By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter;…
I. WHAT DID THAT IMPORTANT CHOICE INVOLVE? HOW MUCH OF SACRIFICE AND OF SELF-RENUNCIATION?
1. Rank and royalty he thereby renounced the highest honour and the greatest power that earth can give — the very prizes for which men toil most zealously and pay most largely.
2. This decision also involved the renunciation of temporal riches. Let any man measure, if he can, the influence which the desire for a competency of worldly good has upon himself, and he may better judge how strong was the power of Egypt's incalculable wealth, which failed to swerve Moses from his holy purpose.
3. And there, too, were the pleasures of a life amid courtly splendours, which he voluntarily renounced. Within his reach were all the sensual enjoyments that the mind could devise or the heart desire. He could have lived in an atmosphere of earthly pleasure, breathing the perfume of sweetest flowers of delight, feasting the eye with all forms of beauty, regaling the senses with every carnal joy. All honour to Moses, then, for his signal victory over this fair-visaged and subtle foe, who has taken captive so many of earth's fairest sons, and led them by the silken bonds of a willing captivity to the bitter wages of death! And all honour and certain reward to every youth who, like Moses, will spurn the sinful pleasure, and choose the higher though hidden good! But in that choice was involved more than the renunciation of all these forms of worldly good.
4. With him, to reject them was to accept their opposites; and not less lustre is shed upon that decision by what he accepted than by what he renounced. Think of that race of bondmen whom henceforth he was to call his brethren: taking his place by their side, and sharing the reproach which belonged to them. There, too, were the envy and ill-will of this very people he sought to benefit. They would not understand him. They were sure to misinterpret his good intentions. All this he must have foreseen. And not only was there the dishonour of becoming the companion of these degraded Hebrews; he accepted also the "reproach' which attached to the worship of their God and faith in their promised Messiah. His former associates among the lords and princes, the priests and the philosophers of Egypt would look upon him with contempt for adopting a religion so despised in their eyes. Think of this, O youth of this Christian land, where the true God is honoured and worshipped by the learned and the great, and the religion Christ is admitted to be the one hope of humanity 1 And yet, you, perchance, hesitate to adopt this revered faith, to choose this infinite good, through cowardly fear of a few godless associates. Look on this princely reared son of fortune, turning away from rank and wealth, from honour and pleasure, from friends and genial pursuits, to humiliation and poverty, to dishonour and reproach, to uncongenial associates and the curses of those He would bless; and summon your fainting heart to a like worthy choice. Moses places on the scales of decision, on the one side the world's best, on the other religion's worst, and with deliberate judgment chooses the latter; "affliction with the people of God," "the reproach of Christ," outweighing a throne with its dazzling honours, the wealth of a proud monarchy, and the pleasures of a royal palace.
II. Turn we now to consider UPON WHAT PRINCIPLE AND BY WHAT INSPIRING MOTIVE SUCH A CHOICE WAS MADE. And here we are left in no doubt. The apostle solves the problem for us: "By faith," etc. Standing on that summit of observation he looked not alone with the eye of sense upon the inviting scene before him, but with the clear and penetrating eye of faith he surveyed the whole prospect. And when you look upon earth's most entrancing scenes with the eye of a clear-visioned faith, their beauty fades, their glory pales, their wealth vanishes, their pleasure dies. He saw thus that all this fair-promising good was more seeming than real — a tinseled glory that would not withstand the corroding atmosphere of adversity and death — pleasing to the" sense but not satisfying to the heart. He saw by faith, also, that all this glitter and glamour of earthly treasures were but " for a season" — a flower of earth that blooms to-day and fades to-morrow; a summer's day that wanes and darkens into deepest night; a song of tremulous joy that ends in a wail of despair; a transitory pleasure that while it might make life agreeable would make a death-bed terrible. Moses' faith in God also gave him the assurance that the promises concerning His people Israel should be fulfilled; that however degraded they were then, they should be exalted, and a Delivering Hand should wrest them from the oppressor's grasp. Faith brought to his view far more than the natural eye could compass. It was to him "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Go forth, and look with naked eye over the limited field presented to your view, bounded by the sensible horizon, and the seemingly not-distant arch of heaven shutting down upon it. Now place the telescope to your eye, and lo! the field of vision is enlarged, and distant worlds appear. Faith is such a telescope, and through this Moses looked. And what did he see? Fields more fair and fruitful than the fertile valley of the Nile; the river of life surpassing far the sacred stream of Egypt; riches infinitely transcending Egypt's garnered treasures; a crown more effulgent than that of the Pharaohs; a palace whose splendour outdazzled that of the magnificent City of the Sun. There is but one way to conquer this world — and it must be conquered, or it will conquer you — and that way is to look from this, through the telescope of faith, to the other world. "This is the victory that overcometh the world, even your faith." If you would be a winner in the life-race, you must do as Moses did — take in the whole and not a part of life, sacrifice the present for the future, pleasure for principle, gold for godliness, wealth for worth, reputation for character, the blossoms of immediate promise for the golden fruits of the eternal years.
III. THE REWARD OF HIS ILLUSTRIOUS CHOICE. He was rewarded by being called to a mission of most distinguished service and resplendent honour. He became the leader and deliverer of God's chosen people — a lawgiver in comparison with whom the names of Solon and Lycurgus lose their brightness; an author of the most illustrious books the world has ever read; a prophet with a shining record of glory; a hero whose fame has filled the earth. The honour that he renounced was but "for season"; the honour that he gained is lasting as the years of God.
(C. H. Payne, . D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter;