By: Mark Tabata (Evangelist)
One of the greatest examples in the Bible of true faith is seen in the life of Moses.
In this article, we are going to carefully examine what the Bible tells us about faith in the life of Moses as described in the Book of Hebrews:
Hebrews 11:23-28-23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king’s command.
24 By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter,
25 choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin,
26 esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.
27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible.
28 By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, lest he who destroyed the firstborn should touch them.
What Is Faith?
Before we begin a detailed study of faith in the life of Moses, we must first ask ourselves the question: What is faith?
From a study of the eleventh chapter of the Book of Hebrews, we see that faith involves three elements.
First, faith begins with the knowledge of God’s Word. This Word may be revealed through nature (Hebrews 11:4; Romans 1:18-20; Job 12:7-10), or through special revelation of God (Hebrews 11:7, 8, 11, 17, 18; Romans 10:17).
Second, faith involves trusting in what God has declared, so that a person “embraces” His Word with “assurance” (Hebrews 11:6, 13-16).
Third, faith involves obedience to what God has declared.
By faith Abel OFFERED (Hebrews 11:4)
By faith Enoch PLEASED God (Hebrews 11:5)
By faith Noah MOVED with godly fear and PREPARED the Ark (Hebrews 11:6)
By faith Abraham OBEYED (Hebrews 11:8)
By faith Abraham DWELT and WAITED (Hebrews 11:9-10)
By faith Sarah CONCEIVED (Hebrews 11:11)
By faith Abraham OFFERED Isaac (Hebrews 11:17-18)
By faith Isaac BLESSED Jacob and Esau (Hebrews 11:20)
By faith Jacob BLESSED Joseph’s sons and WORSHIPED (Hebrews 11:21)
By faith Joseph GAVE INSTRUCTIONS (Hebrews 11:22)
By faith Moses’ parents HID Moses (Hebrews 11:23)
By faith Moses REFUSED to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter (Hebrews 11:24)
By faith Moses CHOSE to SUFFER AFFLICTION (Hebrews 11:25)
By faith Moses ESTEEMED the reproach of Christ greater than the treasures of Egypt (Hebrews 11:26)
By faith Moses FORSOOK Egypt and by faith he ENDURED (Hebrews 11:27)
By faith Moses KEPT the Passover (Hebrews 11:28)
By faith the Hebrews PASSED THROUGH the Red Sea (Hebrews 11:29)
By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been ENCIRCLED for seven days (Hebrews 11:30)
Now, the reason why I mention the “obedience” element of faith is twofold.
One, the writer of Hebrews clearly needed to elaborate upon this point, as some of his readers were being tempted to forsake Christianity and return to the world. They needed to be reminded that true faith involves obedience, even in difficult times, and that true faith will bring God’s blessing and reward.
Two, there is a need to highlight the obedience element of faith because so many in the religious world teach that men are saved by a faith without obedience. Clearly, as we see here in Hebrews, Bible faith involves obedience to what God has declared!
With that in mind, let’s turn to a study of faith in the life of Moses.
Faith In Moses’ Relatives
Interestingly enough, our study of faith in the life of Moses begins-not with Moses himself-but with his parents.
The Bible describes to us that the people of Israel were slaves in the land of Egypt for hundreds of years when Moses was born. Many modern-day skeptics of the Bible claim that this simply is not true, and that the Hebrews were never enslaved by the Egyptians. Archaeology, however, has shown us very clearly that the Bible was correct all along:
“””If the children of Jacob were never slaves in Egypt in the first place, then how comes it that there lies in the Brooklyn Museum a papyrus, conventionally dated to around 1700 BC, which lists a number of Hebrew slaves, slaves who possessed such familiar names as Shiphrah and Menahem? 12 Shiphrah is of considerable interest to us, for that is the name of one of the Hebrew midwives mentioned in Exodus 1:15. Is it one and the same person? Who knows?)). However, not only the slaves’ names, but their offices and duties are also listed – ‘chief over the house’ (the very same office, that of ‘mer- per’, which Joseph held under Potiphar), ‘house servant’ and so on. Out of 95 slaves listed for this particular household, 37 no less are Hebrew. 13” (Bill Cooper, The Authenticity Of The Book Of Genesis, 2035-2040 (Kindle Edition)
Now, at the time of Moses’ birth, there was a decree from the king of Egypt that all of the male children were to be executed when they were born:
Exodus 1:15-16-15 Then the king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives, of whom the name of one was Shiphrah and the name of the other Puah;
16 and he said, “When you do the duties of a midwife for the Hebrew women, and see them on the birthstools, if it is a son, then you shall kill him; but if it is a daughter, then she shall live.”
Exodus 2:2-3-2 So the woman conceived and bore a son. And when she saw that he was a beautiful child, she hid him three months.
3 But when she could no longer hide him, she took an ark of bulrushes for him, daubed it with asphalt and pitch, put the child in it, and laid it in the reeds by the river’s bank.
Moses’ parents were named Amman and Jochebed:
Exodus 6:20-Now Amram took for himself Jochebed, his father’s sister, as wife; and she bore him Aaron and Moses. And the years of the life of Amram were one hundred and thirty-seven.
The ancient Hebrew legends of the account of Moses’ birth are particularly interesting. William Barclay has this for us:
“Legend tells how Amram and Jochebed, the parents of Moses (Exodus 6: 20), were worried by the decree of Pharaoh. As a result, Amram had no contact with his wife, not because he did not love her, but because he wanted to spare her the sorrow of seeing her children killed. For three years they were apart, and then Miriam prophesied: ‘My parents shall have another son, who shall deliver Israel out of the hands of the Egyptians.’ She said to her father: ‘What have you done? You have sent your wife away out of your house, because you could not trust the Lord God that he would protect the child that might be born to you.’ So Amram, shamed into trusting God, took back his wife; and in due course Moses was born. He was so lovely a child that his parents determined to hide him in their house. This they did for three months. Then, according to the legend, the Egyptians struck upon a cruel scheme. The king was determined that hidden children should be sought out and killed. Now, when a child hears another child cry, the first child will cry too. So, Egyptian mothers were sent into the homes of the Israelites with their babies; there they pricked their babies until they cried. This made the hidden children of the Israelites cry, too, and so they were discovered and killed. In view of this, Amram and Jochebed decided to make a little ark and to entrust their child to it on the waters of the Nile. That Moses was born at all was an act of faith; that he was preserved was another. He began by being the child of faith.” (William Barclay, The New Daily Study Bible: The Letter To The Hebrews, 183-184 (Kindle Edition): Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press)
Moses’ parents had an incredible faith in God! In fact, so great was this faith, that God allowed Moses to be raised by his own mother (even though he became the adopted son of an Egyptian princess).
Exodus 2:8-9-8 And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Go.” So the maiden went and called the child’s mother.
9 Then Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child away and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages.” So the woman took the child and nursed him.
The faith his mother was “passed on” to Moses. We can never underestimate the power of godly parents raising their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord!
Faith In The Redeemer
The Lord brought ten terrible plagues upon the Egyptians because of their refusal to release the children of Israel. We read about these plagues in the Book of Exodus:
First Plague: Waters of Egypt turned to blood (Exodus 7:14-25)
Second Plague: Infestation of frogs (Exodus 8:1-15)
Third Plague: Swarms of bugs/gnats/mosquitoes/lice (Exodus 8:16-19)
Fourth Plague: Flies (Exodus 8:20-32)
Fifth Plague: Death of the livestock (Exodus 9:1-7)
Sixth Plague: Boils on man and livestock (Exodus 9:8-12)
Seventh Plague: Storms of fire/lightning and hail (Exodus 9:13-35)
Eighth Plague: Locusts Exodus (10:1-20)
Ninth Plague: Darkness (Exodus 10:21-29)
Tenth Plague: Death of the firstborn of man and beast (Exodus 11:1-12:33)
Incredibly, several ancient Egyptian sources corroborate in astonishing detail these plagues.
One example comes from the famous Ipuwer Papyrus, which is dated to around the time of the Exodus. It describes a series of calamities that Egypt underwent because of the failures of her leaders. Notice some of the similarities between the Bible and these writings:
Exodus 4:9-And it shall be, if they do not believe even these two signs, or listen to your voice, that you shall take water from the river and pour it on the dry land. The water which you take from the river will become blood on the dry land.”
Ipuwer 7:5-Behold, Egypt is fallen to the pouring of water. And he who poured water on the ground seizes the mighty in misery.”
Exodus 7:20-21-20 And Moses and Aaron did so, just as the LORD commanded. So he lifted up the rod and struck the waters that were in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants. And all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood.
21 The fish that were in the river died, the river stank, and the Egyptians could not drink the water of the river. So there was blood throughout all the land of Egypt.
Ipuwer 2:10-The River is blood . If you drink of it, you lose your humanity, and thirst for water .”
Exodus 9:6, 23, 31-So the LORD did this thing on the next day, and all the livestock of Egypt died; but of the livestock of the children of Israel, not one died….And Moses stretched out his rod toward heaven; and the LORD sent thunder and hail, and fire darted to the ground. And the LORD rained hail on the land of Egypt….Now the flax and the barley were struck, for the barley was in the head and the flax was in bud.
Ipuwer 6:3; 3:3; 7:13-Gone is the barley of abundance . . . . Food supplies are running short. The nobles hunger and suffer . . . . Those who had shelter are in the dark of the storm .”
Exodus 10:15, 7-For they covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened; and they ate every herb of the land and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left. So there remained nothing green on the trees or on the plants of the field throughout all the land of Egypt….Then Pharaoh’s servants said to him, “How long shall this man be a snare to us? Let the men go, that they may serve the LORD their God. Do you not yet know that Egypt is destroyed?”
Ipuwer 3:13-“What shall we do about it? All is ruin! ”
Exodus 12:29-And it came to pass at midnight that the LORD struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of livestock.
Ipuwer 2:5, 6, 13; 4:3-“Behold, plague sweeps the land, blood is everywhere, with no shortage of the dead . . . . He who buries his brother in the ground is everywhere . . . . Woe is me for the grief of this time.”
Exodus 12:30-So Pharaoh rose in the night, he, all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where there was not one dead.
Ipuwer 3:14-Wailing is throughout the land, mingled with lamentations.”
Since I am mentioning the Ipuwer Papyrus, it is also worth noting that there is another place in which it very clearly corroborates the Bible narrative.
As the Hebrews are preparing to leave the land of Egypt, God instructs the Hebrews to tell their Egyptian slaveowners to “pay” them for all the years of slavery that they had inflicted. We read:
Exodus 12:35-36-35 Now the children of Israel had done according to the word of Moses, and they had asked from the Egyptians articles of silver, articles of gold, and clothing.
36 And the LORD had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they granted them what they requested. Thus they plundered the Egyptians.
Later, we read about some of the jewels that the Hebrews had obtained from the Egyptians, and which were used in the construction of the breastplate of the High Priest:
Exodus 28:17-20-17 And you shall put settings of stones in it, four rows of stones: The first row shall be a sardius, a topaz, and an emerald; this shall be the first row;
18 the second row shall be a turquoise, a sapphire, and a diamond;
19 the third row, a jacinth, an agate, and an amethyst;
20 and the fourth row, a beryl, an onyx, and a jasper. They shall be set in gold settings.
Now, look at what Ipuwer describes:
Ipuwer 6:3, 2:4-5; 3:2-3-“People are stripped of clothes . . . . The slave takes what he finds . . . . Behold, gold , lapis lazuli, silver and turquoise, carnelian, amethysts , emeralds and all precious stones are strung on the necks of female slaves .”
(Note: All references to the Ipuwer Papyrus are from Timothy P. Mahoney with Steven Law., Patterns of Evidence: Exodus, A Filmmaker’s Journey, 2926-3017 (Kindle Edition); St. Louis Park, MN; Thinking Man Media)
Even more recently, another ancient Egyptian document was discovered which further confirms the Exodus narrative in the Bible:
“For example, as recently pointed out by archaeological researcher Brad C.Sparks, eminent Egyptologists have found an early Egyptian document from c. 1300 BC, called the Destruction ofMankind It contains reference to the full Hebrew divine name, I AM THAT I AM, in the Egyptian root word YWY (or Yawi). These Egyptologists specifically cally cite Exodus 3:14-when the name I AM THAT I AM was revealed to Moses at the Burning Bush.’ Sparks further notes that the Destruction of Mankind tells of a non-Egyptian Egyptian people who flee from the eastern Nile Delta, the biblical Land of Goshen, only to be pursued by the Egyptian army. Respected Egyptologists have already identified tified dozens of Egyptian texts with what they call Exodus parallels, describing Exodus-like like events and themes, which Sparks has compiled and which will soon be published.'” (Joseph Holden & Norman Geisler, The Popular Handbook Of Archaeology And The Bible: Discoveries That Confirm The Reliability Of Scripture, 2577 (Kindle Edition); Eugene, Oregon; Harvest House Publishers)
The miracles of the Exodus had demonstrated in incredible detail the fact that God was “plaguing” the Egyptians. The greatest, and most destructive miracle (the death of the firstborn), would be the worst one yet.
To prepare for this Plague, God gave detailed instructions to Moses about he slaughtering of the Passover lamb. Its’ blood needed to be applied to the doors of each Hebrew home, in order to ensure that the angel of the Lord did not smite the children of Israel.
We are told about the faith of Moses in His Redeemer with these words:
Hebrews 11:28-By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, lest he who destroyed the firstborn should touch them.
Moses had learned from his experiences with God that the LORD could be trusted. So, knowing God’s Word and trusting God’s Word, Moses obeyed God’s Word.
As a result, the people of Israel were delivered and saved from their oppression.
In the same way, we need to learn to trust and obey God’s Word. Our Redeemer has promised us victory, but we must endure!
Faith In The Reward
Finally, please consider that Moses is a great man of faith because of the fact that he did not allow himself to become completely focused on the “here and now” of everyday life, but instead looked to the “reward.”
Too often, we allow ourselves to become distracted by the things of this world so that we lose sight of what really matters (Colossians 3:1-3). Moses is a great example for us because he did not allow himself to be distracted by the “passing pleasures of sin.”
Sin is fun! At least it is, for a time. If sin were not pleasurable, would it be tempting? Yet it always brings a deadly harvest (Galatians 6:7-8; Romans 6:23).
Jesus Christ came to this world to save us from our sins (1 Timothy 2:6). He is the Lamb of God by whose blood we may be saved from the wrath to come 2 Thessalonians 1:10). He died for our sins, was buried, and arose from the dead on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:1-8).
Why not today believe in Him, repent of your sins, confess your faith that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and be baptized into Christ for the remission of your sins (Acts 2:37-47; 8:37)?
If you have fallen away rom the Lord and sinned (as all Christians do-1 John 1:8), then why not repent and confess those sins to the Lord in repentance and prayer to receive full forgiveness (1 John 1:9-2:2)?
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.