Heb11v23to29 MOSES' FAITH
(A) Introduction The life of Moses illustrates clearly why faith is of supreme worth. It leads to action. Knowledge, sentiment, God's call, God's instructions and even God's grace will not lead to action without faith. It does remove mountains. Faith is the active, transforming and conquering quality behind effective Christian service. Faith without works is indeed dead.
(B) Perception backed up by faith results in resourcefulness.
Moses' parents were perceptive. They saw that he was no ordinary child. Ch11v23. They could see that Moses was special and they believed that God wished this boy to live. It made them bold. Amram and Jochebed ignored the edict of Pharaoh and hid the baby for three months. It also made them resourceful. They devised a plan, a very cunning plan, whereby the baby would be adopted and enjoy the protection of Pharaoh's daughter and yet be nurtured by his own mother acting as his nurse. Ex2v3to10
Moses' parents were intelligent and the scheme they thought up was a good one. However it entailed uncertainties, risks and dangers. There was no guarantee that it would succeed. Faith overcame their doubts and fears. Faith put the plan into operation. The child was saved by faith.
It is a good thing to be intelligent. We need to be perceptive and to have insight, to anticipate problems and have solutions. However that is not enough in itself. Faith is needed to put ideas into practice. It makes us resourceful; it gets the job done. Our former pastor believed that the church needed extending. He drew up some excellent plans. I, as church secretary, spent many hours getting planning permission and quotations from builders to do the work. I even started to raise money for the project. My church was quite happy with all this preparatory work. When the time came to make a decision to proceed with the extension the members lacked faith and the scheme was abandoned. I think their lack of faith was justified but nevertheless it illustrates how essential faith is to get the job done.
(C) Sympathy allied to faith results in a professed allegiance.
Moses was nurtured by his mother and in those early years he learned all the important stories about the patriarchs of his people. As he grew up his sympathies lay with the children of Israel. However he could have been sympathetic to his people's plight but remained the adopted son of Pharaoh's daughter. He could have shed tears in private over their oppression and lowly status but continued to enjoy the pleasures of Egypt.
Faith transformed his sympathy into active allegiance. He 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 pleasures of sin for a short time. 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.Heb11v24to26. These are stirring words. They convey vividly something of the sacrifice that Moses made. He did so deliberately by faith. He refused, he chose and he looked ahead. Moses lost status, abandoned pleasure and renounced material rewards. He did so because he hoped to deliver his people from slavery - he was looking ahead to his reward - to the Promised Land.
Moses was like Jesus. We read of him: For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. 2Cor8v9. Jesus enriches those who are slaves to sin by humbling himself and becoming obedient to death - even death on a cross! Phil 2v8. Moses eventually sets his people free because by faith he regarded disgrace of greater value than the treasures of Egypt.
It is a blessed thing to be used of God to deliver just one soul from bondage. It often involves sacrifice. My father saw young men come to faith during his ministry. He was so busy during that ministry that he never had time to play with his children. I do not blame my father for not playing with us - I owe my salvation to his life and witness. I was involved for twenty years with a Christian summer camp. Christians who worked at that camp sacrificed their summer holiday. It was the only fortnight of the year that I witnessed boys and girls committing their lives to the Lord. I am so grateful that I was there to see the Spirit of God at work. I can remember on one occasion during my years as a teacher spending many hours preparing a Sunday morning message for my own church. I really struggled to prepare the sermon - much more so than usual. It was almost as if my best efforts were being resisted. The address that Sunday was used to convert two women - sadly a very rare event.
(D) Faith kept Moses in his calling till the work was done.
Moses could never question his calling. Yet in spite of God appearing in a burning bush and giving him clear instructions Moses was reluctant to get started. By faith he finally started out for Egypt and by faith he persevered in the task God had called him to.
It was not easy for Moses to persevere. His task was to secure the release of the Israelites and lead them out of Egypt to the Promised Land. To achieve this he and Aaron had to negotiate with Pharaoh. As plague followed plague Pharaoh came to hate the sight of Moses. After the plague of darkness Pharaoh said to Moses, "Get out of my sight! Make sure you do not appear before me again! The day you see my face you will die."Ex10v28. It was not long before Moses was in Pharaoh's presence again. His life was relatively safe because: Moses himself was highly regarded in Egypt by Pharaoh's officials and by the people. Ex10v27 Moses had to announce the tenth plague - the death of the firstborn in the land. By this time he was heartily sick of the struggle and the terrible consequence of Pharaoh's intransigence. We read that Moses, hot with anger, left Pharaoh. Ex11v8. No one likes to be the bearer of bad news. No one enjoys being hated. No one relishes prolonged confrontation. Moses persevered because he had faith in God's word. By faith he succeeded, by faith the people left Egypt and were delivered from slavery to freedom.
We need faith to overcome opposition. Today in the West too many Christians wilt in the face of opposition. Courage, steadfastness and militancy are not fashionable virtues. Even the words of , 'Onward Christian soldiers' have been changed to, 'Onward Christian pilgrims'. How pathetic can you get! There is a lot of opposition to Christianity in divided families. Perhaps the hardest thing that Moses had to bear was opposition from his own people. The Israelites said to him before they crossed the Red Sea, "Didn't we say to you in Egypt, 'Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians'?" A gentle old man used to attend our church. He was a late convert and he attended all the services he could. It was almost as if he was trying to make up for lost time. He told me that his son and daughter-in-law couldn't understand why he wanted to come to chapel so often. They put some pressure on him to attend less regularly. He was a very gentle man but on this he would not yield. He said to me, "I can't stop away - my new friends are there."
(E) Moses and the Israelites carefully followed the instructions they were given by faith
Moses and his people kept the Passover just as they were told to. No short cuts were taken, there were no omissions or modifications. God's instructions were followed to the letter.
This was not especially easy. Some of the people may have been very excited about leaving. It would have been understandable if in the anticipation of escaping some detail was overlooked. There were so many preparations to make. Others might have been tempted to be cynical. Hopes had been raised before. Pharaoh was never going to let them go. Let's face it they were going to die as slaves in Egypt. We read: The Israelites did just what the LORD commanded Moses and Aaron. Ch12v28.
All those who obeyed God were delivered from the angel of death. Ex12v23 When the LORD goes through the land to strike down the Egyptian's, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the door-frame and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down.
We too have our instructions as God's people. Jesus left them us. There are things that he expects of his followers. He expects us to meet in his name for worship and prayer, to be baptised and join his church, to take communion, to love one another and to express that love through service. Our obedience should be uncompromising - no omissions, no shortcuts and no modifications to his perfect blue print for Christian living. In order to obey Jesus we have to possess faith in him - not just faith in his sacrificial death but faith in his living word. To believe in Jesus is to believe everything about him - his death, resurrection, ascension, and exaltation and his teaching and example.
(F) By faith Moses and the Israelites did the only thing they could in extremity - they went forward.
Pharaoh had second thoughts about losing his cheap labour force and sent out an army to round up the Israelites and bring them back to Egypt. When the enemy got near and danger threatened God provided a way of escape. All the Israelites had to do was go forward to benefit from God's provision. It wasn't so easy. I expect some found it a scary experience to walk between those two, parallel, walls of water. On they went, on to the other side and safety.
We have all had desperate times in our lives when the enemy has threatened. We have feared defeat and felt discouraged and disillusioned. It is only by faith that we keep on going on - believing in the promise: And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. I have felt wretched on a few occasions when my church did not offer me the support I expected or thought I deserved. I was tempted to give up. However at such times the Holy Spirit helps me to look to Jesus. As the writer to the Hebrews put it in Ch12v3: Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. This is the very best of advice
We see in the story of Moses and the Exodus many, many, manifestations of God's grace. God does not want his people ever to forget the grace that brought them out of Egypt. We also see in that story the indispensable nature of faith. Without it, notwithstanding God's grace, there would have been no deliverance. It is the active principle in the deliverance of God's people. The Israelites were released from slavery and set free to journey to the Promised Land by grace and through faith. Faith remains the active principle in the deliverance of God's people. It sets God's people free. It keeps God's people travelling upward to Zion, the beautiful city of God. It brings our frail craft safe into the harbour at last.