THE FAITH OF MOSES

 

Hebrews 11:23-28

Key Verses: 11:24,25

 

    "By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh's daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time."

Last week we studied the faith of patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Today we will study the faith of Moses. Moses is known as the author of the first five books of the Bible. His life impacted so many people. He led Israel people out of slavery into the new land. He received the Ten Commandments which influenced all the people of the world even today. His life story began with the faith of his parents. Then he made decision of faith when he was 40 years old. His decision showed his value system. He initiated the Passover feast by faith. He was a man of faith who pleased God because he saw God who is invisible. The author is interested in the way Moses exercised faith, and he gives five instances of faith in connection with Moses such as his decision, choice, value, Exodus, and the Passover. Actions speak louder than the lip service because faith without deeds is dead. (James 2:26) It is important to show our act of faith to please God like Moses.  Let’s make the right choice in our decision time and value Christ more than anything else the world offers. I pray that God may bless us to live before the invisible God.

PART I. BY FAITH MOSES’ PARENT (23)

Look at verse 23.  "By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king's edict."  Moses seemed to be born in the wrong place in the wrong time in the wrong gender. At that time the baby girl was favored. He faced death as soon as he was born like our Lord Jesus Christ. Exodus 1:8-22 tells us the background of Moses' birth. Moses was born when the Egyptian Empire was in political transition. A new king of Egypt forgot about what Joseph did and began to persecute the Israelites because they would be a threat to the national security. Pharaoh oppressed the Israelites by forced labor so that, their number might not increase any more. His policy backfired because God was with them. The more the people of Israel were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread. Finally, Pharaoh, king of Egypt, issued an edict that every baby boy born to Hebrew parents had to be cast into the river and drowned. If all boys die, there would be no men and then no nation. Girls can be used as labor forces. Moses was born into the family of a Hebrew slave in Egypt. In short, he was born in a fatalistic situation.

God turned this tragic situation into an opportunity to raise up one of the greatest leaders all time in our human history. It is unthinkable to talk about Moses without the faith of his parent. Moses’ life begins with the faith of his parents because he was too young to know what was going on. Look at verse 23 again, “By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months because they saw he was no ordinary child.” The author emphasized the faith of Moses’ parents. They hid the baby Moses by faith not fearing the king’s edict. Other parents threw their babies into the river saying, “Son, I am very sorry to throw you into the river. I had no choice. Forgive your poor parents.” But Moses parents hid him as far as they could do so. Why? They saw that he was no ordinary child. All parents think that their child is very special. No parents say, “My child is very ordinary.” As soon as Moses’ parent saw the baby Moses, they believed that God has some special plan for him. When they saw the child with the eyes of faith, they could see that he was no ordinary child; they were convinced that God was with him. Moses' parents did not know that God intended to raise Moses as the deliverer of 600,000 Israelites after 430 years of Egyptian slavery. But they believed that God was with the baby Moses. They were people of faith. The baby Moses was saved because of his parent’s faith. It seems to be a small matter in human eyes. But it was a turning point in God’s history. Through this small event God began to raise up a leader of the Exodus. It was a beginning of the new history for the people of God.

Pharaoh’s edict was a matter of life and death at that time. People were afraid of the king’s edict. But Moses' parents were different.  They were not afraid of the king's edict. Because Moses' parents feared God, they did not fear anybody, even the king. By faith they hid their beautiful baby for three months, trusting God rather than fearing Pharaoh. When baby Moses began to cry loudly after three months, his parents placed him in a basket and he drifted out into the Nile River. Three months were the maximum time for them to hide the baby Moses. M. Joshua said, “I did not hear the baby Samantha crying but now I hear her cry loudly.” Why? She is more than three months old. Moses’ parents hid him as far as they could. Then they entrusted the baby Moses into God’s hands. They did their part and it was God’s turn after that. Dramatically, God intervened in Moses' life. Moses was in the right time in the right place in the right person by God’s sovereign will. What a perfect timing it was! Pharaoh's daughter went down to the Nile River to bathe. She saw the basket among the reeds. When she opened it, she saw the baby. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him and adopted him as her son because she had no child.  She gave him to a Hebrew nurse, who was Moses' real mother. Pharaoh's daughter named him Moses, saying, "I drew him out of the water." When Moses' parents believed in God Almighty, God was with them and with their son Moses. Today, we live in the age of no commitment. The relationship between parents and children is minimized. Many parents do not make a long term commitment for their children and see their children as an economic burden or a trouble maker or a threat. But parent’s faith is crucial to instill faith to the child’s soul. Parent’s faith plays an important role for children’s faith. We have to see our children with the eyes of faith and believe that God is with them and they will become the next generation leaders like Moses. We have to protect them from the evil influence of the world. We need to nurture them with spiritual milk until they grow up in faith and then entrust them into God’s hands after they grow up.  We do our part and God will do his part to take care of them with his mighty hands.

PART II BY FAITH MOSES (24-26)

The author pays attention to the faith of Moses by saying, “By faith Moses…” We see five instances of Moses’ act of faith in this passage. In each case he acted by faith. In God's providence, he was made a prince of Egypt. He was the envy of all Egyptians. People were seeking his favor. People bowed down when they heard the shout of his body guard, “Bow down! Bow down! Prince Moses is passing!” Moses must have studied philosophy, history, martial arts and kingship. No doubt he had received all kinds of palace education as a prince. He secured social and political position as a grown man. Moses was 40 years old and was mature enough to make decision about future life direction.  Look at verses 24, 25. "By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh's daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time." What was the basis of his decision? It was “by faith.” As we know, Moses had a double identity-an Egyptian prince and a Hebrew man. He had to choose one. Moses had grown up and it grieved him to see his people being mistreated. On one occasion he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew. He came to the Hebrew’s defense and killed the Egyptian with his martial arts skill. But Pharaoh found out and sought Moses’ life. He fled and spent the next 40 years in Midian. If Moses remained in the palace, he might have been a possible successor of the Egyptian Emperor because he was a favorite of the Pharaoh. “By faith he refused to be known as the son of the Pharaoh’s daughter.” Moses knew that he would lose his position as the Prince of Egypt by his actions. Moses had made a choice to separate himself from the Egyptian ways. He understood that the life of Egypt was not what God wanted of him. Moses lived in Egypt for 40 years and yet, like Joseph, he knew that it was not home. The power, prestige, and glory of the Egypt were upon him. But by faith he gave up his glorious prince position. He gave it all up. Why? “He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasure of sin for a short time.” Mistreatment followed after he made decision to identify as God’s people. His decision was very costly because it invited immediate oppression. It is our human nature to avoid suffering as much as possible and to enjoy an easy-going life. But Moses made a clear choice to obey God by accepting his mission to be mistreated along with the people of God. He thought about God’s people who were groaning under the yoke of Egypt rather than seeking his own personal pleasures and the glory of the world. When Moses chose to be mistreated along with his people, he abandoned pleasure and chose suffering. Humanly speaking, it was a hard choice. But Moses chose to suffer with his people instead of being the prince of Egypt because he loved God.  Like Moses by faith we must refuse to be associated with the pleasures of this world. This world is not our eternal home. When we decide to follow God’s word, we will be mistreated by the world like Moses. The pleasures of this world are temporary and it cannot be compared to the eternal relationship we have with our God. Therefore, we must refuse to follow the pleasures of sin. Rather, we should remember how God called us out of our bondage of slavery life in Egypt and separate ourselves from sinful life and follow the will of God.

 When we read about Moses in the Bible, we learn that he made the right choice. Because of his choice, he did not become a mummy. Instead, he was used by God and he could be a blessing to all of his spiritual descendants. The Christian life requires a choice before God. By faith M. Elijah gave up his dream to become the bank president in Korea and chose to become excellent Bible teacher.  He did not give up good job to have better job in America. He made decision of faith to serve young college campus students in America to obey Jesus’ command. God did not call us to have better life here but called us to become Bible teachers and disciple makers for Jesus. By faith M. Phillip B. chose to give up comfortable life in America and went to China to serve China mission. By faith M. Moses did not retire to live comfortably in sunshiny Florida but chose to serve students in Belize for the sake of Christ in his second part of mission life. By faith Dave Casler prepared a good presentation for YDJ last Friday instead of enjoying the pleasures of party life like other UMD students because he chose to serve God.

 Look at verse 26. "He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward." When Moses made a decision of faith, he lost all the privilege of being a prince and was treated like a political criminal. Everybody wants to be praised and honored. No one wants to be mistreated. But Moses chose to be mistreated. Why did he do so? It was because Moses valued the life of faith more than the pleasures of sin. In short, Moses had a value system. He valued life of faith with his suffering people rather than enjoying the fleeting pleasure of sin as an Egyptian prince. Serving the people of God has an eternal value while enjoying the pleasure of sin is transitory.  

 Moses had another reason for choosing to suffer with his people. Look at verse 26 again. "He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward." When Moses suffered, he suffered with Christ. Jesus Christ became our eternal high priest who went into heaven after offering his blood once for all. Now he is sitting at the right hand of God in glory. The author encouraged his readers who went through persecution and suffering to identify with Christ’ disgrace as Moses received disgrace for the sake of Christ. In the same way we must receive disgrace for the sake of Christ when we face all kinds of mistreatment simply because we love Christ. Dr. Marvin Newell, president of Cross Global Link said, “Today Christians are treated like extremists and strangers because they follow Jesus.” Christians are becoming a minority in America. Hebrews 11:6c says, “He rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Moses sought God's reward. For this, he could forsake the treasures of Egypt. He was sure of God's reward. Like the patriarchs of faith, Moses was looking forward to” the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. “(11:10) Moses was looking forward to his reward in Jesus’ millennial kingdom. God rewarded Moses because he acted by faith. He appeared with Elijah at the Mount of Transfiguration in glory. (Mark 9:4) These days there are many people who have no true sense of reward. Some people say, “I don’t need reward. I just live.” But in reality all people look forward to receiving their reward when they go to work and sacrifice their time and money for education. In the spiritual world the same is true. We are not seeking temporary reward the world gives but seeking God’s eternal reward which is kept in heaven for all who live by faith. Apostle Paul valued Jesus more than anything in the world. He suffered for Christ to know the power of resurrection. He said in Phil. 3:8, “What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ.” Paul gave up everything for the sake of Christ because he found great value in Jesus. What do you value most in your life? What did you give up for the sake of Christ? Let’s have Jesus rather than the wealth or the fame the world offers. When we live for Jesus, we will be happy and satisfied. Matthew 16:26 says, “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” That’s true. The world looks good but it cannot save our soul. Only Jesus saves us from the power of sin and death. We must forfeit the things of the world and put our faith in God. 

PART III MOSES’ ACT OF FAITH (27-28)

Look at verse 27. "By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king's anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible." Immediately Moses became a political fugitive to the mighty Pharaoh. Suddenly Moses’ position was changed from the mighty prince of Egypt to a hunted man. The king’s anger was burning against Moses because of his choice. But to Moses, his choice was clear. He made up his mind to live for God. Then God gave him spiritual eyes to see that God is almighty. He decided to follow the king of heaven not the king of this world. Verse 27b says, "He persevered because he saw him who is invisible." This tells us more clearly the reason why he was not afraid of the king's anger and persevered through all the hardships. It was because Moses could see God who is invisible with his eyes of faith. It is unimaginable how much he persevered in the wilderness. He spent next forty years in the wilderness to receive humble training as God’s servant. He was tending dumb sheep day in and day out. He repeated the same things over and over. Through the wilderness training God built his character to become a humble and compassionate shepherd. Moses maintained close relationship with God though he was in the desert. He had a quiet time with the Lord away from the loud noise of the world. This close walk with God sustained Moses through all the difficult days. How can we persevere in the adverse human situation? We have to see God who is invisible. Memorizing the word of God enables us to see God with the eyes of faith moment by moment. God is active in our daily life. He is present wherever we go and we can overcome all kinds of hardships of life because he is with us.

 Look at verse 28. "By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel." The final example of faith in connection with Moses concerns the Passover. The author doesn't tell the whole story of the Exodus but only the climax of the story. During the 430 years the Israelites spent in Egypt, their numbers increased, but they had to live in slavery. God sent his servant Moses to Pharaoh to liberate his people. The mission God gave Moses demanded absolute obedience. Moses challenged the king by faith.

By faith Moses obeyed God's command to deliver his people from the hand of Pharaoh. By faith Moses went and boldly challenged King Pharaoh to liberate his people. Moses demanded, “Let my people go so that they may worship God. “ (Exodus 10:3) Moses repeated the same demand nine times. But Pharaoh became all the more stubborn in spite of the infliction of nine devastating plagues. Finally God commanded Moses to tell Pharaoh about the plague of death, which would take the lives of all the firstborn of Egypt, of both man and beast. To Moses, this was an impossible command to obey. But Moses obeyed the word of God. By faith Moses boldly challenged Pharaoh to let his people go; otherwise, all of the firstborn of Egypt would die. Moses commanded the Israelites to sprinkle the blood of the lamb to their doorposts of their houses to prevent death from the destroyer. There was nothing in the previous experience of either Moses or the Israelites to justify this action. How could he be sure that the firstborn of the Israelites would not be destroyed? When the angel of death swept over Egypt, he would pass over the houses sprinkled with blood. Later, Jesus sprinkled his own blood to become the Lamb of God. Through the blood of Jesus we will be saved. Moses’ faith proved right when “the destroyer of the firstborn passed over them. There were loud wailings and crying among the Egyptians including the Pharaoh’s first son but there were no deaths among the Israelites. Moses’ act of faith was vindicated by this miracle. God used Moses’ faith to institute the Passover feast from this event.  In conclusion we live in the age of no commitment. It is very difficult to ask people to make decision of faith. These days there are too many people who have no power to make any decision. There are also many people who commit to no one. In this passage we learn that Moses is great because he made a choice before God. He is great because he committed himself to God. He is great because he obeyed the word of God at the cost of his life. May God bless us to follow the example of faith! I pray that we may raise up many young Moses to value God more than the pleasures of the world. Let’s read the key verses 24-25.