By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward. (Hebrews 11:24-26, NASB)
Moses had a choice. He could identify with his birth family, who were Hebrew slaves, or with his adoptive family, the royal house of Pharaoh, one of the most powerful families on earth. Identifying with Pharaoh would have meant privilege, respect, comfort, and wealth. Identifying with a slave race meant sharing their bitter oppression in all its forms.
Moses walked away from the royal family and instead embraced the difficulties, danger, and disgrace of being the leader of the Hebrew slaves. Why? Because he chose what was right and best in the long-term over short-term comfort. The reproach of Christ (Hebrews 11:26) held more appeal and satisfaction for him than all the pleasures and treasures of an Egyptian palace.
In Hebrews 13, the writer describes how Jesus chose to take our reproach, our curse upon Himself. He suffered outside the camp (v.11) as the disgraced and discarded corpse of a sin sacrifice. In v.13, the writer urges us:
So, let us go out to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach. (NASB)
That’s what Moses chose to do: willingly bear the suffering and reproach of Christ. Christ had accepted the reproach that rebellious sinners had heaped on God His Father (see Romans 15:13). We are urged to share that reproach, that reviling, ill-treatment, and disgrace.
When Moses made that choice, according to Hebrews 11:26, he was looking to the reward. Does that mean that actually, he was simply seeking what was best for himself in the long-run? In the gospels, Jesus often emphasizes our heavenly reward as the reason we should choose God over sin. Is our reason for obeying God to simply gain the best outcome for ourselves? Is Jesus endorsing shallow and selfish motives for doing the right thing?
No, Hebrews 11 gives a different perspective. It repeatedly praises those who make the right long-term decisions, in spite of short-term suffering. Such decisions prove their faith in God. Their actions demonstrate their conviction that God is who He says He is and will do all He says He will do. This is the faith that pleases God (vv.1-5).
That’s the faith that Moses lived.
Father, in Your loving plans for Your children,
suffering is always a means to a good end.
It is only a transition,
never a destination.