Hebrewsby Robert M. Solomon
The Bible records many times when God performed miracles in response to faith. One of the greatest tests that the Israelites faced when they left Egypt was being trapped between the sea and the advancing Egyptian army that was pursuing them after the pharaoh changed his mind (Hebrews 11:29). It was a ″between the devil and the deep blue sea″ kind of situation. The Israelites were terrified and cried out to God (Exodus 14:10). They scolded Moses for bringing them to a dead end and expressed willingness to return to their slavery in Egypt (Exodus 14:12)! But Moses responded with unshakeable faith, encouraging the people to stand firm, for God would fight for them. He obeyed God by lifting his staff over the sea, and God miraculously parted the Red Sea to make a way for the Israelites to proceed. The Egyptian army perished in the sea when they tried to follow the Israelites. When the people saw this, they ″feared the Lord and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant″ (Exodus 14:31).
The scene shifts forward to Joshua leading the Israelites into Canaan (Hebrews 11:30). Their first big hurdle was the well-fortified city of Jericho. They had no means to overcome the ancient city, but God gave them instructions that showed how they could conquer the city His way. They were told to march around the city for seven days (Joshua 5:13-6:27). They could have been the laughing stock of the people of Jericho, but they had faith to obey God when He promised to deliver the city into their hands. Their unusual act of faith brought the thick city walls down.
Then there is the story of Rahab, a prostitute in Jericho (Hebrews 11:31). Joshua had sent two spies into the city. When they were pursued, she hid and protected them. She expressed faith in God by saying, ″the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below″ and ″‘I know that the Lord has given this land to you″ (Joshua 2:11, 9). She asked to be spared when Jericho is conquered. For her faith, she was saved by the Israelites. Actually, it was God who saved her and her family, for the part of the wall where her house stood did not collapse (Joshua 2:15; 6:22).
Reflect on the difference between the faith of the Exodus generation and that of Moses. When caught in a corner, what is your usual response? When was the last time you experienced one of God's miracles in what seemed an impossible situation? How did your faith play a part in it?
Rahab, a non-Israelite, was saved and honoured for her faith. She became the great grandmother of King David (Matthew 1:5-6). What does this say about the effects of faith?