Over the past two weeks, we have observed the remarkable choice Moses made. On the one hand, he rejected the rank and privilege afforded him in his position as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter and refused to yield to the many pleasures that such a sinful life promised. On the other hand, he chose to be identified with God’s people, a people who were despised, enslaved, and grievously mistreated by their Egyptian oppressors. The contrast between the two ways of life could not have been more stark. What could convince a man to make such a choice against his own best temporal interests is explained in today’s text: “Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches that the treasure of Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward” (Heb. 11:26).
Reproach of Christ . . . treasures in Egypt. Reproach of Christ . . . treasures in Egypt. Which should Moses choose? He chose the reproach of Christ. Some might be tempted to wonder if Moses might have been deluded, deceived, or completely mad to have made such a choice. After all, much of modern Christendom promises health, wealth, popularity, and great success by every measurable standard as the rightful heritage of the children of God. But it is those individuals who are deluded. Moses was under no such delusion. He saw a choice between what was good to the flesh and what was right in the eyes of God and chose the latter as being the “greater riches.”
Why? Moses believed God. God’s Word was more real and certain to him than were the Egyptian gold and silver that he held in his hands. How fully he knew and understood the Messianic promises is uncertain, but that He identified with God’s will, His way, and His promise is certain. That God had promised to use Moses to deliver His people from slavery in Egypt and to lead them to the Land ruled by the Messiah, was sufficient reason for Moses to turn his back on Pharaoh and Egypt and align himself with those whom Pharaoh enslaved and oppressed.
In this verse, we have a glimpse of the heinousness of what otherwise might seem to the flesh to be harmless foibles. At its best, sin disesteems God. Putting it in the best light, to sin is to call God a liar. We sin because sin provides us some momentary relief or pleasure as if to say that God cannot or will not bless us as He has promised, or that His way is not as good as the way of our choosing.
Choosing God’s way, even when it is manifestly more troublesome or painful than our own way, affirms that we respect the sovereignty of God, that we submit to Him as our Savior and Lord, that we understand that He knows what is best and does what is right, and that we know that His promise to bless the believing and obedient is true and certain.
You see, there are many people who can lead others; there are many people who might be able to perform the occasional miracle under divine guidance (who wouldn’t be willing to do that?). But Moses was that rare man whom God could trust because He knew that Moses believed and valued God’s will and promises to such an extent that he would deny himself for the sake of God’s way and promised blessing.
Salvation is exclusively by grace. But as Griffith Thomas observes concerning this verse: “there is a reward of grace according to works.” Moses’ faith and obedience procured a “reward of grace,” not only to himself, but to millions of his people. What do you esteem and respect?
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