater reward can there be ? Ps.16:5 says, "The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance, and my cup." That is the spiritual food and drink.
"My beloved is mine" - what a statement. Abram could say it, David could say it, -
can you say it in earnest and truth ?
"I AM THY EXCEEDING GREAT REWARD" What a Promise !!!!!
One more O.Test. Saint, and he is not even listed in Heb.11. But I would like to mention him this morning. His name is Boaz. The mighty man of wealth from Bethlehem. He said to this stranger gleaning in his field, "A reward to the full be given thee of the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust". Ruth 2:12. It was not long after this, that this Moabite girl realized that this wealthy prince loved her. And then she found out that the one who befriended her when she was gleaning in his field, had now redeemed her life from the condition of poverty. But he did not stop there, he did something far more wonderful to her, he gave to Ruth "Himself".
Surely that is REWARD IN FULL.
Can you see the parallel in regards to our Saviour ?Christ redeemed us at tremendous cost, and has given Himself to us. "Christ in us, The Hope of Glory".
Rom.8:32 "How shall God not with Him also freely give us all things"?
What motivated the men of faith in the past ? The answer is, God Himself , looking past the things that are now.
FAITH, TRUST, LOVE, OBEDIENCE, - remove just one of those and you have a broken wheel. Just one gone, and you have not the Truth.
To sum this all up. Coll. 3:2 is as true for the Christian in this dispensation, as it was for the saints in the O.Test. "Set not your affections on earthly things ", we are reminded, yet I want you to know that the very opposite is true of our Saviour. The Lord Jesus set His affection and love on us. He looked passed at what we are - to that what we shall be. Deut. 32:9 "FOR THE LORD’S PORTION IS HIS PEOPLE "
Dead fish flow with the stream, those that are alive swim against it. F.J.R.