Hebrews 11:25
Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;
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(25) Choosing.—Better, having chosen. His act was an expression of his deliberate choice. He joined his people because it was “the people of God.” To stand aloof for the sake of ease and pleasure would for him have been apostasy from God (“sin,” comp. Hebrews 10:26). The faith of Moses had brought “conviction of the things not seen,” which “are eternal *; hence he looked not at “the things seen which are “for a season” (2Corinthians 4:18, where the same word is used).

11:20-31 Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, concerning things to come. Things present are not the best things; no man knoweth love or hatred by having them or wanting them. Jacob lived by faith, and he died by faith, and in faith. Though the grace of faith is of use always through our whole lives, it is especially so when we come to die. Faith has a great work to do at last, to help the believer to die to the Lord, so as to honour him, by patience, hope, and joy. Joseph was tried by temptations to sin, by persecution for keeping his integrity; and he was tried by honours and power in the court of Pharaoh, yet his faith carried him through. It is a great mercy to be free from wicked laws and edicts; but when we are not so, we must use all lawful means for our security. In this faith of Moses' parents there was a mixture of unbelief, but God was pleased to overlook it. Faith gives strength against the sinful, slavish fear of men; it sets God before the soul, shows the vanity of the creature, and that all must give way to the will and power of God. The pleasures of sin are, and will be, but short; they must end either in speedy repentance or in speedy ruin. The pleasures of this world are for the most part the pleasures of sin; they are always so when we cannot enjoy them without deserting God and his people. Suffering is to be chosen rather than sin; there being more evil in the least sin, than there can be in the greatest suffering. God's people are, and always have been, a reproached people. Christ accounts himself reproached in their reproaches; and thus they become greater riches than the treasures of the richest empire in the world. Moses made his choice when ripe for judgment and enjoyment, able to know what he did, and why he did it. It is needful for persons to be seriously religious; to despise the world, when most capable of relishing and enjoying it. Believers may and ought to have respect to the recompence of reward. By faith we may be fully sure of God's providence, and of his gracious and powerful presence with us. Such a sight of God will enable believers to keep on to the end, whatever they may meet in the way. It is not owing to our own righteousness, or best performances, that we are saved from the wrath of God; but to the blood of Christ, and his imputed righteousness. True faith makes sin bitter to the soul, even while it receives the pardon and atonement. All our spiritual privileges on earth, should quicken us in our way to heaven. The Lord will make even Babylon fall before the faith of his people, and when he has some great thing to do for them, he raises up great and strong faith in them. A true believer is desirous, not only to be in covenant with God, but in communion with the people of God; and is willing to fare as they fare. By her works Rahab declared herself to be just. That she was not justified by her works appears plainly; because the work she did was faulty in the manner, and not perfectly good, therefore it could not be answerable to the perfect justice or righteousness of God.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.

25. He balanced the best of the world with the worst of religion, and decidedly chose the latter. "Choosing" implies a deliberate resolution, not a hasty impulse. He was forty years old, a time when the judgment is matured.

for a season—If the world has "pleasure" (Greek, "enjoyment") to offer, it is but "for a season." If religion bring with it "affliction," it too is but for a season; whereas its "pleasures are for evermore."

Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God: the same faith influenced his will, the cause of his former renunciation; for being in the present fruition of all court favours, and under the offers of all worldly delights by Egypt, and of all worldly discontents by God, faith determined his choice, made him a fellow sufferer in all the oppressions, afflictions, persecutions of his natural brethren the people of God, the most privileged society in the world for hope, as the most exercised by trials for God’s sake: he knew there would be eternal rest and glory into which they would issue him, besides glorious effects they would have on his soul while he was enduring them; and that they were but passing, and would quickly have an end, Romans 8:18 2 Corinthians 4:17,18.

Then to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season: the same faith made him to reject the enticing pleasures of sin, which could not be avoided by his continuance in Pharaoh’s court, either in dissembling himself to be no Israelite, professing himself to be an Egyptian, taking part with them in their cruel carriage to his brethren, living after their vicious course in all manner of voluptuousness; and the pleasures which he was to enjoy were sinful, transitory, and momentaneous, neither satisfying nor enduring, and must be attended with a sting in the end of them, even eternal anguish and torment, whereas his afflictions would end in eternal joys and pleasures, Mark 9:43,44,47 Lu 16:25.

Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God,.... The Israelites, who were God's chosen and peculiar people, and were the true worshippers of him; Moses chose to be with those: the company and conversation of such is most eligible to every good man, because God is with them; his word and ordinances are with them; there are large provisions of grace in the midst of them; so that it is profitable, delightful, and honourable, to be among them, and is attended with comfort, peace, and satisfaction: but then those are a poor, and an afflicted people; affliction is with them, for the sake of God, and Christ, and the truths which they profess, and the worship and service they are engaged in; and their afflictions are many and grievous: and now Moses chose to suffer these with them, to suffer the same afflictions they did, and to sympathize with them: and this was more eligible to him,

than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season: meaning, either the pleasures, honours, and riches in Pharaoh's court, attended with sin; as indulging himself in the luxury of a court, when his brethren were in distress; approving Pharaoh's cruelty and persecution, at least conniving at it, and not opposing it, which could not be without sin; carrying himself as the son of Pharaoh's daughter, when he was an Hebrew; and preferring his own ease to the deliverance of his people; and now these, had he continued at court, would have been but for a short season: or else sinful lusts in general are intended, in which men promise themselves much pleasure, when it is only imaginary, and lasts but for a while neither; and both may be intended, and are what the Jews call (m) , "pleasures for a moment", or momentary ones. And the reasons which might induce Moses, and so every good man, to such a choice, may be taken partly from the nature of afflictions themselves, which are such that God has chosen for them, and appointed them unto, and which he gives them to suffer for his name, and which are an honour to them, and issue in their good, and in the glory of God; and partly from the nature of sinful pleasures; there is no solidity, nor satisfaction, in the best of worldly enjoyments; there can be no true pleasure in sin; there is always bitterness in the end, and it issues in death, if grace prevent not: now it was by faith Moses made this choice, for it is manifestly contrary to flesh and blood: it showed him to be a man thoroughly acquainted with the nature of sin; and that he looked beyond the things of sense and time, to those of eternity.

(m) Aben Ezra in Psal. xxiii. 4.

Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the {p} pleasures of sin for a season;

(p) Such pleasures as he could not enjoy, unless he provoked God's wrath against him.

Hebrews 11:25. Justificatory explanation of the ἠρνήσατο, Hebrews 11:24 : in that he preferred to suffer evil treatment with the people of God, in place of possessing a temporary sinful enjoyment.

μᾶλλον αἱρεῖσθαι ἤ] in Holy Scripture a ἅπαξ λεγόμενον; in profane literature, on the other hand, of very frequent occurrence. Instances in Wetstein.

The compound συγκακουχεῖσθαι only here; the simple form κακουχεῖσθαι alone (Hebrews 11:37; Hebrews 13:3) is found elsewhere.

τῷ λαῷ τοῦ θεοῦ] see at Hebrews 4:9.

πρόσκαιρον ἀπόλαυσιν] an enjoyment only temporary, of brief duration, sc. of the earthly joys of life. Contrast to the enjoyment of everlasting blessedness.

ἁμαρτίας] not genit. objecti (Theophylact, Schlichting, Stengel, al.), but genit. auct.: Enjoyment, such as (the committing of) sin affords. By ἁμαρτία is meant apostasy from God, by the abandoning of the communion with the people of God.

25. with the people of Cod] Hebrews 4:9.

the pleasures of sin for a season] The brevity of sinful enjoyment is alluded to in Job 20:5, “The triumphing of the wicked is short, and the joy of the hypocrite but for a moment.” The special sin would have been the very one to which the readers were tempted—apostasy.

Hebrews 11:25. Ἑλόμενος) Resolve it into, and he chose; but ἡγησάμενος, because he esteemed, Hebrews 11:26.—συγκακουχεῖσθαι, to suffer affliction with) The people had been oppressed. The antithesis is ἀπόλαυσιν, enjoyment.—πρόσκαιρον, for a season) It is opposed to faith expecting future things: it is therefore put emphatically before ἔχειν, to have.—ἁμαρτίας, of sin) in which he would have been involved in the court of Egypt, which was given to idolatry. At the same time the concrete, sinners, i.e. Egyptian sinners, is intended by the abstract. The antithesis is τοῦ Θεοῦ, of God.

Hebrews 11:25To suffer affliction with (συνκακουχεῖσθαι)

N.T.o , olxx, oClass. The verb κακουχεῖν to treat ill, Hebrews 11:37; Hebrews 13:3; lxx, 1 Kings 2:26; 1 Kings 11:39. Rend. "to be evil entreated."

Than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season (ἣ πρόσκαιρον ἔχειν ἁμαρτίας ἀπόλαυσιν)

Lit. than to have temporary enjoyment of sin. The emphasis is first on temporary and then on sin. For ἀπόλαυσις enjoyment, see on 1 Timothy 6:17. Πρόσκαιρος for a season, temporary, rare in N.T. olxx. Once in Paul, see 2 Corinthians 4:18.

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