Gospel Faith in the Old Testament: Moses part 2
Hebrews 11 is preceded, in context, by chapter 10:19-39.
This passage could be summed up in two ways.
1. We have great confidence to enter into the presence of Father because the Son has taken our sin and died and we can enter with full assurance in faith with our conscience cleansed. We can hold to the confession of the Gospel because God is faithful. Therefore we can consider how to stir each other up to love and good works by making sure we don’t neglect gathering together.
2. However, if people go on sinning when they know the truth there is nothing but the fearful expectation of God’s wrath because they have chosen, in their sin, to trample over the Son of God and it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
But the writer is convinced of better things in his audience. He reminds them of their willing endurance of hardship for the Gospel and not to throw away their confidence.
The writer reminds them that they have need of endurance.
You know, we have need of endurance.
Whether it is ministry or whether it is life. We have need of endurance.
The Lord inspired the writer of Hebrews to give them and us a great cloud of witnesses who endured in the Old Testament so that we could gain courage and hope.
2. By Grace, Moses considered Jesus better (regeneration or regenerating grace)
If one follows the “process” from death to life in the Gospel it goes something like this:
The Gospel call
Conversion (faith and repentance)
Justification (right legal standing)
Adoption (membership in God’s family)
Sanctification (right conduct in life)
Perseverance (remaining a Christian)
Death (going to be with the Lord)
Glorification (receiving a resurrection body)
“By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. Hebrews 11:24-26
The reason this matters is that the writer of Hebrews makes a clear reference to the events of Exodus chapter 2 and then accounts Moses choosing to identify with his ethnic people as considering Jesus as greater wealth and that he was looking to the reward of Christ Jesus.
Exodus chapter 3 is when the Lord introduces himself to Moses in a burning bush and calls Moses to his purposes at the ripe old age of 80.
Moses refuses to be sided with the Egyptians somewhere, estimated, around age 40.
This means that when Moses leaves Egypt and marries his wife he spends 40 years tending his father-in-law’s animals before the Lord introduces himself to Moses formally.
The writer of Hebrews makes clear, however, that Moses is counted as having treasured Jesus greater than Egypt as faith.
Listen, this is huge. If the writer of Hebrews, inspired as he is by the Spirit, and writing God’s words without any mixture of error, then he is commenting truthfully about the Lord’s work in Moses’ life.
Father, Son and Spirit were at work in Moses awakening his dead state some 40 years before the work of conversion where faith and repentance take place.
This means that Moses’ rejecting his Egyptian raising, Moses’ murder of the Egyptian, Moses fleeing to Midian and his 40 years tending flocks for his papa-in-law were not wasted years, but rather, these years were years when the Spirit was blowing life into the dead soul of Moses in the glorious work of regeneration.
This is not a Moses highlight. This is a Father, Son and Spirit highlight. Father was busy saving Moses when Moses was not aware he was being saved.
The writer of Hebrews reminds his audience, with Moses’ life, that their salvation is a precious gift of grace and Father has been at work in them even when they were not aware.
Same way with you and I.
Let me give you some Scripture here to help out.
John 3:3-8 (Jesus using Ezekiel 36:25-27)
1 Peter 1:3
A. We are saved by grace (the goodness of God to not give me justice when
I deserve justice) through faith and this is not our own doing.
“These empty hands I raise. Filthy rags are all I bring. I have come to hide beneath your wings.”
1. We endure because Father is able to make us endure
B. Do not take credit for counting Jesus better than anything else
My temptation when fighting sin is to begin to take spiritual pride in my “righteousness” and it is usually not long before I fall on my face.
Any temptation fighting that gets done is a gift from the Spirit not a production of my flesh.
The recipients of this letter got this. They know the story of Moses. They also know that they, like Moses, find themselves in a precarious situation. Some have abandoned the faith and some are hanging on.
Lest they be arrogant, they are reminded that it is by grace through faith alone in the providential and regenerative grace of God that they are persevering.
Do I have a role? Sure I do. I must fight. But my success in the battle of sanctification is not in my production of sanctification. Success is submitting to the Lord in fighting and humbly receiving the small victories over sin when they come.
1. I must hold on to the Scriptures, but who reminds me of them?
Holy Spirit does.
2. I must know the truth, but who guides me to the truth? Holy Spirit
3. I must persevere, but who gives me greater desire to count
righteousness better than sin? Holy Spirit does.
The text says it. “By faith, Moses refused…”
There is no credit to be given Moses. If was by the precious gift of grace that Moses believed and therefore could take no credit.
C. Humbly recognize it is the Lord at work in us to do his purposes
“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Philippians 2:12,13
D. Take stock of the ways Father was at work to regenerate you before you
believed the Gospel and how he keeps you in the Gospel day by day.
1. This is humbling
2. This is joy creating
3. This is sanctifying
E. Enjoy the security of having been rescued from the fall
1. John 10:22-30; John 10:1-5
Jesus is the door into the kingdom. His sheep hear his voice. They will not hear the voice of a stranger. Jesus goes before them and they follow him and he leads them. These, the Father has given Jesus, and Jesus gives to them eternal life and no one will ever snatch them out of his hand.
If you are in Christ, you are among the most secure people on the face of the planet. We cannot be taken from his hand and he has given us eternal life. He has gone before us and we follow him.
Moses, through all of his circumstances of difficulty and even sin, was being led in grace by the gracious voice of the Lord in preparation for the day when his eyes would be opened to behold the glory of the Lord and he would repent and believe.
E. Worship in song, word and deed
3. Moses’ lived by faith and not by sight
“By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible.” Hebrews 11:27
“This forsaking of Egypt must, because of the order in which it comes and of Moses alone being mentioned, be his flight related in Exod. 2:15, not the final Exodus.” – Carson
The only seeming difficulty is in the expression, “not fearing the wrath of the king,” whereas in the history Moses is represented as flying in fear from the face of Pharaoh, who sought to slay him. But the two views of his attitude of mind are reconcilable.
The assertion of his fearlessness applies to his whole course of action from the time when he elected to brave the king in behalf of Israel. In pursuance of this course, it became necessary for him to leave Egypt for a time. In this, as well as in staying, there was danger; for the king might pursue him: he might, perhaps, have secured his own safety by returning to the court and giving up his project; but he persevered at all hazards.
And thus the apprehension of immediate danger under which he fled the country with a view to final success, was in no contradiction to his general fearlessness. Further, his being content to leave Egypt at all, and that for so many years, and still never relinquishing his design, was an additional evidence of faith, as is expressed by the word ἐκαρτέρησε, “he endured.” The vision through faith of the unseen heavenly King kept alive his hope through those long years of exile: what was any possible wrath even of the terrible Pharaoh to one supported by that continual vision?”
– D.A. Carson
So much of the decision-making of the Christian is founded on a King and Kingdom unseen.
“My kingdom is not of this world.” – Jesus
This does not nullify its reality. The reality of the King and his Kingdom are not visible because of the fall
Moses endured, by faith, not in fear of Pharaoh, but rather in faith that there was more to his created purpose.
Maybe what Moses did not see was that it would be 40 years worth of training in the art of shepherding animals in the desert that was in front of him, but Moses, by grace, did see that he was a Hebrew and that there was a longing to be identified with his people.
So the writer of Hebrews attributes Moses pre burning bush fleeing for greater things as “faith”, the assurance of things hoped for the conviction of things not seen.
The Lord knew Moses needed training, so he sent Moses on a 40-year basic training course to prepare him for work.
A. Don’t over look the struggles
If Father is providential, he has foreseen and therefore ordained, our current state and is working for our good.
I’m not sure that Father is never not training us.
Philippians 1:6 tells me that he will complete me in the day of Christ Jesus. Meaning he is still working on me.
B. Don’t believe the lie that one is to be “on top” after finishing school
C. Don’t shun the menial tasks or the low paying jobs, learn and train
“His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’”
4. Moses’ kept the gospel in the Passover
“By faith he kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the Destroyer of the firstborn might not touch them.” Hebrews 11:28
“Moreover, at the time of the Exodus, Moses was undeterred by fear of the king’s anger. By keeping the Passover, which included the sprinkling of blood, the nation avoided God’s judgment. In the same way, the readers should not be afraid of human wrath and should maintain their separateness from the surrounding world. They should persist in the worship experience made possible by the blood of the New Covenant. If they would do so, they would not fall under divine retribution (cf. 10:19-31).”
At the base line of all things is the reality that man is fallen and under wrath apart from the application of the righteousness of Jesus Christ’s death in the place of rebels.
Man, apart from the Gospel, has no hope and no purpose beyond the temporal appeasement of this life.
Our, our culture and man’s only hope is that we may know the bad news that causes us to look to the good news and be saved.
A. Never shun the keeping of the Gospel in all things
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” Romans 1:16-17
 D.A. Carson, New Bible Commentary, Hebrews.