By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions concerning the burial of his bones. 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. Hebrews 11:22-23
The writer of Hebrews is referring in today’s passage to the last of the “patriarchs” or the forefather’s of the nation of Israel. And more specifically he is referring to Joseph and Moses. We all know the stories of Joseph and Moses, but what most of us do not realize is the great amount of faith that was involved in the life stories of these two men. That is why they are both included in the faith hall of fame in Hebrews 11.
The writer of Hebrews in today’s passage refers to the very end of Joseph’s story. When Joseph has risen to become a great power in the land of Egypt because of his great faith in God, and it his great faith in God that prompts him to give these instructions as he is about to die. “Then Jospeh said to his brothers, ‘I am about to die. But God will surely come to your aid and take you up out of this land to the land he promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.’ And Joseph made the Israelites swear an oath and said, ‘God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up from this place'” (Genesis 50:24-25).
Joseph’s steadfast faith was in God’s promise that Canaan would be his people’s homeland. Therefore, he requested that his bones be taken to the land of promise. Four hundred years later, when the Israelites left Egypt to go to Canaan, they took Joseph’s bones with them. In the same way, we have the assurance that our future does not lie in this present world, but in another land, a heavenly country, where we will live forever with God and enjoy his eternal presence and blessings.
In today’s passage the writer of Hebrew’s refers to the very beginning of Moses’ story. Which goes like this:
The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, whose names were Shiphrah and Puah, “When you are helping the Hebrew women during childbirth on the delivery stool, if you see that the baby is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, let her live.” The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live. Then the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and asked them, “Why have you done this? Why have you let the boys live?” The midwives answered Pharaoh, “Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women; they are vigorous and give birth before the midwives arrive.”
So God was kind to the midwives and the people increased and became even more numerous. And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own.
Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: “Every Hebrew boy that is born you must throw into the Nile, but let every girl live.” Now a man of the tribe of Levi married a Levite woman, and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months. But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile. His sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him.
Then Pharaoh’s daughter went down to the Nile to bathe, and her attendants were walking along the riverbank. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her female slave to get it. She opened it and saw the baby. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. “This is one of the Hebrew babies,” she said. Then his sister asked Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?” “Yes, go,” she answered. So the girl went and got the baby’s mother. Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this baby and nurse him for me, and I will pay you.” So the woman took the baby and nursed him. When the child grew older, she took him to Pharaoh’s daughter and he became her son. She named him Moses, saying, “I drew him out of the water.” Exodus 1:15-2:10
Moses’ birth, rescue from death and all the events of his youth were under God’s care and direction. God planned that Moses’ would be prepared to lead Israel out of captivity, but God’s plans would not have happened if it were not for the faith of Moses’ parents. And we, today, must realize that God often works in ways we may not understand. But we can be confident that he knows what is best and will accomplish his purpose in our lives if we trust him.