Epistle to the Hebrews (11:23-27)   Leave a comment

Epistle to the Hebrews

Epistle to the Hebrews

It was by faith that Moses’ parents hid him for three months when he was born. They saw that God had given them an unusual child, and they were not afraid to disobey the king’s command.It was by faith that Moses, when he grew up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to share the oppression of God’s people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin. He thought it was better to suffer for the sake of Christ than to own the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to his great reward. It was by faith that Moses left the land of Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger. He kept right on going because he kept his eyes on the one who is invisible.” Hebrews 11:23-27

According to Pharaoh’s order, all new born baby boys had to be thrown in the Nile river. But Moses’ parents refused to obey to this order and we know how Moses finally became the adopted son of the daughter of Pharaoh. He could have become like Joseph and enjoy the leadership of Pharaoh’s household. But no, God had a different plan for him. It was right time to return to the promise land. Moses defended a Hebrew when attacked by an Egyptian and this made him flee from Pharaoh. When Moses saw 2 of his Hebrew brothers fighting, he wanted to stop them. Moses had a burden in his heart for the Hebrew people and even when Israel sinned against God he interceded for them by putting at stake his name in the book of life (Ex 32:32). Ezra and Nehemiah also had such a burden to rebuild the temple/walls. God often puts a burden in our heart to prepare us to accomplish what He called us to do.

Then came the time where God revealed Himself to Moses:

Look! The cry of the people of Israel has reached me, and I have seen how harshly the Egyptians abuse them.Now go, for I am sending you to Pharaoh. You must lead my people Israel out of Egypt.” Ex. 3:10

God has not given Moses time to think whether he would agree to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt. No, on his first encounter with God, Moses was asked to do something impossible. You must lead was the order.

1. To lead this great nation of Israel(about 1 million) out of Egypt on whom he had no influence

2. To present himself before Pharaoh and say goodbye without forgetting to threaten him with plagues

3. Bring the Israelites through the Red sea

4. Assume the responsibility of providing food and water to the Israelites for 40 years in the wilderness.

Well he did not know yet about #3 and #4 but he did protest about #1 and #2:

But Moses protested to God, “Who am I to appear before Pharaoh? Who am I to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?” v11

But Moses protested, “If I go to the people of Israel and tell them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ they will ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what should I tell them?” v13

The only answer God said was that He will be there. The only thing the people needed to know was that the God called “I AM” had sent Moses to bring them out of Egypt. Moses had only these 2 short answers as guarantees for this massive task. Think about it. How would you feel in Moses’ place? God reveals Himself only to you, He requires you to tell all your patriots to pack up and tell Pharaoh to let the people go without giving you a glimpse on how He will do it. Well that’s a pretty risky thing to do and here again faith comes in action. It’s only by faith in God’s provision, power and presence that this massive task could be carried out.

I like this part where Moses said:

But Moses protested again, “What if they won’t believe me or listen to me? What if they say, ‘The Lord never appeared to you’?” Ex 4:1

That’s very human and I am glad the bible recorded it. God has put a vision in only Moses’ heart but has not put it in all the people’s heart. In such a situation, Moses asked a question any reasonable man would have asked. On the spot God used the staff Moses had in his hand to build up his faith and confidence. The staff which would change in snake was a first miraculous sign which would bring credibility to Moses’ claim. God also added 2 others signs:

The Lord said to Moses, “If they do not believe you and are not convinced by the first miraculous sign, they will be convinced by the second sign. And if they don’t believe you or listen to you even after these two signs, then take some water from the Nile River and pour it out on the dry ground. When you do, the water from the Nile will turn to blood on the ground.” Ex 4:8

God knows how feeble we are in our faith and He often makes miracles so that we may know He is with us.

Though Moses saw God, the burning bush and the 3 miracles he was still afraid and still hesitated to go. The problem was no longer with the Israelites but with his personal abilities. I’m grateful to God that He allowed to record also these little details in the bible. Even though you are not a good orator, it does not matter. Have faith.

But Moses pleaded with the Lord, “O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.”

If God has chosen you to do a task, do not say you’re not the right person. If you were not the right person He would not have called you, right? It is God who equips and He does no mistakes while choosing.

God said to Moses:

Then the Lord asked Moses, “Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.”Ex. 4:11,12

I don’t think Moses was lying. Moses was not a trained speaker nor did he have an idea of how God will do it. I guess all these stories drove Moses nuts. That sounds absurd. Oh you may flee like Jonah but how far can you flee God? The tasks God asks us to do are not always ‘normal’ tasks. If Noah was still alive he would testify about the ark he built. Once again Moses wanted to refuse to take this responsibility. We read:

But Moses again pleaded, “Lord, please! Send anyone else.”

It was already the fifth time Moses complained and God eventually became angry and said “Alright take Aaron to be your spokesman”.  God knew Aaron was a good speaker but His will was that it should be Moses the only leader. The share of leadership eventually led to Aaron making the golden calf. If God has chosen you to do something do not say “Send X”. We can see that God has given Moses sufficient evidence that He was going to lead. God is faithful to build our faith in order to enable us handle the task He wants us to do.

When Moses spoke to Pharaoh, this resulted to more oppression on the Israelites and hence more trouble on Moses. Moses still protested with God in Exodus 5 and 6 because now the Israelites no longer wanted to listen to him. Moses obeyed what God told him and he got more troubles. The Israelites were treated more brutally and God did not intervene. Has it ever happened to you that while doing God’s will you get in more trouble and heaven is silent? If so, remember that God is still in control.

Then Moses went back to the Lord and protested, “Why have you brought all this trouble on your own people, Lord? Why did you send me? Ever since I came to Pharaoh as your spokesman, he has been even more brutal to your people. And you have done nothing to rescue them!” Ex 5:22

But Lord!” Moses objected. “My own people won’t listen to me anymore. How can I expect Pharaoh to listen? I’m such a clumsy speaker!”

Moses was learning to know God more with time. Moses’ faith and obedience were being worked out by God. Moses little by little became more bold as he saw God do miracles. He started to take initiatives and God did what Moses said (Ex.8 :9-12). Moses started to take ownership of this exodus.

Moses answered, “As soon as I leave you, I will pray to the Lord, and tomorrow the swarms of flies will disappear from you and your officials and all your people. But I am warning you, Pharaoh, don’t lie to us again and refuse to let the people go to sacrifice to the Lord.” Ex 8:29

Do you see that? Moses now says he’ll pray God to remove all the flies the next day because he now had confidence that God was with him and will answer his prayer. Not only that, Moses threatened Pharaoh and was no longer afraid of him! This is what faith does, it brings boldness. You pray God to answer your prayers and God does it because you’re doing His will. Moses presented himself before Pharaoh about 10 times and each time became bolder.

Moses insisted that not only the men should go to offer sacrifices but also the children(Ex 10:9). Pharaoh refused again. When Pharaoh agreed to let Moses take the children after the plague, Pharaoh requested Moses to leave only the flock. Moses disagreed and did not submit to this request. Moses got the green light to take all the Israelites out and he could have made a little concession on this little request. But no, Moses did not bend to this request. He even dared to ask Pharaoh to provide for the sacrifices the Israelites were going to make.  Moses was not going to use his own livestock for the sacrifice but rather use those of Pharaoh! Moses was decided not to leave anything the Israelites had to Pharaoh. In fact, the reverse happened. About 1 million Israelites left Egypt by stripping the Egyptians of their wealth (Ex 12:36,37).  Moses was no longer this fearful man, he now had guts! He gained confidence and permitted himself to challenge Pharaoh without any fear.

Finally, Pharaoh called for Moses. “Go and worship the Lord,” he said. “But leave your flocks and herds here. You may even take your little ones with you.”“No,” Moses said, “you must provide us with animals for sacrifices and burnt offerings to the Lord our God. All our livestock must go with us, too; not a hoof can be left behind. We must choose our sacrifices for the Lord our God from among these animals. And we won’t know how we are to worship the Lord until we get there.” Ex 10:26

The first 12 chapters of Exodus showed us how Moses grew up in faith, obedience and boldness. Moses eventually earned the respect of the Israelites. His boldness made the Israelites trust him as leader. Unless we obey we will not be able to grow up in our faith. Unless we obey, we will still be like Moses who was immature in his faith when he protested against God.  God is patient and faithful. He will form our character so that we can boldly serve Him with assurance.

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Posted May 26, 2013 by Cedric in Theology

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