Found in “faith’s hall of fame” are these words concerning the faith of Moses; “By faith Moses, when he was come to years refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of reward” (Heb. 11:24-26). Revealed in the brief expose are several contrasts and truths.
First, note that there is the great contrast between things spiritual and things material. A choice had to be made on the part of Moses. Simply stated, his choice was to enjoy the material pleasures of this life that would be his as a member of the royal family of Egypt or to set aside these for heavenly approval instead. The choice belonged to Moses. He was a grown man and responsible for his own decisions. The text says that “he was come to years”. Some forty years later, God used this man for the deliverance of His people from Egyptian bondage, and he became the type of the savior that would deliver man from the bondage of sin. Yet God did not take the choice away from Moses. It was by faith that Moses made the right choice. He believed in greater riches for those who faithfully served God. It was this faith and this choice that made Moses the man God later needed.
Jesus pointed out the superiority of spiritual blessings over material when He asked, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (Mark 8:36-37). Jesus further commanded, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth or rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal (Matt. 6:19-20).
A second great contrast seen in the decision of Moses is a contrast between things temporal and things eternal. Of course, this is the same as things material and things spiritual, but notice the writer specifically mentioned that the pleasures of sin are but for a season. Paul spoke of things temporal and things eternal. He said, “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” (II Cor. 4:18). He also told Timothy, “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out” (I Tim. 6:7).
There are a number of other good lessons found in the three verses under consideration. Though mention has already been made of the fact that Moses made a choice, we need to consider this a bit more and make some applications for this day and age. Without freedom of choice, one could not sin, for sin is disobedience to God. Since all can and do sin (Rom. 3:23), obviously all have free will. In the Garden of Eden, God placed just one fruit of one tree upon which there was a prohibition concerning eating it (Gen. 2:16-17). God had thus given man a choice to obey or to disobey. Human reasoning and logic could not be used to determine whether it was good to eat or not. Satan appealed to such showing Eve that the fruit was good for food and pleasant to the eyes. Eve had free will and disobeyed God for that which seemed good to her. Freedom of will has continued and will continue till the Lord returns. Invitations are issued to come to Jesus (Matt.11:28-30; Rev. 22:17), warnings are issued to those that do not come (II Thess. 1:7-9), God desires that all would come (I Tim. 2:3-4; II Pet. 3:9), but God still gives us the free will to reject Him if we so desire.
Friends, the world is full of temptations to do things that may be pleasing, but are contrary to God’s will. Again, we all have free will to either do them or shun them. There are no temptations that you cannot overcome. Paul wrote, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (I Cor. 10:13). Thus, the choice is ours. Adultery, fornication, drugs, alcohol, and a host of other sins may well be a pleasure now, but remember that they are only temporal. Such pleasure will not last. They often end in broken homes, ruined lives, health problems and other consequences in this life, but even if not, they will result in the loss of an eternal inheritance in heaven. “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God” (I Cor. 6:9-10). Let us beware of throwing away our eternal soul for a “good time” now. Dear friend, please shun the pleasures of sin which are for but a season.
Robert Oliver is a long time columnist for The Sampson Independent.