To say Moses was important to the faith would be an understatement. At his birth he was seen as special and for his protection, he was given up for adoption. Granted, this is one of the most unique stories of a mother giving up her child. As we spoke last week about the passion and struggle that Abraham had with the binding of Isaac, Moses’ mother had the same type of dilemma. Only her problem was fundamentally about the protection of her child.
Thus, for her the only way to save her son was to give him over to the people who would be the ones to persecute him. But Moses was special and his mother knew that, so with a plan in motion she floated her son down the river so that the pharaoh’s daughter would find him and be unable to do anything but take him because of his looks.
Moses was raised by the pharaoh’s daughter through a wet-nurse who just happened to be Moses’ natural mother. Moses’ mother had a faith that was strong and she knew he would follow the right path. Moses, to his own regard, as he got older he could have chosen to stay loyal to his adoptive mother and accept all of the power and wealth that came from royalty, but he rejected it.
Scholars debate as to the specifics of why, but Moses knew there was more to the life than what the trappings of wealth and life had for him. In his time of searching he came to know God and was able to develop a faith. This faith was interesting because instead of comfort, he chose guaranteed pain and death. So the question is, why?
Today we often talk of salvation as being comfort. Even televangelists and others preach a “Prosperity Gospel” but the problem that Moses realized was that comfort and wealth did not equate to life. In fact, he did as many young people do and went searching for more, and his openness brought him to God.
Now it is clear that without Moses, life for the Israelites would have been very different. Most likely it would be non-existent for many reasons. So through the faith of Moses and this relationship he had with God, he was able to warn the Hebrew people and lead them away and into the Promised Land, all-be-it in the craziest manner possible!
But Moses knew that there was more to his faith than what was before him. Though there was not a developed understanding of life beyond this one at the time, Moses had a real connection to the fact his life was connected to something much bigger. The writer of Hebrews suggests that this is Christ and heaven.
Personally, I am always semi-skeptical about this sort of assumption. Reading Christ into the Old Testament is dubious at best since the prophecy always uses the Messiah as something being pointed to. But here it makes sense within the context of the Moses narrative and in the point that the writer of Hebrews is trying to get across. That is that Moses example of faith is something that points to something that is more than what is right in front of him. Thus, even though he did not know Christ, he believed and trusted God and knew that God would call for the salvation of all his people.
Sadly, Moses did not see this new reality. But for Moses, even though he showed disappointment for taking the long journey and not enjoying its result, his faithfulness was never about himself or what he would get from it; his faithfulness was far more than that. It was a faithfulness that saw God caring for his people and pointing them to a hopeful tomorrow.
Rev. Dr. Bryan James Franzen