We're studying Hebrews 11 - the great hall of faith, and we come this morning to Moses, who is another outstanding example of faith. Perhaps his entire life and relationship to the Lord is best summed up in the words of Deuteronomy 33:1; "Moses the man of God". What greater thing could be said about any of us? Could you put your name in that sentence? ________ the man (woman ) of God. Do you desire to have that characterization? Is being characterized as a man/woman of God anywhere in the myriad of things that you want for yourself? Should it be?
The previous paragraph, on the patriarchs, had stressed faith in the trials of life. Here we see faith demonstrated against the opposition and allurements of the world. The readers faced both, and so do we. We must exercise faith in the trials of life, and also in the choices we make. We, like Moses, must make difficult choices, and by faith we can make the right decisions.
Life is made up of decisions. When you wake up in the morning, your first decision is whether or not you will get out of bed. Your next decision is what will you wear. Then what will you eat. And you go about life in a continual process of making decisions. One aspect of Christian maturity is the ability to make right decisions. Holiness is making the right decisions; carnality is making the wrong ones. Your Christian life rises or falls, in terms of maturity and holiness, on the basis of the decisions that you make. For example: Every time you are tempted, you either decide to yield to it, or not to. Every time you have an opportunity to share the gospel, you either take it or you don't. Invariably, the choices you and I make will affect our lives.
Right choices are made on the basis of faith; trusting the promises of God, and Moses is an excellent example and inspiration to us on making choices by faith.
The story begins with the faith exercised at Moses' birth:
Hebrews 11:23 (NKJV) By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king's command.
Note that formally Moses is the subject, though actually it was his parents who acted in faith. I believe that our author is telling us that Moses' parent's faith had a big impact on Moses. Look at:
2 Timothy 1:5 (NKJV) when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also.
2 Timothy 3:15 (NKJV) and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
Parents, our faith is to impact our children, and it will if we are faithful to live a godly life and teach them the Word of God. Timothy had been taught the Word of God from his childhood. And God promises that His word will have an impact:
Isaiah 55:11 (NKJV) So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
Parents, God's Word won't return empty, so be faithful to teach it to your children. Sunday school teacher, hold on to this promise as you labor to teach boys and girls the word of God.
Let's turn back to the story of Moses' birth in Exodus 1:22-2:2.
Exodus 1:22 (NKJV) So Pharaoh commanded all his people, saying, "Every son who is born you shall cast into the river, and every daughter you shall save alive."
Here we see the new Pharaoh's policy of compulsory infanticide, and think about this - had it not been for his cruelty the children of Israel might have found Egypt so comfortable that they would never have thought of leaving it!
Exodus 2:2 (NKJV) So the woman conceived and bore a son. And when she saw that he was a beautiful child, she hid him three months.
Our text in Hebrews 11:23 distinctly affirms that it was " by faith" the parents (yes even the Dad was involved) of Moses acted, and this explains their conduct. Since they acted by faith, they must have received a Divine revelation, and this word from God formed the foundation of their confidence, and supplied the motive-power for what they did. It is true that they knew from the prophecy given to Abram (Genesis 15) that the time for the deliverance of Israel from Egypt was drawing near, as they also knew from the prediction of Joseph (Genesis 50:24) that God was going to undertake for His people. Yet, I am persuaded that Hebrews 11:23 refers to something more definite and specific. Most probably the Lord made known to these parents that their son was to be the promised deliverer, and furnished them with a description of him.
Hebrews 11:23 says, "They saw he was a proper child". The word "proper" is from the Greek word asteios, meaning: " of the city; of polished manners, elegant, comely, fair, beautiful." In Acts 7:20 it says "...in which time was born Moses, and was beautiful to God". It wasn't just because this child was cute that they hid him, all parents think their children are cute. But God had in some physical way identified this child as his deliverer. Hebrews 11:23 says Moses was hidden three months by his parents, who were not afraid of the king's commandment. They risked their lives to protect their child, which was an act of faith. But I think that Exodus 2:3 reveals an even greater faith, they trusted God to keep him.
Exodus 2:3 (NKJV) But when she could no longer hide him, she took an ark of bulrushes for him, daubed it with asphalt and pitch, put the child in it, and laid it in the reeds by the river's bank.
They no longer could be involved and they had to trust completely in the sovereignty of God. Mothers, imagine what this must have been like.
Look how God rewards their faith:
Exodus 2:4-9 (NKJV) And his sister stood afar off, to know what would be done to him. 5 Then the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river. And her maidens walked along the riverside; and when she saw the ark among the reeds, she sent her maid to get it. 6 And when she had opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the baby wept. So she had compassion on him, and said, "This is one of the Hebrews' children." 7 Then his sister said to Pharaoh's daughter, "Shall I go and call a nurse for you from the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for you?" 8 And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, "Go." So the maiden went and called the child's mother. 9 Then Pharaoh's daughter said to her, "Take this child away and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages." So the woman took the child and nursed him.
Here we see Hebrews 11:6 fleshed out; "God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him". Moses' parents had not only saved his life, but God had arranged it so they still had the privilege of raising him during those crucial, early years. And in addition to that, they got paid to do it by the very Pharaoh who had ordered his death! What an awesome God!
Now according to scholars, this period of time lasted anywhere from three to twelve years. So Moses' parents had him for a maximum of twelve years, and in that time they taught him their faith. They passed on to him the Messianic promises, that God would visit His people and deliver them from Egyptian bondage. They taught him that the coffin of Joseph was to be a reminder of those promises:
Hebrews 11:22 (NKJV) By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the departure of the children of Israel, and gave instructions concerning his bones.
Moses spent at least 28 years being trained in the ways of pagan Egypt, yet he remained faithful to the faith he was taught by his parents in the early years of his life.
Proverbs 22:6 (NKJV) Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.
It is a deeply interesting study to go over the history of Moses and note the many details in which he pictured the Lord Jesus. In Hebrews 3:2-6, The author of Hebrews compares Moses to Jesus Christ. Moses said:
Deuteronomy 18:15 (NKJV) "The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear,
The Prophet Moses was referring to was Jesus Christ. Just as Moses delivered the people physically out of bondage in Egypt, so also the Lord Jesus delivered the people of God out of spiritual bondage and sin. Moses was a type of the Lord Jesus Christ. Even the events of Moses' infancy foreshadow the experience of him who is greater than Moses - the life of the infant Jesus was threatened by the edict of a despotic monarch ordering the slaughter of all male children under the age of two years, and by their faith and obedience Joseph and Mary were enabled to preserve the child by taking refuge in the very country where Moses was preserved.
Hebrews 11:24-27 (NKJV) By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, 25 choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, 26 esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward. 27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible.
Moses went from the Palace to the desert; from royalty to a shepherd. And Genesis 46:34 tells us what Egyptians thought of shepherds; "Every shepherd is an abomination unto the Egyptians".
Paul said this of Christ:
2 Corinthians 8:9 (NKJV) For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.
That could be said of Moses also. Moses is a prefigurement of the Lord Jesus Christ, and thus in studying his life and the faith he manifested we can learn a great deal about our Savior.
Verses 24 & 25 highlight Moses' faith in renouncing the privileges and pleasures of Egypt. The readers too might have been concerned with actual or potential loss of position and prestige with their peers, as well as with potential monetary loss.
Verse 24 tells us that it was "By faith" that Moses responded to his call. Look at Stephen's sermon in:
Acts 7:21-29 (NKJV) "But when he was set out, Pharaoh's daughter took him away and brought him up as her own son. 22 "And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and deeds. 23 "Now when he was forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren, the children of Israel. 24 "And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended and avenged him who was oppressed, and struck down the Egyptian. 25 "For he supposed that his brethren would have understood that God would deliver them by his hand, but they did not understand. 26 "And the next day he appeared to two of them as they were fighting, and tried to reconcile them, saying, 'Men, you are brethren; why do you wrong one another?' 27 "But he who did his neighbor wrong pushed him away, saying, 'Who made you a ruler and a judge over us? 28 'Do you want to kill me as you did the Egyptian yesterday?' 29 "Then, at this saying, Moses fled and became a dweller in the land of Midian, where he had two sons.
In verse 25 it is suggested that Moses had a clear understanding of his calling from God, and his faith motivated his renunciation of Egypt. Notice verse 22: "And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians" - This training would obviously include total indoctrination in the mysteries of the Egyptian cults, the highest literary culture of the time, and intensive military training. Verse 23 tells us Moses was 40 years old when he chose to obey God's call:
Hebrews 11:24-25 (NKJV) By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, 25 choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin,
Moses did not seek the world's prestige, he sought the will of God. Moses really didn't care about all the things that the world had to offer, he had everything that the world could give, and he turned his back on it.
Such a decision was the fruit of the training he had received from his parents. Parents should never underestimate how influential the early training of their children is in determining future choices. Moses rejected the allurement of an easy life and chose instead to endure hardship with his people. His choice reflected what is embodied in the words of Christ in:
Luke 9:23-25 (NKJV) Then He said to them all, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. 24 "For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. 25 "For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?
While it is true that very few Christians are called upon to leave a palace, yet everyone of us is called to take up his cross - this is discipleship.
Now we've all heard a zillion devotionals about taking up your cross. Some say, "My wife is my cross, or My husband is my cross, or I've got this teenager- she's my cross". These are not crosses. When Jesus said, "Take up your cross", they knew immediately what he was talking about. He was talking about dying.
How did they know that? Well, with the exception of Judas Iscariot, they were all from Galilee. There had been a recent insurrection in Galilee led by Judas of Galilee. Judas had gathered a band of men together to throw the Romans out. But the Romans crushed Judas and his insurrection. The Roman general, Varus, decided to teach the Jews a lesson, so he crucified over two thousand Jews. Then, he put their crosses all along the roads of Galilee so everybody would see them. Also, every Jew that was crucified carried the crossbeam for his own execution on his back. Now these Galileans had seen this. So Jesus talked to them in a historical context.
The cross was a symbol of a painful, torturous death. The disciples understood that to take up the cross meant abandoning themselves to the Lordship of Christ, even if it meant their lives.
Luke 9:24 is not talking about eternal life but to a life of usefulness here and now. Moses seemed to be losing his life by walking away from the palace, but he was in fact saving it. Moses' choice was one of total dedication, total commitment. Those who choose to totally follow God are the ones He uses to change the course of history. In faith Moses obeyed God and became the deliverer of the nation Israel.
Discipleship is costly, and we are all called to make some very costly choices. John Bunyan had to make a choice. He was told to quit preaching, but he said, "I cannot quit preaching, because God has called me to preach". He was warned, "If you preach, we'll put you in prison." So he said to himself, "If I go to prison, who cares for my family? But how can I close my mouth when God has called me to preach?" So he committed his family to the care of God, and was obedient to the call of God. He preached, and they put him in prison. Since then, he's blessed millions of families, because it was while he was in prison that he wrote Pilgrim's Progress.
Believer, each of us has to choose between sin and holiness, between the world and Christ, between commitment and apostasy. Daily we must choose between obedience to Christ and the pleasures of sin, but let me tell you something, the pleasures of sin only last for a season. Sin is fun, there's no doubt about it, but the fun is short lived and the price is very high. From a human standpoint, it would have been fun to stay in the palace. He could have had all the fleshly pleasures known to man, but he knew it was short lived and temporal.
Sin can be fun for a season...... but only a season.
Job 20:4-7 (NKJV) "Do you not know this of old, Since man was placed on earth, 5 That the triumphing of the wicked is short, And the joy of the hypocrite is but for a moment? 6 Though his haughtiness mounts up to the heavens, And his head reaches to the clouds, 7 Yet he will perish forever like his own refuse; Those who have seen him will say, 'Where is he?'
Job 21:7-13 (NKJV) Why do the wicked live and become old, Yes, become mighty in power? 8 Their descendants are established with them in their sight, And their offspring before their eyes. 9 Their houses are safe from fear, Neither is the rod of God upon them. 10 Their bull breeds without failure; Their cow calves without miscarriage. 11 They send forth their little ones like a flock, And their children dance. 12 They sing to the tambourine and harp, And rejoice to the sound of the flute. 13 They spend their days in wealth, And in a moment go down to the grave.
Bang! Just like somebody dropped a bomb. The pleasures of sin are only for a season!
Psalms 73:12-19 (NKJV) Behold, these are the ungodly, Who are always at ease; They increase in riches. 13 Surely I have cleansed my heart in vain, And washed my hands in innocence. 14 For all day long I have been plagued, And chastened every morning. 15 If I had said, "I will speak thus," Behold, I would have been untrue to the generation of Your children. 16 When I thought how to understand this, It was too painful for me; 17 Until I went into the sanctuary of God; Then I understood their end. 18 Surely You set them in slippery places; You cast them down to destruction. 19 Oh, how they are brought to desolation, as in a moment! They are utterly consumed with terrors.
Look at what James has to say about the judgement of sin:
James 5:1-6 (NKJV) Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you! 2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. 3 Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days. 4 Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. 5 You have lived on the earth in pleasure and luxury; you have fattened your hearts as in a day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned, you have murdered the just; he does not resist you.
In verse 1 he tells them to, "weep and howl". This is the response of despair when judgement strikes. "Weep" means: "to sob aloud, lament", it was used for the wailing for the dead. It's a strong emotional outburst as they see the judgement of God on their lives. "Howl" is from the Greek word ololuzo. It's an onomatopoeia and carries its meaning in its sound; to shriek, scream, howl out loud. It intensifies the scene of despair. Why weep and howl? For the miseries that shall come upon you, the judgement for sin.
You know, I think David had a lot of pleasure with Bathsheba, but it was short lived, and his pain was very great. David's response to God's judgement could be explained by the terms "weep and howl" as David watched his family destroyed. Sin was fun, but if David had to do it over again, knowing what he knows, I don't think he would do it.
Proverbs 6:32 (NKJV) Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding; He who does so destroys his own soul (life).
Moses made a conscious choice to suffer affliction with the people of God rather than enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; and that was an act of faith. He actually believed that if he did what God wanted him to do, he'd come out better in the end. Do you believe that? Really?
Moses' motivation is given in verse:
Hebrews 11:26 (NKJV) esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.
Moses believed that the reproach of Christ had more value than all of Egypt's treasure!
The word "esteeming" is from the Greek word hegeomai, which means: "to judge, or to consider." Moses weighed the issues in his mind, and decided that the temporal wealth of Egypt was far less valuable than the reproach of Christ.
What does he mean "reproach of Christ"? When Moses lived, Christ wasn't even born yet. The term Christ in Greek is Christos, which means: "Messiah", and the word Messiah means: "God's anointed one". So, some say it refers to the nation Israel, the people of God. Others say it refers to Moses himself; he was God's anointed. I think it refers to Christ; Moses probably understood far more about Christ than we give him credit for. Remember:
Deuteronomy 18:15 (NKJV) "The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear,
I think Moses understood the coming of Christ and of his sufferings. When Moses suffered, he suffered with Christ - the same Christ whom the writer is encouraging his readers to identify with.
Notice the perspective that Moses had, he believed that suffering for righteousness sake is wealth - "....esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt". He considered the reproach of Christ as wealth. Listen folks, Moses knew what wealth was. Egypt was extremely wealthy. The discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamen has produced some of the greatest treasures ever discovered in ancient Egypt. Moses, because of who he was in Pharaoh's court, had all of the wealth the world could offer. And he rejected every bit of it, because he had faith in God's greater eternal riches. Moses looked for a heavenly inheritance, not an earthly inheritance.
All too often we desire and work very hard for what Moses walked away from, earthly riches. Have you ever dreamed about winning the lottery, and all you would buy? Be honest! Have you ever bought a lottery ticket? Why? I'll tell you why; It's because we think money can buy happiness, we think if we had all that money we'd be content. Look with me at:
1 Timothy 6:6-11 (NKJV) Now godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. 9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 11 But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.
We've got it all wrong, It's godliness that brings contentment, not money. But I don't think that too many of us believe this.
Moses looked beyond the present and chose what counted for eternity. Many of us do not seriously look at the future; we think only of the present. Sadly, many of God's children determine their course of action by the values of time rather than by the values of eternity. We have said many times before that the key to living a life for God in the present is a proper understanding of the future, and for the godly person who suffers for Christ the future holds a great reward. Look what Christ told his disciples:
Luke 6:22-23 (NKJV) Blessed are you when men hate you, And when they exclude you, And revile you, and cast out your name as evil, For the Son of Man's sake. 23 Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For indeed your reward is great in heaven, For in like manner their fathers did to the prophets.
Luke 6:35 (NKJV) "But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.
If we are to avoid the sin of materialism and cleave to righteousness, we must by faith conclude that the rewards in heaven are worth far more than the passing pleasures of sin.
Moses, as truly as the patriarchs, looked for his perfect recompense in Heaven. Moses turned his back on earthly riches; materialism, because he understood that the rewards for godliness were eternal.
Believer, when you are tempted by this world and It's wealth, consider eternity. Let's remember the words of Jesus in:
Luke 12:15 (NKJV) And He said to them, "Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses."
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