By Faith Moses, Pt. 1

Hebrews 11:23-29 • Jeff Crotts •

It is no overstatement to say, “The sum of your life will be based on your decisions.”

  • Life is all about choices.
    • Many of our choices seem involuntary or unconscious.
    • As if on auto-pilot.

 

  • Not deciding, putting something off is also a decision.
    • More than circumstances, the course, and quality of our lives will be determined by our decisions.

Napoleon believed there is a crisis in every battle, a period of ten to fifteen minutes on which the outcome depends.  To take advantage of this period is victory, to lose it is defeat.  Certainly, this plays out in championships.

  • Especially the case for Christian holiness.
    • You observe Christian maturity based on decisions made.
      • When Satan temps, you decide, either “Yes” or “No.”
      • When our flesh says, “Compromise” you choose, “Yes” or “No.”

 

  • You choose the company you keep.
  • You choose how to spend resources.
  • You choose how to fill your mind.

 

In Business, a normal choice is to either make more money or be honest, ethical.  To get ahead or give time to your family or the Lord’s work.

 

  • Everything in life is an opportunity to glorify God or Not.

The ancient Greeks had a statue called Opportunity.  The front of the figure had long flowing hair, but the back of its head was bald-symbolizing the fact that we can grasp an opportunity as it comes toward us, but once it is past there is nothing to hold on to.

The Bible chronicles watershed decisions.

  • Adam and Eve made a wrong choice initiating the chemical reaction in our world of wrong choices plaguing all humankind.

Of Israel in the wilderness:

ESV  Deuteronomy 30:19 I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, ablessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live

 

  • At Shechem, Joshua charged the people:

ESV  Joshua 24:15 aAnd if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, bchoose this day whom you will serve, whether zthe gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or ethe gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. cBut as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."

  • At Mt. Carmel, Elijah confronted the wavering Israelites:

ESV  1 Kings 18:21 And Elijah came near to all the people and said, "How long awill you go limping between two different opinions? bIf the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him." And the people did not answer him a word.

 

  • Abel chose to offer a better sacrifice. Not Cain.
  • Enoch chose to walk with God and God took him directly to heaven.
  • Noah built the ark and everyone but he and his family drowned.
  • Abraham believed God in unlikely circumstances and was counted righteous.

Others rejected God and died in their sins.

  • Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph believed, choosing heaven and life, not death.

 

Everyone is facing the choice to believe in God or to reject Him. 

 

The most important thing you can do when studying the heroes of Hebrews 11 is to relate your life to theirs.

  • It is hard to relate with Abel’s sacrifice or being tasked to build a literal ark or called to leave your country and dwell in tents.
    • Offering your son, Isaac like Abraham.
    • What we have in common with all of those extraordinary moments is “faith.”
    • The main point of Hebrews is tying together the Old Testament with the New.
    • Their changed hearts are our changed hearts.

 

  • Hebrew converts faced the accusation that they were rejecting their heritage.
    • “No!”
      • “What drove them was not outward but inward.”
      • “Not ethnicity, or Law, but faith!”

 

  • Their heritage was their “faith.”

 

  • Moses’ experience will hit closer to home.
    • His example is more brass tacks and earthy.
    • This drives deeper into the heart motivations of life-altering decisions.

 

  • In the spirit of this text, I am going to keep things simple and practical.
    • Moses was a holy man.
    • Not perfect but to be esteemed and followed.
    • What Moses refused and embraced make for Christian DNA.

Moses’ life illustrates positive and negative decisions of “faith.”

  • What he accepts and rejects.
  • Hebrews 11:23-29 marks three things Moses accepts and three that he rejects.
  • Begin with three things Moses rejects!

 

Three things Moses’ rejects

  1. What Moses gave up

Verse 24 says, “Moses…refused.”

Moses’ life trajectory was set by what he refused or gave up.  Self-denial.

  • Moses gave these things up for the sake of his soul.
    • You are saved the instant you exercise faith.
    • But, exercising faith is not a one-time business decision.
    • You exercise faith throughout your life.
    • You see this is the sweep of verses 23-29.

You could outline these verses in terms of Moses’ timeline.

  • Moses infancy, growing up from boyhood into a mature man and finally, coming back as an aged leader to lead God’s people home.

With this in mind, verse 21 speaks of the “faith” of Moses’ parents who “by faith” hid Moses “for three months” (v. 23).

[READ, Exodus 2]

  • Hiding Moses from Pharaoh, tantamount to hiding the Jews from Hitler’s Nazis would have been punishable by death.
  • Moses’ parents actively defied Pharaoh’s order – meant to weaken the threat of the growing population and strength of the Jews.

[READ, Exodus 1:6ff]

  • Their faith said, “I am not afraid!”
  • Parents faced the choice to either save their son(s) or save their own lives!

A key point made is that the soil Moses grew from was “faith” soil.

  • The scriptural account leads us to believe, Moses knew his faith heritage, grew up, and coming of age, acted in “faith.”
    • To stem the population explosion of Hebrew slaves, Pharaoh drowned babies in the Nile.
      • Amram and Jochebed protected their newborn son hiding him for three months.
      • Then they waterproofed a basket constructed of papyrus and pitch and placed the basket in the Nile near where Pharaoh’s daughter regularly bathed.

 

  • This was a well-constructed plan.
    • Acting in faith while carrying it out in the strategy.
      • Parents did not send Moses out whimsically.
      • Verse 23 says Moses “was beautiful” meaning “favored.”

 

  • Somehow, Amram and Jochebed knew God had a divine purpose for their baby!
    • Faith said, send him right into the heart of Pharaoh’s court!
    • When Pharaoh’s daughter scooped up Moses (where he got his name) Miriam, Moses’ sister popped up out of the reeds suggesting that the perfect Hebrew woman to nurse and raise him would be his mother.

 

  • Jochebed was able to raise her own son (for pay) as if he had been at home.
    • Moses was able to be nurtured by his mother’s faith.
    • In the slave hut, Moses was surrounded by the pure atmosphere of faith.

 

  • Raised in his origins, taught to fear God.

 

  • Stephen’s sermon testified to the fruit of their parenting.
    • You see two sides to Moses’ upbringing.

ESV  Acts 7:20-25 aAt this time Moses was born; and he was beautiful in God's sight. And he was brought up for three months in his father's house, 21 and awhen he was exposed, Pharaoh's daughter adopted him and brought him up as her own son.22 And Moses awas instructed in ball the wisdom of the Egyptians, and he was cmighty in his words and deeds.23 "When he was forty years old, it came into his heart ato visit his brothers, the children of Israel.24 And seeing one of them being wronged, he defended the oppressed man and avenged him by striking down the Egyptian.25 He supposed that his brothers would understand that God was giving them salvation by his hand, but they did not understand.

 

  • Parents both from the tribe of Levi (Ex. 2:1) also bearing another son Aaron to be named high priest and daughter Miriam, a prophetess.
    • Moses different from his brother and sister was raised within a cultic and secular society!
      • No less than the secular society of our country.
      • Yet when facing the choice between wealth and wizardry, what was invested into his soul came to bear.

This should encourage investing a Christian worldview into your children, no matter how bleak and predatory our culture becomes.

Moses’ faith should be first characterized as sacrifice.  Specifically, three sacrifices.

 

          a. Moses refused rank and greatness (v. 24)

It is important to underscore the weight of Moses’ sacrifice.

“Moses…refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.”

Again, think about Moses’ history.

  • Pharaoh’s daughter saved Moses’ life when he was a baby.
    • Adopted and educated him as her own son (Ex. 2:4-10).
    • She (according to some) was Pharaoh’s only child - meaning Moses was positioned to be the future King of Egypt.
      • Ancient Eastern countries gave adopted, non-blood relatives this kind of privilege.
      • The point is that Moses, being in the Egyptian court being groomed for high if not the highest status.

There is a significant time lapse of 40 years between verses 23 and 24.

  • The “By faith” of verses 24-26 shows Moses' deliberate identification with his people.

How large of temptation was it “Not to do this?”

  • Moses, a man with a like nature as our own.
    • This was the highest amount of greatness the earth could bestow.

Rank, power, place, honor, titles…etc.  Everything in his grasp.  What most in our world are in a constant drive and race to obtain.  People are willing to sacrifice time and health for esteem.

  • A son of privilege, he had all the luxuries of life and status belonging to a family in Egypt.

 

  • Moses did not rely on nobility or position.

True faith will announce its discord whenever God and conscience call for it to!  You can love your culture (but never all the way!)  A point of refusal will always come where you refuse to identify with the godless zeitgeist or spirit of the age.  [Hughes]

He trusted his God!  Moses turned away!  Remember, the Lord was offered all the kingdoms of the world by Satan and Satan said: “Begone!”

 

          b. Moses refused pleasure (v. 25)

The pull of the “fleeting pleasures of sin” was rejected.

  • “Pleasures” to include sensual, intellectual, and social pleasure.
    • The point is that Egypt had it all.
    • It offered all forms of pleasure.
    • The land of artists and the center of learning.
    • It was a resort to everyone with skill and science.
    • Hedonism or pleasure-seeking is the young man’s passion.
    • Having whatever you want whenever you want it.

ESV  1 John 2:16 For all that is in the world--athe desires of the flesh and bthe desires of the eyes and pride in possessions--is not from the Father but is from the world.

Moses did not refuse what he could not have.  No!

  • Pleasure was there for the taking with no strings attached.
    • Moses’ faith was not passive.
    • He sided with Israel, with his people, over against the Egyptians.

 

  • When Moses killed the Egyptian taskmaster who was beating the Hebrew (Ex. 2:11-12) this was not a temporary fit but a break in loyalty! Moses was siding with his people.

 

  • Moses was motivated by the positive act of his will! “Choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin” (v. 25).

The author of Hebrews while acknowledging sin’s “enjoyment” also calls it “fleeting pleasure!” (v. 25).

  • “Fleeting” means temporary.

It has been asked, “Is fifteen minutes of pleasure worth sacrificing your integrity and conscience?”

Similarly, Liberalism says to focus outward corporate causes.

Causes that are temporal.

Conservatism says; focus inwardly on personal and individual character.  Character impacts now and the future.

  • An interesting comparison can be made between Joseph and Moses.
    • Moses had arisen to the same position as Joseph.
      • Prince of Egypt while Israel was enslaved.
      • For each, God had given a different mission.

 

  • Joseph used Egypt’s power for the good of God’s people.
  • Moses would have to oppose Egypt’s power for the same purpose.

 

  • In terms of the pleasures of Egypt, both enjoyed the same pleasures of a comfortable life, the best food, living, and recreation any could hope.
  • Scripture gives no indication of either one abusing this comfort with immoral practices.

 

  • Joseph’s path that was obedience, for Moses would have been sin!
  • Moses’ plan was not to stay inside the Egyptian court.

This is how it is in terms of the will of God.

  • What is the will of God for some people is not the same for another!
  • Where Scripture speaks directly and in terms of clear morality this is one thing.
  • For matters of the Spirit leading in terms of a person’s conscience, this is quite another.

ESV  Romans 14:23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.

 

          c. Moses refused wealth (v. 26)

This “wealth” was the treasures of Egypt.

  • When you think of Egypt you might not think “wealth.”
    • However, the pyramids and obelisks and temples and statues that stand as ruins are witnesses to the fact that this was incomprehensible wealth.
    • Some of the mightiest structures are the pyramids.

The “love of money” is an overwhelming sin.  This lust for money is the lust for the means to do whatever, whenever.  You believe you can cover faults with money.  Superficially speaking, this is true.  People hit the reset over and over with money.

  • Moses had access to all this and refused it.
  • Moses was not in his twenties like a beatnik millennial, in youthful exuberance saying “No!”
    • Moses was forty years old, in the prime of his life, knowing what his life was about.
    • He knew he would be at a pivot point setting himself for the future.

 

  • Not ignorant but educated.
  • He certainly weighed both sides of the question.

Even still, Moses’ choice should not only be considered as self-denial.

  • Moses “considered” [heavy word for leadership] the “reproach” he suffered for Christ as “greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt” (v. 26).
    • This “wealth” was the “reward” that he was certain to receive in the future.
    • Moses weighed the difference between “fleeting” temporary vs. “future” and eternal riches.

In life, I have a reoccurring experience of the wow factor of seeing something I have never seen before only to soon get used to it where it becomes the norm.

There are things so far in life I have been privileged to see and things I have not yet seen.

I have seen world-class sporting events, shows, sites, cities buildings, islands, and mountains.

I have spoken to or been around well-known leaders, both secular or Christian.

And, there are a whole bunch of you who have too.

There are also a whole bunch of things have not seen nor may ever see.

One thing is sure is that my experience is the same.

A moment of inspiration followed by somewhat of a letdown.

This is actually the point of Ecclesiastes.

This is also the point of how “There is no place like home” or how “Home is where the heart is!”

My conversion came down to this recalibration that took place in my mind.  Christ is the only genuine person!

The author of Hebrews says, Moses “…considered the reproach of Christ as greater wealth” (v. 26), where there was no direct mention of Christ.

  • One interpretation is to interpret “messiah” [tou Xpristou] as “anointed” meaning “set-apart” and certainly, Moses was “set-apart” as a temporal savior of God’s people.
    • Moses a type of Christ, a deliverer that foreshadowed Christ Jesus!
      • Moses was this but Hebrews over and over again ties the offices of “Prophet” “Priest” and “King” over and over to Christ Jesus!
      • All the Old Testament Prophets, Priests, and Kings were meant to whet the appetite for Christ.

 

  • Jesus is the “Better” Prophet, Priest, and King.

 

  • Though Moses lived 1,500 years before Christ, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit Hebrews takes the liberty to see God’s people represent Christ himself.

 

  • The Messiah would come by the Israelites, so Moses’ suffering with them meant he suffered, “the reproach of Christ!”

 

  • Every believer since Adam’s fall has been saved by the blood of Jesus Christ, no matter in what age he has lived.

 

  • Likewise, any believer who has suffered for Christ’s sake has suffered for Christ.

 

  • This is how it is for us on the other side of the Cross.

 

Think of Paul’s words.

ESV  Galatians 6:17 From now on let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.

 

The Messiah has always been identified with His people!

ESV  Hebrews 13:13 Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear athe reproach he endured.

 

Why will you choose Christ?  Faith.

Faith will often mean burning bridges.

Moses burned bridges with what he refused.

But, it did so because he had found something better!

He found the reward, which is better.  Which is eternal.

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