Study #8 “The Satisfying Christian Faith” Hebrews 11:24-27
by Bob Burridge ©2021
Around 586 BC God’s people were taken into exile as punishment for their rebellion. In time, God was ready to return them to their own land. The temple had to be rebuilt, the walls of Jerusalem needed repair, and God’s worship had to be restored.
After awhile back in the promised land, the people turned their attention to their own material desires. They spent their time and money to make their homes nicer, and to improving their fields and businesses. To accomplish this they neglected their duties to God. They used the Sabbath for their own leisure and business. They spent God’s tithe on themselves. They put their own comforts above completing the restoration of the Temple, their place of worship. So God sent the prophet Haggai to warn them.
The people had nice homes, large fields and expanding businesses, but they couldn’t get enough to be satisfied! Haggai 1:6 tells us that they had seeds to plant, but they seemed to harvest too little. They had food, but were always hungry. They had drink, but were constantly thirsty. They had coats, but didn’t seem to be warm enough. They had money, but it seemed to slip through holes in their wallets.
They became concerned about satisfying their own immediate comforts first, but since they put themselves over their duty to God, they abandoned his blessing. Without God’s blessing they couldn’t be really satisfied.
God’s word teaches us about where we find real satisfaction. The Bible gives us examples to follow. Moses is another of those good examples.
Hebrews 11:24-27 (ESV)
24. By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter,
25. choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.
26. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.
27. By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible.
As a hero of the faith there were important times when Moses trusted, loved, and acted upon God’s promises. He refused the temporary comforts of this world, and chose instead the riches of the reproach of the promised Christ!
Moses refused the tempting distractions
offered to him in worldly comforts.
During Israel’s captivity, Egypt’s Pharaoh commanded that every male child born to the Jews was to be killed. Moses parents, Amram and Jochebed, hid him in a basket where he would be found and taken in by the king’s daughter who wanted a child.
He grew up as the adopted son of the daughter of Egypt’s king! He had at his disposal the greatest power, riches, fame, and luxury his world offered. But all this, his legal inheritance, was turned down by Moses! Hebrews 11:24, “By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter”
He also turned down temporary sinful pleasures he could have indulged in as part of Egyptian royalty. Hebrews 11:25, “choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.”
It’s important to understand that pleasure itself isn’t sin. God made us to enjoy the good things in his creation that, day and night, declare his glory. God’s nature and eternal power are displayed all around us all the time. Psalm 19:1-2, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.”
Our Creator is displayed in the rumblings of thunder, and the flashing of lightning, the coolness of winter, and the heat of the sun; the beauty of the stars and moon, the wonders of trees and animals; the taste of good food and drink, and the loving hugs of family and friends.
Physical pleasures can even be enjoyed for the moment by bad people. Evil kings still taste good food. Atheists can enjoy a well built home. Thieves feel the good effects of aspirin, and enjoy good music on the devices they steal. But when what we enjoy is separated from the Glory of the God who provided it, we abuse these treasures. They won’t bring real inward or lasting satisfaction.
So Moses relinquished his claim to the treasures of Egypt. Hebrews 11:26, “He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.”
Egypt was the most powerful and rich nation on earth at that time! As adopted son of the Pharaoh, he could lay claim to it all! How much more he gave up, than we ever could dream of having.
Why did Moses reject these things? He kept his eyes on the bigger picture. He saw the results of what he would put first in his life. The momentary pleasures of earthly treasures don’t last. There’s a greater reward that lasts forever. It comes from putting God and his ways first. The final reward of putting worldly gains first in your life is an eternity of torment and separation from God.
Sin’s temporary pleasures can lull people into moral apathy. They treasure the blinding pleasures of sin. They close their eyes to its eventual consequences. It’s like taking a pain killer when you’re sick: You’re still sick, you just don’t feel it for a while.
God entrusts each of us with a measure of time, money, opportunity and talent. To use them selfishly is not only wicked, its foolish! Moses saw that the temporary pleasures of sin weren’t worth it!
He kept his eyes on God who is King above all kings. He saw behind the things he had and could do as a Prince. He saw how his choices looked to God.
Moses is presented here in Hebrews 11 as an example of a true faith because he trusted, loved, and chose to obey what God had said. God’s word made him recognize the temporary and deceptive nature of the pleasures the world offered to him.
Moses chose the riches
of being united with God’s people.
While Moses enjoyed the palace, what were God’s people enduring? They were suffering affliction.
Taskmasters over their daily work kept them discouraged. Their children were being killed to control their population. They couldn’t freely worship God as he said they should.
Their hope in a coming Messiah led to hatred from Pharaoh. God’s ways were to oppose sin, while Egypt’s culture glorified what God said was sin. God had promised victory over the enemies of his people. The ancient promise of deliverance and an eventual Messiah both worried and angered the Pharaoh.
Why did Moses choose suffering, over luxury and power? He understood the results. By remaining in Pharaoh’s family Moses couldn’t live in union with the covenant people. There would come a day when God would carry out his justice. The ill-gotten pleasures of sin, would be replaced by the deserved terrors of God’s judgment.
Moses didn’t fear the wrath of the king. He knew the wrath of the King of Kings was a greater concern. Beyond what his senses revealed, beyond what pleasures he felt for the moment, Moses chose to serve the Holy Sovereign LORD who had made covenant promises to His people.
How can we learn from the example of Moses?
We need to keep our eyes on the bigger picture of the way we enjoy God’s provisions. When we abuse the things God gives us, we offend the one who provided them. This happens when we use God’s sabbath time for our own pleasures, when we spend God’s tithe to buy the things for ourselves, and neglect the needs of the church and missions, when we wrongly abuse the things God gives us, and try to find pleasures in ways he’s forbidden.
He lovingly warns us in his word. We dare not be deceived! God is not mocked! All our earnings, belongings, gadgets, and luxury can’t really satisfy us if used contrary to God’s ways. We may get what we think we’ll enjoy, but if not used in ways that glorify God, they won’t satisfy us.
What a foolish way to live! Yet we often use God’s gifts while neglecting our duties to the giver. Do our actions, desires, and priorities affirm or contradict our claim to having a true saving faith?
Like Moses we need to keep our eyes on the bigger picture of what we have and do. When there are those little sins we indulge in, even secret ones, we should ask ourselves, “Is it worth it?” Those moments of lust, greed, and self-centeredness are spiritual poisons to us.
King David enjoyed that moment of sexual pleasure with Bathsheba. But what followed in David’s life? It led him to lie, try to cover his sin, and have her husband killed in battle.
Moses kept the bigger picture in mind as he considered all he had for the moment in the Palace. This is what we need to do too in the situations we find ourselves in each moment of our lives.
We need to keep our eyes on God who stands above all things. God has spoken! His word is clear! We either stand in union with the world and its abuse of God’s riches, or we stand in union with God’s people, and use God’s blessings wisely and responsibly. There’s no way to live in both camps.
Some are so worried about how the world will treat them, they don’t bravely take a stand with the people of God. Union with God’s people means something for the Christian. It should have an effect in our every-day living! Church membership isn’t like membership in a club. Our covenant baptism isn’t just a theological idea, or mere symbolic ritual. Walking morally in God’s law isn’t some quaint tradition or cultural standard.
This is a crucial practical principle in God’s word! When we’re tempted to sin for the momentary thrill, we need to stop to consider the consequences, stop to consider the words of our Sovereign God.
So where do we stand? Do we treasure things we have or want to have over submitting to God’s ways and callings in our lives? Like Moses, we should turn away from the temptations of the palace of Egypt. Do we care more about the temporary thrills of sin? Do we put our own plans first, then give God and our neighbor the leftovers we can do without? OR are we willing to stand with the people of God in their great adventure of faith? Do we treasure more the reproach Christ might bring? Do we care more about what we can do to please God and our neighbor trusting that if we do, God’s blessing will meet our own real needs? and that when God meets our needs, there’s real inner and lasting satisfaction? That kind of satisfaction comes from God, not from the things we have, do, or can get.
All our earnings, belongings, gadgets, and luxury can’t really satisfy unless we’re living God’s way and for His glory.
When we need a hero of the faith, when we need an example of someone who in the face of temptation said “NO”, think of Moses!
Note: Bible quotations are from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.
Hebrews 11 index: “Faith and What Flows From It“