Examples of Faith
Moses and the Exodus: Hebrews 11:23–31
In this study, we will continue examining examples of faith in Hebrews chapter 11, beginning with the portion that discusses the faith of Moses’ parents. Hebrews 11:23 says, “By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.” The only other time the Greek word translated as “beautiful” is used is in Acts 7:20 where Stephen says the baby Moses “was lovely [or beautiful] in the sight of God.” The parents of Moses, Amram and Yochebed, believed that this newborn son was special to God and, perhaps, even the promised deliverer of the Israelites. So, in spite of the threat of death from Pharaoh’s decree that demanded the killing of all newborn Israelite boys, these godly Hebrew slaves hid the little baby until he was too big to hide. They ended up putting him in a little ark on the Nile River where Pharaoh’s daughter found him.
Moses’ life was actually divided into three distinct parts of forty years each. The first forty years he lived as a prince of Egypt. In Acts 7:22, Stephen testified: “Moses was educated in all the learning of the Egyptians, and he was a man of power in words and deeds.”
Everything changed at the age of forty when Moses set out to deliver the Israelites from the bondage of slavery in Egypt. The writer of Hebrews, in 11:24 says, “By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.” He had all the characteristics of a perfect deliverer: He had been trained as a prince and a military man—this was too good to be true! This misjudgment is reminiscent of the time God instructed Samuel to choose a new king of Israel from among the sons of Jesse, the Bethlehemite. When Samuel saw the first-born son Eliab, he deemed the strapping young man as the perfect king. He thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before him” (1 Samuel 16:6). But God rebuked him by saying, “…man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). Instead, God chose the youngest son, David, who would be called “a man after God’s own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14). Similarly, Moses’ attempt at delivering the people in his strength as a prince of Egypt was a failure, and after killing an Egyptian for mistreating a Hebrew, he was forced to flee Egypt.
For the next forty years, Moses lived as a shepherd in Midian, preparing to shepherd the children of Israel in their departure from Egypt. The writer of Hebrews says in 11:27, “By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen.” The exodus from Egypt was accomplished through the blood of the lamb at the first Passover, when the first-born of Egypt was slain. It was the blood of the lamb that would save the Israelites from the death of the first-born, the tenth and final plague. When the Angel of Death saw the blood of the lamb on the doorpost of the Israelites’ homes, He would pass over them and the people would be saved. Once the people left Egypt, they would face one final obstacle prior to their full freedom from the enslavement in Egypt. The writer of Hebrews records the event in 11:29: “By faith they passed through the Red Sea as though they were passing through dry land; and the Egyptians, when they attempted it, were drowned.”
The last example of faith was that of a prostitute named Rahab, who by faith, believed that the Israelites would conquer Jericho, a seemingly impenetrable city, and eventually get to the Promised Land. For that faith, Rahab would be rewarded by becoming an ancestor of the Messiah.