What is faith? Part 7

“Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, ‘Every son that is born to the Hebrews you shall cast into the Nile, but you shall let every daughter live'” (Exodus 1:22).

“By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict” (Hebrews 11:23).

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The beauty of a new baby’s appearance gave his parents the courage to risk their lives to spare his. This is disturbing and an oblique comment on our human natures. What if he’d been a homely baby?

Moses’ parents were slaves. They were mistreated and at risk of random or unwarranted persecution or death at any moment. Unless we’ve lived under similar circumstances, we can’t really judge.

We’d like to think we’re not like them, but we are. Have you ever yelled at your children? I have. Have you lost your temper or chosen to do your own thing at the moment they needed you? I have. Have you ever been less than loving like me?

God is so merciful! He knows exactly how fragile we are.

We are often selfish and self-serving. If our lives or livelihoods are threatened, human history tells us, some parents will go over the edge and sacrifice their children. In some countries today, it’s still a common practice. These children are then victims of human trafficking or exploitation.

Stories from persecuted and impoverished parts of the world show us the frailty of human nature. We shouldn’t be judgmental or assured of our own virtue. We’re all sinners.

God understands human nature. He knows our weaknesses.

So, exactly as he did with each one of us, God wove Moses together in his mother’s womb in a way that would shape his life. God made Moses a gorgeous baby, symmetrical, artistically balanced, the most stunning baby anyone would ever see.

Because, for a beautiful baby, we might risk our lives.

A mom and dad will put their lives on the line. A daughter of Pharaoh will lift the perfect baby out of the water and take him home. But for a not-so-gorgeous baby, or perhaps a baby with a birth defect, maybe not. Do we turn away? Simply take a look at how children arrive in foster care or reasons given for abortions.

Why God loves me and you and the whole human race is a mystery!

Hunefer's Book of the Dead, detail with Thoth, Hunefer and Horus Steven Zucker via Compfight

In spite of his very human parents, the emphasis on physical beauty in the Egyptian household, and Moses’ masculine attractiveness that would have inspired Egyptian women to throw themselves at him, he became a completely different type of man.

He saw the invisible. He loved the people of God—not because they were beautiful or comely, but because they belonged to God.

“By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible” (Hebrews 11:24-27). 

This is faith: To see as God sees.

To know beyond a doubt that what we see with our eyes is not the true reality and need not determine our actions.

To fix one’s mind on the eternal benefits and joys of serving God, rather than engaging in sensual pleasures during the short season of a human life.

To seek and contemplate the reward for remaining true to Christ and suffering reproach, rather than to be content with mere earthly benefits.

To not choose to act due to fear of authorities, but because one sees the invisible God and wants him more than anything on earth.

To know in our bones and to stake our lives on the fact that drawing near to God is the most important purpose for our lives.

“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).

Lord, give us hearts and minds of faith like this!