What Is Faith?

1 Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.
Hebrews 11:1 (NLT)

I have not been writing for quite some time. Now, I would like to get to the basics. I am writing on faith. What is faith? In the current social norm, most people will think of religious affiliation when they hear of this word. If you bother to ask a theologian, he will tell you that faith means believing in whatever he wants you to believe.

What is God’s definition of faith? The above verse gives us a clear answer on what Bible faith is all about. It tells us that faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen. Through faith, we have the assurance that we can have what we want even if the situation around us tells us how impossible it is.

A Christian life is a life of faith. We are not supposed to be moved by what we see, hear or feel. We are only moved by what we believe and we believe in the Word of God. In other words, we choose to think positive, talk positive and feel positive even if we are physically in a bad situation.

Sounds good but how do we put this into practice?

Read the above verse again. The first part tells us that faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen. This means we need to have things to hope for before we can use our faith. This is the truth where theological infested minds can never understand.

Faith is never meant to be an idol. It is a tool God gave us to get whatever we want. In order for us to start using it, we have to decide what we want.

Think of a map. A map tells us how to get to the places around us. However, if you have no idea on where do you want to go, the map is useless. You have to decide where you want to go and then use the map to help you to get there.

The same applies for faith. Decide on what you want right now. What do you want? Do you want to have a lot of money, good health, long life, happy family, good friends or anything else that will make you happy? Determine what you want and then use your faith to get them. This is the real application of faith.

The second part of the verse tells us that through the right use of faith, we have the assurance of a good life even if we cannot see them in the natural. This is crucial for those of us who are presently in a bad shape right now.

You may be poor and debt ridden. You may have a terminal disease and there is no hope for recovery. Your marriage may be breaking down. All these scenarios are real to you and may seem like a huge immovable mountain to you but in the eyes of God, they can easily be changed. God has given us the tool to move even the highest mountain and this tool is called faith. We don’t have to pray to beg God to move the mountains for us. We use our faith to move our own mountains.

23 I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart.
24 I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours.
Mark 11:23-24 (NLT)

The bottom line is, no matter how big your problems appear to be right now, they are not immune to faith. You have been given the power to overcome them. You have been given the power to have everything you desire. It is the will of God for you to use this power.

Welcome to the power of faith.

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God Has Something Better In Mind For Us

36 Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons.
37 Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half, and others were killed with the sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated.
38 They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground.
39 All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised.
40 For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us.
Hebrews 11:36-40 (NLT)

Welcome to the 25th and the final installment on my study of faith from Hebrews 11. At last I have reach the end of this chapter. Verse 36 and 37 are the favorites among the religious people. Based on what I understand about them, they only have one way of interpreting the Bible, which is quoting out of context.

When you tell them about a good and loving God who wants to heal, prosper and give you success, they will quote some verses out of context to proof you wrong. Hebrews 11:35-37 is among their favorites. They like to quote the verses without looking at the their true context. This is something you will never see in this blog.

Hebrews 11:36-37 contains examples of suffering the early Christians went through. I am not going through every type of torture because I want to show you the real message from God here. If you go through Hebrews 11 from New Living Translation, you can see that God began Verse 4 to Verse 31 with “It was by faith”. This means God honored those people for having faith and used them for their achievements. God wants us to model after them. They are our role models.

However, Hebrews 11:36-37 does not begin with “It was by faith”. Why? It is not meant to be our examples. It is not God’s will for us to be jeered at and our backs to be cut open with whips. Religious people may want to do that to us but not God. Hebrews 11:36-37 does not say that the early Christians used their faith to receive sufferings. They were not as sick as the religious people portrayed them to be. Neither is God a sadistic person that he loves to see us suffer. The image of a sadistic God comes from religion, not the Bible.

Why did God put in Hebrews 11:36-37? God did that to prove a point, which is at the subsequent verses.

Hebrews 11:38 says they were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground. So, if you are a believer and you are going through some rough patches and face persecutions right now, it does not mean that God has abandoned you. It means you are on the right path. You have become dangerous to the Kingdom Of Darkness. The worst thing you can do now is to give up your faith. Keep believing and trusting God. You will be delivered.

You may be wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground right now but this situation is only for a season. This season is going to pass very soon if you refuse to give up your faith. You will be delivered and you will receive your reward from God. Keep rejoicing and praising God.

Let us go to the next verse.

39 All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised.
Hebrews 11:39 (NLT)

The first part is a repetition of Hebrews 11:2. The second part tells us that none of them received all that God had promised. Why not? The reason is because they could not have contained all of God’s blessings on earth. How matter how much you are blessed right now, there is more to come. It is the nature of God to bless us with more than we can take. In other words, God likes to “over-bless”.

20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.
Ephesians 3:20 (NLT)

10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!
11 Your crops will be abundant, for I will guard them from insects and disease. Your grapes will not fall from the vine before they are ripe,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
12 “Then all nations will call you blessed, for your land will be such a delight,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
Malachi 3:10-12 (NLT)

No matter how much prosperity we will receive on earth, there is more for us in heaven. In the mind of God, our destiny is to have the best in this life and next.

40 For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us.
Hebrews 11:40 (NLT)

The first part is quite clear but the second part is not. However, we can look up to Romans 8:18-25 to explain Hebrews 11:40.

18 Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.
19 For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. 20 Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope,
21 the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay.
22 For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.
23 And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us.
24 We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it.
25 But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)
Romans 8:18-25 (NLT)

You may be suffering or facing some trials right now. No matter how tough the situation appears to be, it is nothing compared to your rewards in the future. The world we live in is deteriorating every day. People around the world are suffering. The solution to this problem is in us. The only way the entire creation to be fully redeemed is for us, the children of God to have our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. Please note that the term “adopted children” does not mean the conventional “adoption” that we know of. It is part of the Jewish tradition that the father “adopts” his son when the latter reaches a certain age that transforms him from a boy to a man. So, our species does not change.

The sufferings we see around us are like the pains of childbirth. It will not last. Even the sufferings of Job (another favorite of the religious people) did not last a lifetime. The duration of Job’s sufferings was estimated between 9 months to 1 year. In the end he got back double of what he lost.

Therefore, no matter how much you are suffering or how impossible your situation is, you must determine in your heart that you will never give up hope. You must determine to keep your faith. As long as you don’t give up, you are going to win. You will overcome and triumph over the trials you are facing right now. God is on your side working behind the scenes for your victory. He wants you to trust him because your faith is crucial for your victory. Are you willing to co-operate with him?

The Choice For Freedom

35 Women received their loved ones back again from death.
But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection.
Hebrews 11:35 (NLT)

Welcome to the 24th installment on my study of faith from Hebrews 11. This time we have reached the favorite part of the religious people. They like to quote Hebrews 11:35 onwards to justify their image of a sadistic God. They used this part to convince us that the God of the Bible is such a pervert that he wants to see us tortured. Let us read in detail to see whether they are correct or is this another religious lie.

The first part of Hebrews 11:35 is quite clear. Women received their loved ones back again from death. Why women? I suspect in those days, women stayed at home. Men were the ones who did the work to earn money and spreading the Gospel. So, when there was persecutions, men were the ones who bore the brunt of it. They got killed. Did God leave them to die? No, they were raised from death. God raised them from death. This means death have no power over believers.

In other words, as believers we can never reach any dead end. No matter how bad your situation is, even if the situation appears to be dead in the natural, our God can still raise it from dead. The only thing that matters is your faith. Are you still committed to believe? Do you believe what God says is true when the situation says the opposite? When you are truly committed to your faith in God, nothing is impossible to you. Even the dead can be raised to life.

The second part of Hebrews 11:35 is the real favorite of religious people. They quoted it and intentionally ignored its context. It tells us that there were believers being tortured. They refused to turn from God in order to be set free because they placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection. Let us look at it in details.

We know the believers were the ones being tortured. The verse did not say God was the torturer. It was the enemies who did it. Who were the enemies? They consist of 2 groups, the Roman authorities and the religious people (Or should I say the ancestors of the religious people of today). God did not instruct these people to torture Christians. The idea of God wants us to suffer because Hebrews 11:35 says so is nothing more than a religious lie.

The verse tells us that the early Christians refused to turn from God in order to be set free. This means they had a choice to escape sufferings if they chose to turn from God.

“Isn’t turning from God a sin? Does this mean that it is alright for me to turn from God if someone points a gun at my head?”

The answer to this lies in the basics of salvation. How did you get saved? The Bible tells us that salvation is by faith. The moment we believed in the Gospel and accepted Jesus as our personal savior, we are saved. We are sealed with the Holy Spirit and born again into a new species. The name of this species is god. This is your new identity. You can never change it.

A dog is a dog because it is born as one. Even if it denies to be a dog and claims to be a cat, the truth remains – it is still a dog. Likewise if a born again Christian denies Jesus under duress or out of frustration, it is not going to change his/her species. Your species don’t change just because you deny it.

The only way a born again Christian to lose his/her salvation and go to hell is for this person to reborn again into another species. How to do that? I don’t know. The Bible has no provision for Christians to give up our salvation. Therefore, whether you like it or not, once you are saved you are saved forever. Once you have accepted Jesus as your personal savior, you are “doomed” to be saved.

Therefore, if you have ever denied Jesus because someone points a gun to your head, don’t worry, you are still saved. All of us have our own weaknesses and fears. Satan could have taken advantage on them and cause us to say things we don’t want to say like denying Jesus. God understands this and he still loves us. Nothing you say can change his love for you.

“What do you think I should do if I am to be threatened with a gun on my head to deny Jesus?”

It depends on your faith. If your faith has reached the level, which you are confident that nothing can harm you, then this is not a problem for you. You can use your faith to disable the gun. However, if you don’t have such faith, just say what they want you to say. God understands. If you find your faith affected, build it up again.

This is like asking whether you should see a doctor if you are sick. If you have to ask this question, then you should go to see the doctor. If your faith is damaged in the process, build it up again. It is easier to build faith when you are still alive.

The last part says they placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection. This is the secret of enduring trials. When we are in trials, everything around us will scream, “You better give up your faith. Your faith does not work!” The more we look at the situation and listen to them, we will become discouraged. It is crucial for us to look beyond the trials to the future God wants us to have. We should place our hopes in a better life after the resurrection. Only then will we be able to have the strength to endure and overcome our trials.

In conclusion, I am sure you can see that Hebrews 11:35 is a positive verse like the rest of the Bible. There is nothing sadistic about it. Our God is a good and loving God. This is something religious people can never understand if they continue to hold on to their religion.

The Power Of Faith

32 How much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets.
33 By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions,
34 quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight.
Hebrews 11:32-34 (NLT)

Welcome to the 23rd installment on my study of faith from Hebrews 11. This time, the writer grouped many people together under the banner of faith. Through faith, they achieved the impossible. Here is a list of their achievements through faith:
1. overthrew kingdoms
2. ruled with justice
3. received what God had promised them
4. shut the mouths of lions,
5. quenched the flames of fire
6. escaped death by the edge of the sword.
7. weakness was turned to strength.
8. became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight.

In this article, we are going to look into each of them in details because I believe they are for us, believers and the only way we can have these achievements is through faith.

Overthrew Kingdoms
The term “kingdoms” here refers to the dominion of the enemy. In today’s context, it refers to the Kingdom Of Darkness. Satan had dominated the world since the fall of Man. After Jesus died and rose again, Satan’s right over this world had been legally terminated. However, he is not leaving. He is still exercising control in killing, stealing and destroying. Why didn’t God stop him? The answer is this is not his job. He had returned the authority of this world back to us.

18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.
19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:18-20 (NLT)

Jesus got all the authority back. If you are in him, the authority is yours as well. This means, as believers we too have the access on all the authority in heaven and on earth. However, having all this authority is useless unless we put them to use.

Most people in this world are still living the limiting lifestyle at the mercy of the devil because they do not know Jesus had taken back the authority of heaven and earth for them. Many are poor, sick, depressed and suffering because they did not know that they are supposed to live in the blessing of God. This is why we need to tell them the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Only they will they be set free. Free to live their lives in prosperity, health, long life, joy, peace and with every blessings from God. When we give them the Gospel, we overthrow the Kingdom of Darkness in their lives.

Please note that when Jesus said “go and make disciples of all the nations”, he did not mean every Christian must become missionaries or go for mission trips. This is the lie I got from my previous church. The Bible tells us that every member of the church is like a member of the same body. Therefore, not every Christian is to follow the exact footsteps of Kenneth Copeland in bringing the Gospel to the world. You may be called to be a mission financier. Your role is to make lots of money and channel a portion of it into ministries that are involved in bringing the Gospel to the world. Or you may be called as a doctor, help people to live long enough for the Gospel to reach them. No matter what role you are in, play it well and in faith because you are overthrowing the Kingdom of Darkness in people’s lives. Your reward will be great.

If you can’t think of any specific role you can play, just aim to be a financier. Allow me to convince you why you should be one. Financiers are rich. As a mission financier, you will have riches on earth and in heaven. If you already have a role, just take on another one as a mission financier. There is not limit on the amount of roles you can play. What you need most is faith.

Ruled With Justice
People who live by faith are the best people to be in authority because they can rule with justice. I have written another article entitled, “When The Godly Are In Authority The People Rejoice” posted on January 29, 2008 that gives further explanations on this issue. I suggest you to read it.

Received What God Had Promised Them
If you have been reading my articles, this part should not be a problem to you.

24 I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours.
Mark 11: 24 (NLT)

Shut The Mouths Of Lions, Quenched The Flames Of Fire & Escaped Death By The Edge Of The Sword.
These situations are found in the book of Daniel. Daniel and friends were working for a foreign government where they very faced with jealous civil servants who wanted to kill them. There could be times where you realize that people are plotting against you even though you have not offended them. People just hate you. Even right now as you read this article, there could be people out there talking bad about you and plotting to remove you from your job. Welcome to the world of politics.

If you are in this position, God has a word for you: “Fear not for I am with you.” Your God is always with you. He who is in you is greater than he who is in this world. So what if your enemies have succeeded in throwing you to the lions, flames or used a sword against you? Your God is greater than all of them. If he can deliver Daniel and his friends, he can deliver you. All you need to do is to trust in him and live in faith.

Weakness Was Turned To Strength
I like this part. Who does not have weakness? The question we should ask ourselves is not whether we have any weakness. The real question we should ask ourselves is whether we can trust our God to fulfill the desires of our hearts regardless of our weakness.

Most people in the world are negative because they focus on their weakness. When asked on why they are not as successful as they wished to be, they will give you all types of answers like, not enough education, cannot speak well, no connection, IQ too low, too young, too old, born in the wrong race, born in the wrong country, born with the wrong color of skin, born in the wrong family and all types of excuses. The irony is, whatever weakness you think is hindering you, there are people with the same weakness become rich.

Focusing on our weakness will take you nowhere. Instead we should build our faith because through faith God can turn our weakness into strength.

Became Strong In Battle And Put Whole Armies To Flight
The moment you have decided to live by faith, you are sending shockwaves to the pit of hell. They have an earthquake (or should I call it hellquake?) there. The Kingdom Of Darkness will list you as an enemy and you will be attacked. Satan will send his armies of devils and religious people to attack you. Their only objective is to get you off faith.

Kenneth Copeland is the best example of modern day Christian being persecuted by lies and slanders of the religious people. The enemies have been doing all they can to get him off faith. However, just because they are doing all they can, it does not mean they must succeed. Hebrews 11:32-34 tells us that through faith we will become strong in battle and put whole armies to flight. In other words, we are destined to win. Our victory is guaranteed by God himself. The only way we can lose is when give up before our victory. So, don’t give up. Victory is yours.

Kenneth Copeland did not give up. As a result he got richer and his ministries grow larger while his enemies are still drowning in their bitterness and hate.

In conclusion, faith I what you need to overcome every obstacle that stands in you way. Through faith, you can achieve anything you desire.

The Faith Of Rahab

31 It was by faith that Rahab the prostitute was not destroyed with the people in her city who refused to obey God. For she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.
Hebrews 11:31 (NLT)

Welcome to the 22nd installment on my study of faith from Hebrews 11. This time, we look at Rahab. According to the above verse, Rahab was a prostitute. Since when do prostitutes get to be honored by God? Isn’t prostitution a sin? Yet Rahab was honored by God for her faith. This is a repetition of what God has stressed in the earlier few verses that he loves faith so much that he is willing to give us new beginnings no matter how bad our past were.

You may not have a good past. Who does anyway? You may have made many mistakes. Some may even became prostitute. I believe God is telling us that no matter how bad our histories are, he is not bothered by them. He still wants us to have faith. He will honor us for our faith in him.

Let us go through the story of Rahab.

Joshua sent 2 spies to scout out the land around Jericho. They went over and stayed in the house of a prostitute name Rahab. The king of Jericho knew about them and sent his soldiers to arrest them. They went to Rahab’s house to catch the spy but Rahab hid the spies and gave false information to lead the soldiers away. Why did she do that? Why would she betray her own country to help 2 strangers who were from the enemy’s camp?

The answer is in the verses below:

8 Before the spies went to sleep that night, Rahab went up on the roof to talk with them.
9 “I know the Lord has given you this land,” she told them. “We are all afraid of you. Everyone in the land is living in terror.
10 For we have heard how the Lord made a dry path for you through the Red Sea when you left Egypt. And we know what you did to Sihon and Og, the two Amorite kings east of the Jordan River, whose people you completely destroyed.
11 No wonder our hearts have melted in fear! No one has the courage to fight after hearing such things. For the Lord your God is the supreme God of the heavens above and the earth below.
Joshua 2:8-11 (NLT)

It seems that she and her countrymen knew of the crossing of the Red Sea and the victories of Israel. The news of the Israelites’ achievements was spread far and wide up to the ears of those in Jericho. Did they believe? Obviously they did. Joshua 2:11 tell us their hearts melted with fear. They knew that the God of Israel God is the supreme God of the heavens above and the earth below.

It was ironical that the first generation of Israelites was so afraid of them that they did not dare to take the land. The truth is the inhabitants of the land were afraid of them too. If the Israelites obeyed God to march into the land, they would have easy victory because their enemies were paralyzed with fear. They missed a great opportunity for their prosperity.

This should be a lesson for us all to learn the importance of trusting and obeying God. When God tells us to do something, the best response is to obey by faith because if we don’t we might have missed a great opportunity like the first generation of Israelites. So, if you are really interested in great prosperity, be prepared to obey God to march into the Promised Land even if your enemies look big. Your victory is from God. Your enemies may look big but they could be paralyzed with fear. Victory is yours for the taking.

Please note that according to Rahab, everyone in the town believed what God had done. Yet God only honored her and not the rest. Why? She knew how to act on her beliefs.

12 “Now swear to me by the Lord that you will be kind to me and my family since I have helped you. Give me some guarantee that
13 when Jericho is conquered, you will let me live, along with my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all their families.”
Joshua 2:12-13 (NLT)

She helped the spies and got them to guarantee the lives of her and her family. As a result she and her family lived when the rest of the people in the town died. This reminds me of a verse.

7A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.
Psalm 91:7 (KJV)

Everyone in the town “believed” but only Rahab and her family got to live because Rahab acted on her beliefs. This means belief requires action to produce results. Here are some examples:

Anyone can say he believes Jesus died for his sins. That does not mean he is saved. He has to personally accept Jesus as his Saviour. Only then, will he have eternal life.

A Christian who believes Jesus died poor for him to live rich will not get rich automatically. He has to act on the principles of prosperity like tithing and sowing to be rich.

This is what James meant when he wrote faith without works is dead. The term “works” here does not refer to the dos and don’ts that are invented by religion. It refers to taking action to secure the promises of God like salvation, prosperity, health and every blessing that God wants to bless us with. Rahab did that and saved her family from destruction.

The whole town of Jericho had “faith” but only Rahab’s faith worked because she acted on it. She had not only saved herself and her family, she is honored by God for her faith.

Operation Jericho

30 It was by faith that the people of Israel marched around Jericho for seven days, and the walls came crashing down.
Hebrews 11:30 (NLT)

Welcome to the twenty first installment on my study of faith from Hebrews 11. This time we are in the next generation after Moses. The generation that left Egypt except Caleb and Joshua had died with Moses. Joshua took over the leadership from Moses to lead the next generation of Israelites to take the land promised by God. Hebrews 11:30 credited the Israelites for marching around a city called Jericho and caused it to crush down. It does not give further details on this. Therefore we have to refer to the book of Joshua.

This is the background story. Since the Israelites left Egypt, they faced various battles because they were attacked. All those battles were on open ground and the Israelites managed to defeat all their enemies. Jericho was the first walled city they encountered and it stood in the way of their inheritance. What is so special about the walled city?

One of my interests is to study ancient warfare especially warfare at the pre-gunpowder era. Before the use of guns, fortified walls were the best defense against invaders. Nations defended their territories by building thick and high walls around their cities. When they were attacked, all they need to do was to drop stones on their enemies. The high walls gave the defenders the advantage of height. Their arrows can fly further and the stones they drop can cause more damage. The walls enabled relatively few defenders to hold off a much larger invading force.

The invaders will have to innovate to capture walled cities. The fastest way to do that was to use innovations like catapults, siege towers and battering rams. The Israelites did not have those stuffs. They lacked the technology to take down the city. The other way was to surround the city to cut off its supplies. That would require a huge logistic base. The Israelites could not afford that either. So, it seemed that there was no way forward. They had a problem that was beyond their natural capacity to solve.

Have you felt the same way? I am sure you have some natural talents and you have overcome some problems before. However you are now faced with some problems that is beyond your natural ability to solve. You hit the dead end. If you are in this situation, I have good news for you. God is able and willing to help you to overcome your problems. You only have to believe. You will need to activate your faith.

Joshua and gang could not have the technology nor the logistic to take the city. They had to rely on God. This is what God told them to do:

1 Now the gates of Jericho were tightly shut because the people were afraid of the Israelites. No one was allowed to go out or in.
2 But the Lord said to Joshua, “I have given you Jericho, its king, and all its strong warriors.
3 You and your fighting men should march around the town once a day for six days.
4 Seven priests will walk ahead of the Ark, each carrying a ram’s horn. On the seventh day you are to march around the town seven times, with the priests blowing the horns.
5 When you hear the priests give one long blast on the rams’ horns, have all the people shout as loud as they can. Then the walls of the town will collapse, and the people can charge straight into the town.”
Joshua 6:1-5 (NLT)

Let me summarize that in point form:
 Joshua and his fighting men were to march around the town once a day for six days.
 Seven priests will walk ahead of the Ark, each carrying a ram’s horn.
 On the seventh day, march around the town seven times, with the priests blowing the horns.
 After the priests gave one long blast on the rams’ horns, all the people shout as loud as they can.
 Then the walls of the town will collapse, and the people can charge straight into the town.

That was not all. There was one more condition to be kept throughout the six days.

10 “Do not shout; do not even talk,” Joshua commanded. “Not a single word from any of you until I tell you to shout. Then shout!”
Joshua 6:10 (NLT)

Joshua told his people not to talk. This instruction was not from God but from Joshua. God never forbid the Israelites not to talk in Joshua 6:1-5. Joshua added in this instruction himself. Why would he do that? Let me try to unravel this mystery.

21 The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
Proverbs 18:21(NIV)

Our tongues have the power of life and death. Joshua must be afraid that his people might talk negative that could adversely affect their faith. After all, if you think of the instructions from God, they do not sound logical. Don’t you find it too simple? March around the town for 6 days and shout on the seventh? What if those folks drop stones or hot oil on us? I live in a government flat and I always make sure I don’t walk below people’s windows because I don’t want to have killer litter to fall on my head. So, it is not difficult for me to understand the risk they face when they obeyed those instructions.

Surely, those folks who were told to march around the town would have negative thoughts as they marched. Joshua, by the wisdom of God, must have predicted that and therefore removed their freedom of speech for that duration. He did not want them to talk negative. Victory was at stake. He knew that negative words would affect their collective faith and cost them their victory.

What can we learn from him? When you are in a difficult situation and you are unable to speak positive words, keep your mouth shut. Even if you cannot stop yourself from thinking negative, the least you can do is to restrain yourself from speaking them out. Why? When you use your tongue to talk negative, you activate the power of death. The bad situation that you are facing will only get worst. Learn to hold your tongue.

So, they walked around the town with their mouths shut and with priest carrying the Ark at the front. Why priests? Prophets are God’s representatives to men. They speak God’s words and tell us what God wants to tell us. Priests are the opposite. They are men’s representatives to God. They intercede for us, representing us before God. They are on our side. This is why when Jesus walked on earth, he was a prophet because he spoke God’s words to us. When he was risen to heaven and seated at the right hand of God, he is now our high priest. He represents us before God the Father. He is always on our side to make sure that we shall always have the best deal no matter what happens.

The priests were involved in the march to ensure the connection with God was there. They carried the Ark, which represents the presence of God. God was with them during the march. When we are faced with huge problems, we must involve the presence of God. The worst thing we can do when faced with huge problems is to give up praying and confessing. If we do that we will be cutting ourselves off from the one who has the solutions to our problems.

On the seventh day, after the priests blew the horns, the Israelites shouted as loud as they could and the walls of Jericho collapsed. Please note that they shouted before the walls collapsed. In other words, they shouted in faith. Being in faith means we thank God in advance for answering our prayers before we can see the manifestation of it. This means we must believe we receive what we ask for when we pray.

24 I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours.
Mark 11: 24 (NLT)

The Israelites obeyed God by acting in faith. God solved their problem for them. The walls of Jericho collapsed without a single casualty from the Israelites. The Israelites charged into the city and took over it. They had a great victory.

In Hebrews 11:30, God honored them for their faith. God wants us to live in faith and he wants us to use our faith to overcome our problems. No matter what problem you are facing now, may it be financial, health, relationship or anything else, God desires to solve them for you. He wants you to live by faith because only when you are in faith, you are opening the doors for him to come into your life and overcome all your problems for you.

The Adventures Of Crossing The Red Sea

29 It was by faith that the people of Israel went right through the Red Sea as though they were on dry ground. But when the Egyptians tried to follow, they were all drowned.
Hebrews 11:29 (NLT)

Welcome to the twentieth installment on my study of faith from Hebrews 11. I can never imagine myself writing so much just on one chapter of the Bible. In fact, I learn new things only when I start typing. There are truths in my articles that I did not know before I wrote them. When I first started this blog, I was wondering how many articles I could write because I didn’t really know much about the Bible. Now, I realize that there is no limit on how much I can write about as long as I am trusting in and relying on God. What does this mean to all of us? As long as we choose to live by faith, there is no limit on what we can achieve.

Hebrews 11:29 speaks of the incident where the people of Israel went right through the Red Sea as though they were on dry ground but the Egyptians were drowned when they did the same. Here is the background story.

After the last plague, Pharaoh had decided to let the Israelites leave Egypt. The Israelites not only packed up their own luggage, they obeyed God’s instruction to go to their Egyptian neighbors and asked them for their articles of gold, silver and fine clothings. God had given them so much favor that they got what they asked for. God made them rich. So, the Israelites left Egypt as free and rich men and women.

It did not take long for Pharaoh to break his promise. He must have felt his pride was insulted and he wanted revenge. So, he assembled his best army to pursue the Israelites either to kill them or to recapture them. If the Israelites were captured, I don’t think they were going to have much fun. The pursuit began.

As Moses lead them to the Red Sea, the Israelites found the Egyptian army closing in from behind and they did not look very friendly. They realize that the army was not there to bid them farewell. Suddenly they found themselves trapped. They had the Red Sea in front and the Egyptian army behind. There were no places to run or hide. The situation looked bad.

Have you been in a similar situation yourself? You cannot move on because there is a huge obstacle blocking your way. You cannot retreat because your enemies are closing in on you. If you allow the situation to be your God, you might behave like the Israelites.

10 As Pharaoh approached, the people of Israel looked up and panicked when they saw the Egyptians overtaking them. They cried out to the Lord,
11 and they said to Moses, “Why did you bring us out here to die in the wilderness? Weren’t there enough graves for us in Egypt? What have you done to us? Why did you make us leave Egypt?
12 Didn’t we tell you this would happen while we were still in Egypt? We said, ‘Leave us alone! Let us be slaves to the Egyptians. It’s better to be a slave in Egypt than a corpse in the wilderness!’”
Exodus 14:10-12 (NLT)

They started to complained and blamed Moses for leading them out. They even wished they stayed in Egypt as slaves. Have you done the same? When you faced some obstacles in your path, did you wish you had never started? If this has been your practice, you need to repent and stop allowing yourself to be dictated by the situation around you. There will always be obstacles in your path if you are doing the will of God. We should expect obstacles to appear and believe that our God is greater than these obstacles.

Why must there be obstacles? There is another entity called Satan. He wants to keep us oppressed and in bondage. Whenever he sees us moving in line with the will of God, he will create some obstacles and oppositions in hope that we will give up without a fight. Why do you think the preachers of the Gospel like Kenneth Copeland are slandered and persecuted? Satan is afraid of what will happen when people get to know the truth. The truth will set people free. This is why he mobilized his army of religious people to spread lies on the preachers of the Gospel. He was hoping that the persecution from his religious people could get preachers like Kenneth Copeland to give up preaching the Gospel and submit to religion. Thank God, it did not happen. Preachers of the Gospel had chosen to trust in God instead of submitting to the evil forces of Satan.

Likewise, we have to do the same if we want to see progress in our lives. There can be no neutral ground. When you choose to obey God to live the life of prosperity he wants you to live, you will be marked as the enemy of Satan. Satan will send his army of devils and religious people to oppress and persecute you in order to get you to give up. They will do the best they can to get you to give up. However, just because they are doing their best, it does not mean they must be successful. Do you know why?

Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
1 John 4:4(KJV)

Your God who is in you is far greater than all your enemies combined. They can never defeat you. They are no match for you as long as you continue to rely on God and don’t give up. The only way they can win is when you give up. This means they can only win if you allow them to win.

Let us move on with the story.

13 But Moses told the people, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again.
14 The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.”
Exodus 14:13 (NLT)

Moses was smart. He did not know the way out of the situation but he knew God has the way. He told his people not to be afraid, stay calm and see the deliverance of God.

The second part of verse 13, says, “The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. “ How did Moses know? God had never told him about the splitting of the Red Sea. So he could not have known that the Egyptian army would be drowned in it. He must have spoken by faith. He used his faith to declare that his enemies would disappear from his life ever after. It works. Faith is meant to work.

What can we learn from here? We need to speak in faith. When we start to speak in faith, we can even throw mountains into the sea.

23 I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart.
24 I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours.
Mark 11:23-24 (NLT)

Jesus did not say you pray for God to lift up the mountain and throw it into the sea. Jesus told us to speak to the mountains directly and command it to be lifted up and be thrown into the sea. The power to move mountains had been given to believers. After all, we are born of God and we belong to the same species as him. (If you don’t understand this, please refer to my previous article entitled, “We Are Gods”). We were given all the power and authority we need to overcome any obstacle that the enemy can throw at us. We only need to use them. We activate our powers by speaking out in faith. This was what Moses had done.

I like Verse 14 too.

14 The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.

In other words, don’t allow yourself to be worried and stressed over your situation. Your God is more than capable to deliver you. All you need to do is to trust in him and be calm.

The Lord responded to them:

15 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the people to get moving!
Exodus 14:15 (NLT)

I like the King James Version more.

15And the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:
Exodus 14:15

I like the “go forward”. I have written on this part before and this is the enhancement because like everyone else, I grow in the knowledge of God. I am looking into this verse from another dimension.

What is going forward? From the perspective of the Israelites, going forward means getting to the other side and onward to the Promised Land. They did not know about the splitting of the Red Sea at the time. So the only interpretation of it was to focus on the destination. It is to look beyond the obstacles that are right in front of you and focus on the Promised Land on the other side of the obstacle. This will help us to triumph over every obstacle in life.

Here is an example:

You were a high level executive in a multi-national company. However, for some reasons you were sacked from your job. You tried to find similar jobs but failed. All your job applications for similar post were turned down. It appeared that you can never be employed to the position you once held. Your days of glory are gone. What are you going to do?

If you allow the situation to control you, you will get depressed. You will start complaining over everything and do nothing. You might join some pity parties to talk negative. You might even get drunk to forget your sorrows. What will happen to you? Nothing. Nothing will happen because you are going backward. The only way the situation around you can improve is when you go forward.

To go forward, you have to start seeing the future that you want. You must have a vision of your own Promised Land that lies on the other side of the Red Sea you are facing now. It can be a higher position than one you lost or having your own business empire. The more you focus on it, the less you will dwell on your present problems. You will start to feel better and you will be in position to activate your faith. You will have joy in your heart and in a receptive mode for God. Then, God will be able to lead you to a better future and restore what you have lost.

Going forward also requires you to take up any legitimate job that is available to you at the moment even if it is selling burgers at a fast food joint. Why? First, when you have a job, you have income. An income will enable you to tithe and sow, which is crucial for your prosperity. Second, when you are working, you are in motion. You will not have the time to think negative. It gives you a sense of purpose. It serves as a jumpstart for your breakthrough.

Soon, you will find yourself more blessed than even before the loss because you are living by faith. This is the result of going forward.

As the Israelites went forward, God split the Red Sea for them to pass through. They walked through the seabed as though it was dry land. When the Egyptian army went through the same path, they were drowned. The Israelites saw their enemies for the last time. The confession of Moses worked.

Hebrews 11:29 credited the Israelites’ faith for the above event. Please note that the Israelites were complaining earlier. They were quite ungrateful and rebellious in Exodus 14:11-12. Yet God did not mention that in Hebrews 11:29. Do you know why? This is the nature of our God. He has selective memory. He chooses to remember only the good things in us.

So, even if you have made many mistakes in the past, you should not be ashamed of yourself. You can still lift your head up high because God is not ashamed of you. You may have done 99 bad things and only 1 good deed, he will remember the one good deed that you have done. This tells us how much he loves us.

Therefore, no matter how bad the situation looks like, we can always look forward for a better tomorrow because of his great love for us.