“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 recompence of the reward.” (Hebrews 11:24–26, AV)
Most everyone sets goals for their lives. My goals as a young adult were to be famous, wealthy, and to enjoy all the pleasures that the world had to offer. So, I set off to pursue these goals. I went to college to get an engineering degree. Perhaps I could be a great engineer who would develop something that would make me rich. Then I sought a commission in the U.S. Army. I would become a four-star general of an army and then retire into politics where I would become a multi-millionaire. I would have fame and fortune. However, in this journey something changed. I attribute it to the gift of faith in Jesus (Eph 2:8-9). This changed everything.
In these verses, the author of Hebrews gives the example of Moses as one of the heroes of the faith. True faith moves a person to shift their priorities of life into a direction in total contrast to those of the world system. Moses was raised up in Pharaoh’s household. He had all the privileges of this high position. As being “called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter,” he was a prominent and important man in the nation of Egypt, a person to whom people would revere. He had the ability in this position to pursue any fleshly pleasure he desired, the “pleasures of sin.” Moreover, he would be fabulously wealthy in the world’s treasures.
Yet, with the privileges of his position in Pharaoh’s household, true faith moved Moses to forsake all of this. Moses refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, preferring to take on his identity as a Hebrew slave. As a result, instead of indulging in the pleasures of Egypt he chose to endure mistreatment just like the rest of God’s people. This meant that instead of great wealth, he would become poor just like them. Moses’ faith moved him to make decisions that would have seemed like absolute foolishness to everyone. He forsook what most everyone desires, prestige, wealth, and pleasure.
The author of Hebrews is showing that true faith moves a person to turn their back on their former ways to a new and more excellent way. He states that Moses gave this up to look forward to the heavenly reward. It was one that he could not see with his physical eyes, but could see through the eyes of faith and this changed everything. In the same way, the priorities of every believer changes upon true faith. Their life’s goals are no longer the same. No longer do they seek the system of this world, but they forsake it and seek God, His kingdom, and His righteousness.
Now for us, we must consider one other thing. While a true believer’s priorities do change when they come to faith, the old nature still wars against the Spirit (Gal 5:17). Thus, believers still struggle to consistently turn from the world system and walk by faith. Yet, as we mature, we will experience greater victory over these worldly passions and increasingly learn to walk by the Spirit and not the flesh (Gal 5:16).