Morning Musing: Hebrews 12:1-2

“Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every hindrance and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy that lay before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

My oldest boys are running cross country this fall. Personally, I have enjoyed it immensely. It has been a nice, little nostalgia-fest for me of my own days running cross country. One of the things that was really emphasized when I was running was the importance of running light. Our shirts were made from the lightest material they could find. Our racing shorts were so short they barely covered our backside. And the best runners (a group that never included me) would pay huge prices for shoes that were as light as a feather. The goal was to eliminate anything that might slow you down because even fractions of a second could make a difference in a big race. As we turn the page at last on chapter 11, we find our author borrowing an illustration from the world of running to offer an encouragement in pursuing the life of faith. Let’s take a look at this with him.

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Digging in Deeper: Hebrews 11:27-29

“By faith he left Egypt behind, not being afraid of the king’s anger, for Moses persevered as one who sees him who is invisible. By faith he instituted the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn might not touch the Israelites. By faith they crossed the Red Sea as though they were on dry land. When the Egyptians attempted to do this, they were drowned.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

We’ve been in deep lately as we have been talking about living by faith and what that looks like practically in our lives. This morning, let’s lighten things up a bit. Instead of focusing on a single example, we are going to let the author lead us through a potpourri of examples from Moses’ life. These three examples don’t have a whole lot to do with one another except that they are all from Moses’ life. But I think there’s a lesson in each for us if we’ll listen for it. So, lean in with me this morning as we talk some more about faith.

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Digging in Deeper: Hebrews 11:23-26

By faith Moses, after he was born, was hidden by his parents for three months, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they didn’t fear the king’s edict. By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter and chose to suffer with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasure of sin. For he considered reproach for the sake of Christ to be greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, since he was looking ahead to the reward.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

We have been talking about living by faith for a few weeks now. The author of Hebrews, after defining faith for us (living out a belief in something we can’t see on the word of someone we trust), shifted gears to offering one example after another of what it looks like to live by faith. Essentially, it looks like doing what God says instead of what we or the world around us wants. In most circumstances, even in hostile-to-Christianity locations, this doesn’t involve anything terribly controversial. It is just denying ourselves in favor of the righteousness of Christ and loving our neighbors like Jesus loved us. But sometimes, living by faith can take us into more challenging territory. Instead of positively doing something, it involves actively not doing something or else rejecting opportunities we are expected to take. With some examples from the story of Moses, let’s talk today about a couple of the challenges of living by faith.

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Morning Musing: Hebrew 11:20-22

“By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come. By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and he worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff. By faith Joseph, as he was nearing the end of his life, mentioned the exodus of the Israelites and gave instructions concerning his bones.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

When we think about faith and having faith in God, we often think about grand, heroic acts pursued to God’s glory. After all, consider the stories of the various examples of faith to which the author of Hebrews has referred so far in this chapter. Enoch didn’t die. Abraham went on a long journey. Noah built an ark. If we encounter enough examples like this, eventually we can develop the idea that faith is something for super followers of God to exercise, but not necessarily average folks like us. This next collection of faith references brings things back down to earth. Let’s talk about some of Israel’s saltier patriarchs this morning, and how laudable faith can be mundane too.

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Morning Musing: Hebrews 11:13-16

“These all died in faith, although they had not received the things that were promised. But they saw them from a distance, greeted them, and confessed that they were foreigners and temporary residents on the earth. Now those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they were thinking about where they came from, they would have had an opportunity to return. But they now desire a better place – a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

I enjoy traveling. We don’t do it often, but there’s just something exciting about going somewhere, especially somewhere new. Still, as much fun as it may be, the whole time I’m gone, I am surpassingly aware of one very important fact: I’m not at home. As a result, even though I will adapt some to whatever my current environment may be, I am only ever going to go so far. The reason for this is simple: I’m not staying long. I will eventually return home. For all the ways I may adapt, then, I don’t want to make myself less fit for home by the effort, so I will only ever go so far. Otherwise, I will intentionally stick out as I live with home in mind. This is, of course, a metaphor for our life in Christ. Let’s talk about it.

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