By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king’s command. By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible. By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, lest he who destroyed the firstborn should touch them.” (Hebrews 11:23-28 NKJV).
Moses is one of the most recognized figures in the Bible. We know a great deal about him from the details we are provided in the Old Testament books of Exodus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. He is known as the deliverer of his people, the Israelites, from slavery.
Moses’ life is divided into three major sections of 40 years each. The first 40 years were spent in Pharaoh’s court; the second 40, in the desert of Midian; and the last 40, in the desert of Sinai. A number of steps were involved in Moses’ journey of faith.
First, Moses rejected his royal position: “By faith Moses, when he became of age [40 years old, Acts 7:23], refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter” (Heb. 11:24). This decision was an act of faith. He chose to leave his royal privileges in Egypt and identify with the Israelite slaves (Ex. 1:8–14).
Second, Moses chose “rather suffer affliction with the people of God” (Heb. 11:25). He viewed Israel not as slaves, but as God’s people. He knew the Lord had called him to be part of his people’s divine destiny and was willing to suffer affliction with them.
Third, Moses refused to “enjoy the passing pleasures of sin” (v. 25). His royal position offered him all the privileges, enjoyment and experiences of prestige and power that most men want. However, Moses shunned them all. For him to remain in Egypt’s court would have been the sin of disobedience because he knew God was calling him to a divine mission among the Israelites.
As the text says, sin is a “passing pleasure”; it provides only momentary satisfaction that is deceptive and fleeting (v. 26)—to be derided, laughed at, and persecuted for his choice.
Moses’ decision is put into perspective here: “esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt” (v. 26). To be willing to suffer for Christ whom he never saw but only read about was a great act of faith.
Moses considered what he had in the Messiah (Christ) to be “greater riches than the treasures in Egypt” (Heb. 11:26). Bible expositor Homer Kent wrote: “The wealth and opulence of the Eighteenth Dynasty is well known from the remains of tombs and temples. The fabulous treasures discovered in the tomb of Tutankhamen, a later pharaoh in this dynasty, speak eloquently of the luxuries available to royalty in Egypt.” Moses gave up great wealth for the greater wealth he had in Christ. He knew he would be rewarded for his faith, and “he looked to the reward” (v. 26). He did not look for earthly wealth and opulence but, rather, for spiritual wealth that was eternal and would be granted in the life to come. Moses’ choices and decisions made him a man of persevering faith.