Very few of us here today have found ourselves in the place that we find Moses in Exodus 2:11. Quickly looking over the part of his life that the Bible details for us in the first ten verses of the chapter, we understand that to save his life, his mother floated him down the river in an infant sized ark. She put him in God’s hands and providentially, our mighty God directed the King’s daughter to that very place, and the heart of this little Egyptian princess, whose womb was probably barren, shouted with joy to see such a precious child before her.
Moses’ older sister, Miriam, watched the entire episode take place and she entered just at the proper moment, telling the new adoptive mother-princess that she knew someone who could nurse the boy. Of course it was the boy’s own mother to whom she referred.
We are, please remind yourself, talking about the great all-powerful, all-knowing God.
So, for the first forty years of his life, Moses lived in the palace as a prince. As a toddler, he might have called the king “Papa” and might have played at the foot of the throne, might have been clothed by the royal tailor, or might have been fed by the royal chef, and even might have been groomed as a possible heir to the very throne around which he played.
As a young man, he studied in the best schools. He learned philosophy and mathematics. He was raised as an Egyptian. He dressed like an Egyptian. He worshipped the dead idols of the Egyptians. He talked like an Egyptian. He walked like an Egyptian. But, he wasn’t an Egyptian, and somewhere along the way, he discovered the truth.
He was a lowly Hebrew – and should have been a mere slave instead of an Egyptian prince.
Stop for just a moment and let that sink in. Upon this discovery, his entire world flipped on its head. His world crumbled under the weight of a million question marks.
Who was he, really? What made him who he was? Was it his upbringing or was it the blood that coursed through his veins?
To complicate matters more, in the midst of all of this, he went out one day and saw and Egyptian beating a Hebrew. Unprovoked. Without cause.
And, while it may not have played out exactly like I’m going to describe, I believe that we have evidence to show that that day, it all came crashing down. We do know that in blind rage, he reacted and killed the Egyptian, hiding his body in the sand.
We know also that Hebrews 11:24 tells us, “By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.”
What we don’t know is exactly when that happened – before committing murder or after. However, looking at the similarity of the language between Exodus 2:11 (“…when Moses was grown…”) and Hebrews 11:24 (“…when he was come to years…”) we do know it was at about this time when once and for all, he looked over his life, and knew that he had a decision to make.
Prince or pauper. A simple choice, in that it was one or the other…give it all up and be who he really was (a despised Hebrew) or deny the atrocities that his adopted family continually committed by keeping his brethren in slavery, thus maintaining his place in the royal family.
The day came. Moses chose. His answer? “I’m not Pharaoh’s grandson. Don’t call me that anymore. Ever.”
In that moment, he gave up the riches of this world for the riches of heaven. He would lay down the scepter and take up the staff. He would leave the palace to herd the flocks in the pasture.
Hebrews 11:24-28 teaches us that Moses consciously made several important decisions. Let’s look at those in the time that we have left today.
First, Paul (presumably), tells us what we’ve already discussed a little that he “…refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter…” That decision set in motion others that would completely alter the last 80 years of Moses’ life. But, not to be lost in it all is the way Moses refused.
By faith. What does that mean? One thing that it doesn’t mean is that Moses had it all figured out. He didn’t have an elaborate plan. He couldn’t see the future. It wasn’t until later that he would meet God on the backside of the desert. At this point in time, he probably had more questions than answers.
But along with the questions, he had peace.
He probably knew very little, for certain. Just like the day that I trusted Christ. I knew only that I was a sinner and God was offering me forgiveness through his Son Jesus.
I didn’t want to be a sinner any longer. I didn’t want to be called “Pharaoh’s grandson.” The Bible calls that repentance and says that God demands it of all men everywhere (Acts 17:30). So, in Christ and to Christ that day, I said, “That’s not who I want to be. I don’t want to be a slave to sin any more.”
Secondly, it is important to note that before this refusal, this denouncement, Moses looked at all of his options and concluded that he would live for eternity and not simply for the present. Wiersbe describes this position by encouraging believers, “Don’t live for what the world will promise you today! Live for what God has promised you in the future!”
Verse 25-26 of Hebrews 11 say, “Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt…”
In his refusal, his moment of repentance, there existed both a choice and an estimation.
He chose temporary suffering over the temporary pleasure of sin. He knew with with God there was eternal glory and without Him there would be eternal torment. He understood the shame that he would endure for making this decision. He understood the shame which goes along with living for Jesus and esteemed it more valuable or appreciated it more than all the treasures of Egypt which were at his fingertips.
He gave it all up on purpose. He gave it all up to be a nobody.
Finally, please take in account that most of the time when we read the Exodus 2, we say that Moses, fearing for his life, ran from Pharaoh, as if he were a coward and a fugitive.
True. It says, “Now when Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to slay Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh…” But it doesn’t say how or for what reason he fled.
Some would paint Moses as a coward, but whoever it was that wrote Hebrews doesn’t agree with that assessment.
Look closely at what verse 27 says. “By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king…”
No, fear didn’t drive Moses from Egypt, faith did. Exactly like fear doesn’t drive anyone to turn from their sins, but rather faith in the Lord Jesus.
Prudence may be a better word to describe why Moses fled. Disgust could be another. But the Bible tells us that faith drove him.
If he was going to be a Hebrew, he would have to start all over. He needed to get away from the palace and the influences and his past. By faith and not fear he left Egypt behind.
Now, what about you? Are you still called Pharaoh’s grandson? Is the pleasure of sin more important to you than suffering? Have you until today been unwilling to leave Egypt and all of its treasures behind?
If that’s so, after hearing about Moses are you ready to refuse some things? To forsake some things? Jesus invites you to come and trust him, by faith.