moses - a faith that feared not man's command (2)



The third aspect of the power of faith in Moses’ experience is seen to be in his forsaking of Egypt, “not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing Him who is invisible,” (Heb. 11:27). This brings us to a faith which is seen to be motivated by determination. We are told in Exodus chapter 2 that Moses feared when his smiting of the Egyptian had become known, being taunted by one of his own people (Ex 2:13,14). Moses was rejected by his brethren, causing him to flee into the wilderness for forty years, this being followed by his return when he was received by them. We read in Ex 4:31 that at that time “the people believed.” Such will be the case at the return of the antitypical Moses, even the Lord Jesus Christ. It was the fear caused by the attitude of his brethren, and Pharaoh’s threat to kill him, that caused Moses to flee to Midian as a matter of expediency. We read in Ex 2:15 that when this incident came to the ears of Pharaoh that he sought to slay Moses. It is therefore the forsaking of Egypt in the Exodus to which Heb. 11:27 refers as an act of faith on Moses’ part. The Greek from which forsook is translated has the meaning of leaving behind utterly, or abandoning. Moses’ faith in this respect is to be seen in the record of his meetings with Pharaoh, Moses’ rejection of all temporising propositions by Pharaoh, and his not being satisfied until unconditional Exodus from Egypt by all the people and their possessions was effected. Moses’ faith demanded a total separation from Egypt, and all for which it stood, knowing that it meant a turning away from Egypt, and going into the separation of the wilderness. Such has been our call from Egypt at baptism, which marked our separation from the Egyptian darkness of the world about us, involving a wilderness walk that, by our faith, and the mercy of the Father, will lead to entry into our promised rest and inheritance. As Israel was called out of Egypt, so circumstances came about that required the calling out of Egypt of the Prophet like unto Moses, which is prophetically recorded in Hos. 11 v 1 and typically in Mat 2:20.

It is significant that according to Ex 10 v 29 Moses, on his last visit to Pharaoh, said unto him, “Thou has spoken well, I will see thy face again no more.” Moses saw the face of Pharaoh no more, but by way of contrast, Paul tells us in the context of a faith that was motivated by determination, that Moses “endured, as seeing Him who is invisible.” The word endured has the meaning of being strong and steadfastly patient, and it was in such a way that Moses saw the Eternal King, causing him to have no difficulty in turning away from, and seeing again no more the face of the great monarch of the earth of that time. Jesus told Philip that “he that hath seen me hath seen the Father” (John 14:9). We are able to see the Father through Jesus as the Word made Flesh. Just as Moses saw the Eternal King, so also should He have been seen through Moses as a type of Messiah who was to come.


The fourth aspect of the power of faith in relation to Moses is that it was, “through faith he kept the Passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them.” Here we have a faith which brings forth a careful observation of that which is commanded, and an understanding of that which it is intended to teach. According to the Greek, reference to the fact that Moses kept the Passover, speaks of him as having kept it. The word in fact speaks of making or doing, and it can be seen as a reference to Moses making or instituting the Passover. The previous acts of faith have been seen to be personal to Moses, although with an eventual wider effect. Here we have an act of faith on the basis of careful observation of the Divine command which directly affected others. It required others to follow the specific details of the Passover, and participation in it in order to avoid death at the hand of the destroying angel.

According to Exodus chapter 12, verses 7 & 13, the blood of the Passover was to be sprinkled upon the two side posts and upper door post of the people’s houses, and when it was seen by the Passing Over Angel, those in the house would be saved. The passing over was an act of Divine favour. Although it was necessary for Israel to do certain things, there can be seen an emphasis on Yahweh, by condescension, coming to see them in their doing of that which they were called upon to do. Moses instituted the Passover with a view to its continuance. It looked to the sacrifice of the One who was to come, he who was to be reproached or insulted. He came, was rejected, crucified, but rose from the dead. He has become the Passover Lamb with whom we must be associated, and of whom we have to partake in the fullest spiritual sense. As Moses instituted the Passover, so Christ instituted the Memorial Feast of which it is our privilege to partake each first day of the week. Jesus’ blood of sacrifice needs to be on the door posts and lintels of our hearts, to be seen by the Father, if we are not to be destroyed as the firstborn of Egypt were destroyed. Christ is both the destroyer of the faithless, and the deliverer of the faithful. The Spirit through Paul in writing to believers at Thessalonica, and in reminding them of their turning from idols to serving “the Living and True God,” exhorted them “to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come” (1Thes 1:10). He also wrote to the believers at Rome saying, “and so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written (in Isa.59,20,21), There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob” (Rom11:26)


The fifth and final aspect of the power of Moses’ faith concerns the passing “through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned.” Hebrews 11:29 begins by saying that it was “By faith they passed through the Red sea..” Although this is seen to refer to the nation crossing the Red Sea by way of faith, it was nevertheless as a result of Moses’ faith that this was made possible. It was in fact the purpose of his calling, to bring Israel out of Egypt. It is significant that after this there is no further reference in Hebrews 11 to an act of faith until the bringing down of the walls of Jericho. The intervening period is therefore seen to be one dominated by a show of faithlessness. Even after the miraculous Exodus from Egypt, three days later the people stood on the banks of the Red Sea, lacking faith in seeing the Egyptians in pursuit, and feared, saying they would have been better off in Egypt. According to Ex 14:12 it is apparent that even when in Egypt, with the possibility of leaving, the people had suggested that they would be better off serving the Egyptians: “Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.”

The fifth act of faith on the part of Moses, therefore, speaks of faith in relation to deliverance, the deliverance that is the whole purpose of what we have been considering in relation to the faith of Moses. Moses led the people through the Red Sea on dry land, and there was a short-term return to faith on their part under the calm and steadfast leadership of Moses and Aaron. The Spirit through Paul in 1 Cor 10 :2 tells us that it was at this time that the nation was baptised unto Moses, in the cloud, and in the sea. In Isaiah Chapter 63, where there is a looking forward to a latter day redemption of an Israelitish remnant, there is also a looking back to the crossing of the Red Sea which, apart from indicating the Divine watching over Israel through Moses, and thereby inspiring the people with confidence, also sets forth the purpose of the Exodus on the basis of the Exodus which is yet to come. As a result of Israel’s rebellion God became as an enemy towards them, but nevertheless remembering “the days of old, Moses, and his people, saying, Where is he that brought them up out of the sea with the shepherd of his flock? where is he that put his holy Spirit within him? That led them by the right hand of Moses with his glorious arm, dividing the water before them, to make himself an everlasting name.” (Is 63:11,12).

The Psalmist also recorded the Divine power and purpose with His people in this respect by saying, “Thy way is in the sea, and Thy path in the great waters, and Thy footsteps are not known. Thou leddest Thy people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron” (Ps 77:19,20). The Exodus was intended to bring God’s people to their rest, and to make for Himself a glorious Name. The reality of this, however, is yet to be seen when the Prophet like unto Moses returns as a manifestation of the Shepherd of Yahweh’s flock, and when His glory is to fill the earth as the waters cover the sea. Although Israel had first lacked faith, and had to have their confidence restored by the faith of Moses and his leadership, the Egyptians by instinct charged blindly between the raised up walls of water without regard for the Divinely provided means of Israel’s salvation as if the way had been made for them also. There is, however, a Divinely provided way to salvation, based upon faith, which the Egyptians lacked, and of which they were ignorant, thereby making their way to certain destruction, which is the fate of the nations who come against Christ at his return.


In considering the matter of the power of faith in relation to Joseph and Moses, we have exhortation regarding the pattern of our call to Covenant relationship with the Father. In our being called into that relationship it has been necessary to believe in His Word and purpose regarding the things pertaining to His Kingdom and the Name of Jesus Christ; to fear not the commandment of man; to disown all worldly honour in favour of an association with the ecclesia; to suffer for Messiah’s sake, identifying ourselves with his sacrifice as the antitypical Passover Lamb; looking to the time of our deliverance and entry into the Sabbath Rest that remaineth for the people of God.

May it be that we all are moved by these things, and determined to remain faithful to the end, as was Paul’s intention in writing to the Hebrews on the basis of the faithful of all ages.

Ken Thompson