This continues an article on Scriptural “accountants” begun by our brother in the last issue.
Moses, Hebrews 11:24-28
“Choosing rather to be evil entreated with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season: accounting the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt.” (Vs 25-26 R.V.). Moses had a threefold relationship in life: first he had his parents, then he was the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, and later he was among the people of God. He was born in Egypt at a very difficult time when a wicked Pharaoh had decreed that every Hebrew son born was to be cast into the river. After hiding him for 3 months, his mother put him in the ark of bulrushes and laid it in the flags by the river’s brink.
Exodus 2 describes how God overruled and Moses was raised by Pharaoh’s daughter. The time came when he made a choice and turned his back on the glories of Egypt and took his place among the people of God. He realized that the reproach of Christ was greater riches than the treasures of Egypt. Moses chose something much more durable. In Moses we see the importance of a true sense of values. We live our lives around our sense of values and go after those things which appeal to us. Moses the man of God (6 times referred to in this way) had his priorities straight and we do well to emulate him in this area of life. What was it that kept him going? It was his resource in seeing the unseen One. (Heb 11:27. Newberry).
Asaph, Psalm 73:3, 16-17
In Asaph we see the value of sanctuary experience. Prior to being in the sanctuary he was envious at the foolish (boastersNewberry) and at the prosperity of the wicked. He was taken up too much with the ungodly and too little with God, and this caused him much pain. The word “until” is very important. When he got into the sanctuary he saw things in their proper perspective. As he understood the end of the wicked, he was cured of his distorted way of thinking. The child of God has no need to envy “men of the world, which have their portion in this life” (Psalm 17:14). It has been said, “There are some people so poor all they have is money.” Paul wrote to Timothy, “Godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come” (1 Tim 4:8). Clearly, this life should be lived in view of the life that is to come.
There is a tremendous contrast between Asaph’s pre-sanctuary experience and the post-sanctuary one. Understanding the end of the wicked was very important to him and, we might add, just as important to every gospel preacher. Asaph sees himself as being upheld by God’s right hand (v 23), and receiving from Him guidance for the present and glory in the future (v 24). He said, “Whom have I in heaven but Thee? And there is none upon earth that I desire beside Thee.” He sees God as the strength of his heart, and his portion forever. His grand conclusion was, “It is good for me to draw near to God” (v 28). This was learned by experience as his spiritual focus was corrected. It is good for us all to keep close to God. Wandering away from Him is always a sad and costly business.
Paul, Acts 20:22-27
The Holy Spirit witnessed to Paul that his going to Jerusalem would be marked by bonds and afflictions. This did not deter him, for he said, “But none of these things I make account of (New-berry) neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy.” In this statement we see the importance of finishing well. Paul alludes to the Christian life as a race. The need for patient endurance is obvious. To the Galatians he wrote, “Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?” (5:7). How often we meet those who have known better days! Like Israel, they are away from the gathering center and the song is lacking (Psa 137:1-4).
Paul kept his body in subjection in order that he would not be disapproved (1 Cor 9:26).
Paul’s desire to finish well was realized (2 Tim 4:7), and looking back over life he had no regrets. He looked forward to the victor’s crown which the Lord the righteous Judge would give him (“as a recompense” Newberry). Unselfishly he exclaims, “Not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing.”
May we be enabled to learn lessons from these men of a former day. Like Abraham the friend of God to take God at His Word; like Moses the man of God to have a true sense of values; like Asaph to know sanctuary experience and like Paul to finish well.