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By Faith in Jesus is Wise

Hebrews 11:24-28

He had been born to a loving family happy to have a child. He just was born into a time period when they weren’t allowed to have a child. His family were slaves, and slaves weren’t allowed to have baby boys. Mom and dad decided they would disobey that particular rule. She hid the baby’s birth for three months. When she couldn’t hide him anymore, to not get caught, mom and dad took a basket, made it waterproof, and placed the three-month-old in it floating down the river. This river happened to be the bathing location of the princess. She saw the basket, found the baby, and took the boy to raise as her own. He went from slave family to the palace. From no rights to the benefits of royalty.

It sounds like a story out of the movies. But that was what happened to Moses. Born to a Hebrew slave mother and father, he actually grew up in the palace of the Egyptian Pharaoh, as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. And Moses knew it. He knew he was adopted. Being the grandson of the Pharaoh came with a lot of privileges. When Moses would compare his life inside the palace with the slaves outside he knew he was privileged. He wasn’t sweating or being punished for lack of effort. He didn’t face hardships. As an Egyptian, he wouldn’t ever have to know work like that. His would always be that class of people where life was carefree of many worries and difficulties most face.

Logically, he would stay where he was. It would do no good for him to change his status. Being down there with his people, working as a slave, would completely change his life. It would take away all the easiness he’d known. It would cause him pain and hardship. Plus, maybe if he stayed in his position, from inside Pharaoh’s household he might be able to actually do some good for the Hebrews. Maybe influence the Pharaoh to take it easier on them. Something. But anything would be better than being down there with them working as a slave.

Except that’s not what Moses thought. “By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time.” Moses made the choice to align himself with his own people. Any pleasures he may have known didn’t compare as favorably to being among the Hebrews in slave labor. The privilege of royalty wasn’t as good as endless hours being mistreated as a slave. That sounds backward. But that was Moses’ thinking and of course, it makes no sense. That isn’t a reasonable thought process. No one would willingly put themselves into slavery when they had every right to stay out. What could bring Moses to this choice? What could cause him to act so unreasonably, saying no to privilege and position, and yes to slavery and mistreatment?

Later in life, Moses acted with even more unreasonable actions. With every reason to be afraid of Pharaoh, since he abandoned that life and chose the life of a slave, Moses walked away from Egypt never to return. “By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible.” The slave walked away with all the others. Slaves don’t do that. They fear their masters. What could cause such an unreasonable action? Such a choice seemed foolish? What could have Moses and the Hebrews walking away unafraid?

Think about situations where we were like Moses, in a powerful or positive position. Little league coaches, captains in gym class, midlevel managers at work. In each of those we probably did the reasonable thing. We used the power, influence, and position we had for our own gain. Even a little power can go to our heads. Otherwise calm people who become coaches of little league suddenly become monsters of control over the children, yelling and getting frustrated. Captains in gym class look for the winners or their friends to pick. Look down their noses at other kids who don’t measure up. Managers of projects at work thrill in getting praise, but getting praise outweighs any thoughts of passing along accolades to other contributors. We use positions of advantage. It wouldn’t make sense otherwise. We make demands, have others cater to our needs, get them serving us. That’s reasonable. But join them? Lift others up? Serve others? Not use the power and position? Not if we can help it. Suffer along with someone who is suffering, maybe a little? Take their suffering for them, don’t think so. That doesn’t make sense. Skip enjoyment and pleasure to face a more difficult life? Why? That’s foolish. It’s crazy to think we would walk away from an opportunity to take advantage of position or enjoy pleasure.

We might think Moses was out of his mind for the choices he made. Giving up the palace and royalty for slavery. A slave walking away without fear. Anyone who thinks Moses was doing the unreasonable misses what caused him to be able to do it in the first place. These could only be done by faith. “By faith Moses, when he had grown…by faith he left Egypt…by faith he kept the Passover.” Moses didn’t know the name of Christ, but by faith, he spoke and wrote and thought of Christ. By faith he compared a life with Christ to a life without. And there was no comparison. By faith, Moses saw the one who is invisible. Saw him with eyes that could see because they were eyes trained on the promises of God. A focus on God that came from God. Moses could do the unreasonable, choose the decision that made the least sense and do it unafraid because of the faith God gave him that trusted in the promises that would be completed in Christ.

Hear the comparison Moses did, and do the same. “He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.” Understand, attaching yourself to disgrace attaches yourself to Christ. It’s unreasonable but it’s true. Because Christ faced disgrace. Add up all the sufferings Jesus faced. A world of pain around him. Death of loved ones. Rejection by religious leaders, and his followers. Knowing the mistreatment facing him. Seeing the cross, then experiencing the cross. The immense spiritual weight of the sins of the world. Unreasonable to think anyone would face this willingly. But Jesus compared all that suffering to the faces of all people, the people he came to save. It wasn’t a comparison. Even though it made no sense, Jesus allowed himself to suffer, be crucified, to die. Death was a small price to pay for people he loved. He went through suffering looking ahead to his reward. At his resurrection, he got a glorified body. In glory, he returned to heaven satisfied his payment was enough. Sins were forgiven. Jesus became servant of all to become Savior of all.

Position and rank were easy to sacrifice to save your soul. You had been rescued. The only thing left was for you to be born. To be brought into contact with the saving message. For you to hear about Jesus. And the Holy Spirit to work faith in your heart. The only thing left was for you to do the unreasonable. Believe in a Savior you can’t see, trust in a future you can’t know, and long for a far better place only promised to you. By faith, you can do all that. By faith in Jesus, you can do the unreasonable. The Scriptures present a perfection to come, no more sin, you in the presence of Jesus in heaven. By faith, you see that which is invisible. By faith you regard Christ as of more importance than anything in this world. By faith you look ahead to your reward of grace, everything God prepared for you and gives to you freely through Jesus.

And by faith, you can do what Moses did. Look at the position, power, and rank you have and leave it all behind. Sacrifice it all in order to serve others. Because by faith you believe what the Bible says. By faith you make decisions that seem foolish. By faith you carry your cross. Enduring mocking when you say what’s unpopular in class or at the office. By faith you willingly take stands on social issues, take the ridicule, and stand faithful to Christ. By faith you can get called a religious nut, a fanatic, even called old fashioned. And by faith, you can say it doesn’t matter. By faith our church body can continue to proclaim the Word of God in the face of a world that wants us to compromise. We can preserve the Word by preaching the Word. By faith, we can remain connected to Christ.

It’s unreasonable and doesn’t make sense some of the things Christians do and say. The world looks and can’t believe it. But they don’t have faith. Faith in Christ Jesus changes everything. You live daily in this world looking toward your future. You see what is invisible. You have faith in Christ that’s founded on Christ. By faith you do what’s unreasonable and doesn’t make sense, because by faith in Christ is wise.