The Faith of Moses

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, December 10, 2017 0 comments

by Logan Ames

My family was blessed with an absolutely amazing dog when I was growing up. “T.J.” was an English springer spaniel who rarely disobeyed us and was always excited to see us. We loved him like a human being and almost always took him with us when we went on trips. One such trip was to a vast wilderness area in northern Pennsylvania known as the Allegheny National Forest. My dad had been to a hunting camp there as a kid and the area is also known for its elk population, so we longed to see the area and hopefully come across some wildlife. While we were on a hike with T.J., he took off following a scent from some other animal (probably a deer or elk), and the next thing we knew was that he was gone. He stopped listening to us as he followed the scent and took off running, deep into the forest. Suddenly, we all feared the worst, that we would never see him again and some bigger animal would get to him. We did what we could do, which included a foot search and yelling his name for about an hour straight. Despite our efforts, we all knew that we had no control over this situation and were completely dependent on God to watch over T.J. and bring him back to us. If God didn’t come through, all hope would’ve been lost.

I’m happy to say that God did bring T.J. back to us. He eventually came running back to our shouting voices like it was never in doubt. Still, that ordeal was one of my earliest recollections of being in a situation where I knew even my father, who always seemingly had everything under control, was fully dependent on God. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed how seldom I, like many other Christians, am comfortable depending on God. It’s like we know how to talk about what it means to have faith, but don’t ask us to actually depend on God with no contingency plan.

After looking at the faith of Moses’ parents over the past two weeks (here and here), we now look at the faith of their son. Moses’ very birth and life had already been works of the Lord that no one could deny, but as he got older he had to learn full dependence on the Lord for himself. Certainly, he was able to reason that if God could create the whole universe out of nothing, he could be trusted above all else (Hebrews 11:3). But that reasoning didn’t come right away for Moses. He first learns of God’s call on his life through the “burning bush” encounter in Exodus 3. He was told that God was going to use him to lead his people, the Israelites, out of captivity in Egypt. Moses had been raised in Egypt and had been very close to Pharaoh and his family, so he understandably has a lot of questions, followed by a lot of excuses and complaints (Exodus 3-4). The Lord answers every single one, and Moses, now out of stall options, returns to Egypt.

A seemingly shocking incident takes place while Moses is on his way and almost ends the whole thing before it even gets started. Exodus 4:24-25 tells us that the Lord is about ready to kill Moses until his wife pulls out a knife and immediately circumcises their son. This might seem harsh coming from a loving God, but we have to understand that circumcision was the specific act that God required of all Israelite males to demonstrate their faith and trust in him. For Moses to either be uncircumcised himself or allow one of his children to go forward uncircumcised was a sin of omission. It was indicative of the guilty party not taking the commands of God seriously. And while God had big plans for Moses to lead the people out of Egypt, we must see this story as a reminder that our calling is never bigger than obeying God’s commands.

God will not accept disobedience, and as important as Moses was to the big story of God’s plan for his people, their rescue from captivity would’ve gone on without him if he didn’t choose to obey God. Moses might have thought the particular command regarding circumcision was of no real consequence so God wouldn’t really care. But God taught him that no sin can be ignored just because we don’t see the point. God was getting ready to deal with the sins of Pharaoh and all of Egypt, so how could he ignore Moses’ sins? It would be out of God’s character to do so. And this may have been the turning point for Moses. After that encounter, he meets with his brother Aaron and they go straight to Pharaoh and ask him to let their people go as the Lord commanded. No matter how insane of an idea that seemed to be, Moses had learned that God was in complete control and he wasn’t about to disobey his commands again.

Hebrews 11:24-28 lists several examples of faith from the Exodus story for which Moses was commended. First is his willingness to align himself with the captive Israelites, his true native people, when he could’ve continued to be known as Pharaoh’s grandson and received all the benefits that came with it. We are reminded that this decision meant that he would suffer with them and understood that “disgrace for the sake of Christ was of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward” (v. 26). His faith in his eternal prize allowed him to willingly give up the pleasures of sin in Egypt. Secondly, he and the Israelites left Egypt when God presented the opportunity after a series of devastating plagues rained down on the Egyptians, even though he likely knew that Pharaoh and his vast army would pursue them. Verse 27 tells us he was able to do this because he “saw him who was invisible." Pharaoh had all the worldly power, but Moses knew that it didn’t compare to the power of God who was fighting their battle for them. And thirdly, we’re told that Moses faithfully kept the Passover and the application of blood.

Considering where Moses came from when he began his journey of faith by nearly getting killed for not obeying the seemingly odd command of circumcision, the application of the blood during Passover might be the best example of his faith. In the midst of the craziness of the plagues and all the back-and-forth between Moses and Aaron, God, and Pharaoh, Moses receives what seems like absolutely ridiculous instructions. To this day, Israelites still commemorate Passover as their re-birth as a nation, but think about what it was like to be the first one to hear about the idea. In Exodus 12:1-11, Moses is given all the specific instructions regarding the Passover lamb and how it should be chosen, prepared, and eaten. That may or may not have been weird. But right in the middle of it, he is told they have to take some of the blood from the lamb and wipe it on their doorframes of their houses. Um… huh? Someone with a normal background may have been alarmed, but not Moses. He has already learned his lesson. So, from here on out, all instructions from the Lord, no matter how silly or insane they sound, will be followed without fail. Circumcise everyone? No problem, Lord. Play in the lamb’s blood and wipe it on our beloved homes? You got it! Because Moses and the people didn’t mess around and followed all of those weird instructions, they were spared during the final plague. Moses’ faith and willingness to depend fully on the Lord, even when it didn’t make sense and there was no contingency plan, led to the rescue of an entire nation from oppressive captivity. If you’ve been fighting the same battle for years and still can’t overcome what enslaves you, I encourage you to stop depending on your own strength. Trust God FULLY. He will never fail you!

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