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Sep 14 / Chuck Smith, Jr.

September 13, 2020


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. Hebrews 11:23

Intro: Today we turn a corner in this chapter

The people we meet in these verses risked their lives knowingly
– why? Because they recognize it was right thing to do–the thing that had to be done
• integrity is knowing right thing and doing it regardless of cost
Loveday Alexander, “. . . as we move into the story of Moses and the exodus, we find faith becoming progressively more costly. Faith involves a choice, a voluntary loss of status, identification with a despised people, being prepared to share ‘the reproach of Christ.’ It means looking beyond the seen to the unseen reward, but if the rewards are greater, so too are the all-to-visible hardships.”
• at present there is a notable absence of integrity in government, the corporate world, and the personal lives of many people
– integrity makes right choices and faith supports right actions
Timothy L. Johnson, “Distinctive to this part of the exposition is the necessity for faith to make hard choices for God in the face of danger, human wrath, and dishonor.”
• and I would add, in face of loss of status, wealth, and pleasures of sin
• how did they maintain their high standard of integrity? By faith
◦ trust in God gives integrity a reason, because it promises a future
Who shall ascend to the hill of the LORD?
And who shall stand in his holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not lift up his soul to what is false
and does not swear deceitfully
He will receive the blessing from the LORD
and his righteousness from the God of his salvation (Psa. 24:3-5)

Faith makes fear irrelevant

The story of Moses’ faith does not begin with Moses
– it begins with his parents
• the infant Moses was hidden — he did not hide himself
• Exodus does not mention the faith of Moses’ parents
◦ but their faith is demonstrated by their actions
◦ and that is the message of this chapter – By faith
– a parent’s faith, when real, can do a great deal of good for their child
• nurturing a small child’s spirit includes “hiding” them from corruption and abuse
◦ providing a shield and within it forming healthy attachments
• that Moses survived infancy was the result of his parents’ faith

There were two motivations behind their actions
– the word translated beautiful literally means “from the city”
• someone who has the right look
◦ in Acts 7:20, Stephen adds to beautiful, in God’s sight
• Moses’ parents saw in their infant son the same quality God saw
– secondly, they were not afraid of king’s command
• many good people have been compromised by fear
◦ faith doesn’t back down when threatened
◦ this is not the same as being foolhardy or belligerent
• sometimes we know we’ll suffer for doing the right thing
◦ but we go ahead and do it
◦ it’s not that we aren’t afraid, but we don’t let fear get in our way
Kent Hughes, “Israel’s deliverance began with an obscure couple believing God in the midst of darkness.”

Faith makes sacrifices
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. Hebrews 11:24-26

When he was grown up – he is now his own man
– he makes his own decisions
• the examples given involve dual-action decisions
◦ that is, a decision that has two sides
• the first dual-action consists of refusing and choosing

Only rarely is integrity as simple as responding to temptation by saying, “I do not want this.” At times, the vortex of worldly temptation is so great that it seems we are sucked into it against our will. At other times, we feel that compromise and corruption are being forced upon us. There is no doubt that sin can be appealing and promise a variety of pleasures. Yet it will always result in more harm than good. In those instances, we cannot be weak, but must take a stand and adamantly refuse the temptation we are being offered.

• lots of people would think, “Couldn’t Moses have greater success in working for Israel if he took a high position where he would be working with powerful and influential people?”
◦ perhaps, but that would also place him in a precarious environment
◦ there he would be exposed to the fleeting pleasures of sin
◦ and there his efforts would be compromised by the inherent corruption of the system
• as Moses saw it, he had to be among his people
◦ his choice was to identify with his people – and suffer with them

What sort of calculations did he make that led to his decision?
he considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt
– Moses lived more than 1,000 years before Christ,
• how could he identify with the reproach of Christ?
◦ we read of Jesus’ reproach in Paul’s letter to the Romans
Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, ‘The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me’” (Ro. 15:2-3)
◦ Paul was quoting a psalm
For zeal for your house has consumed me,
and the reproaches of those who reproach you have fallen on me
(Ps. 69:9)
• notice how this verse connects zeal in one line and reproach in the next
◦ Jesus’ disciples saw in his actions a fulfillment of the first line (Jn. 2:17)
◦ Paul and the writer of Hebrews saw in Jesus a fulfillment of the second line
– that Moses chose the reproach of Christ relates more to the readers of Hebrews than to him
• they had also experienced “reproach” (Heb. 10:33)
• shame is unpleasant in any culture
◦ it can be damaging to a person and family both socially and emotionally
◦ it’s especially brutal in honor/shame cultures, where honor is the bedrock of a prosperous life and shame is the undoing of a family
• the writer sees Jesus as being at the heart of human history
(God’s ultimate revelation, Heb. 1:1-3)
◦ Jesus’ cross and resurrection extend to all of human history
◦ what Jesus has done embraces all that came before him as well as after
– reading this statement back through time,
• Moses made his choice for Christ
◦ even though he did not have that specific insight at the time
• however, the readers of Hebrews did have that insight
◦ they knew that going the way of God always means going with Christ
– making Moses’ choice is not an easy one for us to make
• the other option–that of great worldly wealth–
◦ is seductive and easy to rationalize
◦ but it also results in slavery

Looking to the reward — again we are reminded of two faith facts:
1.) faith sets its eyes on what is ahead; it is conditioned by the future
2.) faith believes that God is and that he rewards those who seek him (v. 6)

Faith takes risks
By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible. Hebrews 11:27

This has bothered me for some time – Moses was afraid
Then Moses was afraid, and thought, “Surely the thing is known.” When Pharaoh heard of it, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled from Pharaoh and stayed in the land of Midian (Ex. 2:14)
– I am not certain how we are supposed to reconcile these two accounts
(though I have read a number of different attempts to do so)
• our writer was too well acquainted with the Scriptures he uses to have made a mistake
• perhaps he is saying that faith, not fear was his primary motive for leaving
– but where would he go? How would he survive?
• these questions reveal the faith part of his adventure
◦ and it echoes Abraham’s faith-journey, who went out not knowing where he was going (v. 8)

Important for the author is that Moses endured as seeing the invisible
– the endurance of his readers was one of his key concerns
For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive the promise (Heb. 10:36)
• Abraham, last week, was tested – there were tests for his readers
• and there will be tests for us
◦ we have our everyday little trials
◦ we’re also slammed with life-altering big trials
– writer tells us we must endure the tests and trials
• we must keep getting up and doing what we always do
• knocked down, get back up
◦ don’t give up on God, don’t give up on others, don’t give up on yourself
◦ don’t give up
seeing the invisible – this is how faith rolls (2 Cor. 4:18)

Faith follows directions
By faith he kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so the Destroyer of the firstborn might not touch them. Hebrews 11:28

Within the verse the writer shifts from the singular he to the plural them
– the people of Israel become active participants in this act of faith
– Passover had to do with Israel’s immediate salvation
• but it also with their permanent liberation from slavery
• every year they remember this moment with reverence
◦ what the exodus was to Israel (salvation), the cross is to Christians
◦ what Passover means to them, the Lord’s Supper means to us

Faith moves with God’s will
By faith the people crossed the Red Sea as on dry land, but the Egyptians, when they attempted to do the same, were drowned. Hebrews 11:29

Escaping Egypt was not enough
– their slavery to the Egyptians had to end
• that could only happen if the power Egypt held over them was broken
• otherwise, a free slave may only be a runaway slave
– God eliminated the Egyptian threat so that Israel could belong to him
You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself (Ex. 19:4)

Faith doesn’t worry about looking silly
By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days. Hebrews 11:30

The writer skips over Israel’s forty years in the wilderness
– he has already informed us that was a failed moment in their history
• they were stuck there for their disobedience
• so he jumps ahead to Israel’s first victory in the land of promise
◦ and here they engaged in seven days of a strange military campaign
– more than once in Israel’s history,
• God set up circumstances to make his intervention obvious
• he wants us to trust him to do what is impossible for us (Mk. 10:27)
For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that overcomes the world—our faith (1 Jn. 5:4)

Conclusion: In this chapter, the message of faith is told in stories

That is where faith operates, in the stories of the lives of his people
– beliefs are communicated in forms other forms
• beliefs are recorded and recited in concepts or propositions
• faith, however, is what we live
Len Sweet, “Christians don’t just tell the story of Jesus.” “Christians live the story of Jesus.”

You will be living the next episode of your story this week
Write it with integrity
Write it in faith
Sometime in the future,
someone will be telling others your story,
and at some point that person will say,
“By faith she overcame every hardship”
“By faith he endured to the end of the race”
For now, think about the plot that forms this week
and write it well,
because as long as we’re here
there is always more to tell

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