Summary: Some Christians have a similar problem—spiritual gambling. It’s a way of living that involves taking chances by seeing how far we can stretch God’s patience. There’s not one chance in five that God won’t keep His word. There’s not even one chance in a tho
Opening illustration: The problem of compulsive gambling may seem foreign to most of us. Yet experts believe that millions of Americans are psychologically addicted to gambling. It gives them the excitement of hope and risk, but it usually ends in defeat. It is indeed a temporary pleasure. For those who engage in it, losing is the name of the game; winning means not losing everything.
Some Christians have a similar problem—spiritual gambling. It’s a way of living that involves taking chances by seeing how far we can stretch God’s patience. Although we know there is no such thing as “luck,” too often we gamble away our time or dabble in sinful pleasures. We live as if it were possible to ignore the will of God and still come out ahead. We seem to be addicted to the excitement of risk.
There’s not one chance in five that God won’t keep His word. There’s not even one chance in a thousand. We can be absolutely sure that what He’s promised will come true. That’s why it makes so much sense to be like Moses and believe God. He was willing to trust in the reliable word of the Lord rather than take his chances with the temporary excitement of sin (Hebrews 11:24-26). He believed that God was 100-percent trustworthy. Do you?
Introduction: Our text for today tells us about two good choices that greatly affected world history. The first choice was relatively routine at the time. Two slaves in ancient Egypt chose to defy the king’s edict to kill all male Hebrew babies by hiding their son. That son turned out to be Moses, the great deliverer of his people. The second choice was that of Moses himself, and it was more difficult. He chose to give up his position of influence and wealth in the Egyptian court in order to side with the enslaved people of God. Both choices were motivated by faith and their lessons have eternal consequences for us. Both choices teach us …
How to put your ‘Faith in Action?’
1. Fearless of Worldly Powers (vs. 23, 27):
The Jews had gone from the privileged position they enjoyed in Egypt under Joseph to the despised position as hard labor slaves. Because of his fear that the Jews were multiplying too rapidly, Pharaoh had issued the command to throw all newborn Jewish boys into the Nile River. In such dire circumstances, this Jewish couple had a “beautiful” son (Hebrews 11:23 is based on Exodus 2:2). Since most parents would think that every child they have is “beautiful,” there must have been something exceptional about Moses. Stephen (Acts 7:20) calls him “beautiful to God” (literal translation). John Calvin points out that since Scripture forbids us from making judgments based on external appearance, Moses’ parents must have seen something in this baby boy to make them hope that he would be the promised deliverer of his people on Hebrews 11:23. Because they thought that God had destined him for such a great role, they defied the king’s edict and hid him for three months. That choice, based on faith, entailed short-term suffering, but eternal blessings.
Hebrews 11:23 says, “They were not afraid of the king’s edict.” So why did they hide their son if they were not afraid? Why not just take him out in public view, if they were trusting in God? Faith is not opposed to using prudence. Trusting God does not mean taking reckless chances. While they did not fear the king’s edict in the sense that they defied it, they no doubt did fear not only for the life of their baby boy, but for all their lives. If Pharaoh’s guards had caught them, they would have executed the entire family for insubordination to the king. So their “by faith” choice to hide their son exposed the entire family to the risk of death.
Imagine how carefully they had to live! If the baby cried at any time of the day or night, they had to muffle him while they tried to calm him down. They couldn’t risk having their children play with other children in the neighborhood; for fear that they would let something slip about their baby brother. If Pharaoh’s police roamed the neighborhood looking for newborn baby boys, the family sat in silent terror.
The choice to obey God by faith always involves a certain amount of up-front risk. Remember, this couple did not know the end of the story when they made their decision! They all could have been slaughtered because of what they did. Although it would have been agonizing to throw their baby boy into the river, they could have rationalized it by saying, “What else could we have done? We probably would have been caught and our whole family would have died. He would have lived a miserable life as a slave, like the rest of us. We just have to submit to the government authorities!”