“He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward” (Heb. 11:26). The writer of Hebrews equates the maltreatment of God’s people with the reproach of Christ. To suffer with God’s people is to suffer the reproach of Christ. Thus, by choosing to suffer with God’s people, Moses chose to suffer the reproach of Christ.
In Acts 9, Saul was persecuting and killing Christ’s followers. Then on the road to Damascus, Christ told Saul, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me” (Acts 9:4). To maltreat God’s people is to maltreat Christ. The maltreatment of God’s people is the reproach of Christ.
The word “reproach” (oneidismos) means “unjustifiable verbal abuse inflicted by others insult, reproach, reviling.” (Friberg) It comes from the verb oneidizo—to insult. (Louw-Nida) Thus, the chief priests insulted Jesus on the cross. “‘Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.’ Those who were crucified with him also reviled [oneidizo] him” (Mk. 15:32, emphasis added). The writer of Hebrews applied the same word to suffering believers. “But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach [oneidizo] and affliction” (Heb. 10:32-33, emphasis added).
Have you received the insult of people because of Christ? Jesus did. He experienced the insult of people. When you follow Christ, expect people to insult you. Jesus said, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you” (John 15:18). Expect to suffer for Christ. Paul said we are called not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake (Phil. 1:29). That is the reproach of Christ.
Now Moses counted suffering with God’s people, suffering the reproach of Christ, as “greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt.” Why did Moses think like that? The reason is in that “he was looking to the reward.” The verb “looking” comes from the word apoblepo which means, “strictly look away from all else to one single object; hence carefully think about, concentrate on, pay attention to (HE 11.26).” (Friberg) Moses was looking away from Egypt and looking to the reward. He was fixing his eyes on this reward. He did not allow the treasures of Egypt to distract him. That is how Moses looked to the reward.
Now the verb “looking” is an imperfect tense. The imperfect tense in the Greek is continuing action in past time. It speaks of repeated action in the past. Moses kept on looking at the reward. He continually fixed his eyes on the reward of God.
The “reward” is God’s reward. It is a reward from God, not from man. God’s reward is a future reward. It is a reward to be received in the future, not in the present. It is a heavenly reward. It is a reward to be given in the city of God, not in the city of man.
Moses was looking forward to receiving God’s future reward. That is why he counted suffering with God’s people—the reproach of Christ—as greater wealth than the wealth of Egypt.
That is an attitude of faith. Faith is willing to suffer for Christ. While suffering for Christ, faith looks forward to receiving God’s future reward. Faith keeps on looking to God’s reward, not allowing the world’s reward to distract it. Faith fixes one’s eyes to God’s reward, not the world’s reward. Faith looks at God’s future reward as greater than the present wealth of this world.