Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God - With those whom God had chosen to he his people - the Israelites. They were then oppressed and down-trodden; but they were the descendants of Abraham, and were those whom God had designed to be his special people. Moses saw that if he cast in his lot with them, he must expect trials. They were poor, and crushed, and despised - a nation of slaves. If he identified himself with them, his condition would be like theirs - one of great trial; if he sought to elevate and deliver them, such an undertaking could not but be one of great peril and hardship. Trial and danger, want and care would follow from any course which he could adopt, and he knew that an effort to rescue them from bondage must be attended with the sacrifice of all the comforts and honor which he enjoyed at court. Yet he “chose” this. He on the whole preferred it. He left the court, not because he was driven away; not because there was nothing there to gratify ambition or to he a stimulus to avarice; and not on account of harsh treatment - for there is no intimation that he was not treated with all the respect and honor due to his station, his talents, and his learning, but because he deliberately preferred to share the trials and sorrows of the friends of God. So every one who becomes a friend of God and casts in his lot with his people, though he may anticipate that it will be attended with persecution, with poverty, and with scorn, prefers this to all the pleasures of a life of gaiety and sin, and to the most brilliant prospects of wealth and fame which this world can offer.
Than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season - We are not to suppose that Moses, even at the court of Pharaoh, was leading a life of vicious indulgence. The idea is, that sins were practiced there such as those in which pleasure is sought, and that if he had remained there it must have been because he loved the pleasures of a sinful court and a sinful life rather than the favour of God. We may learn from this:
(1) that there is a degree of pleasure in sin. It does not deserve to be called happiness, and the apostle does not call it so. It is “pleasure,” excitement, hilarity, merriment, amusement. Happiness is more solid and enduring than “pleasure;” and solid happiness is not found in the ways of sin. But it cannot be denied that there is a degree of pleasure which may be found in amusement; in the excitement of the ball-room; in feasting and revelry; in sensual enjoyments. All which wealth and splendour; music and dancing; sensual gratifications, and the more refined pursuits in the circles of fashion, can furnish, may be found in a life of irreligion; and if disappointment, and envy, and sickness, and mortified pride, and bereavements do not occur, the children of vanity and sin can find no inconsiderable enjoyment in these things. They say they do; and there is no reason to doubt the truth of their own testimony in the case. They call it a “life of pleasure;” and it is not proper to withhold from it the appellation which they choose to give it. It is not the most pure or elevated kind of enjoyment, but it would be unjust to deny that there is any enjoyment in such a course.
(2) it is only “for a season.” It will all soon pass away. Had Moses lived at the court of Pharaoh all his days, it would have been only for a little “season.” These pleasures soon vanish, because:
(a) life itself is short at best, and if a career of “pleasure” is pursued through the whole of the ordinary period allotted to man, it is very brief.
(b) Those who live for pleasure often abridge their own lives. Indulgence brings disease in its train, and the volaries of sensuality usually die young. The art has never been yet discovered of combining intemperance and sensuality with length of days. If a man wishes a reasonable prospect of long life, he must be temperate and virtuous. Indulgence in vice wears out the nervous and muscular system, and destroys the powers of life - just as a machine without balance-wheel or governor would soon tear itself to pieces.
(c) Calamity, disappointment, envy, and rivalship mar such a life of pleasure - and he who enters on it, from causes which he cannot control, finds it very short. And,
(d) compared with eternity, O how brief is the longest life spent in the ways of sin! Soon it must be over - and then the unpardoned sinner enters on an immortal career where pleasure is forever unknown!
(3) in view of all the “pleasures” which sin can furnish, and in view of the most brilliant prospects which this world can hold out, religion enables man to pursue a different path. They who become the friends of God are willing to give up all those fair and glittering anticipations, and to submit to whatever trials may be incident to a life of self-denying piety. Religion, with all its privations and sacrifices, is preferred, nor is there ever occasion to regret the choice. Moses deliberately made that choice; nor in all the trials which succeeded it - in all the cares incident to his great office in conducting the children of Israel to the promised land - in all their ingratitude and rebellion - is there the least evidence that he ever once wished himself back again that he might enjoy “the pleasures of sin” in Egypt.
Our Master was a man of sorrows; He was acquainted with grief; and those who suffer with Him will reign with Him. When the Lord appeared to Saul in his conversion, He did not purpose to show him how much good he should enjoy, but what great things he should suffer for His name. Suffering has been the portion of the people of God from the days of the martyr Abel. The patriarchs suffered for being true to God and obedient to His commandments. The great Head of the church suffered for our sake; His first apostles and the primitive church suffered; the millions of martyrs suffered, and the Reformers suffered. And why should we, who have the blessed hope of immortality, to be consummated at the soon appearing of Christ, shrink from a life of suffering? Were it possible to reach the tree of life in the midst of the Paradise of God without suffering, we would not enjoy so rich a reward for which we had not suffered. We would shrink back from the glory; shame would seize us in the presence of those who had fought the good fight, had run the race with patience, and had laid hold on eternal life. But none will be there who have not, like Moses, chosen to suffer affliction with the people of God. The prophet John saw the multitude of the redeemed, and inquired who they were. The prompt answer came: “These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” 1T 78.1
When we began to present the light on the Sabbath question, we had no clearly defined idea of the third angel's message of Revelation 14:9-12. The burden of our testimony as we came before the people was that the great second advent movement was of God, that the first and second messages had gone forth, and that the third was to be given. We saw that the third message closed with the words: “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” And we as clearly saw as we now see that these prophetic words suggested a Sabbath reform; but as to what the worship of the beast mentioned in the message was, or what the image and the mark of the beast were, we had no defined position. 1T 78.2Read in context »
God has selected my husband and given him special qualifications, natural ability, and an experience to lead out His people in the advance work. But there have been murmurers among Sabbathkeeping Adventists as there were among ancient Israel, and these jealous, suspicious ones, by their suggestions and insinuations, have given occasion to the enemies of our faith to distrust my husband's honesty. These jealous ones of the same faith have placed matters before unbelievers in a false light, and the impressions made stand in the way of many embracing the truth. They regard my husband as a schemer, a selfish, avaricious man, and they are afraid of him and of the truth held by us as a people. 3T 89.1
When the appetite of ancient Israel was restricted, or when any close requirement was brought to bear upon them, they reflected upon Moses, that he was arbitrary, that he wished to rule them, and to be altogether a prince over them, when he was only an instrument in God's hand to bring His people into a position of submission and obedience to God's voice. 3T 89.2
Modern Israel have murmured and become jealous of my husband because he has pleaded for the cause of God. He has encouraged liberality, he has rebuked those who loved this world, and has censured selfishness. He has pleaded for donations to the cause of God and, to encourage liberality in his brethren, has led off by liberal donations himself; but by many murmuring, jealous ones even this has been interpreted that he wished to be personally benefited by the means of his brethren and that he had enriched himself at the expense of the cause of God; when the facts in the case are that God has entrusted means in his hands to raise him above want so that he need not be dependent upon the mercies of a changeable, murmuring, jealous people. Because we have not selfishly studied our own interest, but have cared for the widow and the fatherless, God has in His providence worked in our behalf and blessed us with prosperity and an abundance. 3T 89.3Read in context »
With Satan at their head to imbue them with his spirit, men may afflict God's people, they may cause pain to the body, they may take away their temporal life, but they cannot touch the life that is hid with Christ. We are not our own. Soul and body, we have been bought with the price paid on the cross of Calvary; and we are to remember that we are in the hands of Him who created us. Whatever Satan may inspire evil men to do, we are to rest in the assurance that we are under God's charge, and that by His Spirit He will strengthen us to endure.... TDG 371.3Read in context »
At the court of Pharaoh, Moses received the highest civil and military training. The monarch had determined to make his adopted grandson his successor on the throne, and the youth was educated for his high station. “And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds.” Acts 7:22. His ability as a military leader made him a favorite with the armies of Egypt, and he was generally regarded as a remarkable character. Satan had been defeated in his purpose. The very decree condemning the Hebrew children to death had been overruled by God for the training and education of the future leader of His people. PP 245.1
The elders of Israel were taught by angels that the time for their deliverance was near, and that Moses was the man whom God would employ to accomplish this work. Angels instructed Moses also that Jehovah had chosen him to break the bondage of His people. He, supposing that they were to obtain their freedom by force of arms, expected to lead the Hebrew host against the armies of Egypt, and having this in view, he guarded his affections, lest in his attachment to his foster mother or to Pharaoh he would not be free to do the will of God. PP 245.2
By the laws of Egypt all who occupied the throne of the Pharaohs must become members of the priestly caste; and Moses, as the heir apparent, was to be initiated into the mysteries of the national religion. This duty was committed to the priests. But while he was an ardent and untiring student, he could not be induced to participate in the worship of the gods. He was threatened with the loss of the crown, and warned that he would be disowned by the princess should he persist in his adherence to the Hebrew faith. But he was unshaken in his determination to render homage to none save the one God, the Maker of heaven and earth. He reasoned with priests and worshipers, showing the folly of their superstitious veneration of senseless objects. None could refute his arguments or change his purpose, yet for the time his firmness was tolerated on account of his high position and the favor with which he was regarded by both the king and the people. PP 245.3Read in context »
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; ... for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. Hebrews 11:24-26. UL 111.1Read in context »