On Faith is a series of “Talk Times” on Hebrews 11 I am giving every Thursday at our church’s After School program. The primary audience is Middle and High School Students. This week’s passage was on Hebrews 11:23-38.
I want to live a life without fear.
When I was in High School and Middle School I feared a lot of things. I feared being lonely, being left out. I feared failure. I feared those around me I saw as being popular and powerful. I feared death. More specifically, I feared what would happen to me after I died.
Moses, the man of faith, learned how to live a life without fear.
The story in starts with Moses’ parents.
Moses’ parents did NOT FEAR unjust authority. Pharaoh, fearing what a large Hebrew population meant to the Egyptians, issued a command to throw every newborn boy into Nile. Moses’ parents rebelled against this unjust command and hid Moses. When they couldn’t hide him any longer his mother “got a papyrus basket for him… placed the him in at and put it among the reeds along the banks of the Nile.” Pharaoh’s daughter found him and raised him as her own.
Moses LEARNED to NOT FEAR disgrace: After Moses grew up he saw one of his fellow Israelites being mistreated. He came to his brother’s aid and killed the Egyptian who was attacking him. At this pivotal point in his life he began identifying with the people of God.
He still had to learn how to overcome fear. The next day he tried to interrupt an argument between two Israelites. In doing so, he learned that his own “crime” was already known. The text says “then Moses was afraid and thought, ‘What I did must have become known.’” He left Egypt to flee from Pharaoh’s wrath.
He fled to Midian where he met a wife, had children, and lived for many years in peace, that is, until the burning bush experience. God spoke to Moses out of the burning bush and told him to return to Egypt, to Pharaoh, to call for the release of the Israelite slaves. Moses, unsurprisingly, had a few objections. But the command of God was too much and Moses eventually did return to Egypt to face an angry and powerful ruler.
Moses, if he had not identified with his fellow Israelite, could have lived in peace and prosperity in the court of the Pharaoh. But, as Hebrews says, “He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as a greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.”
Moses LEARNED to NOT FEAR unjust authority. Moses learned boldness before Pharaoh. Hebrews says “he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger…” This I take to mean the second time he left Egypt – victorious.
Moses LEARNED to FEAR God so that he did not have to FEAR DEATH. The final plague to strike Egypt was the plague on all the firstborn males. God provided a way out – the Passover – marking the doorposts of the house with the blood of a lamb. Those who responded were saved and it was this event that eventually led to Israel’s release. Moses led Israel with a “holy fear” and it was this holy fear that led to the obedience which gave the Israelites a way to escape the destroying angel.
So how can we, like Moses, learn to live a life free from fear?
Faith in God’s plan: Moses’ parents hid Moses because they “saw he was no ordinary child,” that is, they saw that God had a plan for his life. (11:23)
Faith in the future reward: “(Moses) regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.” (11:26)
Faith in the unseen God: “Moses persevered because he saw him who is invisible.” (11:27). As we have already seen, at the heart of faith is being sure of what we do not see. We are tempted to view the “unseen” as less real but Hebrews views the unseen as the source and cause of all that we experience in the physical universe. We trust, then, in our uncreated and unseen Creator.
Faith in the one who has conquered death: Just as the Passover lamb allowed the Israelites to escape death and be freed from slavery so Jesus, the perfect and ultimate sacrifice, suffered death (and the conquered it!) so that we could be freed him who holds the power of death – and thus be freed from the fear of death. “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death” (Hebrews 2:14-15).