Hebrews 11:24-26 Moses’ Choice
Choose. A man must choose. A man does choose. When the Reformed faith condemns the Arminian error that the natural man has a free will by which he is able to choose or to reject Jesus, the Reformed faith does not deny that man chooses. It does not even deny that man chooses about Jesus. God made man a rational, moral creature. As a rational, moral creature man has a will. With his will he chooses. With his will man chooses not only in things natural, but also in things spiritual. In those spiritual things the choice that man must make is stark: heaven or hell, life or death, God or sin, Christ or Satan, obedience or disobedience. The consequences of the choice are eternal. Man must choose. God demands in the gospel that man choose. Man will choose. God will judge man for his choice.
The terrible truth about the natural man is that when confronted with that choice he always chooses wrongly.
With his will he chooses sin, death, hell, Satan, and disobedience, and he chooses against God, Christ, heaven, and salvation. Choose. Man must choose. Man does choose. Man always chooses the evil.
Moses chose to suffer affliction with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. Moses chose opposite of the natural man. Moses’ choice is the choice of faith. Moses’ choice is the choice that faith always makes otherwise that professed faith is no faith at all.
A choice is picking one among alternatives. If a man chooses a piece of property, then that choice was made between alternatives. If there is no alternative, there is no choice. In the choice the mind prefers one alternative over another. At its deepest level a choice is a matter of love. What a man loves he chooses. That preference involves the evaluation of the alternatives and the judgment that for some reason the one is preferable. What the mind prefers the will chooses.
There were alternatives for Moses. Moses saw the one alternative in the home of Pharaoh’s daughter. He was called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. This had not always been his lot. She drew him from the water where Amram and Jochebed had laid him in his ark among the reeds. Perhaps making fun of the deadly decree of her wicked father, she gave him his name, Moses, one drawn from the water. She adopted him. He became her son. She was his mother. Pharaoh was his grand-father. The whole court and the entire nation knew that.
The son of Pharaoh’s daughter came to years and became great in Egypt. He enjoyed all the advantages of his well- connected position. If not heir to the throne of Egypt he was at least brought up as one. He was learned in all the wisdom of Egypt and had access to all the opportunities for worldly pleasure, advancement, and success that Egypt provided.
But he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. With that refusal he also renounced all the pleasures and treasures of Egypt. He went out of her house. He renounced his family, his upbringing, his home, his present course of life, and his future in Egypt. He sealed his decision by killing an Egyptian. When Pharaoh heard this he sought to kill him.
Rather, he chose to suffer affliction with the people of God. Moses’ choice was the choice of God, Christ, obedience, and salvation. Do not misunderstand that. Moses chose God and Christ and salvation by choosing to be with God’s people. Moses was acquainted with them. His mother had him for a few years. No doubt she taught him about the people of God. A kingdom of God, where God dwells and where He bestows His grace, a kingdom of riches, life, salvation, and blessing. To be with those people is to be with God for God dwells with them. To be with God is salvation. To live apart from God is was death. No doubt he saw them—on his inspections of the kingdom, resplendent in his princely accoutrements, enjoying the wealth and privilege of Egypt—an enslaved, beaten, despised, and afflicted people of God.
To be with Egypt was to have pleasure and success now, but to be without God. Friendship with the world is enmity against God. To be with the people of God was to have God, but affliction. One could not remain with Egypt and have God. One could not join the people of God and avoid affliction. Moses chose to be with the people of God and to suffer affliction with them rather than to enjoy the pleasures of Egypt.
The unbelieving, natural man makes a choice too. With his mind he weighs the alternatives and judges one better than the other. With his will he chooses what his mind prefers. But his mind is dark and his will in bondage because of sin. With his darkened mind he evaluates: church or the world, pleasures or affliction. By the measure and the thinking of the sinful mind the world and pleasure weighs very heavy, and the people of God and affliction are esteemed very lightly. With his mind he loves sin. With his will bound under the power of sin he chooses what his mind prefers: Egypt, pleasure, and death. The natural man cannot, he will not, and he cannot will to make Moses’ choice.
Not the Arminians’ proud choice. Do not confuse Moses’ choice with theirs. See how different Moses’ choice is. The Arminian choice is a choice to believe. Moses’ choice was a choice of faith. He had the faith already and by it he chose.
That faith was God’s gift to him in fulfilment of His promise to be the God of Abraham and to his seed. That faith was union with Christ. That faith was the certain knowledge of all that God promised as true and the assurance that it was for Moses. God gave him the power to believe and the act of believing also. By that faith alone he was justified and saved apart from his choice. In that choice his faith was revealed as true faith.
By that faith he made his choice because by faith he considered and judged the relative worth of the alternatives. By faith he could make that choice because of what faith did in him. Faith illuminated his mind so that he saw clearly and evaluated properly. Faith renewed his will so that he chose what the illuminated mind preferred. By faith he became a spiritual man who judged all things spiritually. At its most profound level it was a change of love. He loved God, Christ, and his people. Faith chooses what faith loves—Christ—just as the natural man chooses what he loves—the world and sin.
In his choice by faith he considered this: He esteemed the reproach of Christ greater riches than all the treasures in Egypt and he considered the pleasures of Egypt sin.
All the treasures Egypt that he could have staying aloof from the people of God, he judged as the pleasures of sin. When he saw Egypt, he saw sin. Egypt was representative of the world of sin and darkness as that world is under the power of Satan, as it wars against God, exists under the curse of God, and will be destroyed by God. He rejected Egypt and its sin when he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.
By faith he chose the people of God because he reckoned their sufferings the reproach of Christ. The reproach of Christ is the reproach that Christ suffered when He came into the world. He was laid in a manger because there was no room in the inn. They tried to kill Him as a baby. They tempted Him or flattered Him to trap Him in His words. They tried to push Him over a cliff. They tried to stone Him. They came out against Him with swords and staves. They forsook Him and fled. They bound Him. They tried Him. They condemned Him. They put a crown of thrones on His head and a sceptre in His hand, and they beat Him with His sceptre and cut Him with His crown. They took His clothes. They nailed Him to the tree. Still they burned in enmity against Him and the whole mob mocked and ridiculed His shame. With an insatiable hatred they spoke evil of the dead, called Him a deceiver, and posted a guard at His tomb.
When Moses saw their affliction he saw Christ’s reproach. He saw Christ there among the people of God. That is why he joined. There is no other and can be no other reason to join a church than the truth—which is Christ—is there. Because Christ was there their affliction was Christ’s reproach. The Old Testament church had Him in promise and so shared His reproach. Christ left behind some of His reproach for the New Testament church too.
Believing Israel’s affliction to be the reproach of Christ, Moses valued that reproach greater treasure than any treasure of Egypt, indeed eternal riches. There is nothing more precious to God than the suffering of His son.
Moses had respect unto the recompense of the reward. He saw clearly the rich reward that God gives Christ’s reproach. Not blind faith. Faith sees. Faith chooses differently because faith sees differently. The natural man can only see with the physical eyes, or worse still, with spiritual eyes of unbelief, blind with hatred toward God. The eyes of faith are able to see unseen and eternal things. It is like having two pieces of land. One is obviously lush and good to make a man rich now. The other is barren but full of gold beneath its surface. Whether you are able to perceive what lies beneath the surface will affect your choice. Faith chooses differently because it sees differently.
When Christ came and suffered His reproach, He earned and merited an eternal reward for the people of God in their affliction. Moses saw that reward.
He saw Egypt’s reward too. He saw clearly that Egypt’s pleasure was only for a season. They had their reward in the form of eternity in hell.
The affliction of the people of God has its reward: suffering now for an eternity of joy and pleasure forevermore at God’s right hand.
The reproach of Christ brings its own reward. The believer’s suffering does not earn that reward. Neither does his choice merit that reward. Jesus Christ earned the reward through His suffering on the cross. God appointed the reward to His elect for all eternity. The sufferings of the child of God for which the reward is given are not worthy to be compared to the glory that shall be revealed in us.
If a man will stand aloof from the people of God for the sake of his life, his comfort, his education, his business, family, name, standing, or reputation, then he will lose everything in the world that is to come. In that choice, his professed faith is also revealed to be no faith at all. He gains his life in this world, only to lose his soul in the next.
If a man chooses to be with the people of God, he chooses Christ and His reproach, and he will have an eternal reward. His choice is the clear choice of faith. By that faith he is saved now and in eternity. That is always faith’s choice: affliction with the people of God, rather than the pleasures of sin for a season. Choose. A man must choose. A man will choose. His choice will have its reward now and eternally.
Written by: Rev. Nathan Langerak | Issue 42