Of this one who is great in the annals of the history of Israel we must say just a word more. It is demanded by the text in question, for it says of this Moses that he so very clearly saw the underlying issue in his decision to refuse to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. It was the “pleasures of sin for a season” or it was “suffer the reproach of Christ.”
Now such an example is very much to the point in the letter to the Hebrews. These were exactly in danger to fall back for the sake of the reproach of the word of the cross. And their courage of faith must be bolstered by citing the example of Moses in his day and hour. They must hear this testimony concerning Moses from the pages of Scripture. It is a voice from one of the cloud of witnesses; a voice of one of the elders who obtained a good report.
It is, therefore, of importance to take a little better notice of this determination of Moses to suffer the lot of all God’s people and of all of God’s prophets.
The Bible often speaks of the reproach of Christ.
We think in this connection of such a passage asMatthew 5:11, 12 where we read: “Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake. Rejoice and be exceeding glad; for great is your reward in heaven for so persecuted they the prophets that were before you.” We should notice in this passage that here is spoken of a reproach which the meek, the poor in spirit endure, for the sake of Christ, His kingdom, His Word in the midst of the world of evil men, who are the haters of God! And because they hate God and all His perfections, particularly His love and grace revealed to the elect people of God, as they are constituted of God an elect nation, a holy people, a royal priesthood, they also hate this people. The seed of the serpent hates the seed of the woman: But when this hatred reveals itself in “reviling,” and “speaking of all manner of evil falsely” for the sake of the Son of God, then we must be inwardly full of deep and abiding satisfaction and blessedness. For then the reward is great in heaven.
Or we think of the reproach which Christ had to endure on the Cross even by those who were crucified with Him. When others about the Cross jeer at Christ and say: “Let Christ the King of Israel now descend from the Cross, that we may see and believe” then the two malefactors too joined in as we read, “And they that were crucified with him reviled him.” Mark 15:32. Such was the reproach wherewith Christ was reproached. Thus we read in Romans 15:13 where Psalm 69:9 is quoted: “The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up; the reproaches of them that reproach thee are fallen upon me.”
When this reproach of which Christ complains falls upon the children of God then Jesus says: “Blessed are ye when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man’s sake.” Luke 6:22.
Such as the evil that had come upon Israel in the desert. Their lot and plight in Egypt was one simply of suffering for righteousness’ sake. They are the children of God by His free choice. According to the prophetic Word, which is more sure and shines as a light in a dark place, Israel had come down into Egypt. It was the Word spoken to Abram by the Lord as recorded inGenesis 15:12-14, “And when the sun was going down a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him, and He said unto Abram, know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years. And also that nation whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterwards they shall come out with great substance.”
Thus is the nature of Israel’s suffering!
It was clearly a suffering because they were accounted a righteous and holy people unto the Lord. That was the sole reason. Thus it was clearly intended to be, according to the prophetic word, spoken to Abram. And thus it was also realized at the time of thePharaoh, who forgot about the greatness of Joseph. For this king’s evil policy was not against a rebellious people who were increasingly becoming a dangerous menace to the land of Egypt, intending to overthrow the throne of the King of Egypt, but it was clearly a policy and program intending the massacre of a people who had one desire in life, namely, to serve the Lord their God in the land of their fathers. There they should be a peculiar people unto God in all the earth. Read, therefore, the very evil strategy on the part of the king of Egypt. “Now there arose up a new king over Egypt which knew not Joseph. And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we: Come on, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falleth out a war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land.” Exodus 1:8-10.
From the foregoing it is quite evident that the subjugation of Israel was inspired by the forces of hell against God and His anointed Son as He revealed Himself in His people. The prophetic Word spoken to Abram must be made of none effect. The satanic element in Pharaoh’s decision must not be overlooked. We must not be ignorant of the devil’s wiles in this strategy and policy of the king of Egypt.
Oh, Moses saw this plan of Satan. And he had but one thing burning in his soul. The zeal of God’s house consumed him. It was to deliver the people of Israel that they might return unto the land of their fathers as pilgrims on the earth, seeking the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God!
And he sallies forth to perform this great work in faith. While he ponders this question he looks not merely at the things that are in the present, the great power and riches and treasures of Egypt, but he looks away from all this to greater riches, to abiding and lasting treasures and reward. And in the Spirit of God and in the power of faith he refuses to be called a son of Pharaoh’s daughter.
And so the reproach of Christ is his choice.
His choice was such that he immediately would be reproached for the sake of Christ’s cause in this world.
In the first place he is greatly reproached by the Israelite, who reproachingly said to him: “Who made thee a prince and judge over us? intendest thou to kill me as thou killedst the Egyptian?” Oh, what a stinging reproach this was to the “man of God” who loved the people of God! He thought that Israel would understand. He lived in naive and youthful enthusiasm. But he immediately suffers a great disillusionment which must have been a bitter disappointment to him for forty years. He tasted the reproach of all those who are eaten up with the zeal of God’s house. The fleshly element in Israel did not understand. Always they resisted the Holy Ghost as He spoke to Israel through the prophetic Word, shining in the darkness of Egypt’s bondage. Small wonder that the great objection of Moses to the Lord at the burning bush is: but what shall I say to the people. The people will not understand! Oh, what a bitterness for Moses’ soul. Hated really without a cause. Hated by the fleshly Israel. Moses has only said to them what was the law and the prophets: “Wherefore smitest thou thy fellow?”
God surely used this incident to cast Moses once and for all time out of the house of Pharaoh. Moses’ bridges were burned. He in faith learned that he could not possibly ever go back. He could only press forward. Having put his hand to the plow he could not look back. Through forty years of loneliness he endures as seeing the unseen God in the heat of the desert day and the cold of the mountain by night.
But he has one great and all-embracing consolation.
It is that this is not simply a suffering and being reproached for a rash deed in killing an Egyptian, but that it was, indeed, a suffering for the cause of the Son of God, for the cause of Christ, the redeemer of Israel from the house of bondage into the glorious liberty of Canaan, the land of promise.
What an identity, therefore, between the suffering of the Hebrew believers and that of Moses. They suffer in the same cause and from the same motive, be it then in a different historical setting. And also what an identity even today. How the righteous today are always cast out without a cause. How in our day those who would maintain the faith are cast out by those who hate doctrinal clarity and distinctiveness that Christ, our Lord, may receive all the glory. Well may we claim these promises in faith and “in this evil day” do as Jesus instructs us to “leap for joy,” for behold our, reward is great in heaven. We are in good company, for “in like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.”Luke 6:23.
It is only “the reward” which God holds before our believing eyes that makes us strong and courageous in the tight. Only in view of this reward will we stand unmovable, never back-sliding, falling back into perdition, but believing unto the salvation of the soul.
Thus did Moses.
He did some “accounting” in faith!
He began to compare the “treasures” of Egypt, the accumulation of all the wealth and power, the glory and honor of Egypt with what God promises to His servants. No, he did no compare the “treasures” of Egypt with the “reward” but with the “affliction of Christ.” As far as the natural eye could see such were the alternatives. For all who will to live godly in this world must suffer affliction. But such affliction works patience in the believer, and patience works approvedness and approvedness hope, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts. He looked in faith for the promised reward while in the midst of the affliction for Christ.
And he did not falter.
Faith has a better and abiding treasure in heaven.
When the road is hardest and the night seems darkest, faith burns the more warmly in our hearts and glows with spiritual warmth and profound convictions.
Such must be the faith of the Hebrew Christians.
They must indeed not look to Moses. That would be fatefully wrong. That is the error of all “hero of faith” worship. Nay, we must look where Moses looked. In faith we must look to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the Cross and despised the same and is set down on the right hand of the Father.
Faithful is the saying: For if we be dead with him we shall also live with him. If we suffer we shall also reign with him. If we deny him, he also will deny us. If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.