“By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned. By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.” (Hebrews 11:29–30, AV)
John H. Yates wrote a great hymn titled, “Faith is the Victory.” The first stanza goes as follows.
“Encamped along the hills of light, ye Christian soldiers rise, and press the battle ere the night shall veil the glowing skies. Against the foe in vales below let all our strength be hurled; faith is the victory, we know, that overcomes the world.”
Christians throughout the church age have been engaged in a spiritual conflict. We in the United States have not felt the intensity of this battle like believers in other countries. However, we all are engaged in this battle. The moral degradation of our culture and their view of us who hold firm to the infallibility and immutability of God’s word are convincing evidence that the war is heating up.
However, we must realize that it is not the people who malign true believers and the Bible who are the enemy. “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12, AV). Our battle is in a spiritual dimension and we can only fight in this realm by faith.
The author of Hebrews is writing to show his Jewish audience the power of true faith. He looks at familiar times in Israel’s history to show that faith made the difference. Here he mentions two significant points in history. One is the exodus from Egypt and the other the conquest of Canaan. He shows them that God granted them the seemingly impossible victory because of faith.
First, the author points to the exodus where the Lord had Moses to lead the people to the Red Sea. There, Pharaoh’s army pursued the Israelites and trapped them with no apparent way of escape. They felt doomed. But Moses tells them, “Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever” (Exodus 14:13, AV). The Lord opened the waters of the Red Sea, giving a path for escape and when Pharaoh’s army pursued them, He closed the water over the army and delivered Israel.
Second, the author reminds them of the battle for Jericho, a city surrounded by seemingly impenetrable walls. The Lord instructs Joshua to have the Israelite army and priests with the ark of the Lord march around the city for six days. Then on the seventh day they marched around the city seven times and on the seventh time, the trumpets were blown, the people shouted, and the walls came down. God gave them the victory.
In both cases, the people of Israel could see no human way that they would have victory. The Lord was teaching them that faith was the victory. The Israelites, by faith had to trust the Lord to give them the victory. It is the same for us today. In our spiritual battle, we are not to fight it with clubs and stones. We must wage this battle by faith. Our instruments of war are all listed in Ephesians 6:10-19. Of note, we must be steadfast in God’s word and fervent in prayer if we are to effectively fight in this battle.
The chorus of that great hymn, “Faith is the Victory,” goes like this. “Faith is the victory! Faith is the victory! O glorious victory that overcomes the world.” We will victoriously overcome by faith alone.