Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Affliction of Faith

In Hebrews 11:23 we are presented with Moses. A baby born to an obscure Jewish family who were toiling away as worker-slaves for the Egyptian Pharaoh Thutmose I, building the supply cities of Pithom and Raamses.  At that time the Israelites were not only working hard, they were procreating rapidly! Pharaoh looked at the birthrate and knew that at some point in the future, the Israelites would outnumber the Egyptians, and they would be able to revolt and overthrow the dynasty.  So Pharaoh had a solution; Every male born of the Israelites was to be tossed into the Nile and drowned. Problem solved! But something happened with Moses.  His parents, at great risk to themselves, hid Moses away from Pharaohs guards.

Apparently Moses parents knew that there was something special about Moses, and so they hid him away, and they devised a plan to where he would be placed into the Nile right where the daughter of Pharaoh took her daily bath. And through a series of incredible events, Moses was adopted by the Pharaohs daughter, and raised up as royalty. Brought up with all of the royalty of the palace, all of the riches of the royal family, put through the best schools of art and sciences, trained in the most advanced military tactics – Moses had the world at his fingertips.

But then, in one fateful day, Moses came to the defense of an Israelite being beaten by his Egyptian slave-master, and ended up killing the man.  In one moment, with one decision, Moses threw it all away.  Or did he?

You see, in this short but concise review of Moses life, here in Hebrews 11, the writer uses a curious phrase to describe Moses choices.  He uses the phrase “by faith.”  If I were writing this passage, I would have used a different phrase. “Dumb move” comes to mind. “Insane choice” would also work. From a strictly human perspective, we would say that Moses threw away a life of luxury to help a man that he had never met. 

But then there’s that phrase… “by faith.”  That phrase tells us that something else was at work here.  It tells us that Moses was not really inspired by righteous anger or a sense of standing up for the helpless.  Moses was inspired by the thing we have been talking about for weeks: Faith!  But perhaps a different shade of faith.

We have been talking about faith from the perspective of obedience, as with Able and Noah.  We have been talking about faith from the perspective of believing God for the impossible, such as Sarah, or walking into the unknown, as with Abraham.  But in the case of Moses we see faith from a different angle: Faith is walking into the known, realizing that it will not be pretty.  Here, faith is shown as making a choice that we know full well will propel us into a situation that will be difficult, perhaps even deadly. Why would someone knowingly make such a choice? 

Join us Sunday as we explore the affliction of faith.

Pastor Clay

1 comment:

Natalie U said...

Can't wait!