(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
Moses is such a great figure in the Old Testament that just one Gem could not do him justice! So we will feature him in two or three Gems. This first one needs quite a bit of study because, at first glance, it does not seem to reflect accurately the Old Testament record. Here is Hebrews 11:24 through 26:
By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the re- proach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt, for he looked to the reward.
The picture above represents a dark episode in Moses’ life. This is what happened according to Exodus 2:11 through 15:
Now...when Moses was grown [when he was forty years old according to Acts 7:23]...he went out to see his brethren and looked at their burdens. And he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his brethren. So ...when he saw no one [looking], he killed the Egyp- tian and hid him in the sand.
But someone did witness the murder! The next day Moses went out again. Seeing…
...two Hebrew men fighting, and he said to the one who did the wrong, “Why are you striking your com- panion?” Then [the man]...said, “Who made you a prince and a judge over us? Do you intend to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?” (Exodus 2:13, 14).
Moses was found out! And when word got to Pharaoh, “…he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled….” (Exodus 2:15).
In Stephen’s testimony recorded in Acts 7, he gives an added detail in verse 25: “For he supposed that his brethren would have understood that God would deliver them by his hand….” So, apparently, Moses had an idea of his call as Israel’s deliverer at least forty years before God called him at the burning bush in Exodus 3! “…when…he went out to see his brethren and looked at their burdens…,” he had already in his mind identified with his fellow Israelites instead of the Egyptian royalty of his upbringing!
What does it mean when it says in Hebrews 11:25 and 26, He had opportunity to “…enjoy the passing pleasures of sin…[and] the treasures of Egypt…”? Some Bible scholars think that Moses, being the adopted grandson of Pharaoh (see Exodus 2:10; Hebrews 11:24), may have been in line to ascend to the throne of Egypt as the next Pharaoh!
There are another couple of phrases in our featured Scripture from Hebrews 11 that need our attention and an explanation. It says, Moses chose “…rather to suffer affliction with the people of God… esteeming the reproach of Christ…for he looked to the reward.” Where did all that come from? Remember back in Exodus 2:7 through 10 the story of his birth and first three months of life?
Then his sister [Miriam] said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and call a nurse for you from the Hebrew women?” And Pharaoh’s daughter said...“Go.” So [Miriam]...called the child’s mother. Then Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child...and nurse him for me....” And the child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son.
Back in Bible days, mothers nursed their children for a much longer time than in modern America. Some sources say up to twelve years of age, but a more reasonable age to wean a child is at three years. There is a passage in the Apocrypha, II Maccabees 7:27, where a mother is encouraging her youngest son to stand strong in the face of persecution:
My son, have pity on me. Remember that I carried you in my womb for nine months and nursed you for three years. I have taken care of you and looked after all your needs up to the present day.
So Jochebed had total influence over Moses for at least three years! And I imagine that Pharaoh’s daughter, who showed kindness at the beginning of Moses’ life, kindly allowed that strong connection to continue between mother and son! If that is true, what do you think Jochebed and her husband Amram would have done with that time they had with their son? They would have poured their knowledge of Jehovah God and the history of the Israelite people into young Moses! Is it any wonder he had a strong affinity for his fellow Hebrews?
But he had a poor sense of timing! It took another forty years for God to form the leader of the Exodus!
Clay feet? Yes, Moses had them, as they say, in spades! But starting at age 80, God used this man for His glory as no other!
And He can do the same for you and me!