The Bible is full of individuals who are known for their rich faith in God. Hebrews 11 is what many of us refer to as the “Faith Chapter” or the “Hall of Faith.” The Hebrew author by way of the Holy Spirit takes us on a tour of a Who’s Who when it comes to great heroes of faith. In verses 23-28, we read about the faith of Moses which is well known by many, even those who are irreligious in nature.
“By faith, Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict” (v. 23, ESV). Here we notice the origin of Moses’ faithful attitude. Moses’s parents, Amram and Jochebed, placed their trust in God rather than in the Pharaoh who commanded that all Hebrew male children be killed. It is admirable that they would hide their son, putting their own lives at risk that he might live. It is also admirable that they would place their son in a small basket (some might even call it a type of ark) and send him down the river, placing their trust in God that somebody would be able to care for their son.
While it is doubtful that Moses had much recollection of his birth parents, he certainly got his faithful attitude from them. A great lesson we learn from Moses and from his parents is that children often learn about faith (or lack thereof) from their parents. Many of us have been blessed because we learned from the example our parents made concerning faith in God.
In verses 24-26 we read about the faith Moses displayed in how he placed the right priorities in his life. We read in verse 24 that when he was grown up, he “refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.” Moses could have easily used his adopted status in the family of Pharaoh to his advantage. He could have had anything and everything. Moses gave all that up and he rejected his status in the family of Pharaoh. He embraced his status as an Hebrew male of the tribe of Levi and he chose rather “to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin” (v. 25). Moses made the decision to suffer with the Hebrew people instead of enjoying the pleasures that come from living a sinful lifestyle. Why? Because he had the right priorities.
Christian people are to have the right priorities. We are told to “seek ye first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33, KJV). When we have the right priorities, we will eschew evil and seek to be in full alignment with God’s word and his people.
Verse 26 states that he “considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt for he was looking to the reward.” Moses viewed the abuse and persecution he might endure for choosing Israel over Egypt as something more valuable than the treasures of Egypt.
Could that be said of us? Would we be willing to endure persecution because we find the kingdom of God more valuable than the United States of America? It takes great faith to be willing to give up fame, fortune, freedom, or even life in order to be pleasing unto God.
“By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible” (v.27). Moses feared God more than he feared Pharaoh. You and I are to respect and obey our government as long as they do not go against the word of God. Romans 13 and other passages make it clear about our relationship with those who hold authority over us. We are blessed to live in this country where we have so many liberties and rights. Yet if all of our rights were stripped away, including the right to preach the gospel and preach against sin, we would have a decision to make. Whom do we fear more? God or man’s authority? Moses knew the penalty if he had ever been captured by Pharaoh and his army. He did not allow the threat of death to keep him from obeying God and leading the people of God to freedom.
“By faith, he kept the passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn might not touch them” (v. 28). God told Moses and the people what to do to avoid the terrible final plague that would befall Egypt because of the hardness of Pharaoh’s heart. He told them to take the blood of the lamb and to sprinkle it over the lintels of their doors. The people understood that to mean if they wanted to be spared, they must do that. Moses understood that to be true as well and so Israel obeyed God.
Today in the New Testament, we are told to hear and believe the gospel (Rom. 10:21, Heb. 11:1, 6). We are also to confess Christ before man (Matt. 10:32-33) and repent of our sins (Acts 2:38). Finally, we are to submit and to be baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). What if the Israelites had complained and refused to comply with God’s orders concerning the Passover? Isn’t that what we sometimes see when good people are confronted with biblical truth about salvation that goes against their heritage and family history?
To sum up, there are many lessons we learn from the faith of Moses (Heb. 11:23-28). May we always have the faith to do right by God.
Drew is the preacher at the Corinth Church of Christ in Rock Island, TN. He also teaches History, Government, and Middle & High School Bible at Boyd Christian School in McMinnville, TN.