To many Christians, Moses could be seen as a man of faith and even a model to be like. But, the writer of Hebrews in Heb 11 felt that it is important for us to see some other important things about Moses. Heb 11:23-27 helps us to see that Moses was a man of faith who had too much Egypt in Him and God needed to make him into a certain kind of man before he could be useful to God.
(A) Fleeing Egypt and its comfort (Exo 2:11)
Exo 2:11 shows us Moses who “had grown up”. The verses before tell us about his childhood, but here, we have a 40 year leap. Acts 7:23 tells us that Moses was 40 years old when events in Exo 2:11 took place. He “went out to his people” for a specific purpose — “looked on their burdens” (Exo 2:11). Somewhere in between verse 10 and verse 11 Moses learnt of his ancestry. Moses also probably thought about his people, and the weight his people had to endure. How do we know this? In Exo 2:11, Moses witnesses an encounter between an Egyptian and Hebrew, and he acted out of awareness of who he is. Moses saw the people as his brothers (Acts 7:23), and saw them as "one of his people" (Exo 2:11).
Here, we see a simple truth, that God’s people are always meant to be thought of as a collective. In Gen, Adam and Eve were given the mandate to be fruitful and multiply. This same blessing and command was given to each patriarch. God intended for his people to live not individually, but in families and communities. Moses also sees and thinks of himself as one of many. What about us? Do we think of God’s people in the same way? Do we identify with them beyond just our church and our country? What do we think about our Christian brothers and sisters in the world? Moses knew who he was, and he identified with his people. Do we know who we are? Perhaps many of us are used to thinking about ourselves as Christians individually, maintaining a personal relationship with God, but this passage also calls us to remember that we are part of a family. Like Moses, our hearts should ache when the rest of the community is hurting, and when God’s name is being dishonored.
The writer of Hebrews helps us also see that Moses accepts and rejects certain things (Heb 11:24-26). Moses rejected being Egyptian altogether and also the fleeting pleasures of sin. Sin gave Moses joy and satisfaction, because it brought him comfort and it was certainly good to be royalty in a great empire. But Moses gave that up. But what did he put on instead? Moses did not just put up with some minor inconvenience. He died to self and comfort and chose to live with people
with nothing. Moses rejected an identity of the world, and took on what it means to stand with God’s people. He went from a prince to a slave because he followed God.
What can we learn from here? Do we know what it means to follow Jesus, even if it leads us to difficulty and poverty? Do we know what it means to say no to dreams and comfort for the sake of Christ? Maybe it means saying no to that job because it might take you away from Christ? What does it mean for you to walk away from the fleeting pleasures of sin and yes to the reproach of His people?
(B) Fleeing Egypt and its ways (Exo 2:12-15)
In Exo 2:12 we are told that Moses killed an Egyptian who was beating a Hebrew. The way it was written was also made to drag us into the drama. Moses didn't do it accidentally, but he clearly knew that it was wrong and wanted to make sure that no one was around to witness it. Moses wanted to be his own savior.
The passage records for us 3 different reactions to Moses' actions. The Hebrews questioned his authority and full of indignation -- "who made you a prince and a judge" (Exo 2:14). Moses wielded a scary authority, the same kind that was used by Pharaoh before to kill Hebrew babies, and in doing so, he also walked the same way of power and control.
We are also told that Pharaoh “sought to kill Moses” (Exo 2:15a). The oldest Hebrew man allowed to lived had killed an Egyptian for his people. This one guy that survived is finally showing his true colors, and lived in a way that Pharaoh feared. No wonder he was indignant and mad.
In Exo 2:15, we read of Moses fleeing and he went to Midian and stayed by a well. Heb 11:27 tells us that Moses did not leave because he was afraid. He probably didn't leave confident, because he ends up sitting by a well, discouraged and disheartened. Why? Acts 7:23-29 tells us that he fled because he was rejected by his people. By this point, Moses had lost everything -- his comforts, his status and perhaps even his identity. Moses was trapped between seeing himself as an Egyptian and Hebrew. At the well too, he knew full well not only rejection but also guilt.Does this describe you today? Can you identify with his rejection. Some of us try so hard and pour out our efforts into another person, our ministry, our church but things do not play out and we feel rejected. And like Moses, God is using these things to teach us something.
(C) Fleeing Egypt to sojourn and wait (Exo 2:16-22)
As he sat by the well, he met the seven daughters of the priest of Midian (Exo 2:16). The daughters were drawing water but were being harassed by shepherds, but "Moses stood up and saved them, and watered their flock" (Exo 2:17). Moses eventually meets the priest Reuel and he gains a son-in-law (Exo 2:20-21). In detailing for us this encounter at the well, the writer was also drawing on a familiar trope in Genesis. The same God who provided for Isaac (Gen 24:10-67) and Jacob (Gen 29:1-14) is at work in Moses’ life. Just like how God provided wives for Isaac and Jacob to uphold the covenant promise made to Abraham, God also provided for Moses at his lowest point, and he made something good out of the messes of his life. These verses show us that God provides in faithfulness. Moses left Egypt and sat at the well as a man who has just messed up everything and had no family or community, but ends up finding contentment, a dwelling and bread.
As the chapter ends, we read of Moses having a son with Zipporah his wife (Exo 2:21). He names his son Gershom, "for he said, “I have been a sojourner in a foreign land.” He recognizes his status as a sojourner and one in exile. The man of God slowly ready for God to use him after some brokenness. Later on, we read of Moses being described as meek (c.f. Num 12:3). This stands in stark contrast with the brash Moses earlier in the chapter, and this was certainly only after God led him through all the events in his life. Ps 90 was also written by Moses and we really see how the man of God is finally useful when he knows his sin, the depths of his own heart, and the grace of his God.
Moses' story in these verses show us once more that God doesn't use the proud and the strong. God works His perfect plans in His perfect way. This is how God works! Years later, another person writes the words of 1 Tim 1:12-17. Paul teaches us how Christ's coming, life and death changes things. We too are waiting, but we wait for a fuller knowledge of Jesus and His grace. We need to know of our sins and the weight of it. But we also need to be firmly planted in the hope of Jesus Christ. What is God saying to you about your life today? What "fleeting pleasures of sin" do you need to flee in order to be used by God?