The Book of Hebrews #55 chapter 11:23-29
The Book of Hebrews
Moses: The Decisions of Faith, Part 1
Hebrews 11:23-29
Tonight we are going to look at the faith of Moses from
Hebrews 11:23-29
I think it stands to reason that in first-century Jewish thinking, salvation by grace through faith was something new.  In fact, I think there are many that still believe that an Old Testament relationship with God was by works and a New Testament relationship is by faith.
But the writer of Hebrews is pointing out in this chapter that salvation has always been by faith. And to make his point, he goes all the way back to the beginning of the Old Testament and starts listing these Jewish heroes and how they demonstrated faith.
So far, we’ve covered the book of Genesis from Abel forward to Joseph.  At verse 23, we leave Genesis behind and move to Exodus and the story of Moses.  In fact, his story is so extensive it covers the majority of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.
Now the assumption of the Jews would be that Moses is the model of the Law. In fact, the Law was even called the Mosaic Law or the Law of Moses. And so the Jews would assume that if anybody was a model of legalism, it had to be Moses. In their estimation, Moses was the ultimate legalist.
So it is a stunning thing to say that in the spiritual realm, Moses operated not by Law, but by faith.  And the way the writer of Moses chooses to illustrate that is by telling us how his faith acted.  And we see that best in a series of choices. In fact, verse 25 even uses the word “choosing.” So the things we learn about faith from his life are marked by choices related to his faith.
There are some things faith accepts and there are some things faith rejects.  If you have a true and saving faith then you make choices. There are certain things you accept and there are certain things that you reject and they’re really modeled for us here in the story of Moses.
Let’s look, first of all, at the
1. Things Faith Rejects
verses 24-27
You know the story. Moses had by the providence of God been put in a basket covered with pitch and set in the Nile River to float away. His mother did that because there was a decree to kill all of the Hebrew babies. So in order to save his life they simply let him float away, cared only for by the providence of God.
Had he been one of the Hebrew babies to be killed by Pharaoh, there would have been no story of Moses and God’s history would never have been what God ordained it to be. And so, there was no way he was going to die.
God providentially ordered the circumstances so that he winds up being raised as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.  In fact, you may remember God even puts things together so his own mother winds up nursing him and getting paid to do it!  Is that not an incredible series of events?
Now, even the though the child will be officially raised in Egyptian culture, I think it very likely he was under the care of his mother until he was perhaps twelve years old.
And I believe that because he knew who he was. He knew about God and God’s people and God’s power and I think that is a direct result of him being in the presence of his Jewish mama.  It was there he would have learned of the promise to Abraham. He would have learned of the reiteration of that promise to Isaac and Jacob and Joseph. He would have learned the history of Joseph.
He would have learned about the Promised Land and that there would come a time when God would lead His people out of Egypt and lead them to the promised land. And that God had promised to send a deliverer for Israel, and an ultimate deliverer, and an ultimate hope and an ultimate Messiah.
He would have learned that the people were hoping for the time of their deliverance and their entrance into the Promised Land. They were hoping for the coming of their Messiah, the one who would crush the serpent’s head. He would have been trained in everything that God had revealed, up to that time, a great Covenant promise to Abraham reiterated to the other patriarchs.
So if my assumptions are correct, the first ten or twelve years of his life are spent learning the truth of God.  We know the next 30 years are spent living in Egyptian culture.  In fact, Acts 7:22 tells us those were the years in which he learned all the wisdom of Egypt. So he started out with the foundation of the truth of God learned from his parents and now he’s learning the wisdom of the Egyptians.
So which will rule his life?  Is it going to be the wisdom of the Egyptians or is it going to be the truth of God? Would he depend upon his formal education in Egypt, Egyptian wisdom, Egyptian idolatry, hieroglyphics, multiple languages?  Or having been trained up in the way he should go, will he not depart from it?
That’s the decision he faces when he comes to maturity.  What is his choice going to be?  By the way, that is the decision your students who are in college and maybe even high school are being called on to make every day.  In many cases, they sit under godless teachers and professors who laugh at and ridicule what you’ve taught them from birth and they are being challenged to turn their back on the truth of God for Egyptian wisdom.
So what does Moses do?
Hebrews 11:24 tells us
The first thing he rejected was
- The World’s Prestige
I don’t know how it could have been any more prestigious for somebody living in the world than to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.  That means he was the grandson of the Pharaoh, the greatest ruler on the planet at that time.
He was living in the most sophisticated culture, the most sophisticated and highly advance society of the day.  And don’t think he didn’t know that.  He had seen them for the decades that he had been there. He understood the honors of being a prince in Egypt. He understood the status. He understood all the royal accolades that went with it. He understood the comforts. The understood the servants that he would have, the power that he would have, the wealth that he would have, the privileges that he would have.
And now he is faced with the biggest decision of his life so far. Should he hold on to the world’s prestige or should he forsake it for the call of God?
And as you know, he rejected the prestige and the honor and everything that came with being a prince in Egypt and he threw it all away and took his place with the slaves.
Why?  Why would a man do that?  He does it because of his faith.  Remember, faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  He’s not operating on sight, but on faith.  If you operate on sight, you’re going to take what you’ve got.  He had power, prestige, money, fame, all of that that is his as a prince in Egypt.  But he exchanged what he had for what he didn’t have. He exchanged what he could see for what he couldn’t see. This was an act of faith.
And unfortunately, most people will live all their life chasing those things and miss the privilege of what God has promised.
But Moses went all the way from the palace to becoming a slave because, by faith, he believed God was going to reward His people with things far greater than what Egypt could offer.
Secondly, he rejected
- The World’s Pleasure
verse 25
Now we all know that sin is fun for a while and there was plenty of it to go around in Egypt, especially if you were the prince.  Moses had to be willing to turn his back on all the pleasures of sin.
Moses made the right choice.  That’s the choice that faith makes. It puts its trust in God and says, “I’m willing to let go of the world and all it has to offer to follow God.”
Now in Moses’ case, that didn’t just mean missing the party.  Instead of enjoying the pleasures that were his for the asking, he wound up suffering affliction.
Instead of having everything he wanted, he put himself in a position to have nothing. But that’s what faith does. That’s consistent with what our Lord said, about self-denial and taking up the cross and following Jesus. God has called us to holiness and Moses responded to that.
The third thing that he turned from was, not only the world’s prestige and the world’s pleasure, but let’s just call it
- The World’s Plenty
verse 26
Here we find Moses making a judgment.  “Esteeming” means to make a judgment. He took everything into consideration, weighed the consequences and made a judgment.  This is not a rash conclusion. This is a very careful consideration. He had prestige to the max. He had pleasure to the max at his fingertips. And he had treasure to the max. But faith rejects all of those things, true saving faith.
And notice we are told he “considered the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt for he was looking to THE reward.”  The implication there is to the final reward, to the divine reward, to the eternal reward.
But what does he mean by “the reproach of Christ”?
It is not talking about the reprimand or criticism of Christ, but rather identifying with Christ.  In other words, when Moses did what he did, it was just like what Jesus went through.
Moses didn’t know Christ and didn’t know about Christ but he knew there was a promise of a coming deliverer and God knew what that deliverer would endure and He knew what Moses endured also.
We, on the other hand, do know.  And the readers of Hebrews knew that he was willing to take a reproach to move from having everything to basically having nothing, from being honored to being treated with scorn and disdain, as was Christ.
We are told of Christ, “He who was rich, became poor”.  That’s what happened to Moses.  He bore a reproach and it was the kind of reproach that is characteristic of Christ who was infinitely rich, infinitely privileged, infinitely satisfied in the presence of God and set it all aside to the do the will of God, to come down to suffer ill treatment on behalf of the people of God. He is, in that sense, like Christ.
There’s one other thing that I want you to see before we finish and then next week we’ll look at what he accepted.
He rejected
- The World’s Pressure
verse 27
How could Moses do what he did and turn his back on everything Egypt offered and not fear the Pharoah?  How could he kill an Egyptian an dknow his life would be on the line and not be looking over his shoulder?
You remember, he fled to Midian and stayed there forty years.  How could he not feel the pressure of what was liable to happen to him under the powerful Pharaoh when he took the life of an Egyptian?
The answer is, “He kept his eyes on God.”  He saw the One who was invisible. He knew his life was in the hands of the invisible and eternal God.
In fact, there is a subtle teaching in the Greek language that is not so evident in the English found in that verse.
The English says he left Egypt but the word is deeper than that.  It can mean a simple departure, but the idea here is that of a heart renunciation.  In New Testament terms, it means “to forsake all and follow Jesus”.
It’s the same verb and it has the idea of not just simply physically leaving Egypt but renouncing Egypt. He rejected Egypt as having any power over his life. He rejected the power that Pharaoh supposedly had over his life. He rejected t he fear of man.
And in so doing, we find the faith of one who does not fear the wrath of the king because he knows his life is in the hands of God. How bold is he? How fearless is he? Well you remember the story, you get to Exodus 5 and you remember what happens after forty years in Midian.
He walks right into Pharaoh’s palace, goes up to the old man and says, “Pharaoh, let my people go.” That’s fearless, isn’t it? He’s got no army. He’s got no weapon. There is a warrant out for his arrest.  He’s facing a proud, haughty, pagan monarch who reigns over the greatest empire in the world.
And in holy boldness, he walks right in to the face of Pharaoh and makes his demands. This is a man of faith. Where did he get this kind of faith? He endured as seeing Him who is unseen. He saw a greater King with the eyes of faith, than he saw with his human eyes.  He believed God.
And because of that, he made the right decisions in what he rejected.  Next week, we’ll see what he accepted.
Let’s pray.
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