Pharoah’s daughter found the Jewish infant Moses and adopted him as her son. But when Moses grew up he chose to keep his Jewish identity rather than his Egyptian identity. Obviously, Moses’ life would have been much more prosperous and enjoyable if he had chosen to be related to the Pharaoh of Egypt.
But something even better gripped his heart. He wanted to be part of the people of God. He was “choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.” (Heb. 11:25, ESV) This is where Moses’ story becomes our story and guides us to Christian living in an unchristian culture.
Moses believed that belonging to God and fellowshiping with His people had to be superior to belonging to Pharaoh and his people. But this was a dangerous idea. The Jewish people were oppressed and God called Moses to free His people. This meant he would be in actual conflict with Pharaoh. It meant that Moses would feel the same pain that Pharaoh would inflict on the Jews.
When Moses asked Pharoah to let the Jews go free he made the Jews work harder as slaves and the Jews rejected Moses. And yet, Moses still “considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt.” (Heb. 11:26, ESV) And God delivered the Jews out of Egypt. They lived in the desert for years, and still Moses preferred to live with the homeless Jews than with wealthy Pharoah.
Many Christians around the world experience similar kinds of suffering for being Christians. Some live in danger of death. But in America and other Western nations our suffering and “reproach” is mild. We may be discouraged that our nation is turning away from God and that our reproach is gradually growing, but our suffering is not nearly the same as what others experience. Christians face opposition in the public square but in our personal lives the great majority of people are open to kindness from Christians.
Yet, even in Western nations there are still ways that we need to choose to be “mistreated with the people of God.” We still have to choose to do the right thing in our occupation even when it means rejection by our boss. We still have to turn the other cheek when wronged and not indulge in any kind of revenge. We still have to avoid nearly all movies and shows that are produced and find ourselves a little out of the “in” group in some places. We still have to endure bombardment from all the hedonism around us and sometimes watch family and friends succumb to temptation.
But all this is worth it. Because we get to belong to God and to his people. Hopefully, we find a fellowship where people treat each other as Jesus taught, and we find strength and encouragement. We still choose this fellowship to the pleasures of the world.
Sadly, it is most likely that our society will become increasingly opposed to godliness and to godly people. If we are to abide in the Vine we will need to choose growing rejection by our nation.
But even more we agree with Hebrews 11:26b which says that Moses “was looking to the reward.” This we do too. We have some reward now but the greater reward is the New Creation and an eternity of living in harmony and peace with the people of God in the direct presence of God.