Summary: Hebrews # 20. Because Moses ranks so highly among the Old Testament figures, to show that he lived by faith and not adherence to the Law was a powerful argument to convince the Jews that God’s way had always been the way of faith.
A Study of the Book of Hebrews
Jesus is Better
Sermon # 20
“Moses: Man of Faith”
To the Jews Moses is the most important figure in history. The book of Deuteronomy ends with Moses unparalleled epitaph (Deut. 34:10-12) “But since then there has not arisen in Israel a prophet like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, (11) in all the signs and wonders which the Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt, before Pharaoh, before all his servants, and in all his land, (12) and by all that mighty power and all the great terror which Moses performed in the sight of all Israel.” To Israel Moses was the greatest prophet. He was the great lawgiver. He was Israel’s greatest historian (authoring everything from Genesis to Deuteronomy). He was considered Israel’s greatest saint, being revealed by God’s word as the humblest of the entire human race (Numbers 12:3). He was also Israel’s greatest deliverer, delivering Israel from 400 years of slavery in Egypt. Because Moses ranks so highly among the Old Testament figures, to show that he lived by faith and not adherence to the Law was a powerful argument to convince the Jews that God’s way had always been the way of faith.
First, Moses Had a Heritage of Faith
”By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king’s command.”
The faith of Moses begins with the faith of his parents. Verse twenty-three says that the parents of Moses saw that he was a “beautiful child” - implies not merely a handsome or beautiful child - literally they saw that he was no ordinary child. All normal parents feel that their child is beautiful, even when the truth may be that it is “A face that only a mother could love!” He was not only handsome but was a gifted and unusually promising one. John Calvin remarks, “…but there was some sort of mark of excellence to come, engraved on the boy which gave promise of something out of the ordinary for him.” [W. B. Johnson. trans. Calvin’s Commentary: The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Hebrews and First and Second Epistle of St. Peter. (Grand Rapids: Erdman’s, 1963) pp. 175-6 ]
To stem the population explosion among the Hebrew slaves in Egypt the Pharaoh gave an edict that all male babies were to be drowned in the Nile. To protect their newborn child Amram and Jochebed (Ex 6:20) first hid him for three months, and then put him in a water-proofed basket and placed him in the Nile near the place where the Pharaoh’s daughter bathed.
The parents of Moses were willing to risk their lives to follow God’s will. Their decision was clear: save the child, whatever the consequences. It was no light thing to defy the royal decree, but faith drove out fear.
The great risk that Amram and Jochebed took in secretly keeping their son in spite of the command of Pharaoh was evidence of their faith. Yet their faith was even more severely tested when it became impossible to conceal him any longer. They placed him in a specially prepared basket and place him in the reeds by the bank of the river.