Moses or The Life of Faith
“By faith, Moses, when he had come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.”—Hebrews 11:24
The story of the hiding of Moses by his parents in the bulrushes is very familiar. How he was discovered by the daughter of Pharaoh and taken to the palace; how his own mother was chosen to nurse the child; how he was reared in the luxury of the king’s home, educated according to the best method of his day; how he became very prominent both in his wisdom and in his leadership of the armies of Egypt.
There came a day, however, when Moses stood at the parting of the ways. He knew that he was, in reality, a son of Israel and the groaning of his people weighed heavily upon his heart. Could he go on as the acknowledged son of Pharaoh’s daughter, living in ease and comfort, and protected from every ill, while his own people were being trodden down under the iron heel of oppression?
The Word of God gives Moses’ decision: “He refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.”
It may not always be easy to say “No.” And yet Christ definitely said: “Whosoever will save his life shall lose it, and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it.” In order to follow Christ fully, one must “Deny himself, and take up his cross,” and follow Christ.
My mother has often told me how, when I was a little fellow my father took me in his arms, and walking back and forth over the floor he sang:
“You’re starting, my boy, on life’s journey
Along the great highway of life.
You’ll meet with a thousand temptations,
Each city with evil is rife;
The world is a stage of excitement,
There’s danger wherever you go,
But if you are tempted, in weakness.
Have courage, my boy, to say ‘No.’”
We should live with an eternal “no” to sin and self and Satan, and with one eternal “yes” to God.
A college boy was hearing strongly the call of God to leave all and follow the Lord Jesus. A Christian was pressing upon him the need of immediate decision. The young man weighing carefully the tremendous pull that the world had upon him, finally turned to the Christian and said, “my dear sir, I’m not man enough.”
But Moses was man enough. It was when he had come to years that he said “no” to Egypt, and in more than one sense he was every inch a man.
It is said that “Bob” Taylor, when he was first elected to legislature of his state, went to Nashville with a large mortgage hanging over the farm where his widowed mother lived. A certain matter was before the legislature and “Bob” Taylor received a letter enclosing a check for one thousand dollars, with the simple words, “We expect you to vote ‘no’ tomorrow.”
The battle was a hard one. The thousand dollars would go far toward lifting the mortgage; the widowed mother would be relieved—all, for simply voting “no” when, otherwise he would have voted “yes.”
“Bob” Taylor sat in his seat in the legislature; the roll was being called; his decision must soon be made. Finally, his name was called. “Bob” Taylor tore the letter from his pocket and throwing it and the enclosed check toward the speaker’s desk, he cried, “I vote ‘yes.’”
That night, with a sense of duty done and a conscience at ease, he slept in his room at a rather cheap boarding house. Suddenly he was awakened by a big crowd surging the street below his window. They were calling his name. Hurriedly dressing, he stepped forth on the veranda, and the crowd shouted: “Three cheers for the man who wouldn’t sell his vote.”
May God grant to each young man and woman the power to say “no” to sin, and “yes” to God.
“Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.”—Hebrews 11:25
This verse clearly reveals what Moses had before him. The balance[s] were before him. He carefully weighed his decision. On one side he placed “affliction with the children of God;” on the other side he placed “the pleasure of sin for a season;” then he chose the former.
Let no one imagine that this was an easy matter for Moses—a mere bagatelle. The pleasures of sin were just as sweet in that day as they are in this; if anything, the sufferings would be more severe. Yet Moses, matured and thoughtful, chose the lonely place of suffering. He took his stand with the children of God.
How many are there today who are halting between two opinions? We are saved by receiving Christ, but there are many things which must be given up to follow Christ; there is also much to be gained.
We once heard F.B. Meyer tell of an incident at Keswick. A number of ministers, as they sat together, were discussing what they had given up to follow Christ. Mr. Meyer said that it came his turn. He rather enlarged upon the price he had paid to go all the way with God. Near to Mr. Meyer sat an aged minister. When his turn came to speak, he said: “My brethren, I have long since forgotten what it cost me to follow the Lord fully. I am lost in the joy of the riches of His grace. It is not what I gave up, it is what I have received that fills my soul with gladness.”
On one occasion Joshua stood before the people and said: “Choose ye this day whom ye will serve; whether the God which your fathers served, that were on the other side of the flood; or, the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell; but as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.”
Each one of you must decide this great question. You must choose between the world and God. “No man can serve two masters.”
“Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than all the treasures of Egypt.”—Hebrews 11:26.
This gives us further light as to why Moses “refused,” and as to why he “chose.” We begin to understand the reason for his decision. It was the result of an “accounting.” Let us try to see what Moses saw: let us endeavor to go back to the days of the Pharaohs, and look at things that Moses must have seen.
He saw the “treasures in Egypt.” We must not think of Egypt as it is today. No one now would think of it as a country worth the while. A native prince has not sat upon the Egyptian throne for many centuries. It is an impoverished country; an almost forsaken land.
But Egypt, in the days of Moses, was the granary of the world. It was a land of large cities; cities which surpassed in splendor and wealth the other cities of the world. Egypt was the land of temples; its catacombs and it pyramids were the marvels of the Earth. It had tremendous libraries and well-manned schools.
All of this Moses weighed in his decision. These things were his. He was one of Egypt’s greatest men. Skilled in all their wisdom, a leader in her armies, and very near the throne.
The Reproach of Christ
The children of Israel had come down to Egypt in the days of Joseph, under the invitation of Pharaoh, the king who preceded the Pharaoh whom Moses knew. During the life of the earlier Pharaoh, they had greatly prospered. After Pharaoh’s death, however, when the children of Israel began to multiply, and when they were exerting more and more influence among the Egyptians, the new king became alarmed. He was afraid that they would become so strong that they would menace the security of the throne itself.
An era of terrific persecution followed. A persecution that waged hotter and hotter as the days went by. It was during this persecution that Moses was born. Because of the order that all the male children born to the Israelites, should be killed, when Moses was born he was hid three months of his parents.
When Moses had reached his fortieth year, he saw the reproach of his people and heard their cry. He carefully counted the cost and fully determined to take his place by their side, seeking to deliver them.
From the palace of the king to the reproaches of Christ was quite a step, and yet he gladly made the sacrifice.
The story is told of how Richard Fuller, a brilliant young lawyer, living at Beaufort, South Carolina, dropped into a series of special revival services. As the minister preached upon the Cross, young Fuller was deeply moved. Finally when the invitation was given, Fuller startled the audience by walking to the front and grasping the hand of the preacher and receiving Jesus Christ as his Saviour.
A few days later the people of Beaufort were more startled than ever. Richard Fuller announced before the whole audience that he had locked the door of his office and stepped forth forever, determining to give his life to God as a minister of the Gospel.
Senator William C. Preston heard of Fuller’s decision and came down to Beaufort to dissuade him. The senator told the young lawyer of the many political plums which would surely be his if he stuck to his office and of the promised splendor of his career as a lawyer.
In response Fuller said that he had seen the agonies of the Cross, and had fully realized that he was living for the things henceforth to the service of the Lord. Richard Fuller became one of the greatest preachers of his day and his life proved a blessing unto many thousands.
Saul of Tarsus was a young man, held in highest esteem among the Pharisees; taught at the feet of Gamaliel; of the stock of Israel; of the tribe of Benjamin; an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the Law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal persecuting the Church; touching the righteousness, which is in the Law, blameless.
But Saul, when he had come to years, refused all this. He accounted it all but loss for Christ. He cast it forth as garbage.
And what did Paul have in mind when he gave up his wonderful career and the prestige and promise of great earthly glory? He gave it up that he might win Christ, and know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His suffering being made conformable unto His death; that he might attain unto the prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus.
Let those who think and who can weigh values, decide for themselves what they will do. What is their accounting? It is God or mammon, which?
“For he had respect (Greek, “was looking”) unto the recompense of the reward.”—Hebrews 11:26.
Moses “refused,” and “chose,” and “esteemed” because he was “looking” far ahead. It was not only the suffering that Moses saw; he saw the glory of another day. He looked beyond the Earth and its sufferings, into Heaven and its rewards.
Someone might argue that a bird in the hand is worth more than two in the bush, but that depends. If the two in the bush are a certainty, why not let go the one in hand?
Who is there who wouldn’t drop the treasures of Egypt for the treasures of God?
Is it better to set one’s affections upon the things which are beneath the Earth or upon the things which are above? Is it better to lay up treasures on Earth, or to lay them up in Heaven? Is it better to look at the things which are seen, or at the things which are not seen?
The great need of the day is a vision of the things to come. We need to have before us the realities of the Second Coming of Christ, the certainties of the glories that await us.
Moses saw the recompense of the reward. The Second Coming of Christ brings that reward. “Behold, I come quickly and My reward is with Me to give to every man as his work shall be.”
Christ endured the Cross, despising the shame, because of the joy that was set before Him. Moses suffered the reproach of Christ for the joy that was set before him.
The Holy Spirit teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts and to live soberly, righteously and godly, looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing. That is what Moses did.
Satan would blind our eyes to the Gospel of the glory of Christ. He would hide from us a vision of coming things and disclaim “the recompense of the reward.” But let us have enlightened eyes.
“By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king.”—Hebrews 11:27
The word “forsook” brings before us the putting into practice of the decision of the mind. Moses “refused,” and Moses “chose,” and Moses “accounted,” and Moses “was looking”—all of this was the action of the mind and of the will. It would have amounted to nothing had he not acted upon his decisions.
Moses practiced in his life what he purposed in his heart. Moses forsook Egypt—this is the final test. The prodigal son said in his mind: “I will arise and go to my father.” Then he put into practice his promise and “he arose and came to his father.” God has called us to a life of separation from the world. We must forsake Egypt. We must go outside the camp and bear His reproach.
“For he endured, as seeing Him Who is invisible.”—Hebrews 11:27
There never came a time in the life of Moses when he regretted his decision. He made his decision and then pressed on in his way. There came days of trial, when his heart was hard pressed, and when, with plaintive voice, he cried unto God:—“I am not able to bear this people along”; but he never turned back.
Paul, too, said: “Having obtained help of God, I have continued unto this day.”
But there was a special reason for Moses’ endurance. He “endured as seeing Him Who is invisible.” He had One at his side who gave him grace for every time of need.
There is a special sense in which Christ is with us today. His, “Lo I am with you, even unto the end of the age,” is very precious. It is true, too, that the saints of old had visions of Christ.
David said: “I have set the Lord always before my face.” Daniel wrote: “The people who do know their God shall be strong and do exploits.”
We, too, should run our race, “looking unto Jesus.” No wonder Paul wrote: “There stood by me this night, the angel of the Lord, Whose I am and Whom I serve.” Only as we walk as we talk with Jesus Christ will we endure. Peter walked the water while his eyes were on Christ. But Peter began to sink when he looked away and saw “the winds and the waves boisterous.” We are not discussing our salvation, but our faithfulness in following Christ and, to be faithful we must see Him, Who is invisible.
Moses’ Last Words
“I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life.”—Deuteronomy 30:19
We have before us a beautiful and a touching scene. The one who had forsaken Egypt and who had chosen to suffer affliction with the people of God, after eighty years of experience, has come at last to the time of his departure. Earnestly does Moses place before Israel the blessings of obedience, and the curses of disobedience; then he called Heaven and Earth to witness, that he had put the matter truly before them, and he urged them, “Therefore choose life.”
He who had made the choice and endured in his choice, had a right to place the choice before others. Let us now urge choice upon you. Which will you choose? The things which are seen, or the things which are not seen? The things of the flesh, or the things of the Spirit? The things of man, or the things of God? The things that are beneath or the things above? The things that will be shaken, or the things that cannot be shaken?
Does any one, as they see Moses on the Mount of Transfiguration, imagine that he regretted the step that he took when he forsook Egypt and followed Christ?
It has been three and one-half millennia since Moses left Egypt. In the light of the ages past, and in the light of the untold ages yet unborn, and of Moses’ ever-increasing glory, did his decision pay?