Today’s Scripture: “By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.” (Hebrews 11:24-26)
Someone has well said that genuine faith knows how to say both “yes” as well as “no.” Faith that says “yes” to God always says “no” to the world. This is clearly seen in Moses’ life. Moses had the faith that was surrendered to God’s will for his life, but he was also determined to reject the world and all its enticing allurements. These verses in Hebrews show us how Moses’ faith was on display.
First, he refused worldly PRESTIGE.
Verse 24 says that when he became of age, he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. As the adopted son of Pharaoh’s daughter, Moses was a crowned prince of Egypt who lived in the palace of the world super-power in its day. He would have been highly educated and well-respected by all. In fact, Acts 7:22 says, “And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and deeds.” When many would have killed for the fame and fortune Moses was heir to, the writer of Hebrews says that Moses ‘refused’ it. He refused to wear the badge of worldly honor because his faith led him to seek his honor elsewhere. Moses was more concerned about his standing with God than he was with his status in Egypt. Faith is always more interested in what God knows than what man thinks. Proverbs 29:25 says, “The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.”
Simply looking on, it would seem that Moses was sacrificing everything for nothing when in truth he was sacrificing nothing for everything. In God’s kingdom, the way up is always the way down. It was Jim Elliot who said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” Faith gladly rejects the world’s accolades in pursuit of the heavenly prize.
Second, he rejected worldly PLEASURES.
Verse 25 says Moses made the choice “to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin.” Moses came to the point where he knew that God was calling him to identify with his people, to give up worldly pleasure and suffer affliction with his brethren. The choice was obedience or disobedience. The easiest choice for him to make would have been to remain in the palace. But faith always takes the road less traveled. Moses chose obedience to God over the passing pleasures of sin. Two things stand out about this phrase, ‘the passing pleasures of sin’:
- Pleasure—sin promises to bring pleasure to the heart; Satan always fishes with attractive bait
- Passing—no matter how pleasurable sin may be in the moment, its satisfaction is never lasting
The enemy of our soul loves nothing more than to entice us through the passing pleasures of sin. He distorts the truth and makes temptation appear so very attractive. Yet he doesn’t want us to realize how the pleasure of sin lasts only momentarily while its consequences are eternal. Look to the examples we find in Scripture of those who learned the hard way that the pleasure of sin is but for a moment, but the consequences and repercussions last for a lifetime. David, a man after God’s own heart, made the disobedient choice to give into temptation and experience sin’s pleasure with Bathsheba. But the decision of a moment resulted in the disaster of a lifetime. As a result of his disobedience, the sword never departed from his household. Faith looks to Christ for its ultimate pleasure. Though it may suffer temporary affliction as an outsider to the world, it leads to eternal pleasure and lasting satisfaction that the world knows nothing of. The Bible says in Psalm 16:11, “You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
Third, he renounced worldly POSSESSIONS.
Verse 26 says of Moses, “Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.” Moses wasn’t enamored with the glitter of the fool’s gold of Egypt. He saw it for what it was and knew that it was nothing compared to the reward of obedient faith. The word ‘esteeming’ refers to careful thought rather than quick decision. It means that he weighed what Egypt offered next to what God offered. Egypt offered temporary wealth; God offered eternal wealth. Egypt offered a name here; God offered a name there. Egypt offered riches that will one day fade; God offered riches that would never fade. To choose Egypt’s way would mean temporary happiness and eternal suffering; to choose God’s way would mean temporary suffering and eternal happiness. For Moses, it was a no-brainer.
Moses wanted neither pleasure nor treasure because he had something that was far
better—the reproach of Christ and the reward of faith. He had the right value system in place. The world measures wealth in terms of how much one may own by way of possessions. God’s value system is different. Moses’ faith defied the value system of Egypt. He refused Egypt’s position, rejected Egypt’s pleasures, and renounced Egypt’s possessions. He was in pursuit of something far better! May the same be true of us.