By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be ill-treated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 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. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. By faith he kept the Passover and the application of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.
Hebrews 11:24-28 (NIV)
Read: Exodus 2:11-25
Consider: Moving on from Amram and Jochebed (Moses’ parents), the writer of Hebrews moves on to Moses himself. Moses’ life is characterised by many examples of faith in action, yet the examples used in Hebrews cover only his time in Egypt and Midian, culminating in the Passover held prior to the exodus of the Israelites.
We are told in Hebrews that Moses made a deliberate choice to identify with the Israelites, rather than be known as Pharaoh’s son. While his story is not always auspicious, God chose to use Moses as a key instrument in bringing about the freedom of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt.
I was thinking about Moses and asked myself what illustrations of faith I would have used if I was looking for examples of faith in action. I probably would have used Moses’ tenacity in repeatedly going back to Pharaoh asking for the Israelites to be freed, or even the plagues because in each case he had to trust God completely for their fulfilment. Other illustrations could be drawing water from a rock at God’s command, the parting of the Red Sea; the list could go on and on.
Hebrews 11:26 tells us: 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. This shows us that while Moses himself would not have been aware of Jesus’ coming in the future (as it would be several thousand years hence), his action showed that he regarded present reward (in Egypt) as having no comparison to future reward. Moses was able to turn his back on the world and all its enticements because he was looking forward to the promised land God had told him about while he was in Midian. Regarding his call by God we read in Exodus 3:7-10 – The LORD said, ‘I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey – the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.’
If you want to read a brief account of Moses’ life, it is worthwhile reading Stephen’s address to the Sanhedrin recorded in Acts 7:1-53.
There is much in Moses’ life to encourage us to put our faith into action. Even when the odds were stacked against him, Moses persevered and stood firm in his belief that God would fulfil what he had promised. Those who trust in God are repeatedly encouraged throughout the Bible to ‘stand firm’ (see Exodus 14:13 through to James 5:8).
Pray: Father, give us a faith like Moses that was able to stand firm against the opposition of Pharaoh and to trust what you had promised. Help us to stand firm in today’s society that chooses to ignore you and treat those who believe in you as weird and strange. Amen