The Faith Of Parents

Posted on: April 14th, 2024

The eleventh chapter of Hebrews has many lessons for us, and surely among them is that God finds people of faith in places where we wouldn’t look. We see an instance of this in Hebrews 11:23. Here, the writer refers to a familiar story, the story of the birth of Moses. Typically, our children learn that Moses’ parents hid him and eventually put him in the basket in the bulrushes before they turn five.

However, the Hebrews writer adds a spiritual dimension to this account. He notes that the parents of Moses acted as they did out of faith. They spared their son because they saw that he was beautiful and they did not fear the king’s edict.

This is an awfully bold stance for a couple of slaves to take! Typically, slaves fear the edicts of kings greatly, especially when they already know that the king has no love for them or for their people. It doesn’t seem like the beauty of a baby should weigh heavily in the balance against royal wrath.

To understand this, we must start with Genesis 9:5-7. This snippet contains a pair of theological opposites. On the one hand, people were not to shed the blood of other people, and God would require their blood if they did. Instead, they were supposed to be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth. God wants humans to seek life, not death.

The parents of Moses can’t have known very much about God, but this is one of the few things that they could have known, and it offers the best explanation for their conduct. Their child was beautiful to them, and in part he was beautiful as an expression of the divine will for humankind. They did right in having children, regardless of what the law said.

Similarly, they did not fear the king’s edict because the king was not the highest authority in their lives. His tyranny could and would be checked by God, and ultimately, God’s will would stand, not his. Even slaves don’t have to fear the king if they have God on their side!

In the moment, this is only obvious to the eyes of faith, but it becomes clearer in history. Throughout the Bible and throughout the millennia that have passed since its writing, powerful forces often have arrayed themselves against the righteous. In the end, though, earthly powers are cast down, and the word of God continues along with those who follow it.

Today, parents and prospective parents have many reasons to fear. The days seem to be growing more evil, Opponents of Christianity are getting more vocal and more influential all the time, and overt persecution may be on the horizon. It’s easy to despair of raising godly children or even having children at all.

Nonetheless, we must be fearless. We must do what is necessary to train our children in the ways of the Lord, regardless of what opposition we face. The parents of Moses had no idea that one day their son would bring Pharaoh to his knees, and we have no idea what the future holds either. However, this much is certain: When the people of God trust Him, no power in heaven, on earth, or in hell can overcome them.

M. W. Bassford