What Brings True & Lasting Pleasure?
Hebrews, Day 43
By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king's edict. By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible. By faith he kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the Destroyer of the firstborn might not touch them.
- Hebrews 11:23-28, ESV
What would be a better life, living in a royal palace as a member of the royal family or suffering persecution at the hands of a harsh dictator? Honestly, if someone set that choice before you, which option would you choose?
Moses could easily have ignored his Hebrew relatives and remained in Pharaoh's palace as a prince. It would have been easier, more comfortable, and more in keeping with everyone's expectations. Sure, it would not have been as impacting or meaningful, but here's the surprising truth of what it also would not have been: It would not have been more pleasurable or more advantageous for Moses.
Does that sound impossible? How could a life of persecution and wilderness wandering be more pleasurable and more advantageous than a life in a royal palace? Because by faith Moses learned to see the unseen, to live for the reality of God's promise rather than the deceitful seeming reality of sin.
Hebrews 11 first commends Moses' parents for their faith. Moses' parents had faith that empowered them to not be afraid of the edict of Pharaoh. They took the risk of hiding their beautiful son, because they trusted God and, by faith, chose what was better over what was easier.
Moses followed in his parents' footsteps of faith. He chose what was better over what was easier, too. But we need to make sure we don't miss an important point Hebrews 11 is making: Moses didn't only choose what was better, he also chose what was better for him. So often, we hear people reason morally by saying things like, "You need to choose to do the right thing, even if it's not what would be best for you." or "You need to do what it right, even if it costs you more."
That line of moral reasoning misses an essential aspect of faith: that God rewards those who seek Him (v. 6). Sin makes promises it never keeps, because Satan does not love us and does not want to see us happy. God makes promises He always keeps. In fact, He "is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us." (Ephesians 3:20, ESV)
The pleasures of sin are fleeting indeed, and so Moses chose to turn his back on them. Instead, he looked ahead to the reward, knowing by faith that God alone is able to give eternal and unfailing pleasure. When we are facing temptation, we would do well to remember this truth and to echo Psalm 16:11 -
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (ESV)