Last week, I began a series of lessons for Advent. If you’d like to start at the beginning, click here. This week’s theme for Advent is faith.
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1
Read Exodus 17:8-16
The Israelites had only recently left Egypt. Moses recounts in Deuteronomy 25:18 that when they “were weary and worn out,” the Amalekites met them on their journey ” and cut off all who were lagging behind; they had no fear of God.” Distant cousins of the Israelites, the Amalekites were descendants of Amalek, Esau’s grandson. (1 Chronicles 1:34-36) They would be a thorn in Israel’s side for hundreds of years to come. This story of Moses displays his faithfulness, trust, and belief that God was able to bring them victory. With hands lifted upwards toward the very throne room of God, Moses calls forth God’s mighty power and strength to help them prevail against their enemy. Moses didn’t accomplish this faithful act on his own. Aaron and Hur also strengthened Moses by giving him the ability he needed to continue in his faithful endeavor.
“his hands remained steady [emphasis mine] till sunset.” Exodus 17:12b
The first occurrence of the word, faithfulness, is translated in the above verse as “steady.” According to Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary, the basic meaning of the word can also mean “certainty.” Don’t you love the association? The word, itself, contains the qualities of the kind of faith I want. A faith that is certain; a faith that is steady. Moses was certain of Who he trusted in. He believed God to be faithful. Sporting events are a big deal where I live particularly college football. When our team scores or does something right, we yell Yes! or Amen! We are excited by their victorious moves on their field of “battle.” The word, amen, is derived from the verb form of this word and literally translates “so be it.” When we say amen, we’re exercising our faith in God and in our team. We’re agreeing with God and agreeing with what has just been said or done. This verbal confirmation outwardly expresses our certainty of trust and faithfulness in Him. Like Moses when we make the Lord our banner, we proclaim that He is worthy of our faithfulness.
“For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”” Romans 1:17
Life is rough. Every day seems to bring new struggles, battles, stresses and uncertainties. Some days, I don’t want to read a paper or hear the news. I don’t want to know. I long for a reprieve. The author of Hebrews wrote to the scattered, the discouraged, the frightened, and suffering believers of his day. He encouraged them in their faith not to throw away their confidence but to persevere.
Read Hebrews 10:35-39
Faith is a must. In order to have any type of relationship, faith must exist. I must believe that my friend will be my friend. For a relationship with Jesus, faith is of absolute necessity. Paul instructed the Corinthian church to be on their guard and to stand firm in the faith. They were to be people of courage and to do everything in love. (1 Corinthians 16:13,14) When we look to God and raise our hands steady towards Him just like Moses, our act of faithfulness begins to strengthen our faith and resolve. We are able to be bold and the things that would cause us to tremble and shrink begin to fall away as we believe and trust God and the Lord Jesus Christ. The example that Aaron and Hur provide in the passage from Exodus is a key component to helping us to be steadfast in faith. We need one another. As life gets difficult, those around us can greatly aid us in our ability to be steady and strong in faith.
Read Psalm 85
Don’t we long for God to bring us back to His Presence restored and revived? The word, revive, in the original language, means to be alive, to be whole, and for God to save through revival. In the New Testament, the Greek word includes this phrase, “to recover life.” Isn’t that what we’re looking for this season? Or any season for that matter? Advent is a wonderful time to look expectantly toward Christ as our faithful Savior. He will return and make war and when He does He will come astride a white horse and will be called Faithful and True. (Revelation 19:11-21) The One whose banner is over us waving in victory: the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.
“For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does. The LORD loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love.” Psalm 33:4,5