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Hebrews 11:23-29  23By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. (He wasn’t going to let his connections to the royal family to disconnect him from the pain of his Hebrew family)25 He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ (that tells me Moses met Jesus before Jesus entered time and space as a human) as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. 27 By faith he left Egyptnot fearing the king’s anger; (what an awesome example of faith over fear!) he persevered (Oh, Church, faith keeps going, even when it is tough) because he saw him who is invisible. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and the application of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.

I want you to leave here today with one big takeaway, and it is this: Faith is a decision. The fact that Moses even lived to be used of God is the result of faith, his parents’ faith. His parents acted in faith when he was born. Let me unpack it quickly. The descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob ended up in Egypt because of a famine. They went to Egypt to get grain, and when they got there, they encountered Joseph, Jacob’s beloved son, who through a series of events, had been “sent ahead” of them by God to provide for them.  Joseph, a prominent figure in Egypt by that time, was able to move his family to Egypt where they prospered for many years.

However, over time the Israelites grew so significantly in number in Egypt, the Pharaoh was concerned they might take over the country. So, to control the Israelites and to slow down the population of the Hebrew boys who were being born, he ordered the midwives to kill all of the baby boys. When they refused to comply, he ordered all of the baby boys to be thrown into the river and drown.

Moses’ mother hid him for three months at home, and when she couldn’t hide him any longer, by faith, she put Moses in a basket, a boat of sorts, and placed it in the Nile River near the place where Pharaoh’s daughter bathed.  It was a bold move, but listen, bold moves done in faith advance the plans of God.

Pharoah’s daughter found Moses and was drawn to him. She took him in as her own. He grew up in the palace. He received the finest education. He had been grafted into the royal family. He had great privilege, all because his parents acted in faith. Let me just stop and say that your parents can be faithful, faith-filled people. They can make bold moves of faith to set you up for success, but at some point, you will have to make the decision about how you’re going to live your own life. You will have to choose whether to live by faith or live by your fleshly impulses.

Yes, Moses’ incredible start in life was the result of the faith of his parents, but his parents’ faith isn’t what landed him in the “Hall of Faith” we call Hebrews 11. He isn’t commended for his faith because of something his dad or his mom did. He is lifted as an example of faith because of the faith choices HE made. 

Fast-forward 40 years in Moses’ life. He was well-connected. He had power. He had life easy. But one day, he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people. He could have looked away. He could have gone on about his day. He could have thought, “My hands are tied. What can I do? This isn’t my battle to fight.” But instead, he stepped in to defend and protect that Hebrew slave. In that moment, he was giving up his status as a son of the Pharaoh’s daughter, and he was reverting back to his identity as a Hebrew slave.  He chose to be identified with God’s people. He forfeited the path to power that could have been ahead of him. And in that moment, God was preparing Moses to become a deliverer for God’s people.

Our text says in verse 25 He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.

Moses acted out of a faith that it was better to serve the Lord than it was to hold on to or to gain earthly power and opportunity. God is still calling people to make the same choices by faith, to step up and stand up to injustice even if it means the loss of some status or privilege. God is still looking for people who will identify with those who are hurting even if it will cost them. People who activate their faith will find themselves in all kinds of situations that become costly from a human standpoint, but Moses, even though he had been exposed to palace life and all of the amenities that came with it, he wasn’t living for anything the palace offered. He was looking ahead to a different kind of reward.  It wasn’t an earthly reward. It was a heavenly one.

Verse 27 of Hebrews 11 says, By faith he left Egyptnot fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. This verse likely refers to the many confrontations Moses had with the Pharoah. God came to Moses and appointed him to be the guy who would lead all of the Hebrew slaves out of Egypt. He had chosen to identify with the Hebrew people, his birth tribe, and now he would deliver them from slavery. In that respect, Moses is a type of Christ who identified with us as humans so that He could rescue us from sin!

He had already left Egypt and had fled to the land of Midian which is now the northwest part of Saudi Arabia. He had lived in Midian for 40 years, but God called him back to Egypt. Going back to Egypt was risky. There were reasons the king, reasons the Pharaoh would have had to have been very angry with Moses, not the least of which was that he had killed the Egyptian who had been beating the Hebrew slave. Going back didn’t seem like a good idea in the natural. That is why it took a decision of faith to go back.  By this time, Moses was 80 years old, and the ruling Pharaoh was likely one of Moses “brothers” during those growing up years. Moses was going to confront someone who had been like family for half of his life. He was going to challenge the decision to keep the Hebrews enslaved. He was going to challenge the power the Pharaoh had to do as he wished. There was no way Moses could have made the decision to go back in the flesh. He didn’t have an army. He wasn’t a great speaker. He was a traitor to the Egyptians. He didn’t have the clout to demand anything, but by faith, at the call of God, Moses went to Egypt and demanded the Pharoah let the Hebrews go.

There were ten confrontations between Moses and the Pharaoh. Each time, God was with Moses and God performed signs and wonders that ultimately convinced the Pharaoh it was in his best interest to do as God through Moses was demanding. Even though Moses was eventually successful in doing his job as a hostage negotiator, the standoff wasn’t over in a hurry and it wasn’t without personal cost to Moses.

Moses demonstrated faith as God leveled judgment after judgment against Egypt through a series of plagues. I’m guessing with each plague, Moses said to himself, “This is it. God will gain the victory over Pharaoh.” For the first plague, God turned the Nile River to blood. That would have been horrific! The source of life for the Egyptians, the Nile River, the water they counted on and needed was now unusable. The fish died. The entire river smelled horrific. The water was undrinkable. Imagine a River of Blood. But no, Pharaoh didn’t relent.

Moses, in faith, came a second time to demand the release of the Hebrew slaves. When Pharoah didn’t relent, frogs came up out of the Nile River and invaded every part of the Egyptians homes and when the frogs died, their stinking bodies were heaped up in offensive piles all throughout the land. Did Moses give up on ever being able to do a victory dance with a freed Hebrew nation? No!

Round three brought about another judgment on Egypt with gnats. The gnats were as many as the sand on the land, and they covered the people and the animals. That makes my skin crawl! Anyone else? But Pharaoh didn’t budge. Did Moses show up for a meeting with God and say, “This isn’t working! Clearly Pharaoh isn’t giving up! You need another plan!” No. Instead, he showed up for round four.

God gave Moses instructions a fourth time and told him to confront Pharaoh with the threat of a plague of flies. If Pharaoh didn’t let God’s people go, God was going to send flies to cover the ground and to invade every Egyptian home. Long story short, the flies came in thick swarms, and Pharaoh stood his ground.

Moses didn’t waiver. He didn’t give up. He didn’t allege that God didn’t know what He was doing. He didn’t quit showing up to meet with God. He didn’t tell God he knew a better way to negotiate the release of the Hebrews.  He kept exercising his faith in the assignments God was giving to Him.

In the fifth exchange between Moses and Pharaoh, all of the Egyptian livestock were on the table. God was going to kill them all if Pharaoh didn’t get on board. There were moments during the confrontations that Pharaoh would agree to release the slaves, but they were always short-lived. Moses would have Pharaoh’s word that he was going to release the Hebrew people, but then Pharaoh would go back on his word.

Can you just picture the war in Moses’ mind when time after time Pharaoh didn’t do what he had promised? And yet God kept sending him back? I’m sure he had to fight thoughts like, “What’s the use? This is getting us nowhere! We are just spinning our wheels here.” Pharaoh was seemingly toying with Moses, toying with God, and toying with the fate of the Israelite nation, and yet Moses kept his faith intact. People of faith say, “I’m not giving up, even when the enemy seems to have the upper hand.”

Moses continued to follow the instructions of God, even when it didn’t appear to be working! Why? Because Moses had confidence in the word of God. God had told him before any of contests started between Moses and Pharaoh that Pharaoh would have a hard heart and would dig in his heels. God said he would multiply signs and wonders in Egypt against the Egyptians, but Pharaoh wouldn’t listen to Moses. Moses didn’t know how many plagues there would be, how many confrontations he would have, but he knew that God had said with mighty acts of judgment, He would free the Israelites, and the Egyptians would KNOW that He was God when God delivered them. And in faith, he kept fighting the fight time after time. Church, there is a reason Paul told Timothy to fight the good fight of faith in I Timothy 6:12. Activating your faith puts you on the battle line. You have to make a choice to stand in that faith or to retreat, and what you decide determines whether you gain the victory or not!

I said this was a message about decisions. Faith is a decision. Faith says, “God, I don’t understand why it is taking so long. God, I don’t know why you didn’t just decimate Pharaoh during plague one. God, I don’t understand what you are up to, but I’ll keep on showing up because YOU tell me to, and I’ll keep on fighting because you have assured me that YOU will deliver me.”  Listen, Child of God, every day you wake up, you get to make a decision. Will you trust God for everything that is ahead, or will you abandon Him if the circumstances or the challenge is unfavorable or seems to be going on too long?

With each plague, Pharaoh seemed to get just enough religion to get Moses to pray to God to remove whatever the plague was, but every time, after the boils disappeared on people’s bodies or the hail stopped decimating the crops, or the locusts left the land, Pharaoh’s heart would be hardened, and he would back out of whatever deal he had made concerning the Israelites’ freedom.

I also want to note, that while some of the plagues on Egypt affected the Israelites to a degree, during several of them, God made a total distinction between the Israelites and the Egyptians and left the part of the land where the Israelites dwelled completely unimpacted by the devastation He brought to Egypt. Sometimes they were somewhat impacted. Sometimes they were divinely insulated by God’s protective hand, and sometimes they were completely isolated. Even in the rendering of the judgment on Egypt, God was giving favor to His people. He was showing the Egyptians what His protective hand was like for those who were under His care.

Well, God told Moses the tenth plague would be the last. It was going to be awful. It was a plague on the firstborn sons in Egypt. Every firstborn son would die. Even the firstborn of all of the cattle would die. Death would come upon Israel’s enemy while freedom would come to the Hebrew nation. They were going to leave Egypt, and they weren’t leaving empty-handed. The Hebrews were supposed to go to their Egyptian neighbor’s homes and ask for silver and gold. After all they had gone through, the Egyptians wanted reprieve, they wanted the judgments to stop, they were happy at the thought that this could all be over soon, and they gave their silver and gold to the very people they had enslaved. Pharaoh’s heart made have still be hard, but the Egyptian people’s hearts were in the hands of the Israelites!

At midnight, God was going to send a death angel to take out the firstborn in Egypt, but He would spare the firstborn among His people if they exercised faith. Moses went to deliver the news to Pharaoh to tell him what was coming, and Exodus 11:8 says, “Then Moses, hot with anger, left Pharaoh.” This thing had escalated. Righteous indignation had risen in Moses’ heart. He had reason to be angry. He had had enough. He was ready for God to go “Rambo” on Pharaoh.

Well, as God was planning to deal with Pharaoh once and for all, He was also dealing with His people. Through the signs and wonders, He had revealed to them that He was the God who takes care of business. He was the God who deals with their enemies. He was the God who could cover them in times of difficulty. He was also the God who could spare them unnecessary calamities and hardships. He had dealt with His people differently than He had dealt with their enemies, and He was about to deliver them once and for all.

This was the moment that God instituted the Passover Meal for the Jews. They were to select a lamb, one without defect, slaughter it and take some of the blood from the lamb and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of their houses so that when the death angel passed over the land of Egypt to take out the firstborn, the death angel would know to “pass over” the Israelites homes, to pass over the homes that were covered by the blood! The blood was the sign that they would be spared.

What does our Hebrews 11 text say about Moses in this moment?

By faith he kept the Passover and the application of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel. Hebrews 11:28

They had endured a lot. They had seen a lot, but this was the moment, when the lamb would be slain, the blood would be applied, and God’s people would be completely covered. Their deliverance was literally activated by their faith.  As they ate the Passover and applied the blood, Moses led them to do it in faith. That act, done in faith, spared their lives and prepared them for the deliverance of the Lord. When the death angel came, the Egyptian firstborn were killed, but the Israelites were spared. Pharaoh waved the white flag. He let them go. They left in haste. They left with treasure. They in victory, but there was more victory to come.

Moses was commended for one more faith decision.  Hebrews 11:29-29 By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.

As they were leaving Egypt and came to the edge of the Red Sea, they saw Pharaoh had waivered once again and sent his army after them to capture them. What would they do? The Red Sea was sure death. There was no way they could cross. There were 2 million of them. Pharaoh’s army was sure death coming from behind them. But there’s was the God who makes a way when there seems to be no way! Here is the account from Exodus 14:13-16. 13 Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” 15 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. 16 Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground. 

Moses lifted his staff, and the Israelites went through on dry ground. When the Egyptian army entered the dry riverbed, the waters came rushing back together and drowned them. What a display of God’s power and might, and what a message to the Israelites about how God intends to deal with His enemies! His judgment that was once incremental, was swift and complete. The Israelites saw with their own eyes that their enemy could never pursue them again, and the Red Sea, coming back together, provided the barrier between God’s people and their previous life of slavery.

Here’s the last point: People of faith make the decision to stand firm and to stand still so that God can part their waters!

Listen, every day you have an opportunity to make faith decisions. Every day your faith will grow as you choose the Lord over the flesh and the things of the world. Your faith will grow as you continue to show up to the battle line and trust His wisdom and His timing over your own. Your faith is built one decision at a time. Keep making decisions of faith. Don’t give up! Don’t quit on Jesus! His plans for you are sure.

Faith in Christ begins with one strategic decision. It is to decide to believe that the blood of the Lamb, the blood of Jesus Christ, shed for you on Calvary’s cross, bought you forgiveness and right standing with God. It’s called salvation. It is step one. Once you make that faith decision, each subsequent faith decision builds upon that choice.

There is a battle for your soul. Satan has enslaved you to sin. Christ has come to free you once and for all. Because Moses made the choice to trust Christ, that is what Hebrews said, 2 million people were delivered. By the faith of one, many were set free. How can your faith become the catalyst for the liberation of many souls for the Kingdom of God?

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