Summary: When, in hope, we choose to endure suffering with the people of God over the fleeting pleasures of sin, we choose well, because God is with those who suffer.
Title: Where is God?
Invocation: Psalm 13
Responsive Reading: Romans 8:12-25
Text: Hebrews 11:23-28
3By faith Moses was hidden by his parents for three months after his birth, because they saw that the child was beautiful; and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. 24By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called a son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25choosing rather to share ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26He considered abuse suffered for the Christ to be greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to the reward. 27By faith he left Egypt, unafraid of the king’s anger; for he persevered as though he saw him who is invisible. 28By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.
FCF: When, in hope, we choose to endure suffering with the people of God over the fleeting pleasures of sin, we choose well, because God is with those who suffer.
Let’s face it, when you think of Moses, you see Charleton Heston. You’ve all seen The Ten Commandments, and you know how forthright, how perfect he is – muscles rippling, every syllable a pronouncement from God, no thought of wavering when he knows what’s right. The problem with that, of course, is that the Ten Commandments is a movie, and Moses was a real live person. He wasn’t the perfect young Adonis – he was an older man who was afraid, who had faults, and one who talk back to God. So, if that’s who Moses really is, sometimes questions come to mind.
Remember, this was a guy who was born in the lap of luxury. But, for some reason that makes no sense to us mere mortals, he chose to give that up. Moses risked a whole lot by choosing to do what God told him, and frankly he suffered for the rest of his life because of it. Forty years of living as a shepherd; forty years wandering in the wilderness with a cantankerous, rebellious people; And, when it came time for Moses to die, God wouldn’t even let him into the Promised Land. He could only see it from a mountaintop over the valley. Moses suffered a long time, and from a purely human perspective, it doesn’t seem like he got a lot out of it.
As somebody who believes that you get what you deserve, that raises a lot of questions for me. Hebrews phrases it best, right here. What would compel anyone to choose suffering for Christ over enjoying the pleasures of the world? I mean, it doesn’t make sense. Given a choice between living in a palace or tent, I know which one I’d do. Given a choice between having servants and being one, I know what I’d do. But the eyes of faith show us that what seems perfectly rational to the hardened heart misses out on the way the world really works. It’s a perfectly valid question – Why not live in sin? Why would you choose suffering? Giving the right answer means a lot more than just getting some point of theology nicely and neatly tied up – it gets to the very nature of God.
So, this morning, I want to pose four questions to you. The first one is this:
I. Why do we choose sin in the first place?
a. I asked my Sunday School class this question once. Probably because it was Sunday school, nobody was willing to answer “Because sin is fun!”
b. In the extreme cases, like alcoholism & drugs, we are so quick to see the trap that its easy to forget, the thing that trapped the person in the first case was pleasure!
c. In Greek, sin is ha’amartia – missing the mark. Anything that falls short of God is sin.
d. Normally, we wouldn’t think of ‘working hard’ as a sin, but I have to tell you it can be. My job at PwC was something I enjoyed at the time – but it cost me a lot. It was a cutthroat place where money was the only motivation. When I wouldn’t overcharge clients, I was accused of not being a team player. But there was always that motivation – I could become partner someday. I finally quit / was fired, and that’s when my life got so much better. I had been suckered by a better than average wage, not seeing what it was doing to my overall life! When I finally escaped that trap, God blessed me so much more!
e. Problem: Sin always seems fun, but there’s usually a trap. “There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end thereof is death!” (Prov 14:12) Again, in the easy cases – alcoholism, drugs, anyone can see it. In the harder cases – working too hard, missing out on God’s grace, it’s a lot harder!