by Dr. Samuel Lee   05/22/2000     0 reads





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."

Moses is known as the most outstanding leader of all leaders who have

lived in the world. Moses received the highest education in the palace

of the Egyptian Empire for 40 years. For the growth of his inner

character, he received another 40 years of humbleness training in the

wilderness among seven daughters of Jethro, tending Jethro's flock of

sheep. They call this humbleness training or the wilderness seminary.

When Moses had completed 80 years of training altogether, God could use

him greatly. In the Bible, Moses was known as a servant of God who

worked harder than any others to lead his rebellious people; he died

without seeing the promised land, though it had been his only dream to

see it. There is a saying, "Moses dipped out all the water of a lake,

then David caught all the fish and Solomon cooked and ate them all."

But the author of Hebrews says that Moses is great because he had faith

that pleases God.

I.  The faith of Moses' parents (23)

First, they saw he was no ordinary child (23a). Read 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."  Many great men in history were born in adverse circumstances

or in tragic human conditions. Moses was no exception. 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, who

did not know Joseph, came to power. At a glance, the new Egyptian king

realized that the Israelites, multiplying like thunderous grasshoppers

which had once eaten up the crops of all the Egyptian land (Ps

105:34,35), would be a threat to the stability of his empire.

Immediately, the king oppressed the Israelites by forced labor so that,

their number might not increase any more. His policy did not work,

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. Moses was born into the

family of a Hebrew slave in Egypt. In short, he was born in a

bone-crushing situation.

Moses  parents saw that he was no ordinary child. Of course, all the

people of the world think that their children are not ordinary, but

something special. This kind of sentiment has extended even to the

animal world. There is a story about a mother crow. She said to a

hunter, "Please do not shoot the birds which look the most beautiful."

So the hunter shot down the ugliest birds only. Later he found he had

shot all the mother crow's babies. Moses' parents might be no

exception; they must have thought that their child was a very special

one. But Moses' parents' point of view was different from others. They

saw their son from God's point of view, because they were God-fearing

people. 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 knew for sure that God was with him.

To the Israelites, their slavery was the time to learn the cruelty of

sinful humanity without God. It is amazing to know that in that dark

time Moses' parents saw their child with the eyes of faith and realized

that he was no ordinary child because God was with the child. This

seems to be a small matter. However, through this small event, Moses'

parents planted faith in God in the soul of young Moses. This small

event was a prelude to the Exodus.

Second, Moses' parents were not afraid of the king's edict (23b). Look

at verse 23b. "...and they were not afraid of the king's edict."

Because of the king's edict other people were looking at newspapers and

only thought about Pharaoh, what he was going to do next. Especially,

the Israelites, who had lived in Egypt for 430 years as slaves, must

have looked like the walking dead, or scrub trees in a forest.

In ancient times, no one dared disobey a king's edict, for a king was

absolutely sovereign and despotic. So, many Hebrew parents, sorrowing

and crying many tears over their fatalistic situation, threw their

newborn sons into the river, for they 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 Moses for three months.  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. God graciously

intervened in Moses' life. 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.

II.  Moses' decision of faith (24-26)

First, Moses' choice (24,25). Many people live in a fantasy world. In

their fantasy world, they want to be princes and princesses no matter

who they may be. One prince of an Arabian kingdom was spoiled by his

attendants. Later, he was bored with luxurious palace life. Finally, he

became a mental patient. In his illusion, he thought that he was a

street beggar. So he fantasized how happy he would be if he were a

prince. Moses was born a slave. In God's providence, he was made a

prince of Egypt. He was the envy of all Egyptians, especially Egyptian

girls. Moses must have studied philosophy, history, martial arts and

kingship. No doubt he had received all kinds of palace education as a

prince. All mankind without exception have to face a time of destiny,

to make a choice. Moses also had to face the time to choose his future

life direction. Now he had to choose between palace life and the life

of faith.

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." We know how people work hard to be elected as the

president of any nation. If Moses had just kept his mouth shut he could

have been a possible successor of the Egyptian Emperor. But by faith he

gave up his glorious prince position. He chose to be mistreated along

with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasure of sin. These

days, most people do their best to avoid suffering and go around to

enjoy the pleasures of sin. If anybody does not seek pleasure he is

considered a strange person. The people of the world want to get much

benefit and much pleasure.

But Moses gave up all the privilege of being Prince Moses. When Moses

chose to be mistreated along with his people, he abandoned pleasure and

chose suffering. Humanly speaking, Moses was crazy. It was not easy for

Moses to identify as a Hebrew slave and abandon his fortune as the

prince of Egypt, son of Pharaoh's daughter. Even though it was hard,

Moses had to make a choice.  Perhaps the night he had to make a

decision, he thought about many things. He remembered the crowds of

people, waving their hands as he returned to the palace from royal

trips, riding his white charger. Obviously, he cried many tears when he

thought about betraying his foster mother, Pharaoh's daughter.

Obviously, he had thought about what would happen when he offended King

Pharaoh's pride. Obviously, he had no strength to choose to leave the

palace when he thought about fugitive life as a political criminal. But

Moses chose to suffer with his people instead of being the prince of

Egypt because he loved 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. When

President Abraham Lincoln made a choice before God to emancipate slaves

and give them freedom and equal rights, he suffered endlessly.

President Abraham Lincoln had to undergo the Civil War. But the right

choice before God of one person, President Abraham Lincoln, begot the

United States of America. Otherwise, this country could have been like

South America, which had been divided as much as it could be. There was

a young man named William Borden, heir to the Borden dairy fortune. He

graduated from Yale University. Then at the age of 23, he made a choice

before God to go as a missionary to a Muslim country, renouncing his

family fortune. He was in the mission field less than one year when he

got sick and died. But he said,  No regret, no reservation, no

retreat.  His decision inspired many sincere intellectuals in the

Student Volunteer Movement. All together, 20,000 student missionaries

were sent out through this movement. Any choice made before God bears

much fruit in the long run. So let's make a choice before God.

Second, Moses' value system (26). 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 suffering with his suffering people rather than

enjoying the fleeting pleasure of sin as an Egyptian prince. A man's

nobleness is measured by his value system.  If a man values bananas

most, he is an ignoble person. If a man values holiness or faithfulness

to God most, he is indeed a noble person.

Third, Moses' reward. 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." Moses sought God's reward. For

this, he could forsake the treasures of Egypt. He was sure of God's

reward. These days there are many people who have no true sense of

reward. So they think it is better to be office clerks or janitors

rather than servants of God. But let's dedicate ourselves to God's work

and receive God's reward...his recognition, eternal life and

inheritance in the glorious kingdom of God.

III.  Moses' act of faith (27-28)

First, Moses escaped from the king's anger (27). 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 rebel

to the despotic king. Moses' life seemed to be a flickering candlelight

because of the king's anger. But to Moses, his choice was inflexible.

He made up his mind to run for his life. Then God gave him spiritual

eyes to see that God is almighty and the king of Egypt was nothing but

a mummy candidate. 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


Second, Moses was the leader of the glorious Exodus (28). 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 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.  As a

result, they were imbued with a slave mentality.

But God had great hope in them. He wanted to make them his own people,

a people who would proclaim his glory to all the world. 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. 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 also challenged the people of Israel. They were sick with a

slave mentality, so much so that they did not want to move.

Nevertheless, Moses challenged them to move; Moses challenged them to

move to sprinkle the blood of a lamb on the doorposts of their houses.

When the angel of death swept over Egypt, he would pass over the houses

sprinkled with blood. Moses challenged them to make the glorious Exodus

from Egypt even though they were impossible people.

Through the Exodus God willed to make his people a most glorious

people--a kingdom of priests. God's hope for the people of Israel was

indeed great and glorious. Exodus 19:5b,6a says, "Although the whole

earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy

nation." God wanted to make his people a kingdom of priests. But God

waited until one person, Moses, appeared. God challenged his people to

move under the leadership of Moses. Under his leadership, 600,000

Israelites escaped the hand of Pharaoh and marched toward the promised

land. God used one man, Moses, when he made a decision of faith.  God

could lead 600,000 Israelites when there was one man of faith. Here we

learn that one man of faith was more precious than the dispirited

600,000 Israelites.  Moses had faith that pleases God, and God was

pleased by his 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 each one of us to have the faith of Moses.