The life story of Moses is fascinating. Born 1400 years before Christ, the infant Moses was placed in a basket of bulrushes by his Hebrew parents and set afloat down the Nile River. The Pharaoh of Egypt had ordered all Hebrew boys killed to cease the growth of the Hebrew nation. Moses' parents had sent their son down the Nile to escape certain death. When Pharaoh's own daughter found Moses' ark floating in river, she took the Hebrew baby boy home and raised him as her own son. Most people know that Moses became the leader of the Hebrew people in their eventual exodus from Egypt to the promised land of Canaan, but few comprehend the privileged and plush childhood and teenage years of Moses. The writer of Hebrews says, "By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt." (Hebrews 11:24-26). What were the treasures of Egypt?
As the adopted son of Pharaoh's daugher, Moses would have been considered a noble of Pharaoh's court. To understand the treasures of Egypt and the riches of Egyptian nobility, one need to look no further than the wealth of the Egyptian King Tut. The Pharaoh called Tutankhamun reigned over Egypt a couple of hundred years after Moses. King Tut died when he was only eighteen, and his abbreviated reign came in the declining days of Egypt’s glory. Moses' adoptive grandfather, Pharaoh Ramses, would have been far richer than King Tut. Explorer Howard Carter, the discoverer of King Tut's tomb, describes his initial view into the ante-chamber (just outside the burial room) which housed many of Tut’s treasures:
[A]s my eyes grew accustomed to the light, details of the room within emerged slowly from the mist, strange animals, statues, and gold—everywhere the glint of gold (Rapport and Wright 1964, 195).
Carter was the first man in thousands of years to lay his eyes on some of the treasures of Egypt in Tut's tomb. There were over 5,000 articles of pure gold, including "golden beds, gold-covered chariots, carved walking sticks and bows with inlaid gold, and a throne, encrusted with gold, silver and jewels." In the Pharaoh's chamber, there were three coffins fashioned in Tut's likeness. The innermost sarcaphogas was solid gold and over six feet long. In addition, there were six small gold coffins (fifteen inches high) containing Tut’s internal organs. Each small coffin, if melted down today for the gold, would be worth over $500,000.
The death mask (pictured above left) weighed twenty-three pounds and was made of gold and inlaid with semiprecious stones; it covered the head and shoulders of the mummy. The mask was fashioned by goldsmiths just after Tut died, and it respresents how Tut looked when he died. The 5,000 articles in Tut's tomb illustrate the ancient Egyptian saying that in Egypt, “gold is as common as dust.”
Prof. E. M. Blaiklock writes of these vast treasures:
If the tomb of a boy king could produce the beauty, wealth, and art which has so astounded the world, what must the palace of really great pharaohs such as Ramses II have been like? (1983, 459).Indeed. Further, the writer of Hebrews said that Moses turned his back on the riches of Pharaoh Ramses' court "for the reproach of Christ." Contrary to what many Christians think, Old Testament saints were very familiar with the Messiah. The sacrifices typified Him, the prophets proclaimed Him, and people of faith believed in Him. Moses deemed it more important to turn his back on the treasures of Egypt, experiencing the scorn and ridicule of his Egyption peers because he became a follower of the Messiah and believed in blood atonement, than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin.
Next time you get too caught up or bent out of shape over the politics and economics of America, ask yourself if you have helped others experience and enjoy the far more important Kingdom of Christ and His reign in our lives!