The Faith of Moses

One can hardly begin thinking about the relationship of faith and Moses without considering the inspired penman’s comments in Hebrews 11:23-28.

By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king’s commandment. By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible. Through faith he kept the Passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them.

We learn from this passage that Moses’ faith began with his parents who defied Pharaoh’s command. That same defiance cropped up in Moses’ own life as he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter and when he finally forsook Egypt. These things were not done for defiance sake, however, as the inspired penman tells us. Moses did these things looking to “the recompense of the reward” and “as seeing him who is invisible.” Moses was defiant toward Egypt because he believed in something greater than what Egypt had to offer; He believed in the existence of and the promises of God.

Nevertheless, Moses faith wasn’t always perfect. We find, in fact, there were several occasions when his faith wavered. We wonder where his faith went when we witness his flight after the Israelites rejected him as their leader (Acts 7:23-29). We ponder how he could, in the presence of God, doubt himself even as God promises to be with him (Exodus 4:10-17). We pause when we see his noble visage wrinkled with anger at the children of Israel and in disobedience strikes the rock to which God had simply said speak (Numbers 20:1-13). Despite these failings, Moses legacy is one of faithfulness. Let’s notice a few things in that regard.

First, Moses faith was a faith that faltered. We mentioned some of the times when Moses faith was less than stellar. He had times in his life when he gave up, had self doubt, and even deliberately disobeyed God. Regardless, with God’s encouragement, Moses found ways to return to the Lord. In Psalm 90, perhaps after the return of the 12 spies from the land of Canaan and God’s wrath with the disappointing report they brought, Moses prayed, “Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations” (Psalm 90:1). Moses realized that even in times when our faith falters, that it is only to the Lord that we can turn for ultimate comfort and refuge. So he says, “Return, O LORD, how long? and let it repent thee concerning thy servants” (Psalm 90:13). Yes, on occasion Moses’ faith faltered, but he always came back to God when he realized his wrong. We need to let the true spirit of penitence characterize our faith as well.

Second, Moses faith followed. From the time that God called Moses to bring His people out of the land of Egypt to the time that Moses’ foot set down on top of mount Pisgah, he followed the Lord. We remember many of the trials Moses had to endure: the mocking of Pharaoh’s magicians; the rejection of his message by Pharaoh; the complaints of the Hebrew people; the creation of the golden calf by Aaron; the rebellion of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram; the final lack of faith demonstrated by the 10 spies. In each of these times, Moses could have easily given up and thrown in the towel. Indeed at one point God Himself told Moses to just abandon the children of Israel and let Him make a nation from Moses Himself (Exodus 32:9-10). It was in precisely these times that Moses faith shined more brightly than ever when he dedicated Himself to following the path that God had laid out before Him. Under extreme trial, temptation, and trouble Moses’ faith came shining through like a beacon of hope among the fog of despair. What a tremendously faithful follower!

Finally, Moses faith was a faith that finished. While forbidden to enter into the Promised Land, Moses continued to serve God until such a time as his life was required. One can well imagine Moses walking up that rocky path to the top of Mount Pisgah and looking over into the land of Canaan. His time on earth was at an end and he had completed the task God had set before him. Yet his faith looked not finally upon an earthly plateau, but a heavenly one. We find Moses again in the gospel accounts speaking with Jesus about his death (Luke 9:31). We no longer see a Moses that is burdened by the cares of earthly life, but one who is triumphant over death and glorified, providing comfort and peace to One who would lead His people not out of a physical land of bondage, but a spiritual one. No doubt our Lord took comfort in this conversation when He declared upon the cross, “It is finished.” Like Moses, he laid down His burdens of physical existence to take up a glorious heavenly one. Moses faith was a faith that finished.

What joys and comforts the faith of Moses brings to the faithful child of God. Moses’ example gives us much to contemplate. Let us take up his banner of faith in our lives each day as we may falter, follow, and seek to finish the path of faith we each have before us.

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