Making the Hard Choice

leaves_9779cWhat is the hardest choice you have made? Put yourself in Moses’ sandals as Exodus 2:11-25 describes the choice he made.

Make your choice! Beware of the pleasures of sin. Moses’ parents, Jochebed and Amram, showed their faith by disobeying the order of the Pharaoh and keeping baby Moses alive. The baby in the little ark in the reeds along the Nile ended up being adopted by the daughter of Pharaoh. His was a position of great potential authority, Exodus 2:10. In the court he received a fine education, Acts 7:22. Historical records show other Semites rising to influence in Egypt. It must have been a strong temptation to stay and use power there for Israel. Moses was of age. His decision was not youthful impetuosity. Hebrews 11 commends him for avoiding the pleasures of sin. There may well have been some specific sins involved in the court life, but the point, more likely, is that to remain in Pharaoh’s court would be to abandon the people of God. Egypt had the pleasures of sin–and Moses refused it, even for a short time. Sin may appear to be a pleasure, but that is a very short term view. It is dangerous. God warns against the shortsightedness that leads to a lax Christian life. What can you learn from Moses about resisting sin? The temptation to compromise may come in the form of a desire for respectability, wanting, if not to be a mover and shaker in the world, at least to have a seat at the table. But if that seat is bought at the price of remaining silent about your Lord, it is too costly. If God had planned out the life of Moses, which he certainly did, why the seeming false start with Moses killing an Egyptian and then having to flee? God was teaching Moses and the people of Israel that they could not redeem themselves. It would not happen by human power or cunning. The Lord himself would confront the idols of Egypt, and would emerge victorious.

Choose mistreatment with God’s people. Moses chose to be mistreated. He was willing to leave Egypt’s splendor. The people he was joining were slaves. By his choice he endangered his own life and forced his own exile. Moses willingness to serve was sometimes (later) humble and even reluctant. He endured exile, as the name of his oldest son indicates. It’s not all about Moses. It’s ultimately about Christ. By giving this example from Exodus 2, Hebrews says, “Chose a life of suffering.” This is not masochism. Rather, remember that God does not call you to heaven immediately. You are an alien (Hebrews 11:13), therefore your life is one of suffering, see Philippians 1:29. “Christian suffering is that life style which develops out of the effort (produced and guided by the life-giving Spirit himself) to serve the heavenly Christ on the earth where the confusion of sin and the distortion resulting from the curse on sin (cf. Rom. 8:20ff.) have become essential characteristics.” (Richard B. Gaffin).

By faith look ahead to your reward. Share the disgrace of Christ. Think of what Moses gave up to identify with his people. Then consider what your Lord left to become your Redeemer. Moses shared the disgrace of Christ. It is not that Moses had a prophetic knowledge of Christ’s sufferings. Rather, as you see in Hebrews 13:13, we bear the disgrace Christ bore (Colossians 1:24). Moses’ disgrace was identical with the disgrace Christ suffered. It is not that your sufferings are redemptive, but behind the sufferings of the Christian, stands Christ. You too must bear Christ’s disgrace. Moses is a practical example of Hebrews 13:13. Christ promised persecution, John 15:18-20. You are an alien, not always suffering open persecution, but you are identified with Christ in his sufferings. The call to bear Christ’s disgrace can be very clear at the moment of conversion. God calls you to choose continually the disgrace of Christ in your daily life. Choosing involves looking at every area of your life in the light of God’s Word.

Fix your eyes on your reward. Moses saw the reward. Even humanly speaking he would have been forgotten in Egypt–like Amenhotep, Sethi, and Thutmose. By faith he saw the riches of being part of the body of Christ. By faith fix your eyes on the reward. Union with Christ is far better than the rewards of sin. By faith you can see the riches of Christ, the riches which result from his death (unlike other situations, where we often cannot see where the path we choose leads). Hebrews identifies the One for whose sake Moses chose suffering. The reward you enjoy is present union with Christ and all the joys of the rest in the new heavens and earth which God has prepared for you.

This week you face many choices. Will you make them in light of the most important choice? Are you choosing suffering and disgrace with Christ? Are you united to him by faith?

About jwm

I serve as pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church, Newberg, Oregon.
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