Faith’s Choices

doors in line

Hebrews 11:24-25 “By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time.”

Moses was living the dream if you lived in 1450 B.C. He lived in a palace. He was a respected member of the royal family. He had money and servants. He drove a sporty luxury chariot. But faith led him to make some different choices.

Moses’ dream life allowed him easy access to sin. Wealth and position always do. Royal courts have long been known for their sexual license. Moving in royal circles also has a way of creating the illusion that you are wise and important and worthy of your every desire. It is okay if you step on the little people. It is okay if you take what you want. It is okay if you think you are a god. After all, you’re you.

Like all sins, the sin of pride can only be enjoyed for a time. Eventually somebody or something sticks a needle in that overinflated ego and lets out the air, even if it is death that must come along to show you how important and godlike you aren’t. But it’s fun while it lasts.

You and I aren’t royalty, as such, but if there is a downside to our high standard of living, it is also the easy access to sin, isn’t it? Pornography can be had in private and for free on the internet. If teens want to risk destroying mind, body, and life with drugs, they have more disposable income and more disposable time than any young people in history. You don’t have to be royalty to live in the delusion that you are so wise and important and worthy that you are practically a god. It’s a 21st Century epidemic.

These were not the choices Moses made. His faith-informed choice was mistreatment along with the people of God over sin. You know the history. God’s people, the children of Israel, had been forced into slavery. The Egyptians found them repulsive because they were shepherds. Maybe they smelled too much for the refined and civilized Egyptians. They weren’t as good as native Egyptians, so forcing them to labor and treating them like they were nobodies, barely human, seemed appropriate.

This was the life Moses chose–not the privileges of the royal court with its access to sinful fun, but to be denied basic human rights by associating himself with a persecuted minority. What was he thinking?

By faith, Moses could see who the real royalty were. These people who smelled like the sheep they took care of, who came home at the end of the day caked in mud and dust from their brick-making jobs–these people happened to be the sons and daughters that the King of kings and Lord of lords had claimed for himself.

Of themselves they were no better than the Egyptians. They had a strong stubborn streak. They lacked anything like courage. They were given to whining and complaining. Their ancestors could be flaky, mean, and conniving.

But purely by his grace, these were the people God made his own. They heard and believed his promises. They lived by the forgiveness of their sins. They were keepers of an ancient secret about a Savior who would come to make their relationship with God right and give them life that never ends. That’s where Moses wanted to be.

Don’t misunderstand the author of Hebrews. Moses wasn’t choosing to be something God hadn’t already made him. Moses wasn’t choosing to come to faith in the true God. That had already been given to him. Now that he had faith, he had some choices to make. And with God’s help Moses’ choices were informed by faith.

I am writing to people who also have choices to make. You and I face those choices every day. I’m not talking about becoming believers. If you are reading this, God has likely given you that already. “By faith Moses…” made his choice. By faith, you can, too. You can stick with the people of God, the people who are forgiven, the people who know his grace. You can be the precious and dear child God has claimed for himself.

And then you can lose your job or be denied promotion because you won’t lie for your manager. You can sit alone in the school cafeteria because you wouldn’t back down on the truth that Jesus is the only way to heaven, or sex before marriage is wrong, or God created the world. You can make faith-informed choices and accept the mistreatment that comes when you refuse to sin.

But you are still one of God’s people, and nothing, not even royalty, can be better than that.

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