The border control agent was just performing his assigned duties by asking the travelers why they were entering Canada. When he received a response, he asked in a mildly incredulous tone: “A Bible conference over Easter weekend?” He may have been able to think of many other more interesting or gratifying pursuits to fill up a holiday weekend than to spend it at a Bible conference.
Moses may have gotten more than just some incredulous questions or quizzical looks from his Egyptian “family” when at “forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren the children of Israel” (Acts 7:22-23). He had been “learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians”, and no doubt there was a bright future in store for him, for the “treasures of Egypt” were his by right, as the heir apparent of Pharaoh’s daughter. However, there was a catch, as we would say, to his claim on those treasures. Moses knew in his soul, given a conscience taught by the flickering light of the promise of God passed along to him by his godly parents, that he could not accept that heritage and enjoy what Egypt had to offer without sinning against the God who had promised Israel the land of Canaan, not Egypt. The pleasures of this sin would have lasted but for a season, for even given Moses’ 120-year life, he had been a great loser to have gained the whole world, while losing his soul (Matthew 16:26).
Egypt is for the Christian a picture or type of the world, and its treasures are without doubt a picture of all that the world has to offer. Much of what this world offers may seem pleasant or at least not too objectionable to the natural mind, but if these things are sought without reference to God, and with respect only to man’s natural desires, the treasures of Egypt will always take on the character of the pleasures of sin. It cannot be otherwise, for “all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world”, and we know that “the whole world lies in the wicked one” (I John 2:16; 5:19 JND translation). The “treasures of Egypt”, which must morph into the “pleasures of sin”¹, are being pursued by a large majority of men and women, old and young, in the developed world today.
But Moses forsook Egypt, and persevered in a course of faith, “as seeing Him who is invisible”.¹ His visitation of his brethren, his forsaking of Egypt and all it offered, and his choosing to suffer affliction and to bear the reproach of the Christ (the promised Messiah), all stemmed from his discovery of much greater riches, as he looked forward in time and to the resurrection of the just for his reward. We Christian believers have much more to enjoy of Christ now, as well as having “exceeding great and precious promises”² for the future – more than Moses ever foresaw or enjoyed while in the body. May we live in light of our position in Christ, enjoying the greatest riches God has ever made known to His creatures. The “unsearchable riches of Christ” are found in “the mystery of God, in which are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge”³.
Perhaps we could sum up these thoughts by quoting the 20th-century martyr, Jim Elliot: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”
¹ Hebrews 11:23-27 ² II Peter 1:4 ³ Ephesians 3:8; Colossians 2:2-3 (JND)