They couldn't keep him. He was set adrift on the river in a small, woven, waterproof basket; risking starvation, being eaten by a wild animal, or even drowning. The three-month-old baby was surrendered by his father and mother and left to the elements rather than face certain death.
Little did they know, their act of faith would change the course of world history.
How could an abandoned baby become one of the greatest leaders of all time and why should it affect your life?
Stay tuned to Beyond Today as we examine: "Moses, Faith and You."
Are you fascinated with the movie The Ten Commandments ?
Behold His mighty hand!"
Cecil B. DeMille's spectacular epic blockbuster was one of the most popular box-office movies of the time. It debuted more than 50 years ago, yet it's still shown year after year after year on US T.V. in the spring. Why?
Is it because of the all-star cast? Or is it because it's an Academy Award winning film? Or perhaps it's because of the special effects? Certainly those aspects don't hurt. But I think the fascination comes from the main character himself—not Charlton Heston, but Moses.
We're attracted to the man Moses because of the story, the action, the drama. But the biggest reason may not be that obvious—it's because of something spiritual—his faith!
Hebrews 11 is often called the faith chapter of the Bible. Did you know that Moses' example is cited more often than any other? It says there, "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him" (Hebrews 11:6, KJV).
So today, let's look at some powerful lessons of faith that we can learn from his remarkable example—the remarkable man, Moses.
Now Moses had it all—the best of everything the world had to offer. For the first 40 years of his life, the Bible tells us he was trained and educated as only an Egyptian prince could be: "in all the wisdom of the Egyptians..." (Acts 7:22). But being a part of that world was not what God had intended for him. In a way, Moses was pretending to be something that he wasn't.
What's God intended for you? Like Moses, without the truth of God, living distant from Him, we're told in Ephesians 2:12, "... You were foreigners and did not belong to God's chosen people. You had no part in the covenants, which were based on God's promises to his people, and you lived in this world without hope and without God" (Good News Translation/GNT).
Perhaps it's time to realize that we're like Moses. He came to realize that he was actually a stranger in Pharaoh's kingdom—He no longer belonged. When we begin to follow God, this world is no longer our home. We don't fit in here.
We're shown that Moses realized this in Hebrews 11:24. It says, "By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter." Now that seems to show that Moses had already made the critical decision to identify with his own people—the Hebrews.
So when he came upon an Egyptian taskmaster beating a Hebrew slave, he took things into his own hands, and killed the Egyptian, and buried his body in the sand (Exodus 2:11-12). Moses tried to defend the oppressed. Acts 7 tells us that he already thought it was the time "to let My people go." But instead of rising to power and delivering the people right then, Moses had to run for his life, away from his people, to the land of Midian. He found he couldn't do it on his own. Not by his own power. His method, his timing was all wrong. His life of privilege and luxury was over.
Now, God would begin to work with him and educate him through the seclusion of a shepherd's life. Forty years would pass before a remarkable conversation took place. Remember how God chose to speak to Moses—a burning bush that wasn't consumed by the fire. Moses would have no doubt that it was God who was speaking to him.
Now don't forget, the people in the Bible were real people like you and I. They thought a lot like we do today. At times, we need proof to believe something. So here's something crucial: what would it take for you to believe that God is speaking to you?
You see by this time, Moses is 80 years old when God demonstrates His power through a miracle. Today, some people challenge God, they challenge Him by demanding a miracle right in front of their eyes.
But you know when you really begin to think about it, we do have a miracle right before our eyes. It's the very Word of God—the Bible. Today we don't experience smoldering shrubs, it's different. Romans 10:17 tells us, "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." So you see God is speaking to you—not through a burning bush but through His fiery Word.
You don't have to wander in seclusion. You're not alone. You can grow in your relationship with God by completely trusting His Word because the Bible is the foundation of faith. You know here on Beyond Today, we focus on Scripture, on the Truth—the Word of God—so when the Bible talks, we need to hear and we need to put it into action. No wonder the apostle James wrote, "But be doers of the word, and not hearers only..." (James 1:22).
You see when God spoke to Moses through the burning bush, He expected him to listen and obey. And it's no different for us. God speaks to us through the Bible and He expects us to listen and obey in faith. Hebrews 11:1 says, "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see" (NIV).
So what are you hoping for? What was Moses hoping for? Certain? Certain of what? Certainty in this world? You know in many ways today, we are experiencing a crisis of faith all around us. Few people have much faith in government, in political leaders, our educational system or even in their own marriages.
Do you lack faith? In a moment, we'll discover how you can gain more faith, because we're all faced with the difficulties of everyday life.
Many just don't have much confidence that there'll be a better tomorrow. But it can be different for you. We've prepared this free booklet: You Can Have Living Faith . This is a study aid that can help you understand what the Bible teaches about faith—what it is and how you can have it. It is possible to have absolute trust that God's promises are true.
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It can be disheartening. It can feel destructive when it seems that God doesn't hear our prayers. It seems as if He doesn't answer or perhaps He doesn't care. But you know, you don't have to feel that way. You can overcome the enemies of faith. This free booklet will help you to grow in biblical faith.
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We're holding these free seminars so that you can have answers to these questions and gain a deeper understanding of the significance of God's Kingdom. Each seminar covers new material, so even if you've attended in the past, you won't want to miss the upcoming seminars.
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Thinking of faith, do you lack confidence? Do you long for more faith? Do you doubt in the face of a promise? You know you're not alone. Moses did too.
As you think about The Ten Commandments movie, some parts accurately match what the Bible account says. But you know other parts, they don't. Many Hollywood movies portray leaders like Moses as always having been a natural leader, an imposing figure. But you know that just wasn't the case. Movies do it because that's how we imagine our leaders. That's how we want them to act.
But you see Hollywood doesn't understand that God calls willing people and He develops them into great leaders by His power. The leaders in the Bible are not the giants we might imagine, but they're people, they're real people whom God's used in spite of their weaknesses, in spite of their failures. So despite our weaknesses, despite our failures, God can transform our lives too.
Here's an example: God wanted Moses to go back to Egypt to deliver His people from slavery. So did he immediately step out in faith? No, Moses tried to make excuses (Exodus 3). He asked God, who am I? He asked Him, what if they don't believe me?
So rather than look to the God who called him, where did Moses look? Well he looked inward. He looked to himself. His excuses were self-centered; he wasn't God-centered. It reminds me of our excuses. Many of the excuses that we use for failing to do what God commands us to do, they're the same kind. They're self-oriented. But you know we cannot look to ourself.
God's answer was to direct Moses right to His character, to His goodness, to God's leadership. God focused Moses' attention not on Moses, but on God Himself. And He did it by revealing Himself as the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and Jacob, the great "I AM."
So when Moses grasped the greatness of God, that's when things began to change! Now we begin to see the greatness of Moses is found in the greatness of the awesome God who called him. He listened to Moses' worries. He listened to his objections, but He corrected him by directing his attention to the power of God.
And we too, we don't have to be afraid of what God's asking us to do. We don't have to wander in the wilderness. Life can be different. As we seek first the Kingdom of God, as we keep His Word, and as we look forward to that Kingdom in its fullness on earth, when we look to the return of Jesus Christ, God promises to help us and to take care of us—no matter what happens.
So unlike Moses, we shouldn't avoid acting on the commands of God. We shouldn't be reluctant to obey God's lead. Remember, the key to success, the key to getting out of the slavery of your personal problems, the key to breaking free from sin is not our own greatness, not our own power, but to look to the character of God who calls us, who empowers imperfect people to do His will.
Now have you considered the connection of Moses, not just to God's power but to that concept of water? Moses always seemed to be surrounded by water in his life. You probably remember the scene from The Ten Commandments movie of that baby in the basket floating down the Nile.
God used water to save Moses. His rescue from the water is absolutely significant. How could his parents have imagined that he'd be taken in by no one less than the Pharaoh's own daughter? That's a remarkable reminder of how God intervenes for you too. Ephesians 3:20-21 says, "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory ..." (NIV).
So imagining that passage, how much can you imagine? See God can infinitely do more than even that!
So it's ironic that Pharaoh's order was to throw out the Hebrew boy babies in the Nile; and yet the name Moses means the opposite, to "draw out."
This brings us to probably the most memorable event in the story and certainly a remarkable special effect in the movie, The Ten Commandments . Finally after escaping Egypt, the Hebrews are trapped at the Red Sea. Pharaoh changes his mind and pursues them to kill them all. But God as the great Master of timing rescues His people by parting the Red Sea. They pass through safely and the armies are drowned.
This amazing miracle symbolizes even greater meaning. Remember that Moses' name means "to draw out" or the "one that draws out." So not only did God save Moses himself by drawing him out of the Nile, but God also used Moses to draw out His people from bondage. And there's more: Israel was saved from sure death by being drawn through the water of the Red Sea.
Now, that's where you come in. In John 6:44, Jesus tells us an amazing truth saying, "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day."
You see like a magnet draws and attracts and moves that steel, God draws and pulls and attracts those whom He chooses, by motivating their hearts and minds to respond to His calling.
Is God drawing you? Do you feel that godly pull? That motivation? You see like Moses, we have a call to action! Drawn to responsibility.
There is no doubt, God is drawing a drowning people out of this world which is a sea of sin. That's something that we have to act on. That's something urgent. That's something immediate. It should move you! But what should you do? What should you do to respond to God's draw?
We have some insight in 1 Thessalonians 2:12-13. It says, "We pleaded with you, encouraged you, and urged you to live your lives in a way that God would consider worthy. For He called you to share in his Kingdom and glory. Therefore, we never stop thanking God that when you received his message from us, you didn't think of our words as mere human ideas. You accepted what we said as the very word of God—which, of course, it is. And this word continues to work in you who believe" (NLT).
You can accept God's calling by learning His way; by committing yourselves to it and living it. So like Moses, you can choose to live by faith.
Now we'll be discussing much more about how you can live by faith and how you can respond to God's drawing—His calling—and more of the life of Moses and how it relates to your faith. And we'll be doing that with the BT panel in just a moment.
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We're continuing our discussion on "Moses, Faith and You." Joining me now are fellow hosts of the program, Darris McNeely and Gary Petty.
You know guys, we've been talking about faith and in Hebrews 11, the New Testament, it talks about faith over and over again. It's known as the faith chapter. And Moses is discussed quite a bit in that chapter and there's one section I thought it'd be good to talk about for a minute. It's in verse 25 in Hebrews 11. It says, "choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin."
And so when you think about Moses in those terms, he had it all! He had everything going for him and yet he gave it up. So how does that tie into faith?
[Darris] It teaches us today, as moderns, a very important lesson, Steve. Moses, it tells us in the book of Acts chapter 7, he was trained at the Pharaoh's court. He was trained in all of their knowledge. He had been raised almost as a son there and as a result of that, he had status. He had the wealth but most important of all, he had power. And he walked away from all of that. Now you think about that status, wealth and power, those are the modern idols that we have today, as part of our culture. Moses had not only those, but he also, they had some wooden, they had stone idols, the entire Egyptian mythology. But most importantly what he walked away from were the same idols that we contend with today in our society and he was willing to put that aside. And that's the first step in beginning to build faith and a relationship with God based on faith and reliance and trust on Him, is that we begin to put away our own modern idols of wealth and status and most importantly perhaps, power that we all crave in some way or fashion. When we're able to walk away from that, put it away, then we are on the first rung of the ladder of faith and a relationship with God.
[Steve] So in a sense it's changing our priorities then.
[Gary] You know, when we were off camera just a minute ago, you were talking about how Christianity doesn't equal the American dream. And there's nothing wrong with the American dream but we have to realize Christianity is about becoming Christ-like. And Moses understood that what God was offering him was greater than all the wealth of Egypt. We have to understand that what God is offering us is more than all the good things we can have in this life.
[Steve] It's really a total change in perspective then. It doesn't mean we can't earn a living and all those kinds of things, but we've got to put God first in those things.
[Darris] It's a matter of getting our priorities right.
[Steve] Got to have it right. In fact when you read a little bit farther in that same section of Hebrews, in verse 26 of Hebrews 11, it goes on and it talks about Moses, for he looked to the reward. So what was in his vision that we need to find?
[Gary] If you take Hebrews 11, that entire chapter, and all those examples are given about people who saw and waited for and lived for a different country. That's the way it puts it. They were looking for the Kingdom of God. Lived their lives for that Kingdom and had faith in what God was doing and many times had to give up a lot in order to do that, to have that—that reward.
[Steve] So when you think about this, looking to the reward, looking for what was coming, certainly freeing the people from slavery, but the point was he saw far down the way—God led him to the Promised Land. That was a physical promise that had to be part of what he was looking for, but it actually goes a lot beyond that, doesn't it?
[Darris] Oh it does. The Promised Land was a type of the Kingdom of God. It was going to be certainly for Israel a physical kingdom or a place where God would be their king, and they would be His people. And for them then that would be a physical type of the ultimate spiritual Kingdom and the literal Kingdom that He's going to bring to the earth, but they were to get a foretaste of that through that entire experience.
[Gary] What's interesting when you look at the life of Moses though, every time he had to step out on faith, it was literally a step, an action he had to take. God didn't just say, okay believe in me. He had to step out. He had to go where He told Him to go. He had to do what He wanted Him to do. When he stood before the Red Sea, he waited, God told him. He turned towards the sea, put out his hands, and the sea opened. So that' stepping out on faith, when we're headed towards the Kingdom, we're following God's purpose every day in our lives and many times it's really stepping out. It's stepping out on faith.
[Darris] And it's by that stepping out that we gain understanding. It says in that same Hebrews 11 that it was by faith they kept the Passover. And when God passed through Israel there and killed the firstborn of the Egyptians, they didn't understand why they had to put that blood on the doorpost, but they did it. And it was by doing it and then watching God's actions that they learned to obey God. They learned faith. And to step out...
[Steve] And so in a way that's no different for us then.
[Darris] That's right.
[Steve] We take that example, Moses' example points to what we've got to be doing, doesn't it? How does it apply then that I have to step out in faith?
[Gary] Well yeah. Moses isn't just a nice story to read for our children on something that happened many years ago. It is a story of people who stepped out on faith—Moses specifically. We should follow that. We should know that in order to follow God, there are times we have to step out against what seems what we should do in order to be blessed by God.
[Steve] So we really must make that step.
[Gary] That's right.
[Steve] And so it takes action.
[Darris] That's living faith.
[Steve] Living faith and putting it into practice. I think that's what we've got to make sure we're all about so that we go forward in faith just like Moses went forward to the Promised Land. We must go forward to the Kingdom.
Well, we hope you'll remember our free offers today. You Can Have Living Faith will help you find hope in God's promises. You can get a handle on doubt and uncertainly and begin to have sure confidence as you look to God in faith.
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Moses was blessed of God because he looked to God in faith to fulfill His promises.
You can have that same comfort and encouragement because you've placed your faith in God. You can trust God and in the promise of His plan for your life.
God may be drawing you out of the ways of this world. Now is the time to devote yourself to seeking the Kingdom of God. So place your faith in Him. He can achieve His purpose for your life.
Thanks for joining me today. Don't forget our free offers and be sure to tell your family and friends about us. Tune in again next week at this same time, for another edition of Beyond Today and join us in praying, "Thy Kingdom come." For Beyond Today I'm Steve Myers. Thanks for watching.