Sermon #     69                                                  Hebrews Notes


     Title:            Faith Delivers – Presumption Destroys

     Text:            Hebrews 11:29

     Readings:     Larry Criss & Larry Brown

     Subject:       Faith Does The Impossible

     Date:            Tuesday Evening -- ,2001

     Tape #         W-73a



Hebrews 11 shows us, by numerous examples, what true, saving faith is. By contrast, it also shows us what faith is not. In this chapter, we see faith doing things that are impossible with men, doing things which only God almighty, with whom nothing is impossible, can do. You see, the power of faith, the strength of faith lies not in us but in the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Object of all true faith. So when men and women do things believing God, it is not them, but Christ who is doing the work: doing it through them, yes, but he is the One doing the work.


This blessed gift of faith, the work and operation of God in his people performs great works indeed. Faith in Christ enables weak, helpless sinners, sinners who believe God, to perform supernatural acts, overcome impossible difficulties, and endure trials which it is impossible for flesh and blood to endure. Tonight, we have another tremendous example of this in Hebrews 11:29.


(Hebrews 11:29)  By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned.


The title of my message will give you the direction of the sermon: -- Faith DeliversPresumption Destroys. Israel passed through the Red Sea as by dry land, because they believed God. The Egyptians attempting top do the same thing in the strenth and energy of the flesh were destroyed.


It was faith that enabled Israel to enter a miraculously formed valley between two mountainous ridges of water, crossing over safely to the other side of the Red Sea. Perhaps you are thinking, “Bro. Don, that is a wonderful thing to read about, but what does it really have to do with us?” I’m glad you asked.


In much the same way, true, saving faith, faith in Christ, is that which enables believers to pass through and overcome trials and troubles that utterly destroy others. As it was faith in Christ that enabled those men of old ultimately to enter into and take possession of Canaan, so it is faith in Christ that will soon land us safe on Canaan’s happy shore and enable us to take possession of heaven’s eternal bliss.


There is not a greater example of the contrast between faith and presumption in the whole Book of God than that which is before us in Hebrews 11:29. We have before us the ultimate end and result of the long controversy the Egyptians and the Israelites. This is clearly a type and picture what will be the last end of the conflict between the world and the church. It has been a long and bitter conflict (Cain and Abel – Ishmael and Isaac – Solomon and David); but it shall soon end in the sudden appearance of Christ for the complete salvation of his church and the utter destruction of his enemies.


The example of faith before us in this text is remarkable, indeed. It was night when children of Israel undertook their flight out of Egypt. Through the darkness they fled, moved by faith. Through the darkness Pharaoh and the huge Egyptian army presumptuously and blindly pursued them, moved by envy, hatred and lusts. At last, the hour arrived when the long-insulted forbearance of the Almighty was to be avenged.


(Exodus 14:24-25)  And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the LORD looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians, 25 And took off their chariot wheels, that they drave them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the LORD fighteth for them against the Egyptians.


     It was too late. The Lord had begun to fight against them. Once Jehovah unsheathes his sword of justice, he does not put it away until he has dipped it into the blood of his enemy! The haughty monarch of Egypt and those led by him learned suddenly and everlastingly that it is vain folly for any to be found fighting against God!


     That which was the path of deliverance for the believing Israelites (the Red Sea) was made the very gate of hell for the Egyptians. You see, every attempt of men to obtain in unbelief that which is obtained only by faith is doomed to everlasting disappointment.


     Oh, may God the Holy Spirit teach and convince you who believe not how vain it is to fight against God. Turn to him now. Sue for mercy, pleading the merits of Christ for your soul, lest he begins to fight against you this very hour!


Proposition: Faith in Christ enabled Moses, Joshua, Caleb, Aaron, Miriam and the believing Israelites to obtain what they could never have otherwise obtained. – Faith gave them strenth to obey the command of God and pass safely through the roaring Red Sea with complete safety.


·        Faith alone will enable us to obey God.

·        Faith alone will enable us to obtain the promise of grace.

·        God’s promises are promises to be taken; but they can only be taken by faith.




1.     The danger was very great.

2.     The deliverance was very glorious.

3.     The destruction was very grievous.

4.     The delight was very grand.


I. The danger was very great.


Exodus 14:10-12


Our text takes us back to what is recorded in Exodus 14. There we are informed that shortly after Pharaoh had consented to let Israel go, he hardened his heart again and repented of his grant. Being informed by his spies that the Israelites were trapped, he pursued them in his hot fury. When Pharaoh got within sight, the children of Israel cried out unto the Lord. And they said unto Moses, “Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? Wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness” (Ex. 14:10-12).


A. The chase


Pharaoh was pursuing them in great wrath.  Israel had fled from Egypt but now they were hemmed in. They were shut in with the wall of Egypt on one side, the wilderness on the other, the Red Sea before them, and Pharaoh behind them. What did they do? They complained.


B. The chiding -- They murmured against God.


1. They had eaten the Passover and God had protected them from the Death Angel.

2. They had walked out of Egypt with a high hand.

3. They did not believe the promise of God.

4. They did not trust the faithfulness of God.

5. They looked to their own strength rather than the power of God, and their hearts failed them.


     What was the result? God chastened them. He here tried their faith. Most of them failed the test. But there were a few who believed God – Moses, Joshua, Caleb, Aaron, Miriam, and an elect remnant.


NOTE: The unbelievers were preserved because of the believers (Acts 27:24).


C. The chastisement


God brought Israel to such a helpless and hopeless condition that they were constrained to trust Him. What could they do? Fight they dare not. Flee they could not. If the Lord had not shown himself strong on their behalf they would surely have perished. God guided them to this place!


1. God had promised to be for them. Now he was teaching them to rest confidently in his Covenant.


2. Child of God, has not he promised – “When thou passest through the waters I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee” (Isa. 43:2). What assurance there is in that for his believing child.



The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose,

I will not, I will not, desert to its foes.

That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,

I’ll never, no never, no never forsake!”


NOTE: No matter how deep the waters, no matter how dark the storm, no matter how strong the oppressor may be, God who cannot lie has said, “They shall not overflow thee!”


II. The deliverance was very glorious.


Exodus 14:13


“And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will show you today: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen today, ye shall see them again no more forever” (Ex. 14:13).


     Moses was undeterred by the murmuring of the people. Wisely he did not respond to their gripes. Rather, he turned their minds away from the outward danger and directed their hearts to Jehovah. They had “lifted up their eyes and beheld the Egyptians” (v. 10), and in consequence they were sore afraid; but there was something else for faith to see, namely, “the salvation (or deliverance) of the Lord,” which was not yet visible to natural sight. If they were stedfastly occupied with God’s salvation, their trembling hearts would be stilled.


A. The source of their flight. -- The children of Israel fled across the Red Sea from the armies of Pharaoh, but how?


1. God had brought them to the place that they now must look to Him. There was no human strength to which they could turn.


2. The Israelites were terrified at their oppressors.


3. Moses commanded them to “stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord.”


4. Application –


a. We are sometimes called upon to face great trials. A Red Sea of difficulty and trouble confronts them. We should observe that it was not an enemy who put the sea in their way, but God himself.


NOTE: How often a new born believer emerges from Egypt, thinking that now it will be easy to surrender everything to God, but after a while there is a Red Sea of testing before him, which seems impossible to cross.


b. Believers are often terrified by powerful enemies.


·        How often the Egyptians (our former sins) come upon us and we discover another law warring in our members, bringing us into captivity of the law of sin. Our sins seem more better than ever. -- In Egypt their task masters only appeared with their whips. Now they are mounted on chariots.


·        Satan hurls all the power of hell at us. Egypt now hates us.


c. We are often troubled with fainting hearts, too.


A faint, disbelieving heart is the worst foe a believer has in this world. When the anchor of faith is fixed deep in the Rock, he need never fear the storm. But when the hand of faith is palsied, or the eye of faith is dim, it will go hard for us in our pilgrimage.


B. The strength of their faith


1. Moses had a revelation from God, which he communicated to the people (Rom. 10:17). If he had had not revelation of God’s salvation, he would have drowned as he presumed to cross the sea.


NOTE: If was a revelation to the heart of what God would do (Rom. 8:26).


2. He acted upon the revelation. By faith he stretched out his rod and stepped into the sea. He must act.


3. Application – Here we are instructed how we are to act under great trials (Ex. 14:13-15).


(Exodus 14:13-15)  And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will show to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. 14 The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace. 15 And the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:


a. Fear not.” – Cease from all feverish activities. Trust, stop worrying.

b. Stand still.” – Turn from all self-help. Get down upon your knees and cry unto the Lord. “See the salvation of the Lord” – By faith.

c. Go forward. The believer is ready to go forward when by faith he has seen the deliverance of the Lord, before it is actually accomplished.


·        (1). We must learn the way of obedience.

·        (2). The Red Sea was the last thing the eye of the flesh would turn to as a way of escape.

·        (3). They were rewarded for stepping into the sea at God’s command (Ex. 14:22).


(Exodus 14:22)  And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.


NOTE: I do not think the waters parted until Moses’ foot stepped into them.


C. The Security of their freedom


1. There may have been some trembling Israelites who passed through the sea. But those who walked by faith were fully assured that God would deliver them. God who made the sea for them could certainly guide them through it (Rom. 8:1).


2. The God who makes your trials will also guide you through them until he brings you home (Rom. 11:36, 1 Cor. 10:13, John 10:28-30).


D. The symbolism


From the Scriptures (1 Cor. 10:1-2) we are taught that the passage of Israel through the Red Sea had the same signification as Christian baptism now has.


(1 Corinthians 10:1-2)  Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;


1. Israel’s baptism signified the distinction which God puts between Israel and Egypt. So does believer’s baptism. Redemption is pictured by power.


2. It showed their obedience to God’s command. So does believer’s baptism.


3. They were both performed upon the same grounds. -- The command of God and the promise of God (Ex. 14:13-16, Matt. 28:19, Mk. 16:16).


III. The destruction was very grievous


A. The reprobation


1. God reprobated Pharaoh at the same time in eternity that he chose Moses (Rom. 9:15-18; Prov. 16:4).

2. God reprobated Pharaoh because of his sin (Ex. 14:17).


(Exodus 14:17)  And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them: and I will get me honour upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.


NOTE: God fought against Pharaoh because Pharaoh fought against God (Ex. 14:24-25).


(Exodus 14:24-25)  And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the LORD looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians, 25 And took off their chariot wheels, that they drave them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the LORD fighteth for them against the Egyptians.


B. The resolution


The Egyptians resolved to pursue Israel into the sea. But theirs was not faith, but rash presumption. With similar presumption do many rush into eternity. There God will fight against you.


C. The restitution -- They had drowned the first born and now they are drowned.


D. The recognitionJehovah is God.


IV. The delight was very grand (Ex. 15:1-6)


(Exodus 15:1-6)  Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. 2 The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father's God, and I will exalt him. 3 The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name. 4 Pharaoh's chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red sea. 5 The depths have covered them: they sank into the bottom as a stone. 6 Thy right hand, O LORD, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O LORD, hath dashed in pieces the enemy.




1. Let us walk by faith, laying hold of the promises of God, marching onward to Zion.


2. Shall we not trust God to deliver us from every trial and every temptation.


3. Obedience that is the synonym for holiness.


4. You who dare live as rebels against God, beware, lest Jehovah begins to fight against you. When Jehovah begins to judge, he will overcome.