The reproach of Christ - The Christ or Messiah had been revealed to Moses; of him he prophesied, Deuteronomy 18:15; and the reproach which God's people had, in consequence of their decided opposition to idolatry, may be termed the reproach of Christ, for they refused to become one people with the Egyptians, because the promise of the rest was made to them, and in this rest Christ and his salvation were included: but, although it does not appear these things were known to the Hebrews at large, yet it is evident that there were sufficient intimations given to Moses concerning the Great Deliverer, (of whom himself was a type), that determined his conduct in the above respect; as he folly understood that he must renounce his interest in the promises, and in the life eternal to which they led, if he did not obey the Divine call in the present instance. Many have been stumbled by the word ὁ Χριστος, Christ, here; because they cannot see how Moses should have any knowledge of him. It may be said that it was just as easy for God Almighty to reveal Christ to Moses, as it was for him to reveal him to Isaiah, or to the shepherds, or to John Baptist; or to manifest him in the flesh. After all there is much reason to believe that, by του Χριστου, here, of Christ or the anointed, the apostle means the whole body of the Israelitish or Hebrew people; for, as the word signifies the anointed, and anointing was a consecration to God, to serve him in some particular office, as prophet, priest, king, or the like, all the Hebrew people were considered thus anointed or consecrated; and it is worthy of remark that Χριστος is used in this very sense by the Septuagint, 1 Samuel 2:35; Psalm 105:15; and Habakkuk 3:13; where the word is necessarily restrained to this meaning.
He had respect unto the recompense - Απεβλεπε· He looked attentively to it; his eyes were constantly directed to it. This is the import of the original word; and the whole conduct of Moses was an illustration of it.
Esteeming the reproach of Christ - Margin, “For;” that is, on account of Christ. This means either that he was willing to bear the reproaches incident to his belief that the Messiah would come, and that he gave up his fair prospects in Egypt with that expectation; or that he endured such reproaches as Christ suffered; or the apostle uses the expression as a sort of technical phrase, well understood in his time, to denote sufferings endured in the cause of religion. Christians at that time would naturally describe all sufferings on account of religion as endured in the cause of Christ; and Paul, therefore, may have used this phrase to denote sufferings in the cause of religion - meaning that Moses suffered what, when the apostle wrote, would be called “the reproaches of Christ.” It is not easy, or perhaps possible, to determine which of these interpretations is the correct one, The most respectable names may be adduced in favour of each, and every reader must be left to adopt his own view of what is correct. The original will admit of either of them. The general idea is, that he would be reproached for the course which he pursued. He could not expect to leave the splendours of a court and undertake what he did, without subjecting himself to trials. He would be blamed by the Egyptians for his interference in freeing their “slaves,” and in bringing so many calamities upon their country; and he would be exposed to ridicule for his folly in leaving his brilliant prospects at court, to become identified with an oppressed and despised people. It is rare that men are zealous in doing good without exposing themselves both to blame and to ridicule.
Greater riches - Worth more; of greater value. Reproach itself is not desirable; but reproach, when a man receives it in an effort to do good to others, is worth more to him than gold, 1 Peter 4:13-14. The scars which an old soldier has received in the defense of his country are more valued by him than his pension; and the reproach which a good man receives in endeavoring to save others is a subject of greater joy to him than would be all the wealth which could be gained in a life of sin.
Than the treasures in Egypt - It is implied here, that Moses had a prospect of inheriting large treasures in Egypt, and that he voluntarily gave them up to be the means of delivering his nation from bondage. Egypt abounded in wealth; and the adopted son of the daughter of the king would naturally be heir to a great estate.
For he had respect unto the recompense of the reward - The “recompense of the reward” here referred to must mean the blessedness of heaven - for he had no earthly reward to look to. He had no prospect of pleasure, or wealth, or honor, in his undertaking. If he had sought these, so far as human sagacity could foresee, he would have remained at the court of Pharaoh. The declaration here proves that it is right to have respect to the rewards of heaven in serving God. It does not prove that this was the only or the main motive which induced Moses to abandon his prospects at court; nor does it prove that this should be our main or only motive in leading a life of piety. If it were, our religion would be mere selfishness. But it is right that we should desire the rewards and joys of heaven, and that we should allow the prospect of those rewards and joys to influence us as a motive to do our duty to God, and to sustain us in our trials; compare Philemon 3:8-11, Philemon 3:13-14.
The Lord desires us to rest in Him without a question as to our measure of reward. When Christ abides in the soul, the thought of reward is not uppermost. This is not the motive that actuates our service. It is true that in a subordinate sense we should have respect to the recompense of reward. God desires us to appreciate His promised blessings. But He would not have us eager for rewards nor feel that for every duty we must receive compensation. We should not be so anxious to gain the reward as to do what is right, irrespective of all gain. Love to God and to our fellow men should be our motive. COL 398.1
This parable does not excuse those who hear the first call to labor but who neglect to enter the Lord's vineyard. When the householder went to the market place at the eleventh hour and found men unemployed he said, “Why stand ye here all the day idle?” The answer was, “Because no man hath hired us.” None of those called later in the day were there in the morning. They had not refused the call. Those who refuse and afterward repent, do well to repent; but it is not safe to trifle with the first call of mercy. COL 399.1
When the laborers in the vineyard received “every man a penny,” those who had begun work early in the day were offended. Had they not worked for twelve hours? they reasoned, and was it not right that they should receive more than those who had worked for only one hour in the cooler part of the day? “These last have wrought but one hour,” they said, “and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day.” COL 399.2Read in context »
Day by day we may be laying up a good foundation against the time to come. By self-denial, by the exercise of the missionary spirit, by crowding all the good works possible into our life, by seeking so to represent Christ in character that we shall win many souls to the truth, we shall have respect unto the recompense of reward. It rests with us to walk in the light, to make the most of every opportunity and privilege, to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, and so we shall work the works of Christ, and ensure for ourselves treasure in the heavens (The Review and Herald, January 29, 1895). 6BC 1105.1
7. Giving Grudgingly Mocks God—It were better not to give at all than to give grudgingly; for if we impart of our means when we have not the spirit to give freely, we mock God. Let us bear in mind that we are dealing with One upon whom we depend for every blessing, One who reads every thought of the heart, every purpose of the mind (The Review and Herald, May 15, 1900). 6BC 1105.2Read in context »
It was incomprehensible to the selfish soul of Satan that there could exist benevolence and love for the deceived race so great as to induce the Prince of heaven to leave His home and come to a world marred with sin and seared with the curse. He had knowledge of the inestimable value of eternal riches that man had not. He had experienced the pure contentment, the peace, exalted holiness, and unalloyed joys of the heavenly abode. He had realized, before his rebellion, the satisfaction of the full approval of God. He had once a full appreciation of the glory that enshrouded the Father, and knew that there was no limit to His power. Con 30.1Read in context »