Sermon 2030. Moses-His Faith and Decision
DELIVERED ON LORD'S DAY MORNING, JUNE 24, 1888,
BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; choosing rather to sufferaffliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greaterriches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward." Hebrews 11:24-26
WE generally picture Moses with beams of glory rising from his brow and the two tables of the Law in his hand. A stern manholding forth a sterner Law. But we must correct our idea. Moses is as much an example of faith as he is a representativeof Law. What he did was as much due to his faith as were the acts of Paul or John. In describing Moses, the summary must begin,"By faith," as much as if we were describing Abraham. Continue to regard Moses as a representative of the Law but also viewhim as a man of wonderful and powerful faith.
I need scarcely remind you that the faith of Moses was peculiarly active and operative. I might apply the words of James tohim and say, "Likewise, was not Moses justified by works when he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter and choseto endure affliction with the people of God?" The faith of Moses was what ours must be, a faith which worked by love-evenlove to God and love to His people. It was no mere belief of a fact. But that fact had an overpowering influence upon hislife. Moses believed, believed firmly and intensely, believed for himself, so that he took fast hold of that which is invisible.Moses showed the reality of his faith in his life-by what he refused to do-and by what he chose to do.
Both the negative and the positive poles were made right by his faith. Everything about Moses proved the truth and the vigorof his faith in God. He was second to none among those "who believed God and it was accounted unto them for righteousness."He was king in Jeshurun and he was the greatest of Law-givers. But yet he happily takes his place among Believers who findtheir all in God. On the Arc de Triomphe which is raised in this eleventh chapter of Hebrews the name of Moses is writtenamong the very greatest of those who lived by faith in God. I pray that while I am speaking this morning faith may be workedin some here present who have it not as yet.
And I pray also that others who have true faith but have not yet avowed it may find themselves drawn to take a decided stepand take their place on the side of God and His people. The question, "Who is on the Lord's side?" is the one I would pressupon you this morning in the hope that, like Moses, many of you may be willing to suffer the reproach of Christ, which hasnot ceased.
Our first remark shall be Moses had faith. The second shall be Moses exhibited clear decision as the result of his faith.And then, thirdly, we will say Moses should be imitated by us.
I. First, then, MOSES HAD FAITH. I am not going through the whole life of Moses-that is much too large a theme for one discourse.But I shall very much keep to my text.
It is very clear that Moses believed in God. He was learned in all the learning of the Egyptians. He had been brought up inthe very best academies of the period. But he had not been seduced from faith in his God. There were many gods in Egypt. ButMoses worshipped the one God, the God of his fathers. And though he may have known comparatively little of Him, he knew enoughto have no other God but the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. I suppose that his mother and father could tell him but littleof the family faith. But as they were God-fearing, believing people, they taught him what they knew.
He believed in the living God, Creator of Heaven and earth. He worshipped one God, the Ruler of Providence-one God who isto be obeyed and adored. And to this God he adhered. I would that all of you believed in the living, personal, working, everpresent God! In these days many do not believe in a personal God but in some sort of force or mystic en-ergy-they know notwhat. This is virtually to have no God at all. To Moses the existence and ruling power of God were the greatest facts of life.He believed in the one living and true God, bowed before Him, desired to be found serving Him and to have Him as his friend,even though this should put him in opposition with all the world. Although the pomp and power and glory and wisdom of theruling nation were all on the side of idols, Moses worshipped the one God. For in His power and Godhead he solemnly believed.
In the next place, Moses believed that the Israelites were the chosen people of God. This, of course, he had learned fromhis parents and he heartily believed it, though it certainly did not look to be true. If the seed of Jacob were the peopleof God, why were they left under oppression? Why were they enslaved by Pharaoh? Why were their children doomed to die? Couldthe elect of God be left in so evil a plight? If God was the God of this people, why were they made to endure affliction?Perhaps they told him that God had revealed unto their fathers that they were to go down into Egypt and to be strangers ina strange land.
But whether or not, it was the solemn conviction of Moses that the living and true God had chosen the seed of Abraham to beHis people and had taken them into covenant with Himself. They were the election of Divine Grace. For this cause Moses lovedthem and desired to be numbered with them. Certainly, they were not in themselves a very lovable people-there was much aboutthem that must have saddened the heart of Moses. They were ignorant, while he was edu-cated-they had been debased by slavery,while he was of that brave disposition which is nourished in freedom. When he, himself, attempted to be their champion, theydid not receive him. He found two of them striving together and when, with gentle words he would have made peace between them,one of them replied, "Who made you a prince and a judge over us?"
Yet Moses said to himself, "Whatever they may be, they are the people of God and I will be one of them." Even to this daythe Lord has a chosen people, a remnant according to the election of Divine Grace. Looking critically at the Church of God,we soon detect much that is faulty, many shortcomings and many grievous evils. Yet the Church of God is God's choice and wemay not despise it. I can say of God's people-"These are the company I keep. These are the choicest friends I know."
If they are good enough for God, they are good enough for me. If you never join a Church till you find a perfect Church, youmust wait till you get to Heaven. And if you could go there as you are, they would not receive you into fellowship. Considerwho are the people that acknowledge God in their lives, who hold the Truth of God as it is revealed, who believe the HolyScriptures and worship God in the Spirit, having no confidence in the flesh. Cast in your lot with these people, however poorand common-place they may be. If they are not all you would like them to be, neither are you yourself all you would like tobe. But simply, because you believe them to be the people of God, cast in your lot with them, begging the Lord to have mercyupon you and deal with you as He is likely to do to those who fear His name.
Moses further believed that the reproach which fell upon his people was the reproach of Christ. It is said that he "esteemedthe reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt." But Christ was not there. Christ as yet had not been borninto the world. How could the reproach of Israel in Egypt be the reproach of Christ? This shows us that the Christ was alwaysone with His people. Even as the Church is the body of Christ now, so were the Lord's people the body of Christ of old. TheLord Christ so sympathized with Israel in Egypt that what they bore He bore. "In all their affliction He was afflicted andthe angel of His Presence saved them." Jesus is that "angel of His Presence."
Brethren, it is a grand thing to discover and know by faith that the reproach which falls upon the people of God is the reproachof Christ. When Stephen was killed, it was Stephen, was it not, that died? Yes, but Christ stood up from His Throne that day.When Christ spoke to Saul on the road to Damascus He did not say, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute the Church?" but, "whydo you persecute Me?" Christ suffers in the least of His people. The poorest and the most obscure of them, when ridiculedand put to scorn for His sake, is not alone in his grief-the Head suffers in the members. The reproach of Believers is reallythe reproach of Him in whom they believe. The reproach of Israel is the reproach of Christ and Moses believed this. "Ah,"said he, "whatever they say against these people and whatever they do against them, they are really saying and doing againstthe Lord's Anointed."
Furthermore, Moses believed it to be wisest to be upon the side of God. "He had respect unto the recompense of the reward."Adding all things up and making a deliberate calculation of the whole business he believed that it must be right and wiseto stand on that side which was in agreement with the living God. He made up his mind that he would be where the Lord was.Now, dear Friends, that is a wise conclusion to come to, is it not? Should we not be on the side of God? We are His creatures-shouldwe contend with our Creator? He has been infinitely good to us-ought we not to side with our Benefactor? All that He doesis right, all that He permits is just, all that He advocates is pure.
Should we not be on that side? The other side is the side of evil and darkness, the side of the devil-should we be found there?I think not. O young Man, it will be your glory to be upon the side of God. O young Woman, it will be your beauty to espousethe cause of Christ. What can become of us if we are opposed to God, the Good and True? Shall the thread contend with theflame, or the wax with the fire? If we are on the side of God we are on the right side. And being on the right side we shallhave peace of conscience and rest of heart. The right must ultimately win the day.
But even if it were not so, a brave heart is content with being right. Is it just? Is it true? Then put down my name as asoldier in that army. It must be well to be upon the side of God because God's worst is better than the world's best. Didyou notice how Moses put it? He brings forth affliction and he esteems it to be better than the "pleasures of sin." Now, pleasuresare certainly better than afflictions, according to any ordinary judgment. But Moses came to this conclusion- that althoughaffliction might be God's worst-it was better than the pleasure of sin, which is evil's best. He mentions reproach, whichis one of the most bitter kinds of affliction, for many a man can bear pain but cannot bear ridicule.
Moses set down reproach and he counted it to be better than the treasures in Egypt. Yet the treasures in Egypt were the bestthings in Egypt-its gold, its horses, its fine linen and the many things that made Egypt famous. I say he put all these downin the schedule, and then preferred the reproach of Christ to them all. God's fast is better than Egypt's feast. Thus he calmlyand deliberately made his decision and said, "I throw in my lot with the people of God. I take their God to be my God andwhere my duty to God may call me, there will I go."
Next, dear Friends, note this-Moses had faith in a future judgment. He looked beyond the present. He "had respect to the recompenseof the reward." It is dangerous to be always looking at things from one point of view. If we could go quite round and seethings from the future, looking back upon them rather than forward to them, how different they would appear! "Oh," said alady to her minister, "I find great pleasure in going to the play. There is the pleasure of anticipation, there is the pleasureof enjoying it and there is the pleasure of thinking it over afterwards." "Yes," said her minister, "I know all that, Madam.But there is one pleasure you have forgotten, namely, the pleasure of meditating upon it on a dying bed." She shrugged hershoulders, she could see no pleasure there.
I wish that men would estimate their pleasures by that rule. How will they look when they lie dying? How will they appearwhen they stand before the judgment seat of God? When I have once come into eternity and have to spend it according to thefinal sentence, how shall I look back upon what I have done? As a Christian man, how shall I look back upon wasted opportunitiesand idleness in my Master's vineyard? As an unbeliever, how shall I regard wasted Sabbaths, rejected entreaties, a neglectedBible, a disregarded Mercy Seat? If we could only view things in that clear light which beats about the eternal future weshould avoid a thousand mistakes. View the course of life as Moses did, in connection with the recompense of the reward anda resolve will be taken which will make you commence a life for God and holiness.
Let me not quit this point till I have said that Moses had a personal faith by which he realized the whole business for himself.He did not say, "Yes, there is a God undoubtedly and these are God's people and there is an end of it." But he said, "Thereis a God for me to worship, for me to trust, for me to obey. Here are God's people. I resolve to be numbered with them. TheirGod shall be my God. I will be one of the sheep of His pasture, and take my part with His flock. If they suffer, I will sufferwith them. If they rejoice, I will wait to rejoice till they rejoice."
His faith led him on to personal action. He did not say, "I am placed by Providence in the palace of Pharaoh and so I am notcalled upon to suffer like the rest of my race." No, no-he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter. He did notsay, "I am so circumstanced that I need not suffer and therefore I will keep out of the general trouble as well as I can."You know how men feel-that there is nothing like keeping on the warm side of the hedge. Moses resolved that he would sufferaffliction with the people of God. Moses would be on a level with his brethren. He declared himself to be one of the despisednation. The reproaches of them that reproached Christ in His people fell upon him.
This was the faith of Moses, a real personal faith. Come, dear Friends, ask yourselves, have you all such a personal faithin God? I tell you, if your faith is not personal and practical faith, it is not worth two pence. It will do you no good,either here or hereafter. It will leave you lost to God if it leaves you still a friend to the world and an alien from thepeople of God. Oh, that you may say from your heart, "This God is my God forever and ever. He shall be my Guide even untodeath." Faith in Moses was the foundation of the whole building of his life. Have you faith? Then every good thing will comeof it. Have you no faith? Then you have no beginning from which a happy end can come.
How can you read your title clear to mansions in the skies, when you do not, as yet, know the first letters of the alphabetof Divine Grace? You can never build up a character such as God will approve. For you have not even laid the first cornerstoneof faith.
II. Our second point is this-MOSES EXHIBITED A CLEAR DECISION. Oh, that the Spirit of God would work the like in all of us!Note, first, the time of his choice-"When he was come to years." We do not know the exact time to which this refers. Whenhe was forty years of age he visited his Brethren but his mind may have been made up long before. It was "when he was cometo years." I suppose that means early in life, as soon as he was of full age. Why not earlier still? He was in Pharaoh's courtunder many influences which may have prevented an earlier confession. We are not sure that God had yet spoken to his heartso as to make him feel the importance of following the Lord fully.
Anyway, it was in early life that he declined the world and chose his God. It is a grand thing for young people to decidefor God soon-it will save them from a thousand mistakes and bring them a thousand advantages. Early piety leads on to eminentpiety-he who begins his journey early travels far in the day. The great bulk of those who have distinguished themselves inthe Church of God will be found to have been converted while they were yet young. "When he was come to years." Does some youthhere claim that he has not yet come to years? I answer-Is that so? Why, the other day you were demanding of your father certainliberties because you felt yourself quite the man.
I find that lads nowadays become men earlier than they used to do. I wish they would take upon themselves ripe responsibilitiesas well as covet ripe privileges, Oh, that they would act as Moses did when he came to years! If you feel you have come toyears in one way, admit that you have come to years in another way. Say, "Now is the time when I must come right straightout and be a Christian man." You young women who do not care to be called girls any longer, I pray you give your hearts toChrist. The sooner you are decided, the better. Still it is said, "when he was come to years," as much as to say that whateverhis decision was while he was yet young, that decision was carried out more practically when he was come to years.
We wish to see young people converted, but we wish it to be as thoughtful a conversion, as clear and deliberate a change asif they were advanced in age. We trust that their following years will confirm what they do in their youth. Now, what do yousay, Brothers and Sisters of mature years? If you could lay aside your religious profession and begin again, would you stillmake today the decision which you arrived at when you were young? Oh yes, we can say and do say-We have lifted our hand untoGod and we cannot go back. And instead of wishing to go back, we lift both hands now, and cry-
"It is done, the great transaction's done, I am my Lord's and He is mine."
We do not wish to retreat from the Covenant of our youth, or draw back from the bond of our Baptism into Christ of long yearsago. We repeat the vow and cry, "Bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar." Moses decided for God earlyin life. But he also decided when he was capable of forming a mature and deliberate judgment. Moses went about arranging hislife like a man of business and decided wisely. But we must note well the prospect which he gave up. He "refused to be calledthe son of Pharaoh's daughter." To be the son of Pharaoh's daughter made him a prince of Egypt. Some have thought that thePharaoh then reigning had no other child but this daughter and that her son Moses would have succeeded to the throne of Egypt.We cannot be sure of that, though it may have been so.
The son of a princess has noble rank and grand opportunities. Wealth was evidently to be had-the treasures of Egypt were beforehim. Honor was his already and as he grew older titles would multiply upon him. But he said firmly, "No. I cannot be an Egyptian.I am an Israelite and I prefer the privileges which come to me from Father Abraham to those which come by Pharaoh's daughter.I cannot relinquish my part in the Promise and the Covenant but I can, and
will, relinquish all the honors which come of Pharaoh's court." He did so-deliberately did so. "He refused to be called theson of Pharaoh's daughter."
A great many would say-What a fool he was to give up what others covet! I fear that many of you professors would not losea situation for Christ. Some of you could not lose a shilling a week of extra pay for the Lord. Ah me, this is a miserableage! Go with a lancet throughout these Isles and you could not get enough martyr blood to fill a thimble. Backbones are scarceand grit is a rare article. Men do not care to suffer for Christ. They must be respectable, they must vote in the majority,they must go with the committee and be thought well of for their charity. As to standing up and standing out for Christ, itis looked upon as an eccentricity, or worse.
Today if a young man proposed to sacrifice his position for Christ's sake, father and mother and friends would all say-"Donot think of such a thing. Be prudent. Do not throw away your life." Once men could die for conscience sake-but conscienceis nowadays viewed as an ugly thing, expensive and hampering. No doubt many advised Moses to be called the son of Pharaoh'sdaughter, but he steadily refused. He deliberately divested himself of his rank that he might be numbered with the downtroddenpeople of God. For a moment I will show you some of the arguments which Moses must have had to meet. In his own mind, whenhaving come to years, he began to think the matter over, many arguments would arise and demand reply.
The first argument would be, "You will be acting very unkindly to your adopted mother-What will she say? She drew you outof the water when you might have been drowned. She took you home, she saw that you were nursed and cared for, she has hadyou trained and educated. She has spent no end of money on you. There is nothing you could wish for but what she has suppliedit-her heart is entwined in yours-and now, having come to years, if you refuse to be called her son, it will be a very sadreturn for her love."
Natural affection has often proved a serious difficulty in the way of grace. The Lord Jesus has said, "He that loves fatheror mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And many are thus unworthy." In the case of Moses, a sense of honor would joinwith affection. He knew that it was right to refuse to be the son of Pharaoh's daughter. But still, there was something tobe said on the other side. For how could he disown a tie which the hands of love had fastened? Could he rend that fond connection?Could he persist in saying, "I am no Egyptian"? I doubt not that he felt, "I should be playing the hypocrite if I professedto be of Egypt, and I must tell the Princess as gently as I can, but still most firmly, that I cannot be called by her name.For I am the son of Amram, of the tribe of Levi, of the seed of Jacob."
Moses was an Israelite, indeed. He would not conceal his nationality nor renounce it by becoming a naturalized Egyptian. Thoughit should tear the heartstrings of his foster mother and be even as a sentence of death to himself, yet he would take hisstand. Moses thus proved his faith to be stronger than that of many who are mastered by family ties and held captive by thebonds of earthly love. Unequal yoking is the ruin of thousands. The friendship of the world is the blight of piety. Happyare they who love Jesus more than all!
Next, there would come before the mind of Moses the plausible argument, "Providence has led you where you are and you oughtto keep your position." When Moses looked back he saw a remarkable Providence watching over him in the ark of bulrushes andbringing the Egyptian princess down to that particular part of the Nile to bathe. How singular that she should see the arkand save the life of the weeping babe! Could he fly in the teeth of Providence by relinquishing the high position so speciallybestowed? Thus would flesh and blood reason.
How often have I heard people excuse themselves for doing wrong by quoting what they call Providence! Arguments from Providenceagainst positive commands are ingenious deceptions. Providence is of God, but the lesson which we draw from it may be of thedevil. When Jonah wanted to flee to Tarshish he went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. How providential! Nothingof the sort. When Cain killed his brother Abel, was it Providence which found the club? Whenever a man wants to do wrong hewill find opportunities at hand. But let him not excuse his wickedness by the apparent opportunity for it. Be afraid of thatkind of Providence which makes sin easy.
When a Providence comes across you in doing right, do not give over your gracious purpose but know that it is sent to tryyou, whether you can serve the Lord under difficulty. A Providence which chimes in with your natural inclination may be astone of stumbling by which your hypocrisy will be made clear. Moses felt that Providence did bring him into Pharaoh's court,but he also felt that it brought him there that he might be put to the test to see whether he would come
out of it for the Lord's sake. Do not believe in the reasoning which suggests that Providence would have us slide along aneasy, though evil, way.
Providence, if it is read aright, never tempts to sin, though it may put before us trials for our faith. Our rule of lifeis the commandment of the Lord, not the doubtful conclusions which may be drawn from Providences. Yet another argument mayhave met Moses, for it is one which I have heard repeated till I am sick of answering it. Moses could do a deal of good byretaining his position. What opportunities for usefulness would be in his way! See how he could help his poor Brethren! Howoften he could interpose at the court to prevent injustice! Moreover, what a bright light he would be in his high position-hisexample would commend the faith of the true God to the courtiers and great ones.
Nobody could tell what an influence would thus be exercised upon Egypt. Pharaoh himself might be converted and then all Egyptwould bow before Jehovah. Thus have we met with Brethren who say, "Yes, I am in a Church with which I do not agree. But then,I can be so useful." Another cries, "I know that a certain religious union is fostering evil. But then, I can serve the causeby staying in it." Another is carrying on an evil trade but he says, "It is my livelihood and besides, it affords me opportunitiesof doing good!" This is one of the most specious of those arguments by which good men are held in the bonds of evil. As anargument, it is rotten to the core.
We have no right to do wrong from any motive whatever. To do evil that good may come is no doctrine of Christ but of Satan.Fallen nature may wander in that way but the Grace of God delivers us from such wicked sophistry. Whatever good Moses mighthave thought that he could do in a false position, he had faith enough to see that he was not to look to usefulness but torighteousness. Whatever the results may be, we must leave them with God, and do the right at all cost.
But, dear Friends, do you not think that Moses might have made a compromise? That idea is very popular. "Now then, Moses,do not be too strict. Some people are a deal too particular. Those old-fashioned puritanical people are narrow and strait-laced-beliberal and take broader views. Cannot you make a compromise? Tell Pharaoh's daughter you are an Israelite but that, in consequenceof her great kindness, you will also be an Egyptian. Thus you can become an Egypto-Israelite-what a fine blend! Or say anIsraelito-Egyptian-with the better part in the front. You see, dear Friends, it seems a simple way out of a difficulty tohold with the hare and run with the hounds. It saves you from unpleasant decisions and separations.
Besides, Jack-of-Both-Sides has great praise from both parties for his large-heartedness. I admire this in Moses, that heknew nothing of compromise. First he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter and secondly he made a deliberatechoice rather, "to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season." My Hearers,come out, I pray you, one way or the other. If God is God, serve Him. If Baal is God, serve him. If it is right to be an Israelite,be an Israelite. If it is right to be an Egyptian, be an Egyptian. None of your trimming. It will go hard with trimmers atthe Last Great Day. When Christ comes to divide the sheep from the goats, there will be no middle sort. There is no placefor trimmers. Modern thought is trying to make a purgatory but as yet the place is not constructed and meanwhile you borderpeople will be driven down to Hell. May God grant us His Grace to be decided!
Notice the lot which Moses chose. He refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter and he chose to take his portion withthe oppressed, reproached and ridiculed Israelites. I want you to see the terms in which his judgment is expressed. For nodoubt the Holy Spirit tells us exactly how Moses put it in his own mind. He chose rather to suffer "affliction with the peopleof God." Does not that alter it wonderfully? "Affliction" nobody would choose. But "affliction with the people of God," ah,that is another business altogether. "These are they which came out of great tribulation and have washed their robes and madethem white in the blood of the Lamb."
I choose the "great tribulation," not because I like it, but because these came out of it and have "washed their robes andmade them white in the blood of the Lamb." "Affliction with the people of God" is affliction in glorious company. I was readingthe other day the life of John Philpot who was shut up in Bishop Bonner's coal-hole in Fulham Palace. There he and his friendssang Psalms so merrily that the Bishop chided them for their mirth. They could have quoted Apostolic authority for singingin prison. When there were seven of them, Philpot wrote-"I was carried to my Lord's coal-house again, where I, with my sixfellow prisoners, do rouse together in the straw as cheerfully, we thank God, as others do in their beds of down."
To be with the people of God, one would not mind being in the coal-hole. No one wants to be in Bonner's coal-hole. But betterbe there with the martyrs, than upstairs in the palace with the Bishop. To hear the saints' holy talk and sing
with them their gladsome Psalms and with them behold the Angel of the Covenant, is a very different thing from mere sufferingor imprisonment. "With the people of God"-that is the sweet which kills the bitter of affliction. Nobody here wants to gointo a burning fiery furnace. But none of us would refuse to be there with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and that "fourth"who was "like unto the Son of God"!
I admire this in Moses, that he does not look at half a thing. He views it all round, and having seen it all, he forms hisjudgment. He did not choose affliction for its own sake but affliction with the people of God he preferred to the pleasuresof sin. Note the next expression-"Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt." Nobody desiresreproach for its own sake. But "the reproach of Christ" is a very different matter. That gives a new flavor to it. Nobodywants to stand up in yonder pillory, where everybody is hurling mud and filth at the object of their scorn. But tell me thatthe sufferer is the Lord Jesus Christ and I will find you a host of volunteers to stand with Him and gather honor by sharingin His dishonor. "The reproach of Christ." Why, that is glory!
Thus Moses placed things in their right light and they seemed to undergo a complete change. Now. Notice what he said aboutthe baits upon the other side-"Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures ofsin for a season." See! He calls the pleasures of the court "the pleasures of sin." Why, Moses, you need not fall into vice!You could be an Egyptian and yet be chaste and honest and sober and just and good. Yes, but he regards his proposed life asthe son of Pharaoh's daughter as full of "the pleasures of sin." Now, mark this-If you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, itbecomes your duty decidedly to come out and stand on His side. And if you do not do so, the pleasures derived from your sinof omission will be the pleasures of sin. You are living a life of disloyalty to Christ and that is a life of sin.
"Whatsoever is not of faith is sin." That is to say, if you have not faith that you are doing right, you are doing wrong.And as Moses could not feel that he was doing right by being an Egyptian, whatever pleasure he might have gained from hisremaining at court would have been "the pleasure of sin." Then note the word, "For a season." Did you hear the tolling ofa bell? It was a knell. It spoke of a new-made grave. This is the knell of earthly joy-"For a season!" Honored for doing wrong-"Fora season!" Merry in evil company-"For a season!" Prosperous through a compromise-"For a season!" What after that season? Deathand judgment.
Note once again, that Moses spoke about treasures. And as a great man in Egypt he knew what wealth there was in the land.But he qualifies the treasures by saying, "treasures in Egypt." For an Israelite those treasures were nothing, since theywere in a foreign land. Treasures in the land that flows with milk and honey-these were real treasures. But treasures in Egyptwere a mockery. Moses shakes his head at them. He esteemed the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt.So, you see, most deliberately, with great discrimination, Moses made his choice and kept to it and God blessed him in it.He was preserved in the ark of Grace from the hand of the enemy and was drawn out of the waters of temptation to be consecratedto the high service of God.
III. I want, in the last place, hurriedly to say that MOSES SHOULD BE IMITATED BY US.
First, Brethren, we should have Moses' faith. The things which Moses believed are true, and therefore ought still to be believed.They are as important today as when he believed them. Let us lay hold upon them and feel their practical bearings this verymorning. Young men, especially-I entreat you to believe in God and in His work of Grace among His people, that you may benumbered with His chosen now and in the day of His appearing.
Next, we must imitate Moses in this-that if we do believe we must come out on the Lord's side. Now that you have "come toyears," do let it be seen on whose side you are. Let there be no doubt, no hesitation, no vacillation. But let those who seeyou in the house, or in business, know that you are on the Lord's side. Let me exhort you also to see things in the eternallight. Do not look at things in their bearings upon today, or tomorrow, or the next few years. Judge by eternity. For thepresent the good man may be a loser. You must look further than your foot. Take the measuring line of the sanctuary and useit when you judge of spiritual things.
Note another important matter-I pray that you may get into fellowship with Christ. Oh, to know Christ and love Him-to haveHim to be your Savior and then to feel that you can wear the reproach of Christ as a chain of gold! This is a great help inthe life of a tried child of God. Dear Friend, if you are a Believer in Christ, give yourself up to God without reserve-say,"I will follow You, my Lord, through flood or flame. I will follow You up hill or down dale. I will follow wherever the Lordshall lead the way. I will follow at all cost and hazard." Say this in your soul. Take God for
your all in poverty and disgrace. Take God on the bleak winter's day and say-"I am resolved, God helping me, to do
If you do this, you cannot tell what God has in store for you, nor need you give it a consideration. Moses, after all, wasnot a loser by his self-denial. He became King in Jeshurun and was more than a monarch in the wilderness. He refused to bePharaoh's son but in the Book of Exodus God said to him-"See, I have made you a god to Pharaoh." Egypt's haughty monarch fearedhis plagues and entreated his intercession. The Lord made Moses so great that among those who are born of woman he ranks amongthe first unto this day. Even in Heaven he is remembered. For they sing "the song of Moses the servant of God and of the Lamb."
Young man, if you give yourself unto the Lord you can little guess what He will do with you. What you lose will be a meretrifle compared with what you will gain. As to honor-all honor and glory lie in the service of the Most High. I am come tothis conclusion, my Brethren-whether I sink or whether I swim, I am the Lord's! By His Grace I will believe His Word and clingto its inspiration, whether the Lord shall roll away my reproach or not. I would say with the three holy children, "Our Godwhom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace and He will deliver us out of your hand, O King. But ifnot, be it known unto you, O King, that we will not serve your gods, nor worship the golden image which you have set up."
By God's Grace, with Job my heart has said-"Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him." Be this the resolve of each one,for Christ's sake. Amen.