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Faith in the Face of Death

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Bible Resitation:

è Hebrews 11 Intro Slide

Bill Baker will be reciting the word for us today.




Good morning.  Thank you Bill for reciting todays text in Hebrews. 

è Key Word – Faith (by faith)

AS we have heard and read from Chapter 11 it is obvious that it has a key topic to convey -  There is a word that is used over and over and that word is FAITH.  

è Pistis,  Faith Defined

belief in God,
belief in Jesus, the Messiah

è Key Usage – the formula

We see the phrase “by faith” used repetitively with the following formula:

By Faith  <someone>  did  <something>

This chapter is here,  to teach us about faith,  What it is,  and how to observe it by giving us hero’s,  or exemplary examples of faith.

è Outline  Chapter 11

This chapter has 9 easily identifiable topical partitions – but before we look at them in detail,  let’s look at the first and the last ones.

è Outline Book-ends

This chapter is an “INCLUSIO”.  That is,  the core of the chapter is surrounded by verses that alert us to the content of the chapter.

Vs1,2 tell us that by faith people of old were commended.
This opens the chapter and the inclusio.

Vs 40 closes the inclusio and tells us that though they received commendation through their faith, they had not received what had been promised.

The verses in between give us examples of those individuals and their faith.  Though commended they each were still waiting for the full promises of God.

è Outline – Examples Discussion

Abel, Enoch, and Noah

Abraham, & Sarah

Isacc, Jacob, and Joeseph

Moses Parents,  and Moses

The people of Israel, and Rahab

Judges, kings, and prophets in victory and persecution

è outline - Identify today’s text

Today,  we are going to be looking at Hebrews 11:20-22, 3 patriarchs of Israel including Isaac, Jacob and Joseph and their faith actions.

è Refresh and read our focus text of today.

Let’s go and read our text for today, It’s Hebrews 11:20-22

è Faith – Isaac blessing Jacob and Esau

You can see the formula here,  :by faith Isaac invoked future blessing on Jacob and Esau.

è Faith – Jacob blessing Ephriam and Manassa

Again the formula, “by faith Jacob when dying blessed the sons of Joseph and bowed in worship”

è Faith – Joseph Commanding Take me with you

Again the formula, “By faith, Joseph at the end of his life” shared of the exodus and commanded them to take HIM with them – not to leave him in Egypt, nor take him prematurely.

è Faith Summary

As we look at these three patriarchs, we see them all on or near their deathbed, prepared to die and looking to the future. 

How are these acts of faith?

If I were trying to pick examples of faith for these three individuals I am sure I could come up with good ones –

How about for Isaac when he willingly went up the hill and almost became the sacrifice –

Or for Jacob,  when he wrestled all night with “Gid” to receive a blessing from him –

Or for Joseph, as he forgives his brothers for their treachery against him because God has used it as a way to protect them all.

But maybe God through the author of Hebrews was trying to make a different point.

Deathbed statements are regularly regarded differently than non deathbed statements – even by our courts.  A person has little reason to hedge and shape the truth because it will not impact them any more (at least in this world).

Let’s look at three deathbed statements.

è Deathbed Statements

Nothing matters. Nothing matters.
~~ Louis B. Mayer, film producer, d. October 29, 1957

I die hard but am not afraid to go.
~~ George Washington, US President, d. December 14, 1799

Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.
From Luke 23:46 ~~ Jesus Christ

So,  let’s look at our three Patriarchs in Vs 20-22 and see if we can better understand how they demonstrate their faith in their pre-death actions and understand God’s message to us.

è Isaac Slide 1, Vs 20

Vs 20: ISSAC

20 By faith Isaac invoked future blessings on Jacob and Esau.

We read abouth Isaac’s blessing of Jacod and Esau in Gen 27. 

è Isaac Slide 2, References to Genesis

Gen 27:1-4  Issacc old and requests of Esau food for a blessing

Gen 27:5-17 Rebecca overhears and she plots with Jacob to get him the blessing

Gen 27:18-29  Jacob trickery is a success and he recieves the blessing

Gen 27:30-40- Esau returns, Issacc shacks and ?Esau only gets simple blessing

Gen 27:41-46 Rebecca convinces Issac to send Jacob away – to Laban

We see Isaac,  he is growing old,  he cannot see and realizes he is nearing death.  So,  he sends for his first born son – Esau and tells hhim: 

Go, hunt for game,  prepare me my favorite meal  and I will give you my blessing

Esau knows this is the family blessing,  the covenantal blessing and he grabs his bow and is on his way.

However,  off to the side out of site of Issac and Esau Rebecca has heard Issacs proposal and she calls Jacob – explains the situation and then conspires a plan for Jacob to go in and pretend to be Esau so that he can be blessed.  They execute their plan and Jacob recieves the blessing and leaves his father just before the return of Esau. 

You may ask – how is this an example of Faith.  In fact,  we know from Gen  25:19-27  that while pregnant with twin boys she received a word from God that said the younger brother was to be blessed,  and was God’s choice.

Gen 25:19-27 Foretold two nations in Rebecca – and the older is to serve the younger.

So,  Abraham knew that Jacob was God’s choice – but he loved Esau and sought to bless him.  Note however,  that as we continue reading when Esau returns and the fraud is discovered Abrham tremples – not in anger but in fear.  He has realized that God has thwarted his plans and Jacob was blessed as God fortold.   Abraham acknowledges – He fully surrenders to God,  and replies to Esau he who I have blessed will be blessed,  and gives a blessing to Esau,  but only a secondary blessing when compared to his brother Jacob’s.  We also do not see any attempt to refute the blessing given to Jacob based on the trickery. Rather we read of Jacob within days giving him a fuller blessing (knowingly) that reflects nearly all of the main points of the Abrhamin

Gen 28:1-5 Jacob is sent away to Laban but with a full blessing

So we see here,  a surrender,  totally to God as he passes on the covenant to Jacob.   God had elected Jacob in his plans and inspite of Issacs plot had acheved his ends.  Isaac a sojourner in the land living in tents passes on the promise of God, first given to Abrham,  repeated 3 times,  then given to Issac  Issac is now passing them onto Jacob.  Jacob by all that is normal should not have been the recipient but God chose HIM and ISACC surrendered his will to the invincible sovereignity of God.  Jacob receive the blessing that he would have many offspring, becoming a great nation and that they would have this land – the land that they now lived in in tents.

è JACOB Slide 1 Vs 21

Vs 21: JACOB

21 By faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, bowing in worship over the head of his staff.

Here, we are looking at Jacob,  in two different settings – The first, the blessing of Manassah and Ephraim from Gen 48:1-22.  The second,  Jacob worshiping is from Gen 47:29-31.

è JACOB Slide 2 References to Genesis

Gen 47:29-31 Joseph called to swear that he will bury Jacob back in cannon – Joseph swears,  and then Jacob worships

Gen 48:1-7 Joseph goes to sick Jacob who shares his plans to adopt Manassah and Ephriam as his own sons

Gen 48:8-14 Manassah and Ephriam are brought to Jacob who prepares to bless them but he crosses his hands placing his right hand on Ephriam

Gen 48:15-16 The blessing

Gen 48:17-19 Joseph objects but Jacob continues

Gen 48:20 the remaining blessing

Gen 48:21-22 the piece of land in Cannon

Gen 49:1-2 Jacob calls all the sons

Gen 49:3-28 Jacob blesses all the brothers individually

Gen 49:29 Jacob commands all to bring him to Cannon to bury with Leah.

So,  where do we have Jacob  at this time –

Ø             He is in Egypt, and has been for ~17 years

Ø             He is living an oppulant life with his family

Ø             He is old,  and having diffuculty seeing and decides it is time to pass on the covenant blessing. 

He calls on Joseph,  his most loved child who he had thought was dead but after many years discovered that he had been sold into slavery,  taken to Egypt,  and eventually became the governor, 2nd only to the Pharoh.

Joseph comes to Jacob with his two sons, Manasah and Ephraim and after sharing words of love,  Jacob announces that he wants to adopt Joesephs two sons as his own and give to Joeseph a dual portion.  Joseph brings the boys up,  Manassah to be on Jacobs right and Ephraim the younger to be on Jacobs left.  This is the way the blessing is to be done with the older on Jacobs right receiving the primary – the full blessing and the one on the left getting the lesser.

But to Josephs displeasure Jacob crosses his hands placing his right hand on Ephraim and his left hand on Manassah indicating that Ephraim will receive the larger,  more fuller blessing and the Manassah will receive the lesser.   Joseph protests but Jacob tells Joseph he knows, that this is the way it is.  This is God’s doing.  Jacob is showing his strengthened faith.   But what of this blessing.  We see Jacob, who has never lived in Cannon in other than a tent,  now living in Egypt  blessing Ephraim and Manassah to have the land – which neither of them had ever stepped in before.  And in fact the only thing in Cannon which Jacob owned was the burial ground which he has requested to be buried in. 

Jacob knew God would keep his promise.  Remember in Genesis 15 when God ratified the original covenant with Abraham.  Abraham procured, dressed and placed the pieces of the animals and then sat and waited for God.  When God returned ONLY God went through or between the animal pieces.   I so doing he is staking his “fate” to the completion of the covenant.  God asked notihing of Abraham.

Jacob,  just before giving this blessing had asked Joseph to take an oath,  to place his hand on his thigh,  committing to take him back to Cannon once he has died.  With Josephs acceptance of this Jacob worships God.   His blessing goes all the way to Genesis 12, and God’s promise that they are to be a great people,  a numerous people and that they will be in the land – the land of Cannon.   Jacob believed this even though he was at this instant miles away, and years away from Cannon – he believed that God would fulfill his promise and that promise he passed on to Ephriam and Mannassah giving Joseph a double blessing through the two and in a manor not of man but showing God’s election he gives Ephriam the youngest the greater blessing – that the greater would be under him,  and look to him.

Jacob in his strengthened faith worships knowing that in Josephs promise he is using his body in death to lead his people – to lead them back to Canon.  In faith he rested knowing that death was not the end.

The greater Jesus Christ came to die,   to present men with Attonement.  In John 12,  Jesus says Father, my hour has come, Glorify me as I bring man to you.  His faith rested in knowing that death is not the end.  

Authentic Christian Faith exploits death.  It is a strengthened faith.

è Joseph Slide 1 Vs 22


22 By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his bones.

è Joseph Slide 2 Genesis References

Gen 50:24-26 Joesph to die, he affirms that God will take them out of Egypt in the future and requests to have his bones taken to Cannon when the all leave

Think of this,  Joseph is now 110 years old.  More of Genesis is dedicated to him than any other person in Genesis.  He had been sold into slavery about the age of seventeen and from that point on,  his predominant religious input was Egyptian opulance and religions.

As dysfunctional as Jacob’s family was you have to consider that by the age of 17 Joseph had been infected with a love for Yahweh,  and an understanding of God’s covenant that had been given to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and now was his.  But,  he had also learned of the sojourn that Abrahams descendants would be taking that God shared with Abraham in Gen 15: 13-16 and it’s 4 points:

Gen 15:13-16  God is sharing with Abraham – decendants will sojourn in a nation (egypt) they will be servants (harsh labor) 400 years of service then the nation will be judged as the  people leave with much possessions.  They are to be back in the land in 4 generations.

1)      going to Egypt

2)      harsh treatment – slaves

3)      the nation will be judged

4)      4 generations they will be back in the land.

Joeseph was sent (by God) to Egypt to prepare the way,  and now the people are in Egypt – living an oppulant life style but he knew that hard times were coming,  God had already addressed that – God would come and lead them out of egypt into the land of Cannon. 

Joseph on his death bed is looking for that coming time and telling all that  it is coming,  and that he is not to be buried here in Egypt.  His bones are to be taken with them when they leave – NOT,  if they leave but when they leave.  God has promised – they will have a sojourn here in the land,  a time of servitude is coming but God will come and bring them to their promised land.  Egypt knew how to bury their royalty and Joeseph was second only to Pharoh – his burial would have been an ediface that would tell the world that Joseph was there – But Joseph wanted the people to know not that Joseph was in Egypt – RATHER Joseph wanted the people of Israel to know every time they looked at his casket that he was ready to go – patiently waiting until the days are up and God himself will come and lead them to the land of Cannon. 

It is the promises of God that has captured,  arroused  and drove the deep and real faith of Joseph.  His supreme faith was not diminished by the opulance of his life in Egypt.

Joeseph’s affection for God had never softened in the oppulent life style he had in Egypt 

Joseph was never weaked by spiritual darkness.  He was violently removed from the source of revelation of God when he was 17 with no tapes, no bibles, no commentaries, no believers, and no fellowship.  He was stalked in idolatrous Egypt.  As the prime minister he had to attend all the power broker parties.   Joeseph lived, worked, had a family in the middle of this and never compromised staying focused on God.

Joeseph never compromised by selfish ambition.

and he never compromised his life or views to be accepted by the Egyptians.  He always kept his mind and soul focused on the promises of God. 

Years later as the Israelites are being lead out of Egypt Josephs bones were there  impressing on all the faithfullness of God’s promises.  As Joshua lead the people into the promised land,  a workman preparing to bury Josephs bones could say He was right.  

Application and Closing

We’ve looked at three individuals today.  Isaac, with a surrendered faith.  Surrendered  to God.  Jacob with a strengthened faith.  And Joseph with a supreme faith.  

Remember,  the God who made everything, 
the God who you are accountable to
is the God who will keep his promises.

That promise,  He will forgive our sin, and give us eternal life with him.  IF you accept what Jesus Christ did for us on the cross.  He died,  and rose again victorious.  

Today if you don’t know Jesus as your personal savior – then isn’t today a great time to change that and surrender to him

If you do know him as your savior,  you may not see all his promises fulfilled in your life – You may never see all in your family come to know him as their savior – You may never have absolute victory over some sin in your life – But know that God is faithful and he will keep his promises – He was faithful to Isaac,  Jacob and Joesep and he has been faithful to us in his son Jesus Christ..

Closing Prayer

Last Song, In His Time;

Benediction: 2 Thes 2:16-17

2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
16Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, 17comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.

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