Hebrews 11. Part 31. Pandemic.
God is with you! He will carry you through these current difficulties. He has carried and helped millions of believers who went before you. One of the rewards for all who seek him is the blessing of his presence and his help.
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. By it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. . .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 11:1-3, 6 ESV).
These truths are why the letter to the Hebrews was written. God pays back, recompenses, and rewards those who diligently and earnestly search after him, pursuing him as he himself pursues us with even greater passion, conviction, and constancy than we can ever imagine.
Those who reside in Christ seek him. We believe that he exists. We believe that he rewards those who seek him.God is with you! He will carry you through these current difficulties. He has carried and helped millions of believers who went before you. One of the rewards for all who seek him is the blessing of his presence. Click To Tweet Those who reside in Christ seek him. We believe that he exists. We believe that he rewards those who seek him. Click To Tweet
The People of Old
Those who went before us lived lives of faith long before this first-century letter was written. They believed in the coming Redeemer, trusting that God would fulfill his promise. These were carried by God through terrible times.
In the midst of the horrific persecution faced by the recipients of this letter, the author reminds them that God is with them, just as he was with the believers of old. God is also with us, just as he was with them.
God supports, defends, and rewards all who believe. He is beyond all we can imagine. He is present everywhere. He never leaves nor forsakes us, in both good times and in bad. Even in the worst, most horrific, painful, and devastating times of our lives, he is with us. The same was true of them.God supports, defends, and rewards all who believe. He is beyond all we can imagine. He is present everywhere. He never leaves nor forsakes us, in both good times and in bad. Click To Tweet
The Birth of a Beautiful Baby
Pharaoh had commanded that all Hebrew baby boys be killed. The Hebrew midwives disobeyed, refusing to kill the boys at birth. Moses’ parents, Jochebed and Amram (son of Kohath, son of Levi), hid their infant son to keep him alive. If Moses had been heard by any Egyptians, who had been commanded by Pharaoh to toss the Hebrew baby boys into the Nile River, they could have killed him, joining the mass infanticide.
[For the entire horrific history in Exodus 1:1-2:10: Click here to read.]
Can we even imagine the horror of living through this situation? How did God get a pregnant and then newly delivered mother through this? How did God keep a protective yet powerless father from losing his mind?
“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 ESV).
Notice how Moses was saved. God went all out. The baby was exceedingly beautiful! The Greek word used by the author here is asteios, which means “elegant in external form, symmetrical, artistically superb.”
God, the best Artist in the universe, wove Moses together in his mother’s womb in such a way that everyone who encountered him knew that this was “no ordinary child” (Acts 7:20 NIV). He was “a fine child” (Exodus 2:2 NIV & ESV), “beautiful in God’s sight” (Acts 7:20 ESV). Imagine the most beautiful baby possible. Multiply by ten. That was Moses, the baby rock star.
God did whatever was necessary to shore up the faith of Moses’ parents as they experienced this terrifying and perilous situation. Here was a shining gem of a baby. The child’s form made them aware that God had a purpose.
Their faith in God’s purpose expelled their fear of the king’s edict, and so they hid Moses away until he was three months old. When he became noisy, they placed him into a reed boat, sealed with bitumen and pitch, and shoved the craft out into the Nile River — the site of the infanticide, the last place anyone would look. With his sister Miriam keeping watch, they entrusted their baby to God.
“Now the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, while her young women walked beside the river. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her servant woman, and she took it. When she opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the baby was crying. She took pity on him and said, ‘This is one of the Hebrews’ children.’
“Then his sister [Miriam] said to Pharaoh’s daughter, ‘Shall I go and call you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?‘ [Clever girl — “call a nurse”] And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, ‘Go.’ So the girl went and called the child’s mother [Jochebed]. And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, ‘Take this child away and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages.’ So the woman took the child and nursed him. When the child grew older, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. She named him Moses, ‘Because,’ she said, ‘I drew him out of the water'” (Exodus 2:5-10 ESV).
By the grace of God, Pharaoh’s daughter was also moved by the beautiful perfection of baby Moses. Pharaoh’s daughter had the power to kill the baby — she knew he was a Hebrew, and yet, she wanted him. That beautiful rock star baby was a miracle. Then, another miracle, young Miriam was able to arrange for Moses’ own mother to nurse him and to be paid for it.
This was above and beyond what anyone could hope and dream! Praise God! The Lord kept Moses safe. He would lead God’s people out of slavery and write the first five books of the Bible.
The Beautiful Baby Moves to the Palace
And so Jochebed nursed Moses until he went to live in the palace, perhaps between ages three and five, culturally, the typical age for weaning. All of this, every single step, would require faith in a God who sees, for they were living under the reign of a pharaoh who killed.
Stephen informs us in Acts 7 that “Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action” (Acts 7:22 NIV). Next week we’ll examine how Moses grew and changed as he learned to trust God in order to carry out the mission he had been given, a mission that would change the world and protect the lineage of the Messiah.
Even in their slavery, even in this time of death and loss, the people of God, those who believed his promises, who knew he would do what he had said…
“All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them” (Hebrews 11:13-16 NIV).
Where are your eyes? Where are mine? Are our feet headed toward a better country — a heavenly one?
In our time of loss do we believe that God will keep his promises? Is the eternal and unchanging God our rock and our focus?