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.
“Again we held an evening meeting at Brother Farnsworth's. The Lord helped Brother Andrews that night, as he dwelt upon the subject of suffering for Christ's sake. The case of Moses was mentioned, who ‘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 the reward.’ Hebrews 11:24-26. LS 180.1
“Meeting commenced Monday at 10 A.M. Again the condition of the church was dwelt upon. With the most earnest entreaties we pleaded with them to be converted to God, and face right about. The Lord aided us in the work. Our morning meeting closed at three or four in the afternoon. All these hours we had been engaged, first one of us, then another, earnestly laboring for the unconverted youth. LS 180.2
“Tuesday evening I spoke an hour with great freedom. Brother Andrews talked in an earnest, touching manner. The Spirit of the Lord was in the meeting. Angels of God seemed drawing very near, driving back the evil angels. Minister and people wept like children. We felt that we had gained ground, and that the powers of darkness had given back. Our meeting closed well. LS 180.3Read in context »
In this work Moses was drawn nearer to the Chief Shepherd. He became closely united to the Holy One of Israel. No longer did he plan to do a great work. He sought to do faithfully as unto God the work committed to his charge. He recognized the presence of God in his surroundings. All nature spoke to him of the Unseen One. He knew God as a personal God, and, in meditating upon His character he grasped more and more fully the sense of His presence. He found refuge in the everlasting arms. MH 475.1
After this experience, Moses heard the call from heaven to exchange his shepherd's crook for the rod of authority; to leave his flock of sheep and take the leadership of Israel. The divine command found him self-distrustful, slow of speech, and timid. He was overwhelmed with a sense of his incapacity to be a mouthpiece for God. But he accepted the work, putting his whole trust in the Lord. The greatness of his mission called into exercise the best powers of his mind. God blessed his ready obedience, and he became eloquent, hopeful, self-possessed, fitted for the greatest work ever given to man. Of him it is written: “There hath not arisen a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom Jehovah knew face to face.” Deuteronomy 34:10, A.R.V. MH 475.2Read 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 »
In the deliverance of Israel from Egypt a knowledge of the power of God spread far and wide. The warlike people of the stronghold of Jericho trembled. “As soon as we had heard these things,” said Rahab, “our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for Jehovah your God, He is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.” Joshua 2:11. Centuries after the exodus the priests of the Philistines reminded their people of the plagues of Egypt, and warned them against resisting the God of Israel. PP 369.1
God called Israel, and blessed and exalted them, not that by obedience to His law they alone might receive His favor and become the exclusive recipients of His blessings, but in order to reveal Himself through them to all the inhabitants of the earth. It was for the accomplishment of this very purpose that He commanded them to keep themselves distinct from the idolatrous nations around them. PP 369.2
Idolatry and all the sins that followed in its train were abhorrent to God, and He commanded His people not to mingle with other nations, to “do after their works“, and forget God. He forbade their marriage with idolaters, lest their hearts should be led away from Him. It was just as necessary then as it is now that God's people should be pure, “unspotted from the world.” They must keep themselves free from its spirit, because it is opposed to truth and righteousness. But God did not intend that His people, in self-righteous exclusiveness, should shut themselves away from the world, so that they could have no influence upon it. PP 369.3
Like their Master, the followers of Christ in every age were to be the light of the world. The Saviour said, “A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house”—that is, in the world. And He adds, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16. This is just what Enoch, and Noah, Abraham, Joseph, and Moses did. It is just what God designed that His people Israel should do. PP 369.4Read in context »