Holiness: Moses, an example

By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. (Hebrews 11:23–26, NIV)

What Moses gave up and refused 

Moses gave up three things for the sake of his soul

He refused rank and greatness

If he had been content with the position in which he found himself at the Egyptian court, he might easily have been among the first (if not the very first) in all the land of Egypt. To be somebody, to be looked up to, to raise themselves in the scale of society, to get a handle to their names – these are the very things for which many sacrifice time, and thought, and health, and life itself. But Moses would not have them as a gift. He turned his back upon them. He refused them. He gave them up!

He refused pleasure

Egypt was a land of artists, a residence of learned men, a resort of everyone who had skill, or science of any description.

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever. (1 John 2:15–17, NIV)

Pleasure is the shadow which all alike are hunting – high and low, rich and poor, old and young, one with another – each, perhaps, pretending to despise his neighbour for seeking it – each in his own way seeking it for himself – each secretly wondering that he does not find it – each firmly persuaded that somewhere or other it is to be found. This was the cup that Moses had before his lips.

He refused riches

To possess money seems to hide defects – to cover over faults – to clothe a man with virtues. People can get over much, if you are rich! But here is a man who might have been rich, and would not. He would not have Egyptian treasures. He turned his back upon them. He refused them. He gave them up!

Moses did these things 

  • deliberately – He was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians (Acts 7:22).  He knew what he was refusing
  • because he was obliged; his decision was not based in any dire earthly necessity which cause him to disregard the things of this world

What Moses chose

He chose three things for the sake of his soul

  • He chose suffering and affliction:  He openly took part with the children of Israel. They were an enslaved and persecuted people – an object of distrust, suspicion, and hatred; and anyone who befriended them was sure to taste something of the bitter cup they were daily drinking. If ever man seemed to be choosing pain, trials, poverty, want, distress, anxiety, perhaps even death, with his eyes open, Moses was that man. Moses saw the cup of suffering that was before him if he left Pharaoh’s court, and he chose it, preferred it, and took it up.
  • Moses chose the company of a despised people:  He left the society of the great and wise, among whom he had been brought up, and joined himself to the Children of Israel. He who had lived from infancy in the midst of rank, and riches, and luxury, came down from his high estate, and cast in his lot with poor men – slaves, serfs, helots, pariahs, bondservants, oppressed, destitute, afflicted, tormented – labourers in the brick-kiln. Here is a man who does far more. He not merely feels for despised Israel, but actually goes down to them, adds himself to their society, and lives with them altogether. He became one with them – their fellow, their companion in tribulation, their ally, their associate, and their friend.
  • Moses chose reproach and scorn:  There are few things more powerful than ridicule and scorn. It can do far more than open enmity and persecution. Many a man who would march up to a cannon’s mouth, or lead a forlorn hope, or storm a breach, has found it impossible to face the mockery of a few companions, and has flinched from the path of duty to avoid it. To be laughed at! To be made a joke of! To be jested and sneered at! To be reckoned weak and silly! To be thought a fool! – There is nothing grand in all this, and many, alas, cannot make up their minds to undergo it!

Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action. (Acts 7:22, NIV)

He chose to go after these things, they did not come upon him unawares

Moses was moved by  a principle:  he was faith-driven  

He did so because he believed. God set before the eyes of his mind His own will and purpose. God revealed to him that a Saviour was to be born of the stock of Israel, that mighty promises were bound up in these children of Abraham, and yet to be fulfilled, that the time for fulfilling a portion of these promises was at hand; and Moses put credit in this, and believed. God had spoken to him, and he had faith in God’s word.

  • He believed God’s promises
  • He believed that with God nothing was impossible
  • He believed God was all-wise
  • He believed God was merciful.  Faith told Moses that God was love, and would not give His people one drop of bitterness beyond what was absolutely needed.
  • Faith was like a telescope to Moses
  • Faith was an interpreter to Moses.  It made him pick out a comfortable meaning in the dark commands of God’s handwriting, while ignorant sense could see nothing in it but mystery and foolishness.
  • Faith made Moses look forward to heaven
  • Faith made him understand the consequences of sin and it pleasures
  • Faith made him understand the rewards for obedience to God
  • Faith made Moses understand that affliction and suffering were not evils, but the school of God for training in godliness
  • Faith connected him with the people of God
  • Faith made Moses look forward to Christ who would be greater than him
  • Faith made him understand that all the kings and kingdoms of this world will fall, but the kingdom of God will remain forever

The name of Pharaoh’s daughter has perished, or at any rate is extremely doubtful; the city where Pharaoh reigned is not known; the treasures in Egypt are gone. But the name of Moses is known wherever the Bible is read, and is still a standing witness:

Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord. (Proverbs 16:20, NIV)


You must choose God before the world 
  • There is a common, worldly kind of Christianity in this day, a cheap Christianity which offends nobody, and is worth nothing. You cannot be a friend of Christ and a friend of the world at the same time. You must come out from the children of this world, and be separate; you must put up with much ridicule, trouble, and opposition, or you will be lost for ever. There can be no saving faith without sacrifices and self-denial.
  • Is there any cross in your Christianity? Are there any sharp corners in your religion, anything that ever jars and comes in collision with the earthly-mindedness around you? or is all smooth and rounded-off, and comfortably fitted into custom and fashion?

“If anyone comes to Me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow Me cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:25–27, NIV)

Nothing will ever enable you to choose God before the world, except faith.
  • There must be a real heartfelt belief that God’s promises are sure and to be depended on; a real belief that what God says in the Bible is all true, and that every doctrine contrary to this is false, whatever anyone may say.
  • You must learn to believe promises better than possessions; things unseen better than things seen; things in heaven out of sight better than things on earth before your eyes; the praise of the invisible God better than the praise of visible man.
  • There must be a real abiding faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The life that you live in the flesh you must live by faith of the Son of God. There must be a settled habit of continually leaning on Jesus, looking unto Jesus, drawing out of Jesus, and using Him as the manna of your soul. You must strive to be able to say:

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. (Philippians 1:21, NIV)

The true reason why so many are worldly and ungodly is because they have no faith.
  • They do not put implicit confidence in the words that God has written and spoken, and so do not act upon them. They do not thoroughly believe hell,and so do not flee from it -nor heaven,and so do not seek it-nor the guilt of sin,and so do not turn from it – nor the holiness of God, and so do not fear Him – nor their need of Christ, and so do not trust in Him, nor love Him.
  • There are many who Sunday after Sunday repeat the Creed, and yet will live all the week as if Christ had never died, and as if there were no judgment, and no resurrection of the dead, and no life everlasting at all; their lives show plainly they know not anything as they ought to know; and the saddest part of their state is that they think they do!
  • A faith that does not influence a man’s practice is not worthy of the name. There are only two classes in the Church of Christ – those who believe and those who do not. The true Christian believes, and therefore lives as he does..
The true secret of doing great things for God is to have great faith. 
  • In walking with God, a man will go just as far as he believes, and no further. His life will always be proportioned to his faith. His peace, his patience, his courage, his seal, his works – all will be according to his faith.
    • What is prayer, but faith speaking to God?
    • What is Christian diligence, but faith at work?
    • What is Christian boldness, but faith honestly doing its duty?
    • What is holiness, but faith visible and faith incarnate?
  • Faith is the root of a real Christian’s character. Let your root be right, and your fruit will soon abound. Your spiritual prosperity will always be according to your faith. He that believes shall not only be saved, but shall never thirst – shall overcome – shall be established – shall walk firmly on the waters of this world – and shall do great works.

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