Peninsula Community Church
By Faith: Faith Wins
November 6, 2016
Hebrews 11:23-28 – 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. By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible. By faith he kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the Destroyer of the firstborn might not touch them.
Today, we look at the story of one of the most iconic members of the Hall of Fame of Faith. As many of us will remember, Moses’ story was memorialized best by Charlton Heston who played Moses in the epic 1956 movie “The Ten Commandments.” When we consider all of the Old Testament characters, Moses is one of the first characters most people think about. We remember him most because of the plagues, the parting the Red Sea, and that God gave him the Ten Commandments but there is so much more to the story. His entire life was lived in a way that God was honored. He went from riches to rags, not because of bad decisions but in fact because he chose wisely. Each stage of his life allowed him to learn more about life, people, God, and most of all about himself.
As we look at this story, we will find four key areas where faith triumphed in Moses’ life, but in each case Moses’ stress led to an exhibition of tremendous faith. From a personal standpoint we all need faith when the stressors of life impact us. We all have them but the stressors of life do not have to cause stress. Instead of stressing us out, we walk and move in faith which brings to us to a confidence in what God can and will do in us and for us. Moses’ life was filled with stress points but all along the way we see that faith triumphed over fear.
So with that in mind let us look at the areas of stress in Moses life as detailed in Hebrews 11. The first stressor was a choice between life or death. At his birth, the faith of Moses’ mom was on display. To understand her faith, we must recognize there was an edict that all males born to Hebrew women were to be thrown into the Nile River and killed (Exodus 1:22). Additionally, if anyone harbored or protected one of these babies they were to suffer death as well. This edict was initiated by the new Pharaoh of Egypt who did not fully appreciate the relationship that Egypt had with Israel. His edict was based on the fear that the Israelites would outnumber them and one day would attack the Egyptians and overtake them.
You see, while fear motivated Pharaoh’s actions, faith in God motivated Moses’ mom’s actions. It should be noted that she was not ignorant or naive. She was keenly aware of the edict that had been mandated when Moses was born but rather than being driven by fear, Moses’ mom was driven by faith. She trusted the one who would protect her son. What a contrast of attitudes. Fear versus faith. Here is the promise for us. Faith wins every time. While Moses’ mom was very aware of Pharaoh’s edict, her love for her son and her faith in God outweighed the thought of what might happen to her or her baby. Her actions remind us of Paul’s admonishment to Timothy. For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control (2 Timothy 1:6-7).
In a selfless act of faith she built an ark. She sealed the ark so the water of the Nile would not seep into the ark. Once completed she placed Moses into the ark and went down to the river. At the riverside, she gently pushed the ark into the water and she let it go. Many have asked how this showed faith. One pastor stated the greatest sign of her faith was evidenced in the fact that she did not tie a rope to the ark. She simply let it go and trusted God. Moses’ sister, Miriam, is asked to watch after the ark as it floats down the river. When the ark finally came to its resting place, it was Pharaoh’s daughter that found the ark. Miriam took this opportunity to step up and proclaim that she knew a woman who could be the nurse maid for this child. Amazingly mom and baby were reconnected and God’s plan for Moses’ life was set in motion. Faith wins.
The second stressor Moses faced was the choice between enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin and following the heart of God. Because of his faith, Moses was positioned to choose the ways of God rather than the ways of sin. Moses chose to side with the people of God who were being mistreated rather than enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. His faith moved him to focus on God rather than on the sin of the world. John Piper said this about Moses’ faith. “Walking by faith means defeating sin’s pleasures with the promise of a superior pleasure in God.” How powerful that is?
By refusing to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter (Hebrews 11:24), he was refusing the privilege and power that was his by way of being Pharaoh’s son. What a choice but it was a choice that was made in faith because he had no clue of what the outcome would be. The Bible tells us that Moses chose “to be mistreated with the people of God” and “considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth” (Hebrews 11:26) than anything that Egypt or pharaoh would have to offer him. He knew that the pleasure of sin would only be a temporary pleasure. In the end the sin he might enjoy for a season would leave him empty in the end. Faith wins.
The third stressor for Moses is that he chose to leave Egypt rather than stay in the comfortableness of Egypt. He had no clue where he would go but he left Egypt because he desired to be obedient to God’s plan. Until this point, all he knew was Egypt. He had lived there all of his life. While Egypt was his home there was something within him that drew him to a different place and to a different vision of what could be. God led Moses from the beauty of Egypt to the barrenness of the desert where he would learn to trust God more. He left the riches of a kingdom where all the wealth of that kingdom was at his disposal to serve God with a few sheep and a staff. Does that sound familiar? Do remember that it was Christ that left the riches of heaven to come to the earth.
There was a second reason that God moved him to the desert. He needed to learn the way of the desert because God’s ultimate plan was to use him as the leader who would guide the Children of Israel through the desert. In the desert his life was not over. God was orchestrating and positioning him to accomplish God’s future purpose for Moses. Moses would return to Egypt to become the spiritual leader of the nation of Israel. Nothing in Moses life was wasted. Everything he experienced would be used by God to bring about His purpose and His plan. The lesson for us is that we may not understand the plans and workings of God in our life. In the midst of the problems, the changes, and the detours we may think God has blown it or He has somehow missed a moment but God does not make mistakes. He uses our experiences and the detours of our life for His glory. He positions us to be used by him. Faith wins.
And finally, we find Moses returning to Egypt where he chose to take the spiritual leadership of the children of Israel rather than viewing things from the back seat. Because of his experiences and the life lessons he acquired, we find that he was the right person for the job. He had learned faith from his mom. That faith kept him and sustained him through some very difficult times. As noted, nothing is ever a waste in the economy of God. Every circumstance is an opportunity for God to be glorified and for His name to be proven trustworthy. I am sure there were days where Moses thought his life was over and that he would never be successful. I am sure there were times that Moses thought that he had missed the mark. After all why would God not use him in Egypt before he had to leave Egypt? Whatever the reasoning, God had a plan and God was about to fulfill that plan. What was His plan? It was the deliverance of Israel.
We know the story. Moses returned to Egypt where he began to lead the people of Israel. He confronted Pharaoh with the command to let God’s people go. Each time Pharaoh resisted his resistance was met with another plague or sign that God was in control. The final sword in the side of Pharaoh is that God chose to take every first born child in Egypt. It is noteworthy that God used the very thing that got Moses to Egypt in the first place to convince Pharaoh to let the children of Israel go. God used the death of children to change Pharaoh’s heart.
For the children of Israel, they were given an opportunity for redemption if they would offer a lamb to God and would apply the blood of that lamb to the doorposts of their homes. That night when the angel of death swept through the land of Egypt all of those who had the blood applied escaped death. That night, death ravaged the land but Israel was safe. Through the brokenness of Pharaoh’s heart he relented and let the people of God go free. They had their liberty. They had their freedom. Faith wins.
Today, as we gather around the communion table we look back to another person who was sent to us as a deliverer. He came not just as a deliverer but He came as the lamb Himself. He came to offer Himself so that when His blood is applied to the doorposts of our hearts, we find life and not death. That is why we can come today in celebration of His death and resurrection. So as we take this cup and we take this bread, we are reminded that the Israelites were redeemed and the death angel passed over them because the angel of death could not pass over the blood to touch them. Today death can stand at our door but it can not touch us. When death comes it is a blessing to the one who is in Christ. Paul said to be absent in body is to be present with the Lord. What Paul is saying? He is saying that in the end faith wins!
For an audio of this message go to http://pccministry.org/media.php?pageID=14
Copyright © 2016 All Rights Reserved Robert W. Odom