Print This Page Print This Page

MOSES’ LIFE OF FAITH – Hebrews 11:23-29

Posted by Pastor Greg Allen on April 13, 2016 under PM Bible Study |

PM Home Bible Study Group; April 13, 2016

Hebrews 11:23-29

Theme: This passage traces the major milestones of faith in the life of Moses.

All Scripture is taken from The New King James Version, unless otherwise indicated.

Over our past few times together, we’ve been walking our way through Hebrews 11; and the great examples of faith—found in the Old Testament heroes of faith—that the writer of Hebrews sets before us. The common phrase that introduces many of their stories is “By faith . . .” That is the great principle that the writer encourages his fellow suffering Christians to abide by—looking ahead to the assured outcome of their faith. The writer then goes on to show us how, through faith in the promises of God, those great Old Testament saints accomplished great things—a faith that was the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).

A study of the great heroes of faith would be terribly incomplete without a look at Moses. He was truly one of the greatest men in human history—a man that God raised up for one of the greatest of all acts of faith. He led his people out of slavery, past great opposition, to the place of the giving of God’s law; and then, through the wilderness for forty years, and unto the doorstep of the land that God had promised His people.

* * * * * * * * * *

In what the writer sets before us, we see lessons of faith through five specific milestones in Moses’ life . . .


A. The first great milestone was not by an act of Moses himself; but rather of his parents. The writer of Hebrews begins by telling us, “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” (v. 23). The story for this is found in Exodus 2. After telling us of the centuries that passed after the sons of Jacob began to dwell in Egypt; and of the sad story of the growing enslavement of the Jewish people; and in the context of the command of Pharaoh to slay the sons born to the people of Israel, the Book of Exodus tells us this about Moses’ birth and infancy:

And a man of the house of Levi went and took as wife a daughter of Levi. So the woman conceived and bore a son. And when she saw that he was a beautiful child, she hid him three months. But when she could no longer hide him, she took an ark of bulrushes for him, daubed it with asphalt and pitch, put the child in it, and laid it in the reeds by the river’s bank (Exodus 2:1-3).

B. How would the parents of Moses had “faith” to do such a thing? It might have been that they remembered the promise of God to Abraham at the time when God entered into a covenant with him. After sealing that covenant with an offering, God told Abraham;

Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years. And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions” (Genesis 15:13-14).

It must be that they—being of the tribe of Levi—reverenced the promise of God to Abraham and placed their faith in it. And seeing that their son was of an unusual beauty—perhaps not just a physical beauty, but of such a beauty as to indicate that the boy was a special instrument of God—they remembered the promise of God and protected their child. They were “not afraid of the king’s command” in the sense that they did not place his evil command over the will of God. As a result, they placed Moses in a basket on the river; and in the providence of God, the child was drawn from the river by the daughter of Pharaoh. By faith, then, the parents of Moses willingly disobeyed the evil order of the Pharaoh—looking ahead, past the threats of men, to the promised deliverance from God.


A. Having been drawn from the water by Pharaoh’s daughter and adopted as her son, Moses became a part of the royal family and a potential heir to the position of authority. He was, no doubt, trained in the best of schools, and given the most excellent preparation for leadership, and benefited with the greatest privileges of life that was possible. But as the writer tells us, “By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward” (vv. 24-26). The story is told to us simply in the Book of Exodus:

Now it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out to his brethren and looked at their burdens. And he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his brethren. So he looked this way and that way, and when he saw no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand (Exodus 2:11-12).

B. Moses was, for a time, placed in a position of being influenced early on by his godly parents. After all, in the providence of God, his mother became appointed by Pharaoh’s daughter to be his nurse. Perhaps he learned at an early age who he was; or perhaps at a later time it came to his understanding. But in any case, he knew that it was his brethren who were being oppressed. And no doubt, he had been taught about the promise of God that had been given to Abraham—and that the time of the deliverance of the Jewish people was at hand. As Acts 7:25 says, “For he supposed that his brethren would have understood that God would deliver them by his hand.” That decisive day came for him to choose who he would align himself with; and he chose to align himself with his suffering brethren. By faith, he rejected the temporal position and power of men, and looked instead to the promises of God to his people. Note especially that we’re told that he did this, “esteeming the reproach of Christ greater than the riches of Egypt”. Moses—to the degree that an Old Testament saint could do so—looked ahead to the promise of the Messiah (see Deuteronomy 18:15-18).


A. We’re told by the writer of Hebrews, “By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible” (v. 25). On the surface, it would seem that for a time Moses did fear. The book of Exodus tells us;

And when he went out the second day, behold, two Hebrew men were fighting, and he said to the one who did the wrong, “Why are you striking your companion?” Then he said, “Who made you a prince and a judge over us? Do you intend to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?” So Moses feared and said, “Surely this thing is known!” When Pharaoh heard of this matter, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh and dwelt in the land of Midian … (Exodus 2:13-15a).

But perhaps this should be understood in the same sense as in verse 23—that he did not ‘fear’ the wrath of Pharaoh by refusing to place that fear over the clear will of God. And perhaps, in a way, the actual expression of that fearlessness came later for him—after he had encountered God and went back to Egypt at God’s command to confront Pharaoh.

B. Because of that life-changing encounter with God on the mountain, we’re told that Moses endured, “seeing Him who is invisible”. The story is told from Exodus of how—after forty hears of separation from Pharaoh’s household—he encountered God:

Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed. Then Moses said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.” So when the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then He said, “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground” (Exodus 3:1-5).

As it says in Acts 7:35, “This Moses whom they rejected, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge?’ is the one God sent to be a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of the Angel who appeared to him in the bush.” By faith, then, Moses returned, faced the household of Pharaoh’s heir, and led his people out of bondage at the command of God.


A. The deliverance of his people involved great trials opposition and of plagues. The final plague that God brought upon Egypt was the dreadful death of all the first-born. And it’s in that context that the writer of Hebrews says this about Moses: “By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, lest he who destroyed the firstborn should touch them” (v. 28). The story of that Passover is told to us in Exodus 12. God told Moses to command the people to observe the Passover meal, and to paint the blood of the Passover lamb upon the doorposts of their homes:

“‘For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord. Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance’” (Exodus 12:12-14).

B. What an act of faith this must have involved! It required that they trust the promise of God, and remain indoors—behind those blood-covered doorposts—until the judgment of God passed over them. It was the blood that protected them; and this forever gives us a picture of the sacrifice of Jesus for us. Paul wrote;

Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth (1 Corinthians 5:7-8).

Note the word “them” at the end of verse 28. Not only did Moses “by faith” keep the Passover; but his faith influenced the Jewish people to do the same.


A. The greatest of Moses’ great acts of faith, without question, was that of going through the Red Sea at God’s command. The writer tells us; “By faith they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land, whereas the Egyptians, attempting to do so, were drowned” (v. 29). It required moving forward at the command of God, when no human help seemed possible, into what it seemed no human being could go. As Moses and the people stood at the banks of the Red Sea—with the Egyptian army pressing in behind them—Exodus tells us;

And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace” (Exodus 14:13-14).

God then told Moses;

“But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. And the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea. And I indeed will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them. So I will gain honor over Pharaoh and over all his army, his chariots, and his horsemen. Then the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gained honor for Myself over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen” (vv. 16-18).

And that is what Moses did. We’re told;

Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea into dry land, and the waters were divided. So the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea on the dry ground, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left (vv. 21-22).

B. But not only did God deliver His people, but He also punished the Egyptians. What a sobering thing it must have been to know that, when he stretched out his hand over the sea again, it would mean the death of the Egyptian army. What an act of faith that must have taken! We’re told;

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea, that the waters may come back upon the Egyptians, on their chariots, and on their horsemen.” And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and when the morning appeared, the sea returned to its full depth, while the Egyptians were fleeing into it. So the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. Then the waters returned and covered the chariots, the horsemen, and all the army of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them. Not so much as one of them remained. But the children of Israel had walked on dry land in the midst of the sea, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.

So the Lord saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. Thus Israel saw the great work which the Lord had done in Egypt; so the people feared the Lord, and believed the Lord and His servant Moses (vv. 26-31).

* * * * * * * * * *

All of this, remember, was done “by faith”. As that last couple of verses stress to us, it was not Moses who made any of this happen. It was done by the hand of the Lord. Moses was simply God’s instrument “by faith”. Moses is an example to us of what happens when faith looks ahead to the promises of God, and sees what is not seen by the eye as if it was as sure as having already happened.

May God teach us to have the mighty faith of Moses—a faith in the sure promises of the God of Moses!

  • Share/Bookmark
Site based on the Ministry Theme by eGrace Creative.