Moses Murders and Runs
By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible says the author of Hebrews. You look at the story in Exodus 2 and are tempted to wonder where he’s getting it from.
Because we must never use Scripture to contradict Scripture, we have to look deeper and understand what exactly is going on here.
Moses doesn’t come off looking very good in Exodus. He goes out when he’s 40. He sees a Hebrew being beaten by and Egyptian, he checks that nobody is looking and kills the Egyptian. When he finds out that the deed is known, he runs away. And yet we are told that ‘by faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king.’
We have to understand that in Exodus Moses is not glorifying his faith. But his faith is nevertheless apparent to us upon further consideration. The author of Hebrews believed it is important to notice it. He identified with God’s people, after all. He did not lord it over them as an Egyptian could. We know form the comments of his father-in-law’s daughters that he looked like an Egyptian to most people. But in avenging his Hebrew brother he identified with God’s people, for all that his approach to it was wrong.
This is the great lawgiver. This is the person who received written on stone the commandment: thou shalt not murder. A murderer.
Because by the works of the law shall no man be justified, not even Moses the lawgiver. From the very start he did not keep the law, but was justified by faith, seeing God who is invisible. He was vindicated by an alien righteousness imputed to him, not by his own efforts.
And being justified by faith, he was sanctified. He started out fearing Pharaoh, but that is not held against him. That was washed away, pardoned, forgiven, another righteousness imputed so that the grace and benefits of union with Christ would amend his life as well. He learned not to fear Pharaoh, a lot more gradually than the author of Hebrews might seem to suggest, but the truth is the author of Hebrews’ operating reality.
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