Charles Blondin was the French tightrope daredevil in the late 1800s who was the first to tightrope across the Niagara Falls. He made that treacherous trip 17 times in his life. He crossed Niagara Falls on a tightrope extended over 1000 feet at a height of 167 feet above the deadly falls. Each time he crossed, he was more dramatic. He crossed blindfolded, on stilts, pushing a wheelbarrow, and one time he stopped half way across cooked an omelet on a portable stove and then ate it.
On Sept 15th, 1860, Blondin performed his most amazing feat. Before he walked across the three inch manila rope, he asked the crowd of over 10,000 people, “Do you believe I can carry a person on my back across the rope?” The crowd shouted back, “Yes we believe you can!” Then Charles responded, “Who will volunteer?” And the crowd grew very, very silent.
Blondin pointed to a man in the crowd and said, “How about you?” The man replied, “Hardly, you don’t think I am going to risk my life do you?” The man turned, walked away and disappeared in the crowd. Charles pointed to another man, “How about you?” And that one man stepped out of the crowd and said, “I believe, in fact, I have no doubt at all.” Charles said, “Will you trust me?” The man replied, “I will!” The man climbed on Blondin’s back and the two proceeded across the rope.
Children wrapped their arms around their mothers’ legs; women peeked from behind their parasols and several fainthearted passed out. When the two reached the other side the crowd erupted in cheers and applause. The man on Blondin’s back was Harry Colcord, Blondin’s manager. Colcord knew how expert Blondin was and fully trusted him with his life.
Blondin asked his spectator crowd a very important question that you and I need to hear and answer: “Do you believe?” Did they believe when they enthusiastically shouted, “Yes we believe”? No! Only one out of over 10,000 believed when he separated himself from the unbelieving onlookers and actually acted and climbed on Blondin’s back.
Faith is not saying with great emotion, “I believe.” James says, “The demons also believe and tremble.” Faith is acting on what God’s Word says. James asks, “What does it profit, my brothers, though a man say he has faith, and have not works? Can that kind of faith save? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, ‘Depart in peace, be you warmed and filled’; notwithstanding you give them not those things which are needful to the body; what does it profit?” True Bible faith does not stand around with his hands in his pockets. Faith acts, gives, and volunteers.
Moses by faith acted on God’s Word. Thankfully Moses had parents who had faith in God. Faith is a family affair in Hebrews 11.
Enoch started walking with God after his baby boy was born in Hebrew 11:5-6. Noah won his family to the Lord in Hebrews 11:7. Jacob, as a grandparent, blessed his grandsons in Hebrews 11:21. Now we read about the sway of Moses’ parents had on him in Hebrews 11:23.
Moses’ life is divided up into three 40-year periods. Stephen in Acts 7, refers to all three of these stages in Moses’ life. These are actually three phases in the growth of Moses’ faith.
1. The first 40 years in Egypt were years of Preparation.
2. The next 40 years on the backside of a desert were years of Humiliation.
3. The last 40 years were back in Egypt leading Israel out of Egypt and were years of Moses’ Completion of God’s task.
I. The Years of Preparation (Hebrews 11:23-26)
A. The Parent’s Faith in Preparation
1. Moses first prepared in the School of Faith (Hebrews 11:23) (Stephen fills in some details)
Christian parents know God’s Word (Acts 7:17-19).
The parents of Moses knew according to Genesis 15:13, the 400 years of bondage in Egypt were almost up (Acts 7:6). The Pharaoh who knew not Joseph saw Israel’s growing population as a threat to national security and proposed a way to reduce their numbers. Kill the babies. It was in this genocide that Moses was born. In the Exodus account, only the mother is emphasize showing the great influence a godly, believing mother can exert on her children. Augustine writes about the Christian influence of his Christian mother, Monica. The Wesley brothers had Susanna. If you have a godly mother you need to thank God and her.
Christian parents see the potential in their children (Acts 7:20a).
Moses was beautiful to God. They had faith to see the potential in him. They by faith saw the mighty oak in the little acorn.
Christian parents train their children for God (Acts 7:20b-21) at home.
Moses’ parents disobeyed man in order to obey God. Pharaoh wanted all boys thrown in the sacred Nile to be eaten by the sacred crocodiles as an act of pagan worship to appease the gods. Then they made a paper ship and placed Moses in it near where Pharaoh’s daughter bathed each day so she could find him.
Older sister was there with her memorized lines. Billy Sunday said just as soon as Pharaoh’s daughter saw baby Moses that an angel gently pinched him so his whimpers would touch the heart of Pharaoh’s daughter. In the providence of God, Moses was trained by his believing mother. Moses never departed from what he learned at home at his godly mother’s knee.
2. Moses was next prepared at the Secular University (7:22).
Moses was very likely being groomed to be the next Pharaoh. Pharaoh’s daughter, Hatsheput became Pharaoh for twenty years. Moses was trained at what has been called the Harvard of Ancient Egypt in chemistry (their knowledge about mummification still astounds us), math (their expertise in building the pyramids is still a wonder of the ancient world), history, leadership, legislation, and the military. In His providence, God used this secular education. Moses as a historian wrote the history of Israel in the first five books. As a statesman, he led 3 million Jews. As a legislator, he wrote the 613 laws of Israel’s constitution. As a general, he led Israel against enemy nations like the Amalikes.
Someone said, “Behind most men of faith there are parents of faith.”
B. The Child’s Faith in Preparation (Acts 7:23; Hebrews 11:24-26)
1. Moses refusal of faith (Hebrews 11:24-25)
Moses refused this important position of being possibly the next pharaoh (Hebrews 11:24) .The corporation you work for may offer the corner office on the top floor with a six-figure salary, but if it means sacrificing your family and involvement in your local church it is not worth it. Moses refused the wealth (Hebrews 11:25-26). The pleasures of sin in verse 25 are the treasures of Egypt in verse 26. Kent Hughes said the pleasures of sin are like a Chinese meal, no matter how much you eat, you are still hungry two hours later. Egypt was the wealthiest nation on earth. The gold plated tomb of King Tut discovered later revealed this. Jewish legend, according to Alexander McClaren, tells us of the very crown that was intended to be place on his Moses’ head. For this refusal of wealth to serve God, expect reproach.
2. Moses was reproached for his faith (Hebrews 11:26)
The same reproach Christ would receive from the religious but lost nation of Israel, Moses would suffer from the nation of Egypt. Dave Ramsey teaches to get out of debt you have to live like nobody lives so you can live like nobody lives. But you can also expect reproach when you are living off of beans and rice and rice and beans to get out of debt.
3. Moses could give up the vast treasures of Egypt because “he had respect unto the recompense of the reward” in eternity future.
Jesus instructed us how we can also allow the future to transform our living now to living for eternity: “Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust does corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal” (Matthew 6:20).
Faith focuses on investing for the future i.e., eternity by sending our treasures on ahead. You can’t take it with you but you can send it on ahead when we invest our earthly treasures in God’s work.