Hebrews 11:23, “By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.”
Over the past few days we have looked at how persevering faith manifests itself in that true believers die in faith. Today we will look at Moses and see how faith was manifested even in his youngest years.
To be specific, the faith commended in Hebrews 11:23 is not the faith of Moses but rather the faith of his parents. We read in verse 23 how by faith they hid their infant son because they saw that their child was beautiful and because they were not afraid of the king’s decree.
This verse summarizes the well-known story from Exodus 1:8–2:10. The Israelites, having once occupied a place of importance in Egyptian society because of Joseph, now find themselves in bondage. A new Pharaoh has come to power and, out of fear for his own household, has decreed that all male Hebrew infants are to be killed.
This cruelty made Israel’s sojourn in Egypt even harder to bear than it had been already. In order for God to be faithful to His promises, a dramatic reversal of fortunes would be required. Into this reality, baby Moses was born to Amram and Jochebed.
These two slaves could have feared the king’s edict and handed over their son. But they feared God rather than men because true, persevering faith obeys God and not the decrees of wicked men. They hid Moses despite the fact that their disobedience could have been discovered (and punished) at any time.
Moses’ parents hid him because they saw that their child was “beautiful.” The full meaning of this word in this context is a bit unclear. However, we can confidently agree with Calvin that “there was some mark, as it were, of future excellency imprinted on the child, which gave promise of something extraordinary.” Perhaps Amram and Jochebed saw that this child might be the one whom God would use to bring His promises to pass.
In a shadowy sense, Moses did bring about the promises of God in leading God’s people out of slavery in Egypt. But Moses did not bring the final and ultimate rest promised to the people of God. No, it would take another beautiful child born a millennium later in Bethlehem to do that. And that child, like Moses, would also be protected by parents who, by faith, did not fear the king’s edict but did what was necessary to save him (Matt. 2:13–23).
Do you fear the king’s edict? Are you more concerned for your own safety than with the kingdom of God? True persevering faith fears God and not the decrees of wicked rulers. Pray for believers around the world who are suffering for their fear of God and ask the Lord to help you fear Him and not the edicts of wicked men.