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From “Light and Truth: Bible Thoughts and Themes” by Horatius Bonar

The Better Choice Of Moses.

“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; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward.”- Heb_11:24-26.

Moses had everything to bind him to Egypt, to Pharaoh, to Pharaoh’s house: ties of silk, chains of gold; natural affection, gratitude, learning, pleasure, love of ease, pomp, splendor, riches; everything that the flesh desires, that the intellect covets, and that the world contains. For what was there of worldly glory, pleasure, learning, pomp, and power, that were not to be found in Egypt?

Yet he broke every tie; he came out; he separated himself; he ceased to touch the unclean thing; he flung aside the riches of Egypt, and trampled on the crown of Pharaoh.

What prompted this severance? Was he a disappointed man? Had his life been a failure? Had Egypt used him coldly? Was there no prospect of rising in it? Had its pleasures run dry, or its riches failed? No, these were not his reasons. But he had met with something better than all these. It was this which disentangled his feet, and which broke the bonds.

Yet that which had come across his path was not a new thing. As an Israelite he had known it long, but now his eyes had been opened to see it aright. Nor was it a noble thing or honourable in the eyes of men. It was known as a reproach, a matter of scorn. It is called the reproach of Christ, or the reproach attaching to all who held Israel’s hope of a coming Messiah. This hope was a mockery and derision to all in Egypt. Yet it was this decided hope which Moses took hold of, ‘preferring it to all the treasures of Egypt.’ This was, if not Moses’ conversion, at least the turning point in his life, when he was compelled to make an open choice. We know not what the occasion was, but it brought matters to a crisis. It compelled him to decide for Jehovah or for Osiris, for Christ or for the false worship of the Egyptian temples. It was faith that led him, and enabled him to make the choice; faith that saw through the falsehoods of heathen idolatry, and the vanities of human pleasure and learning; faith that saw the realities of divine truth and joy as centered in Him who, even when seen afar off, was the way, and the truth, and the life. What then does faith accomplish for us? and how? and when?

As to the when, we may answer, the moment that it comes into action by the power of the Holy Ghost. In its state of death or dormancy it effects nothing, whatever its words or professions may be. Has the when in your life come yet, O man? Or is it still a futurity, an uncertainty? When art thou to believe and to act upon what thou believest?

As to the how, we answer, it is the substance of things hoped for. It operates by giving to the future its proper magnitude, to the present its proper littleness; to the heavenly things their true fullness, to the earthly their true emptiness. It sets all things on their right basis, and represents everything in its true proportions. As to the what the answers are endless. What is there that faith cannot do? But the special thing noted in our text is Moses’ change of choice and estimate.

I. His change of choice-He chooses affliction and oppression, degradation and hardship. He chooses them deliberately, joyfully, and not by compulsion. He chooses his company, ‘the people of God,’ as distinguished from Egypt and from earth. With them he casts in his lot for better or for worse. In making this choice he rejects what the world calls pleasure,-the pleasures,-the short lived pleasures of sin. They are worthless and unenduring, as well as evil. He had once chosen them, now he chooses them not.

II. His change of estimate.-‘Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches.’ Faith alters the value of everything to us. That value in itself is incapable of change; but to us it is altered. What we once esteemed we esteem no more; what we disesteemed we now prize, and honour, and love. Faith applies new tests to everything, and finds dross in what we counted gold, and gold in what we counted dross. It changes our estimate, (1) Of sin; (2) of self; (3) of righteousness; (4) of Scripture; (5) of God; (6)of Christ; (7) of earth; (8) of heaven. The aspect of all these things is altered to us. They are not what they were to us, and we are not what we were to them.

Or, to use another figure, faith is the great unveiler. It takes off the mask, or veil, or covering from every object, and shows them to us as they are. There are two kinds of veils or masks on everything here,- bright and dark. The former hides deformity, and makes objects appear fairer than they are; the latter hides beauty, and makes objects appear uncomely. Faith removes both of these. It takes off the bright veil, (1) from earthly pleasure; (2) from worldly riches; (3) from human learning; (4)royal glory. It shows us the dark interior,-the hollowness of all these. It does not misrepresent them or belie them, but simply removes the unreal attractions which deceived and misled us. It does not underestimate, yet it does not over-estimate. It takes off the dark veil, (1) from Christ, and shows Him to us as altogether lovely; (2) from holiness, and shows us what a blessed thing it is to be holy; (3) from the kingdom to come, and shows us what a recompense of reward it is; (4) from the Church of God, showing us what a glory belongs to her, though it doth not now appear what she shall be; (5) from reproach and affliction, showing us how good it is to be afflicted, how honourable to be reproached for Christ, and as He was.

Thus faith works. It does wonders in us, and for us, and through us. It separates us from the world. It brings us out, of the haunts of vanity; it leads us out of the ballroom, and the theatre, and the gay party; it shows us better riches, better pleasures, and brighter glory than the world contains.

 

 

From “Evening Thoughts” by Winslow

“Therefore I love your commandments above gold; yes, above fine gold. Therefore I esteem all your precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way.” Psa_119:127; Psa_119:128

To the true believer there is glory, harmony, and excellence in spiritual truth. Every part to Him is precious-no portion undervalued. In whatever form it presents itself, whether doctrinal or preceptive-with whatever tone it speaks, whether it rebukes or comforts, admonishes or cheers, he welcomes it as God’s own eternal truth, more precious to him than gold, yes, than much fine gold. In His eye it is a perfect system; dismember it of any one part, and you mar its beauty. It is a sovereign panacea; take out of it any single ingredient, and you impair its efficacy. He must have it with no doctrine dissevered, with no precept diluted, with no institution perverted. He can consent to no compromise; he has bought the truth, and the truth he cannot sell. Not only does he feel bound to watch it with a jealous and vigilant eye, because it is God’s own truth, but he loves it for its perfect adaptation to his own case. It has disclosed to him his sinfulness, and has revealed to him a “fountain open for sin.” It has led him in his ruin, helplessness, poverty, and condemnation, to the cross, and there introduced him to a Savior all- sufficient and willing to repair that ruin, assist that helplessness, enrich that poverty, and remove that condemnation. Is it any marvel that to such an individual God’s revealed truth should be precious? that he should guard it vigilantly, and love it ardently?

This leads us to revert to the close and important yet much forgotten connection which exists between a clear, spiritual perception of God’s truth, and a holy, humble, and close walk with God. The two can never be separated. A distant and careless walk not only veils the mind to the glory of the truth, but hardens the heart to the power of the truth. The world in the heart, guilt upon the conscience, and unmortified sin in the life, have a fearful and certain tendency to petrify the moral sensibilities, and render powerless the sword of the Spirit. Let not such a professor of Christ wonder that appeals the most thrilling, truths the most solemn, and motives the most persuasive, all, all are disarmed of their force in his case. Let him not be amazed that, with an enlightened judgment, and a scriptural creed, and a spotless orthodoxy, he knows nothing of the holy spiritual actings of the life of God in the soul; and that he does but hang a lifeless, sapless, withered branch upon the vine, ready to be removed at the husbandman’s bidding. Let him not be astonished that there is no close and fervid fellowship with the Father and His dear Son Christ Jesus-that his prayers are cold and formal, the habitual frame of his mind earthly and sensual-and that all taste and desire for the “communion of saints,” and for a spiritual searching ministry, should have become extinct in his soul-this is no marvel. The greater wonder would be if it were otherwise; that if, while living in a state of distance from God-the ordinances neglected, and sin unmortified-the Father and the Son should yet draw near and manifest themselves, and so make known that secret which peculiarly belongs to those that fear Him. But oh, to have Christ in the heart!-this, this is the truth of God experienced. Call you it enthusiasm? Blessed enthusiasm!-we exult in it, we glory in it. Let the formalist, let the man of notional religion, let the mere professor, call it what he may, deride it as he will; we admire the grace, and adore the love, and extol the power, which has formed “Christ within us the hope of glory.” Reader, be satisfied with nothing short of this.