Study 9 THE DECISION OF FAITH – MOSES
Studies in Hebrews Eleven
by Francis Dixon
(Scripture Portions: Hebrews 11:23-27; Exodus 2:1-10, 21-25)
In Hebrews 11:23-27 we are introduced to Moses, once described as ‘the greatest man among mere men in the whole history of the world’; and the particular emphasis made in these verses concerns the decision, or decisions, which Moses’ faith led him to make. Every child of God is called upon to make decisions. The first great decision is when we repent of our sins and turn to the Lord Jesus Christ and trust Him as our own Personal Saviour – look up Acts 20:21. And after this, all through our Christian life, decisions have to be made which affect God’s glory and our own lives. Moses’ life spanned 120 years, and was divided into three equal periods. For the first 40 years he was in the Egyptian court as a prince; for the second 40 years he was in the wilderness as a shepherd; and for the last 40 years he was the leader of God’s people. Notice that Moses began his life-work after 80 years of preparation – look up Luke 3:23, and compare Galatians 1:15-17. Are you anxious to begin some life-work? Do not be impatient during the waiting time, for if you are seeking to walk with the Lord, the waiting time is not wasted time – look up Isaiah 28:16. Those 80 years were tedious and testing times for Moses, but they qualified him for the great work which God had planned for him. The late Dr Campbell Morgan pointed out that although Moses is mentioned in Hebrews Eleven because of his own faith, ‘whatever is mentioned there about the faith of Moses is the result of the faith of his father and mother, Amram and Jochebed’ – look up Hebrews 11:23. What a blessing it is to have believing parents! But however much our parents seek to bring us up ‘in the training and instruction of the Lord’ (look up Ephesians 6:4) and however much they pray and long for our salvation and spiritual growth, we have to decide these issues for ourselves; and these are the decisions of faith. If we study Hebrews 11:24-27 carefully we shall see that for Moses these decisions involved refusing (verse 24), choosing (verse 25) and leaving (verse 27). These are the decisions of faith. Let us notice three things about Moses’ great decision:
1. THE TIME OF MOSES’ DECISION
We are told in Hebrews 11:24 that Moses faced this great decision and made it ‘when he had grown up’. At what age can it be said that we have grown up? Moses was at least 40 at the time of which this scripture speaks, and by faith he made a tremendous decision which influenced the remainder of his earthly pilgrimage. He was in the prime of life, when the lure of the world and the pleasures of sin would seem most attractive, and when the opportunities for gaining prominence in Egypt would be most tempting; and it was then that ‘by faith Moses refused…chose…left…’ Can you think of men and women in these days who have made similar decisions? Have you made a similar decision?
2. THE NATURE OF MOSES’ DECISION
We are told five things about the precise nature of Moses’ decision:
- It involved a refusal. This is clearly stated in verse 24. When faith comes into operation we are led not only to do what is right, but to discern between right and wrong, and to refuse the wrong. By faith Moses made this great refusal. The Bible is full of illustrations of the refusals of faith – for example: Joseph – look up Genesis 39:9; Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego – look up Daniel 3:12; Daniel – look up Daniel 6:13; and Peter and John – look up Acts 4:18-20.
- It involved a great refusal. What did he refuse? He refused ‘to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter’ (verse 24); he refused ‘the pleasures of sin’ (verse 25); he refused ‘the treasures of Egypt’ (verse 26). From a worldly standpoint he was mad! But he was not acting and choosing within the context of the world, but within the context of eternity. Our Saviour is calling us today to refuse all that is contrary to His will.
- In refusing what for him was wrong he also chose what was right. He chose ‘to be ill-treated’ (verse 25); ‘disgrace’ (verse 26); an eternal reward (verse 26); and the present peace of God filling his heart – look up Philippians 4:7. Notice in verse 26 that away back in approximately 1500 BC Moses ‘regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ’. The decision of faith will mean just this for us today – look up and compare Luke 14:26, 27 and 33; 2 Corinthians 12:10; Hebrews 13:12-14; 1 Peter 4:14. Refusing is negative, choosing is positive. Let us be careful that we are balanced in our Christian life and that it is not made up of negations.
- It was a considered decision. The word ‘regarded’ in verse 26 literally means ‘accounting’ or ‘balancing up’. So Moses weighed the whole matter up carefully, then made his decision – look up Luke 14:28-32. Write down the pros and the cons of what Moses would gain and lose by not making the decision of faith, and see what he did gain and did lose by making his great decision.
- And so, it was a right decision. Costly, but right! And what a great word that is – Is it right? Is it right for me, a child of God, a believer…? It may seem right to the world, but I am not of the world – look up John 17:14; therefore, is it right…? – look up Acts 4:19.
3. THE CONSTRAINT OF MOSES’ DECISION
What was it that constrained Moses to make this great decision? There are two things to notice in verses 25-27. Moses carefully weighed up the whole matter, then decided that:
- It is worth more to follow Christ than to stay in Egypt. Any gains by staying in Egypt would only be temporary; but to follow Christ and to live for Him would result in spiritual and eternal blessedness, which must be infinitely more to be desired than anything merely temporal and material – look up and compare Mark 8:36; Romans 8:14-18.
- Whatever he might deny himself in time would be fully compensated by the reward he would receive in eternity. Verse 26 tells us Moses ‘was looking ahead to his reward’; in other words, he looked beyond that which he could see, into eternity, and knew that there he would be rewarded for faithfulness to his Lord. What influenced Moses when he was faced with these decisions was this – he had an eye on Heaven and eternity, and therefore he acted in the light of eternity and eternity’s values. Look up Colossians 3, verses 1, 2 and 24, and face the question: Am I living for time or for eternity?