Dealing With Life's Problems

Bible Book: Hebrews  11 : 6
Subject: Problems; Faith

Hebrews 11:6

Suddenly you experience an increase in heart rate and breathing, tightening muscles, improved vision due to a dilation of the pupils of your eyes and you break out in a cold sweat. Your body is being prepared to face the threat of danger. When you face danger there are two basic responses, you can either confront the threat or seek to avoid it. This is known as the fight or flight reaction.

Similarly the Israelites found themselves hemmed in with the mountains beside them, left and right, the pursuing enemy behind them and the Red Sea before them. Robert J. Morgan writes, "Just as Moses and the children of Israelites found themselves caught between 'the devil and the deep Red Sea,' so are we sometimes overwhelmed by life's problems."¹

I. When To Flee

Sometimes we are to flee. It is wise to do so in many instances. For example, Paul writes to Timothy, "But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness" (1 Timothy 6:11).

The "love of money" is primarily in view at this point as well that which precedes the command.

We are warned to "Flee sexual immorality" (1 Corinthians 6:18a), to "flee from idolatry" (1 Corinthians 10:14a) and to "Flee also youthful lusts" (2 Timothy 2:22a).

Soon after Jesus was born, "an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, 'Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will  seek the young Child to destroy Him.' When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt, and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, 'Out of Egypt I called My Son' (Matthew 2:13b- 15).

Almost thirty years later Jesus warned those who will be in Judea during the great tribulation to "flee to the mountains" and to "pray that [their] flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath." (Matthew 24:16, 20) It is interesting to note that as the multitude of the Egyptian military hotly pursued the Israelites, "...Moses said to the people, "Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever" (Exodus 14:13).

II. When To Fight

Other times we are to fight. There are times when fighting is unavoidable. Timothy is encouraged by the apostle Paul, "Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses" (1 Timothy 6:12).

Believers are to fight the world system, the flesh and the devil. We are also to fight sin, heresy and error. According to Ephesians chapter six, we are in a spiritual battle. Scripture reminds us "though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh" and "the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds" (2 Corinthians 10:3,4). There is a time to fight.

III. When To Follow

Moses received these comforting words in the face of enemy aggression, "The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace" (Exodus 14:14). This reminds us there are times when we are simply to follow. "...the Lord said to Moses, 'Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go

forward'" (Exodus 14:15). In the words of a chorus, "My Lord knows the way through the wilderness, all I have to do is follow." Someone else declared, "Where He leads me I will follow; what He feeds me I will swallow."

Dr. V. Raymond Edman writes in a message entitled "The Discipline of Daring": "Whatever may be our Jericho, it will not jeer at us indefinitely, if we obey the word and will of our God. It's walls may be high, its battlements formidable, its strength undoubted, its occupants unyielding; but prayer and patience will bring it low before the soul who dares to obey God. God's methods may not be ours- usually are not. At Jericho it was the silent march of the host for days, and then the shout of faith that brought the victory (Josh. 6:16, 20). At Ai, it was Joshua's spear stretched forth that symbolized the faith that obeys and triumphs (8:18, 26). Centuries later the children of Israel sang at the commandment of King Jehoshaphat; and their song secured the conquest of their foes (II Chron.

20:22). Silence or shout, spear or song, or any other divinely-appointed manner of service is effective in the hand of those who dare to trust and to obey."²

Jehoshaphat was told "The battle is not your's but God's" (2 Chronicles 20:15b) and "You will not need to fight this battle, do not fear or be dismayed" (2 Chronicles 20:17). In a similar fashion 1 Samuel 17:47 and Zechariah 14:3 offer such encouragement.

"Stand still! Stand firm! / Stand ever sound- / Stand armour clad, / 'Tis fighting ground; / Then stand with victor's grip, / The 'foe' to overthrow; / With holy hands, unloose the bands- / 'Tis Christ that brought him low." --Evan Roberts.³


Specifically we will either react in fear or respond by faith to the threat of danger.

Faith is essential to respond to each threat we face, whether we flee, fight or simply follow. "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him" (Hebrews 11:6). Often people ask the Lord to increase their faith. The answer to this request lies in hearing and heeding the word of God.

Romans 10:17 explains, "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." When God tells us to flee it is an act of faith to flee; just as it is an act of faith to fight when He gives the command and faith is required to simply follow step by step in the way marked out by Him.

¹Robert J. Morgan, The Red Sea Rules: The Same God who led you in will lead you out: 10 God- Given Strategies for Difficult Times (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2001), from the Back Cover.

²V. Raymond Edman, The Disciplines of Life (Minneapolis, MN: World Wide Publications, 1948), pp. 30-31.

³Edman, p. 24.