"By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king's edict. By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward." Hebrews 11:23-26
Although Moses is the subject of the first sentence in Hebrews 11:23, this reference highlights the faith of his parents, so we will start there.
Open up your Bible and read Exodus 1-2:10
Though Moses may not have sensed these tensions until later in life, the atmosphere into which he was born was one of hostility. A distinct dread of the Hebrew people led the Egyptians to treat them ruthlessly as slaves and attempt the genocide of male babies. Yet a grand stage was being set for the redemption of God’s people. Though bitterness and hardship abounded, God’s promises would not be thwarted.
Reread Exodus 2:1-10 and answer the following questions:
What is the expression of Moses’ mother’s faith?
What did his parents have to lay aside in order to endure their particular lot?
By their faith, what were they bearing witness to about God?
In the immediate scene following the faith of his parents, Moses has grown up. He’s no longer that small child saved out of the waters of judgement; he’s entered adulthood. He’s no longer living in ignorance of the tension he was born into. While he sits in a palace, his own people work as slaves. While he receives the finest opportunities, his people put their head down and do the task before them. While he access to abundance, his people live with one thing on their minds: survival. Moses walks away from his adopted home and into the blazing sun, unsettled, and unsure
Open up your Bible and read Exodus 2:11-25 and answer the following questions:
Moses came upon a scene and perceived injustice. What does this tell you about the identity he is leaning into?
How does Moses respond to injustice?
When Moses approaches two Hebrews the following day, how is his response different, and what does this reveal about the choice of his identity?
How do the Hebrews respond to Moses?
At this moment, where does it seem like he belongs?
A priest of Midian takes Moses in, yet how does Moses describe himself in verse 22?
What’s happening here is vital to draw out—his inner wrestlings leading to identification with his own people, only to be rejected; his intentional choice not to return to Pharoah’s household begging for forgiveness, but to live with his convictions away from all he’d ever known. His self-identification as a sojourner signals a depth of homesickness that could not be satisfied in this world—an identity that he inherited without even knowing it.
Roughly forty years have passed since Moses left Egypt. He’s had time to reflect on his past and time to embrace his life away from his upbringing. He’s learned the quiet rhythms of a nomadic life and the hard work of shepherding. Presumably, he’s become for of the leader God intended him to be: humble, patient, unattached to status, and aware of his limited power. When God calls him to re-enter not only Egypt but also his own household to speak with his own family member—and to do so with authority—Moses understandably hesitates. The audacity of his request to Pharaoh would need God’s unshakeable power and unbendable promise, and the first person who needed to believe in them was the man in front of the burning bush.
Moses’ faith compelled him to choose mistreatment rather than sin and to consider suffering with Christ greater worth than all that the world had to offer. His faith in the reward to come empowered him with identity, purpose, and hope to conquer the allurement of the present. His conviction in things not seen gave him strength to endure the race set before him.