A Word for Today | Hebrews 11:23-26
Hebrews was written to a community of Jewish believers who faced persecution for their faith. The author therefore commends Moses for a choice that they should follow, since faith is known for its choices. First, however, he notes the choice made by Moses’ parents, who risked the wrath of Pharaoh in order to save their son: “By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict” (Heb. 11:23; see Ex. 2:1-10). When he was grown, Moses had a choice of his own to make: “By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin” (Heb. 11:24). This verse remembers the incident when Moses, though raised in power and wealth, defended an Israelite against his cruel foreman. Why was Moses willing to be associated with an enslaved people, though he was a prince of Egypt? Hebrews 11:25 tells us: “He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward (Heb. 11:24-25).
Moses forfeited worldly honor, wealth, and power because faith requires a choice. Moses chose the Lord over “the fleeting pleasures of sin,” because by faith he saw “the reproach of Christ” – i.e. an identity with enslaved Israel – as the path to eternal life. What an advertisement for Christianity! And a true one! Moses’ choice is the choice all must make who would follow Jesus: the pleasures and treasures of Egypt or fellowship in the cross of Christ. Yet what blessings the choice of faith brings! It gains us spiritual peace now and the riches of heaven to come. Moses’ choice cost him honor with men but brought him honor with God and a name that will be praised forever. As one scholar puts it, “Whatever Moses’ social position if he had remained on as a member of Egyptian society all we would know of him now would be as a name on a mummy in the British Museum.” But instead we find his name in the hall of God’s own beloved heroes in Hebrews 11.
Moses’ choice was the result of faith’s calculation. Verse 25 says, “He chose,” and verse 26 tells us why: “He considered.” Our faith today likewise requires a choice – a daily choice – and a calculation. If like Moses we reckon Christ to be better, we will follow his faith, choosing costly discipleship in order to gain eternal life. J. C. Ryle explains:
He saw with the eye of faith affliction lasting but for a moment, reproach rolled away, and ending in everlasting honour, and the despised people of God reigning as kings with Christ in glory.
In Christ’s Love,