Something Greater Than the Treasures of Egypt
Moses was privileged in many ways. He was given an upbringing in a wealthy household. He was chosen by God to lead his nation. He was given the power to perform miracles, and he wrote multiple books of the Bible. And yet, there are many things we can learn from his life and his choices, and apply to ourselves. Among the temptations he faced in Egypt, we'll focus on two that seem to be diametrically opposed, indulgence and activism.
When it comes to indulgence, Moses no doubt would've had such opportunities. Egyptian mythology often featured sexual immorality, and this undoubtedly was reflected in the people's lives. In the same way today, our modern mythologies such as movies, etc. often promote attitudes and practices that could weaken our morality. Moses also could've indulged in things like food and drink, especially living in the royal family. But how did Moses feel about the prospect of wasting his life selfishly? The apostle Paul was inspired to write Moses' inner feelings, in Hebrews chapter 11, starting in verse 24:
"By faith Moses, when grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharʹaoh’s daughter, choosing to be mistreated with the people of God rather than to have the temporary enjoyment of sin, because he considered the reproach of the Christ to be riches greater than the treasures of Egypt, for he looked intently toward the payment of the reward."
Paul, who wrote this, may have himself been encouraged by Moses. After all, Paul was educated and esteemed among his community, but he gave it all up like Moses did, considering it to be a lot of refuse, and we can remind ourselves of that when tempted.
But now what about the other end of the spectrum, activism. We might think, that's selfLESS, not selfish. Imagine a relatively young Moses seeing an Israelite being mistreated by an Egyptian. He kills the Egyptian and hides his body in the sand. The next day he sees two Israelites fighting and goes to break it up. While these actions do show that Moses' heart was in the right place, it wasn't Jehovah's time for it. Similarly today, we might get whipped up at seeing various perceived injustices taking place in the world. People who devote themselves to fighting these things are sometimes called Social Justice Warriors, moving from one campaign to the next but never feeling satisfied. Like young Moses, it may start from a place of good intentions, but all too often it involves ignorance of all the facts involved, coupled with impetuousness.
What did Moses need to do? He needed to grow up, and he did. He lived as a father and shepherd for decades until the Bible could honestly say that he was the meekest of all men. It's interesting that the Bible says at Acts 7:22 that "Moses was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians. In fact, he was powerful in his words and deeds". And yet, by this time, that didn't mean much to him anymore. He was only confident enough to go to Pharaoh when God promised to be with him and give him the words to say.
So isn't this a great reminder that God's spirit trumps everything. It's greater than any temptation, it's greater than any inclination, it's greater than any challenge. Yes, it's greater than all the riches of the world.