Choosing by Faith
Choosing By Faith (Hebrews 11:24-28)
Nothing is more important than being able to make the right choices in life. In the life of Moses we see faith crowned as the greatest aid in making the right decisions. Moses' life begins another epoch of faith. The faith of the patriarchs represented that epoch in which faith enabled patient maintenance of the unseen hope. But Moses inaugurates that epoch in which faith makes decisive choices, acts on those choices, and changes all history. Moses appears in this chapter because of the great, right choice he made. In sharing with us the choice, the writer also shares with us the secret of making a right choice, and then of carrying through on the right choice.
Faith's Choice Begins with Renunciation
The choices of faith always involved a renunciation. At a critical time when he was forty years old Moses "refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter." The original language dictates this choice was so absolute that Moses would not even allow himself to be so called in private conversation. His renunciation was complete. Ancient sources give Moses incredible stature in Egyptian society. One makes him the inventor of the alphabet. Another indicates that Egypt owed her civilization to him. Philo insists that Moses might have rationalized his choice away by thinking he could do more for the Hebrews by staying in Pharaoh's court and using his influence there. Had he done that, we would never have heard of Moses.
To decide by faith means you must make renunciations throughout life. It is to live on the basis of "things hoped for" and "things not seen." At the forks of the road, is your faith enabling you to make such hard choices?
Faith's Choice Continues with Identification
Whatever specific choice you must make by faith, one thing is certain—that choice will always identify you with the people of God. If your choice by faith—whether vocationally, economically, domestically, or educationally—does not identify you closely with God's visible people, you did not choose by faith. This is the touchstone of any choice faith makes.
Faith enables us to suffer with the people of God. Faith enabled Moses even to see the people of God in the despised Hebrew slaves. To the Egyptian court it was ludicrous to suppose that a slave people would be God's people. Once Moses by faith had seen them to be God's people, he had to identify with them or be guilty of disowning his heritage. His choice of values was clear—he could "enjoy sin for a season" in Egypt or take the consequences of identifying with God's people. Faith always identifies with God's people. Do you?
Faith enables us to bear the stigma of God's people. The choice of identity with God's people always bears a stigma when it is truly made. In some ways Moses bore "the reproach of Christ." Moses chose by anticipation to share in the sufferings of Christ. This may mean that the exodus was typical of or prefigured the greater redemption of Christ. Perhaps it means that Moses bore the same reproach at the hand of the Egyptians that Christ bore at the hands of the Jews. It certainly means that Moses endured the stigma the world always reserves for those who sacrifice a life of comfort and advancement for a life of the apparent uncertainties of faith. How can one do this? Moses did this by keeping his attention fixed on the reward in the invisible world. Remember, faith can only operate when it is certain that God is a Rewarder of those that seek Him (v. 6).
Faith enables us to live with patient courage. Moses' first attempt at bringing about an exodus failed miserably (Ex. 2). He had to flee to Midian for forty years in the "backside of the desert" (3:1, KJV). Faith gave Moses the patience to abandon his attempt to do God's work in Moses' way. At first Moses was the right man with the right mission doing it the wrong way. Faith enabled Moses to accept a life in inaction in the wilderness while waiting for God's hour to strike. Perhaps this is the hardest choice that faith must make—to wait on God when we would do otherwise.
Faith's Choice Gives a Demonstration
The celebration of Passover in Egypt (v. 28) was a great demonstration of Moses' faith. Here Moses burned his bridges behind him. To shut people inside their houses with blood on the doorposts and to wait quietly for the mighty intervention of God was the total risk of faith. If God acted, all was won. If God did not act, all was lost. The faith that renounces and the faith that identifies is also the faith that will risk everything on the intervention of God at the crucial moment.