Hebrews 11:24-26 “By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward.”
Choosing rather to suffer.
What a choice! Who is so foolish as to choose suffering? Could it be possible?
Suffering. Since the fall of man into sin, suffering has been the portion of the human race. Daily, man lives in the awareness that death is a lurking enemy. Sickness and disease frequently interrupt his long laid down plans. Accidental injuries frequently maim and disfigure. Psychological suffering can mean experiencing the scorn and ridicule of even friends. Who can begin to measure the suffering each of us has had to bear in our own lifetime. And how would one measure it–what standard would we use?
All of us know from experience what it means to suffer. God’s heavy hand has had its humbling effect on each of us.
Suffering? Yes, but surely not by choice. We do all in our power to avoid suffering at all cost. Not one of us enjoys being sick, and surely we would not choose to be sick or to face any other form of suffering.
Yet here we read of Moses “choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God.”
Moses had to make a decision. He had two choices.
As the son of Pharaoh’s daughter by adoption, the whole land of Egypt was his for the asking. Its riches were at his disposal. Thoroughly versed in the wisdom of Egypt, and mighty in words and in deeds, a high and honorable office in the government was no doubt a distinct possibility. No one in all Egypt had a future as bright as Moses.
On the other hand, he could return to the people of his parents. A people who were afflicted by cruel taskmasters and forced to work for the Egyptians. They were slaves, and suffered the oppression of slavery. They were a people who were not about to follow the lead of an Egyptian prince. When they saw Moses, they were probably envious of him and certainly suspicious of him. So much so, that when Moses takes their part, they reject him and turn against him.
That’s the choice. The pleasures, the honor, the glory of Egypt or the reproach of a despised and cruelly treated nation of slaves.
Humanly speaking, the decision was a foregone conclusion. No one in his right mind would reject the Egyptian connection. And to even consider choosing the Hebrew alternative surely bordered on insanity.
And yet, Moses does exactly this. Moses’ choice is the choice of faith. By faith he chose to suffer affliction with God’s people. Faith makes such an unseemly choice possible.
The man of faith is indeed a very strange man. He’s a man who is moved by God’s grace to make the proper choice. It doesn’t make sense. But when faith–which is a gift of God–is active, it doesn’t have to make sense. This faith values the friendship of God above all else. This faith will bring into subjection all of life to the service of Him who gives it.
The man of faith has a different value system. At the top, and of greatest importance, appears the name of our God. Second on the list is the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Thirdly, we have our fellow saints in the world. Here we have the Grand Triumvirate of the Covenant. The man of faith counts it all joy to suffer for the sake of God, his son Jesus Christ, and fellow saints.
Moses saw with eyes of faith beyond the present reproach and affliction of Israel. He was given eyes to see the glories of God’s kingdom–a kingdom far greater than that of Egypt.
The choice was the choice of faith.
Moses’ choice must be our choice today. We live in a world of luxuries. The danger is real. We can so easily be distracted by our desires for these material goods that we make unwise choices. But, like Moses, we must choose the despised way, the way of God’s kingdom. Because, like Moses, we must see that the reproach we bear as followers of Christ is far greater than the treasures we can lay up for ourselves in (modern-day) Egypt.