Posts Tagged 'Moses'

Panic Podcast: The Story of the Old Testament, Part 2

Good morning, and happy day-after-Thanksgiving. If things go according to the “new normal,” in a week the media will be trying to scare us to death over another spike in Covid-19 cases because none of us listened to Dr Fauci.  Personally, I’m more than a little skeptical about anything I hear from the mainstream media and I am definitely bored with anything the diminutive doctor has to say.  This isn’t a political rant, merely the musings of a free thinker who just wants to be left alone.  I’m in good company, though.  Paul wrote essentially the same thing as a primary reason to pray for the governing authorities:

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.   (1 Timothy 2:1-3 | NIVUK)

Pray for “kings and all those in authority” so hopefully they’ll leave you alone.  That’s not what governments are wont to do these days, that’s why it takes prayer!

On today’s podcast, I talk about the building of a nation, namely, the Hebrew nation, in our series, “The Story of the Old Testament.”

 

 

Joshua: A Role Model

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Whether we like to admit it or not, we all have our “role models.” When we were children, our very first role models were probably our parents. As we grew, and our circle of acquaintances expanded, people like teachers, a neighbor we admired, the cop on the beat, or even the garbage man became role models. Even our peers – our best friends or the “cool kids” at school took on the the role of role model. As adults, we still have role models, although we wouldn’t dare call them that. People we admire; who have achieved some notoriety; who have become successful; these are all people who have the potential of becoming role models. A role model is somebody, for whatever reason, we think is special and posseses the qualities we wish we had or that we are trying to cultivate in our own lives. There isn’t necessarily anything wrong with that, by the way, but we need to make sure the person we are trying to emulate is worthy of emulation. After all, a guy like Adolph Hitler had astounding political success, but he’s probably not the best role model for anybody!

In Christian circles, there are all kinds of excellent role models. We can think of people the apostle Paul, or just about any of the apostles for that matter. In church history there are people like Luther and Calvin, Arminius and Augustine, or any of the great martyrs – role models all. But there is a character in the Old Testament who is a role model of the highest character: Joshua, successor to Moses, whose life and character give us a striking illustration of how a mere mortal may receive and enjoy the promised blessings of God. It was Joshua, not Moses, who led the Israelites into the Canaan, which itself represents the very best promise of God. In fact, of Canaan we read this in the New Testament:

“That is why I was angry with that generation; I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known my ways.’ So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ” (Hebrews 3:10, 11 NIV)

Canaan is representative of God’s rest; not a rest of ease and relaxation, but a rest of hardship, warfare and victory, at least as far as the Israelites were concerned. Entering God’s rest for the rest of us is simply this: Entering fully and purposefully into the plans and purposes of God, quietly and deliberately resting in Him alone to accomplish His plans and purposes for you. Not all believers seem able to do that. Joshua was able to, and so should we. If you’re a believer who has problems “entering God’s rest”; if you find it difficult discerning, accepting, and entering into God’s plans, then hopefully this look at Joshua will help. He is a most compelling role model.

Have faith in the promises of God!

“Now that my disciple is dead, you are the new leader of Israel. Lead my people across the Jordan River into the Promised Land. I say to you what I said to Moses: ‘Wherever you go will be part of the land of Israel…” (Joshua 1:2, 3 TLB)

For some four decades, Moses had led the people of Israel round and round and round the desert until almost all of that sinful, rebellious generation had died. None of them would be allowed to enter the Promised Land. All during that time, God spoke to Moses and through Moses. Joshua, a little younger than he, was witness to the remarkable relationship God had with Moses. Then the day came when this leader of the Hebrews died and it was time for Joshua to take over. He knew the day would come; it was not a surprise when the Lord commissioned him to assume the mantle of leadership. And yet, what a daunting task it must have seemed. As was the custom, there was a national period of mourning that lasted 30 days, and when that time was up, it was time to move on. You may be sure Joshua felt the loss of Moses down to the very core of his being. They were more than friends. The two had traveled far together – from Egypt to the cusp of the Promised Land. Through all the ups and downs of those 40 years of traveling in the desert. By now, Joshua wasn’t a young man. But the work of God never stops – it must never be allowed to stop. God’s servants come and go, but the work remains; it is the one constant; it always presses on regardless of circumstances and feelings.

God appointed Joshua to be Moses’ successor, but Joshua was not to forget his predecessor. In fact, God reminded him of three big things concerning Moses. First, it was to Moses and Moses alone that God gave the promise of Canaan. Second, God was always with Moses as he led the people of Israel. In other words, Moses didn’t do the job using his own strength and knowledge. And third, the law given to the people by God through Moses was to continue in the Promised Land.

Joshua was a man of faith. In some ways, he had more faith than Moses did. Yet Joshua needed a role model: Moses. Moses was given by God to be a sort of inspiration to Joshua. And as Moses had faith in the promises of God, so must Joshua. Yes, God had given His people Canaan by His Word, but they had to actually enter in, fight for it, and plant the foot of faith upon that Word of the Lord.

Christians have the Word of God, too, operating in their lives. And we must be like Joshua: Ready to seize it, and put it to work. We must be like Peter: Ready to take that step of faith as God leads us to. Like all the heroes of faith listed in Hebrews 11, our faith will be tested; it’s to precious not to be. Joshua is the perfect role model in this regard.

Be dedicated to God’s will!

But keep away from the devoted things, so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them. Otherwise you will make the camp of Israel liable to destruction and bring trouble on it. All the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron are sacred to the Lord and must go into his treasury. (Joshua 6:18, 19 NIV)

We all know the story of how the Hebrews took the city of Jericho upon entering Canaan.  Day after day, the people of Jericho were warned. They were called upon to consider the living God of the Israelites. They witnessed His people. But God’s patience does have an end. On the seventh day, mercy and grace came to an end and judgment took their place. The wages of sin fell upon Jericho and its godless inhabitants.

To this, we cheer! We want to see sin come to an end and sinners get their just deserts. And yet, at what cost? Joshua and his people were the instruments of judgment. When the walls came down by a divine act, it was time for God’s people to do some of the work; it was time for them to “get their hands dirty.”

Then they burned the whole city and everything in it, but they put the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron into the treasury of the Lord’s house. (Joshua 6:24 NIV)

Could you do that? If it was God’s will for you to “burn the whole city and everything in it,” including children, the elderly, dogs and cats, could you? Such obedience demands total dedication and consecration to His will. For the tenderhearted reading this, it would do well to recall the words of the psalmist:

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it… (Psalm 24:1 NIV)

By faith, we know this. And by the same faith we know that God can’t and doesn’t ignore evil especially where that evil may touch His people. Joseph Sizoo, one-time pastor of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington DC, once wrote:

Whatever contaminates the life and religion of the people, leading to inevitable compromise, was to be utterly destroyed. Sin is desperately contagious; it cannot go unpunished.

In a similar vein, Marcus Dodds observed:

One would suppose that when we have been taught by the sacrifice of Christ the value God sets upon holiness in us, we should be found living in fear of contagion from the evil of the world, and counting ourselves of some value.

The point is this: Joshua was up to the task of carrying out God’s will both for the people of Israel, but also for the people of Jericho. And he performed the assignment; he carried out God’s will. He was dedicated to it and he was consecrated to His God. He’s our role model. It’s unlikely in the extreme any of us will ever be called upon to do what Joshua was called upon to do, but in his dedication and consecration, he should serve as our role model.

Fellowship with God

To Joshua, God made this promise:

No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. (Joshua 1:5 NIV)

The promises of God to any one of His people are just as reliable as they were to His own Son, and God’s presence should be to us just as real and abiding. Joshua believed without exception this promise from God, so much so, he was able to stand up and declare:

Joshua said to the Israelites, “Come here and listen to the words of the Lord your God. This is how you will know that the living God is among you and that he will certainly drive out before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites. (Joshua 3:9, 10 NIV)

For his whole life, Joshua knew God was with him and he knew God had been working. Even on his deathbed, this man’s dying testimony was this:

One of you routs a thousand, because the Lord your God fights for you, just as he promised. (Joshua 23:10 NIV)

What a role model. Here was a highly successful leader of men and armies, yet he knew any victory he experienced was due to God’s presence. He never forgot what God had told him. For the Christian, it’s tempting to forget about God when we don’t think we need Him. But the simple fact is, God made the same promise to us that He made to Joshua, and like Joshua we should never forget it and we should live like we believe it.

A life that honors God

Finally, the thing about Joshua that is so powerful is that his whole life was one long testimony for God. But he also left a legacy; a living legacy for future generations:

And Joshua set up at Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken out of the Jordan. He said to the Israelites, “In the future when your descendants ask their parents, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The Lord your God did to the Jordan what he had done to the Red Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God. ” (Joshua 4:20 – 24 NIV)

He was mindful of how he lived and was concerned about what the up-and-coming generations would think as far as God was concerned. These stones are like works of faith; good works performed for the glory God; works that would outlive the one who performed them.

You and I who claim to be followers and disciples of Jesus Christ, should take the time to study the life and career of Moses’ successor, Joshua. He is an excellent role model for young and old alike.

 

Biblical Faith, Part 7

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The late Jim Elliot, missionary, once observed,

God always gives His best to those who leave the choice up to Him.

That sounds good and makes for an inspirational meme on the Internet, but it’s not true. It doesn’t make any sense. And it’s also not Biblical. The Bible is replete with examples of people who made choices, good ones and bad ones. God doesn’t and won’t make the choice for anybody. He gave us the ability to choose and as believers it’s up to us to make the right choices – the God-glorifying choices. That’s up to us. Ayn Rand was right when she wrote,

[Man] has the power to choose, but no power to escape the necessity of choice.

We make choices all the time; hundreds of choices every day. There are big choices and small ones but as Christians, all our choices should reflect the character and nature of God.

Moses’ hard choice

By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. (Hebrews 11:24, 25 NIV)

You’ll recall the amazing story of the faith of Amram and Jochebed, the parents of Moses, as they defied the Egyptian “law of the land,” which called for the killing of all Hebrew baby boys. In faith, they hid baby Moses and then floated him down the Nile, where he was retrieved, unbelievably, by the pharaoh’s daughter! She then raised him as her own, employing Jochebed, Moses’ real mother, as his full-time nanny! You have to shake your head in astonishment at how God honored the faith of those two Hebrew parents. But, then, God honors the faith of all believing parents, as they in faith entrust their children to the care and providence of God. It’s their choice to make.

At the age of 40, Moses made a conscious decision to side with his people, the Hebrews, and to forsake the Egyptians. No other Old Testament character holds such an esteemed position among the Israelites than does Moses. He was their deliverer and their lawgiver. Both inside and outside of the Bible, Moses is the kind of person legends are made of. Josephus, for example, wrote that when pharaoh’s daughter brought the child to the king, he put his royal crown on the boy’s head. Little Moses, though, hurled it to the ground and stomped on it.

That may or may not be Hebrew lore, but what we do know for sure is that Moses made the most important decision of his life as a man, not as an impulsive child. The phrase, “when he had grown up,” it has been suggested, may mean something like this: “having become great.” Stephen in Acts says Moses was 40 years old when he decided to side with the Israelites. In all probability both ideas are true. Moses had become a great man and he was a mature man when he made the choice that would trigger the fulfillment of God’s will, not only his life but for the life of a nation.

Never underestimate the power and influence of a single decision you must make. No wonder the Bible has so much to say about making the right choices! A lot can hinge on making the right one. God is very interested in making sure we do just that, so He leads us and guides and has given us some excellent advice:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5, 6 ESV)

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. (James 1:5 ESV)

And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. (Isaiah 30:21 ESV)

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV)

Very often, in the absence of all the facts or flying in the face of common sense or cultural norms, a decision will have to be made in faith. Such was the decision of Moses, and he was commended for that.

But it wasn’t an easy one for this man to make.

He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. (Hebrews 11:25 NIV)

Facing those consequences

Game developer and atheist Ken Levine, who was so wrong about God, was right when he said this:

We all make choices, but in the end our choices make us.

Moses, the guy who had such a good life, needed to become a leader and a deliverer. Think about his decision. He knew going into it that the consequences would not be so great, at least in the short term. He could have kept on enjoying the “pleasures of sin,” but he chose to side with those who were facing persecution and hardship. He was going to learn firsthand why his people needed to be delivered; he needed to feel firsthand what persecution and ill treatment felt like.

This man, Moses, was not a reformer or a revolutionary, but a man of pure faith who deliberately sided with God’s people, even though that decision appeared to make no sense, to Egyptian and Hebrew alike.

That phrase, “the pleasures of sin” deserves a second look. It in no way suggests that Moses was some kind of rakish, spoiled party boy. Rather it’s a phrase that carries a much deeper thought. Once Moses was made aware of God’s call on his life, to not respond to that call would have been sinful. To simply ignore the decision God wanted him to make and return to Egypt would have been a sin. He may, in fact, have been a decent and moral man living in the Egyptian court. But if he was there out of God’s will, that would have been sinful.

That’s why making the right decision is so important. Even those so-called “small decisions” should be made, not in the light of the present, but in the light of eternity. Esau is the classic example of the way most of us make decisions. Here was a guy who was hungry who made a choice to satisfy a genuine temporal need he had, but at the expense of taking into consideration how that decision would affect his future.

Moses’ decision made him into the kind of leader and deliverer he needed to be. He already had the right character – his outward and courageous refusal to become part of the Egyptian machine was the result of who he was on the inside. One Bible scholar put it this way:

The ability to make up one’s mind, and to settle always on the right side, is the mark of strong character.

But the Hebrew Christians to whom this letter was written weren’t like Moses. Their faith was wavering. They seemed to be questioning their decision to follow Jesus. They needed to pay attention to the faith of a guy like Moses and emulate his faith.

And we should, too!

Counting the cost

Moses is, perhaps, the first example of a believer who consciously counted the cost of following Jesus:

He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. (Hebrews 11:26 NIV)

David Meece wrote about this idea of “counting the cost,” and the lyrics of his song are right on:

You gotta count the cost If you’re gonna be a believer, You gotta know that the price Is the one you can afford! You gotta count the cost If you’re gonna be a believer, You gotta go all the way If you really love the Lord!

Moses knew the value of “the treasures of Egypt,” but he determined in his own mind that “disgrace for the sake of Christ” was of greater value. We’ve discussed this idea of Moses and Christ previously. Somewhere in the recesses of Moses’ heart and mind, there was the inkling that he was not the final deliverer of God’s people. Moses, using the prophetic insight available to all people of faith, knew he was just a spoke in the great wheel of God’s will. But what he knew of a coming Messiah was enough to help him make the right decision.

It was some choice: “disgrace for the sake of Christ” versus “the treasures of Egypt.” Imagine what would have become of Moses had he not chose to side with his people. Moses might well have become a pharaoh of Egypt. His sarcophagus might have been dug up by Howard Carter and his mummified body on display in some musty museum today. Instead, he chose to become associated with the people of God. He became Israel’s deliverer and lawgiver and here is his name listed among the greatest of all people of faith.

Moses was far from perfect, though. He had a self-doubts. He had a temper. And in the end, he didn’t quite make it into the Promised Land. He died in the obscure mountains of Moab. But, oddly enough, that wasn’t end of Moses.

After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. (Matthew 17:1, 2 NIV)

What an honor. No wonder the writer to the Hebrews listed Moses as a man of faith.

True, Biblical faith always esteems suffering for the sake of Christ above any kind of riches. James Stephenson wrote:

If you are reproached for the Name of Christ, happy are you; your position is to be coveted.

It’s not that suffering is so great, it’s because of something Peter wrote in 1 Peter 4:14 –

If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. (NIV)

We need to remember this verse, because sometimes the evidence of our faith is seen in our suffering for Christ, not in the blessings we receive from Him.

 

Biblical Faith, Part 6

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We tend to think faith is all about us. We possess it, therefore we believe God has given it to benefit us, the one who possesses it. We’re such a self-centered people. In our previous studies of this topic, we discovered that faith isn’t all about us. It does involve us and faith does benefit us. But faith is primarily about God – God working out His will in our lives for the benefit of, first of all, His kingdom, and secondary, for our benefit. And then there’s this:

By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future. (Hebrews 11:20 | NIV84)

Did Isaac have that power? Do we have that power? Do believers have the power to bless others? Specifically, does the present generation have the power to bless the upcoming generation? That’s a good question, and how you answer it will determine the kind of parent you are and what the future of your children will look like. The short answer is “yes,” Christian parents do have the power to bless their children. Unfortunately, many Christian parents think so little of their faith, that they rob their children of this essential blessing. They don’t know it. They’re not bad parents. They’re not bad Christians. But they don’t understand the spiritual power that resides within them.

Let’s take a look at how this works by looking once again at the patriarchs.

The blessings of faith

Faith, it has been said, “gives to its possessor the eyes of the seer, and a quiet confidence in the future of God’s people.” That’s a good way to look at the issue. And it hints at the kind of power faith endows its possessor with: “the eyes of the seer.” The ability to see life beyond the horizon. That’s what faith gives us, and that’s part of the blessing Christian parents may pass on to their children. The son, grandson, and great grandson of Abraham span the generations and centuries by faith, and in their declining years with death approaching, the patriarchs Jacob and Joseph passed on blessings and instructions concerning the Promised Land.

By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future. (Hebrews 11:20 | NIV84)

With this verse, the writer of this letter begins to show us what the tradition of the “patriarchal blessings” involves. In the case of Abraham, it was Isaac that received his father’s blessing, not his brother Ishmael. It’s not that there was something wrong with Ishmael, it’s that Isaac was destined to become the son of the Promise. In the following generation, it was Jacob, not his brother Esau, that received his father’s blessing. Again, it wasn’t that Esau was an evil person, it was God’s will that the Promise be passed onto Jacob. And in the generation that followed, it wasn’t Rueben, Jacob’s first-born that received the blessing, it was Joseph who was blessed. And it wasn’t Joseph’s first born who received the blessing, it was Ephraim who received the choice blessing.

What this teaches us about God is vitally important for the modern believer to understand. It is God who is in control, and His sovereign will does not abide by man’s traditions or rules. In other words, regardless of our wants and wishes; regardless of what our society deems to be the norm, God’s will is accomplished as He sees fit.

Yet, God still used those to whom He had given a measure of faith. Each of the patriarchs blessed their children with a prophetic insight, and while each time a single son was blessed with that special blessing related to the Promise, all the children were blessed.

But we notice something else. In addition to passing on God’s blessing to the next generation, something else was passed on:

By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff. By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions about his bones. (Hebrews 11:21-22 | NIV84)

Words of worship and instruction were passed on. God’s Word was given to the younger generation by the older one. They didn’t have a Bible – no Old or New Testament to read to them – all they had was the promise given to Abraham. That’s all these patriarchs had, and that’s what they gave to their children. That Word from God was never forgotten; it was so important it was spoken from the deathbed, as it were.

What Joseph taught his family is important. Of all the things Joseph could have talked about; of all his amazing experiences he could have passed on to his family, he chose the Promise, and how his descendants would relate to it. Again, it’s the prophetic insight talking.

Then Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die. But God will surely come to your aid and take you up out of this land to the land he promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” And Joseph made the sons of Israel swear an oath and said, “God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up from this place.” (Genesis 50:23c-25 | NIV84)

He actually spoke those words to brothers, though his descendants would have heard them too. The thread of the promise binds the patriarchs in faith that transcends time.

It’s the thread of the Word of God that binds your family together, too, and it transcends time. Of all the things we can pass on to our posterity, none is more vitally important than God’s Word. We want so much to pass on a heritage – usually financial – to our children, without realizing how temporal that kind of heritage is. It’s dangerous too because unearned wealth almost always causes problems. The Word of God, though, is what solves problems. It was Peter who said these words in one of his great sermons:

“The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off–for all whom the Lord our God will call.” (Acts 2:39 | NIV84)

Indeed it is. The Christian parent receives it and passes it on to their children. Or, at least they’re supposed to. If you are a believing parent, hopefully you have or are passing the Word of God onto your children. But even if you aren’t a parent, you’re still on the hook. Others may be blessed by your faith. That’s right! If you are living a life of faith, then all those whom you rub shoulders with, stand to be blessed simply because of your possession of faith.

Now, that’s some kind of power you have!

The secrets of faith

By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. (Hebrews 11:23 | NIV84)

The theme of faith working within a family unit is carried on in Hebrews 11:23. Moses’ parents exercised incredible faith when they defied “the law of the land” in hiding their infant son. If Abraham is considered to be the spiritual father of all believers, everywhere, then Moses must be be seen as the father of the nation of Israel. It was essential for him to grow into adulthood. Moses’ parents saw a certain “something” in their infant son that told them he must survive in spite of the Pharaoh’s determination of destroy the Israel within the nation of Egypt by killing all baby boys. What Moses’ parents saw in their son is not stated. Josephus, writing in his Antiquities of the Jews, relates that Amram, father of Moses, had a vision from God, in which he was told not to fear or despair because Moses would be Israel’s deliverer. No wonder, then, they took the chance to let their baby son go, floating down the Nile. They, like Abraham before them, were instructed by God to do something crazy.

There’s the prophetic insight again, working with faith for the blessing of the next (and future) generations. The parents exercised faith, and faith combined with prophetic insight, led to Moses surviving, prospering, and eventually delivering his people out of the land of Egypt and into the land of Promise. But the future had happened yet. It hinged on Amram and Jochebed being obedient to God and risking the very life of Moses.

Because Moses had parents that followed the Word of the Lord, we read this:

By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. (Hebrews 11:24-25 | NIV84)

Where did Moses get his character? He was the “son of Pharaoh’s daughter,” but he was raised by his own mother. The man’s character descended from his real parents, not his adopted parents. Over in the New Testament, Stephen, who had access to records we don’t, said this of Moses:

When he was placed outside, Pharaoh’s daughter took him and brought him up as her own son. Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action. When Moses was forty years old, he decided to visit his fellow Israelites. (Acts 7:21-23 | NIV84)

Moses had it all going for him. He might have risen to the highest rank possible within his adopted family, perhaps even ascending to the very throne of Egypt. But he would have none of that. He refused to be identified with the Egyptians, choosing instead to suffer along with his people, the people of God. Hebrews says it was “by faith” that Moses came to this shocking decision. At 40 years of age, Moses deliberately and thoughtfully of his own free will chose to side with the Israelites.

Moses’ faith was manifested in a forthright choice. How is your faith manifested? Is it manifested in eternal pursuits or temporal ones? The pleasures of Egypt would have lasted just a short time. Association with God’s people might bring some hardship, but it would be temporary, with a bright future waiting just over the horizon.

He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. (Hebrews 11:26 | NIV84)

This is fascinating verse for three reasons. First, the writer to the Hebrews mentions Christ. Of course, Jesus Christ hadn’t been born when Moses walked the earth, so why mention Him at all in relation to Moses? It has to do with that prophetic insight. In the original Greek, the definite article is there, making it “the Christ.” Moses did what he did for the sake of the Christ, the writer of this letter wrote. Moses never used the name “Messiah,” but clearly his actions were motivated by an awareness that at some point in the future, the Messiah, the Christ, the Final Deliverer, would come. Christ, like faith, transcends time.

Second, we have a stark comparison between spiritual riches (disgrace for the sake of Christ) and earthly treasure (the treasures of Egypt). Spiritual riches are infinitely more valuable than earthly ones, and often come disguised as persecution. Jesus clarifies this for us in Matthew 5:11, 12 –

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:11-12 | NIV84)

Moses did what he did – he gave up everything he had in the world and risked his life – because he was pursuing a spiritual objective which would end in his “reward.”

And finally, what about this “reward?” Scripture teaches in the clearest way possible that salvation cannot be earned. Yet we see the word “reward” all over the New Testament. No man can earn salvation, but God rewards man on the basis of divine sovereignty, not merit. Simply put in a way our finite minds can grasp, the believer’s reward has everything to do with his obedience to the Word of God.

We’ve looked at how faith works within the family. Christian parents have a responsibility to bless their children by passing on to them the Word of God. It’s that Word that activates God’s richest blessings in their lives. The power you, as a believing mother or father, have is to bless your children with the Word of God. It’s life-changing. It’s life-preserving. In the case of Moses, it’s life-saving. The faith of his parents translated into a godly character, which in turn caused Moses to become a man of faith; a man who in turn would bless an entire nation because he exercised the kind of faith he learned from his real parents.


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My Conservative Identity:

You are an Anti-government Gunslinger, also known as a libertarian conservative. You believe in smaller government, states’ rights, gun rights, and that, as Reagan once said, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’”

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