THE FAITH OF MOSES
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
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
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.