Tony Evans - Moses, The Choice of Faith
We make decisions every day. Some are minor decisions; they really don't matter one way or the other. Others are medium decisions, they matter somewhat. Others are massive decisions; they carry a great deal of weight. I'm sure we've all made decisions we wish we didn't make, some we're glad we did make, some we wish we could take back because it was just a bad choice, wasn't a good decision. When it comes to living by faith, it will involve choice. You will have to choose when it comes to living by faith who you gonna believe and who you gonna obey, who you gonna follow based on that belief. You're going to have to make a choice. And that is what we face in Hebrews chapter 11, verses 23 to 28. Moses, the choices of faith.
Verse 23, "By faith Moses, when he was born was hidden for three months by his parents because they saw he was a beautiful child and they were not afraid of the king's edict". Of course, the author of Hebrews is talking about the fact that when Moses was born, Pharaoh made an edict that all the male children under two were to be slain. The word came to the Hebrews that their baby boys under two were to be slain, because Pharaoh did not want to see the continued proliferation of the Israelites, and so he made this edict. But we learn in verse 23, by faith, and then he talks about Moses's mother and father.
Amram, his father, and Jochebed, his mother, and that they made a decision in spite of the law of the land about the killing of the kids that because their child was a beautiful child, we are not going to be afraid of the king's edict. And they made their decision about Moses by faith. Moses was born into a faith-filled home. If you want your children to have faith, they need to see faith. And the context of a faith-filled home didn't show up when his momma and daddy were at church, it showed up when the laws of the land were against their family structure. It said, the king made an edict, kill all of these babies, but by faith, because their child was beautiful, it says, they were not terrified by the king's edict.
Now, the question is, what was it about the way this child looked, beautiful child, that made them so confident in God? In Luke chapter 7, verse 20, says, "Moses was born to his parents, and they saw this child was lovely in God's sight," Acts 7:20. So, when it talks about him being beautiful, they're not merely talking about what he looked like, they were talking about God's perception of the child. He was lovely in God's sight. They looked at baby Moses, and because it was a faith-filled family, they said, "God has a purpose for this child". God thinks highly of this child. They chose to believe God's plan for their children in spite of what the culture was saying, doing, and legalizing, 'cause it was the king's edict.
Moses was born in a time of abortion, infanticide, secularism, and they had to raise... let me tell you what they didn't say. It's so bad out here, we not even gonna have children. It's so bad in here, I'm afraid to bring children into this bad world. They said, in spite of how bad the culture is, God has a plan for this pregnancy, God has a plan for this birth, and we're not gonna be afraid about how bad it is out there, 'cause we know who we believe in here, up in here, up in here. So, Moses was born into a faith environment. In fact, he was only three months old when they had to kiss him goodbye.
Most of us as parents don't have to kiss our babies goodbye at three months old, but when they graduate from high school you may have to kiss them goodbye. They're going to college, going to the army, going to a career. That's why you wanna make sure you brand them with the faith before you have to kiss them goodbye, and you wanna brand them with the faith as early as possible so that when they leave and the secular world tries to eat them up, you've given them enough faith for them to survive. So, they put their baby boy as the Book of Exodus opens up and tells us, they put their baby boy in a little basket and sent him down the Nile River. Pharaoh's daughter saw it, Pharaoh's daughter saw he was a Hebrew.
How did Pharaoh's daughter, seeing a new baby in a basket, know he was a Hebrew? 'Cause the boy was circumcised. Only the Jews circumcised their boys, the Egyptians didn't circumcise their sons. Jewish boys were circumcised on the eighth day. Circumcision was a sign that I belong to God and I'm under God's rule, I'm under God's covenant. By the way, those of you who know the story from Exodus, the first few chapters you'll see this story, Miriam, Moses's big sister, when the parents push the little crib, so to speak, the basket down the Nile River, she ran along the bank. And she saw the daughter of Pharaoh pick it up and take it home.
She says to the daughter of Pharaoh, hey, don't you need a nursemaid to help you take care, don't you need a night nurse, a day nurse, somebody to help you take care of him? Yeah, yeah, I'm gonna need a nurse for this baby. Hold on, I'll be right back. Hey momma, Pharaoh's daughter needs a nurse, 'cause she just picked up my baby brother, your son, Moses, from the river, why don't you apply for the job? She goes down and applies for the job, she's hired by Pharaoh's daughter, so she getting paid to raise her own baby. Guess what? 'Cause you'll never discover what God can do until you trust him to do it, and he can do it in ways that will blow your mind when he sees your faith. By faith, it says.
But watch this now. Verse 24, by faith, "Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to endure ill treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward".
Let me tell you the second thing faith does, Biblical faith chooses not only God's plan over the culture's plan, it chooses God's priorities, it chooses God's priorities. It says that when Moses had grown up, he became an adult. When Moses grew up, he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter. Why did it take Moses 40 years to make this decision? 'Cause he's caught between two worlds. See, his momma is raising him, Acts chapter 7 says his mother nurtured him, so his mother's whispering in his ear, hey, you belong to God. You're not an Egyptian, you are Hebrew. You belong to God, you are the offspring of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, you're part of God's divine covenant to Israel. But then he got, over here, he got the daughter of Pharaoh saying, hey, hey, come on man, you, come on, I wanna make you, you gonna be the smartest, the richest, the most powerful man in the world. That's what I have in store for you.
So, Moses for 40 years is being told by two different mothers, he's being pulled in two different ways, and it took him to the age 40 to get right. But at the age 40 it says, he made a choice, and he refused. I will no longer be known as an Egyptian, I am now gonna be known for what I truly am. I belong to the people of God. Verse 25, "Choosing rather to endure ill treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin". You see the word in verse 25, choosing. Because faith demands a choice. He made a choice.
Many of us have not yet made the choice, many have, but many have not made the choice. You're still dancing between two realities. I'm talking about ill treatment because you associate with your faith and your faith governs your decisions. So, I don't do that, because I'm a Christian, I can't do that because I'm a follower of Christ. That's where I take my stand, and I know there may be repercussions. That's why that first word in the next verse is so important, because the first word in verse 26 says, "Considering the reproach of Christ," considering means to think it through carefully. He looked at the pros and cons, and when he looked at the pros and cons, he said, instead of enjoying, watch this, the pleasures of sin for a season.
Now, he tells you two things about sin. First of all, he says, sin is fun, okay? And anybody who doesn't think sin is fun hasn't sinned right yet. But he says a second thing about sin. He says, while it is, sin is fun, it's also seasonal. He called it the passing pleasures of sin, it's seasonal. He made a decision that it's a lot of fun being the son of Pharaoh's daughter, and if I go over here and hang out with God's way, God's Word, and God's people, I'm gonna be ill-treated like they are. I looked at the pros, I looked at the cons, I looked at the pros, I looked at the cons, and Moses at age 40 says, I have decided that I am no longer going to be identified with Pharaoh's daughter as the heir apparent to the throne of Egypt. I have now decided at 40 years old, I am going to cast my lot, whatever the repercussions are, with the people of God.
Now, the question is, why make that decision? If I know I'm gonna get mistreated, you know, rebuked and scorned, talked about sure as you born, if I know that there could be negative repercussions, why risk it? That's the question. Because he says in verse 26, "Considering the reproach," reproach means the shame, the criticism. To bear the reproach means to associate with Jesus Christ in your faith and understand that that will bring with it some shame. That is, shame of rejection like Jesus was rejected. So, why do it? Watch this now. "Considering," verse 26, "the reproach of Christ, greater riches than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward". Watch this now. So, there was a motivation factor here, it wasn't just that he was so spiritual, you know. Uh-uh, he thought this thing through, and what he discovered was the payoff with Christ is better than the payoff with the world, and he calls it a reward.
Now, what do you get a reward for? You get a reward for something you do. Something you do rewards you. You get a reward at work, or a reward for winning a race, you get a reward because of a performance of some time. He said, if I do this thing right, even though I'm really starting it full time at 40, if I do this thing right, I'm gonna wind up richer than I would if I just settle for what the world has to offer me in Egypt. So, the question is, what's the reward? Now, your first thought may be heaven, and heaven definitely is a reward, because the Bible says he's gonna reward us for our faithfulness down here. But I don't think that's the reward he's talking about. Although that's a true statement. Who's raising him? His mother. Who's whispering in his ear? His mother. What is his mother telling him about his circumcision, 'cause that's the thing that sets him apart.
"Mo, let me give you a little history, boy. Generations ago, our forefather named Abraham, God told him to circumcise his son, and he circumcised his son because God made this agreement with him. This agreement with your forefather Abraham said that God is gonna build a land and a nation, and he's gonna give a promised land, and this promised land is gonna be for his people, and God is gonna lead his people into the promised land. And, boy, let me tell you something. The reason why God let you get this education in this secular environment being raised by Egypt, learning all this high-falutin stuff you learning, is 'cause, guess what? He wants you to lead them there".
Now, just so you know, I didn't make that up. Acts chapter 7, when Stephen is reviewing Moses's history, he says, "And Moses, knowing that God had called him to deliver Israel". So, when Moses's mother was telling him about Moses's plan for his life, and said, "And God transferred that covenant from Abraham to Isaac to Jacob, and we just transferred it to you. 'Cause God's got this thing out there he wants to do to you, with you, through you, and for you, and this thing is so big, boy, you gonna be leading a whole nation. Don't you settle for that junk in Egypt and miss out on the reward of God's promise". You can fall so in love with the world that you miss out on God's plan for your life. You can fall so in love with the secular society that you can die with money in the bank, you can die with your name on a big plaque, you can die with a big house and a nice care and a wasted life, because you never got around to experiencing God's plan, 'cause you and I were too in love with Egypt to make the decision that the reward of God is greater than the treasures of men.
Nothing wrong with having the car, the house, or the job, or the money in and of itself, unless you had to give up God to get it. Unless you had to hide your faith under a bushel to get it. He says that he made the decision, and he made the decision 'cause he knew that it was going to be worth it. See, but unless you believe that you won't make the decision. You'll hang out with the world, 'cause you don't buy the fact that to fully give myself to God means I lose. You will be mistreated but being mistreated while you win. He comes to another choice. Wow, verse 27, "by faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is unseen". I need to read verse 27 again, "by faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is unseen". He had faith in choosing God's presence, alright?
Moses made a graphic mistake. He killed an Egyptian outside of God's will. The reason you need to know that is because most of us have made mistakes. That is, operated outside of God's will, he blew it, and operated independently of God, and had to run for his life. So, on the one hand he refused, that was the good side, on the other hand, he was presumptuous, that was the bad side. So, he had a good and a bad thing, working both, but both he was trying to do God's will, 'cause it says in Acts 7, he thought that the folks would look at him as their deliverer. So, he's trying to do good, but he winds up doing bad even though he made the commitment. So, this imperfect man, watch this, says, he saw that which was unseen. He saw that which was unseen. He saw something you couldn't see.
So, when did he see something you can't see? At the burning bush. 'Cause it says, he saw "him" who you can't see. So, he saw God, but God is invisible so you can't see God, so he saw the one you can see. Now, watch this, don't miss this. In verse 27 it says, "He saw him," watch this, don't miss this, "after he endured". So, there was a gap between his refusal and his seeing, and the gap between his refusal to his seeing was endurance. How long did he endure? Forty years. It took him 40 years to make the decision, and he had to go through a 40 year process of enduring before he got to see the unseen. Why? 'Cause God was getting him ready for what he was getting ready to see.
So, let's go back to the story in the Book of Exodus. Moses is leading the sheep, and it says while he was leading his sheep, 'cause now he no longer in Egypt, he's running for his life, he's leading his sheep and it says he's leading his sheep in the mountain of God. So, he's leading his sheep in an environment where God is. While leading his sheep in an environment where God is, he looks up and he sees a bush on fire that's not being consumed. That blows his mind, 'cause the leaves are not burning, the branches aren't falling off, yet the branch is engulfed with flame. So, he says to himself, self, you got to check this out, 'cause you done seen a lot of fires in the wilderness, you ain't never seen nothing like this where the bush is on fire, the leaves are still green, the branches are not burning. He says, let me turn aside and see this strange thing. When he turned aside to see the bush that would not burn, a voice came from outside of the bush, saying, "Moses, Moses, take off your shoes. You're on holy ground".
Oh, I love this. Take off your shoes, why do I have to take off my shoes? 'Cause right now, there is a gap between the bottom of your foot and the ground, so you're too high. That one half inch sole right there has got you too elevated. Right now, I'm here. Take off your shoes and touch the dirt, 'cause right now the creature is in front of the Creator. So, you go all the way down to planet Earth, 'cause I'm here now, and he doesn't say, "Y'all," he says, "Moses". He gets a personal word from God after he's refused, after he's endured, he gets a personal word from God, and what's the personal word from God? He says, I want you go, tell Pharaoh let my people go. Now is the time for me to give you a special word with your name on it, because I have a special purpose, because you've gone through the process to make yourself available to me.
Let me tell you how you know when God is ready to talk to you. When he creates a situation in your life that doesn't make sense. See, it doesn't make sense to have a bush that's not on fire, that's a contradiction. When God creates something in your life that makes absolutely no sense, don't try to figure it out. You're not supposed to, you're just supposed to get as close to it as you can so you can hear when God starts calling your name, even though it makes absolutely no sense.
Our time is up, finally, verse 28. "By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood; so that he who destroyed the firstborn would not touch them". This is the Passover. This is the event that they would never forget. God said, I'm gonna kill every firstborn in every home of the Egyptians, and every firstborn animal who belongs to any Egyptian. I'm gonna send the death angel. You tell all my people to paint the blood of a lamb on the door, and when my death angel sees the blood, I will pass over you. I'm gonna skip you. That's why those of us who accept Christ are going to heaven, 'cause when God looks at me and you, he sees the blood of Jesus. We've accepted the blood of Jesus Christ as our sin bearer and now have a passport to heaven.
When you have a passport, that gives you entrance into another country. My passport is the blood of Jesus Christ that gives me entrance into eternal life. It ought to be your passport too, and if you don't have a passport, we're printing them today for free. And if you will come to Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and the gift of eternal life, your passport is stamped by his blood, entrance to heaven is guaranteed. And so, the question today is what you gonna choose? Will you choose the risk of faith? 'Cause faith is risky, 'cause often what faith asks for, you've never tried before, so that's a risk. The question is, is Jesus Christ worth betting on?