BETTER OFFER by Dr. Abidan Shah, Clearview Church, Henderson, NC
Introduction: As many of you know, Nicole and I were on a tour of Egypt over the past couple of weeks. It was something that we had been planning and praying about for a long time. Personally, I had been planning on it ever since as a little boy I would spend hours reading the old and new issues of the National Geographic magazine, especially the ones on Ancient Egypt. I would dream of one day standing before the pyramids. Sometime back, the right opportunity came up through the right connections, and we were able not only to stand before the pyramids but even go inside of them. In fact, we were able to go places and film that are not available to regular tourists. Over the weeks and months ahead, we are planning on sharing the wealth of information we were able to bring back. All this is important because Ancient Egypt had such a prominent role to play in the Bible, especially in the Old Testament but also in the New. As a matter of fact, we cannot understand World History without understanding Ancient Egypt. Some of you may ask, “Does history matter? Shouldn’t we just focus on the future?” Trying to face the future without understanding the past is like a tree trying to grow without roots. In today’s message, we will focus on a man named Moses who was next in line to rule Egypt, but he chose a BETTER OFFER from God. Main point: The world offers us a life of pleasures, riches, and security but without God. God makes us a better offer. It’s a life that may come with affliction and reproach, but it brings greater riches than anything that the world can ever offer. It’s a life that has encountered the invisible Christ.
Hebrews 11 24 By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, 26 esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward. 27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible.
Context: Ever since Napoleon Bonaparte’s campaign in Egypt in the 1790s and the discovery of King Tut’s tomb in 1922, modern people have been fascinated with Ancient Egypt – pyramids and sphinxes, royal tombs filled with gold, hieroglyphs and beautiful statues and temples. But, fascination with Egypt began thousands of years ago. In Genesis 13, we read about a strife between the herdsmen of Abraham and Lot for the pasture lands. So, Abraham made an offer to Lot to pick the land he wanted. If he went to the left, he would go to the right. If he went to the right, he would go to the left. Listen to Lot’s response in verse 10 “And Lot lifted his eyes and saw all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere (before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah) like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt as you go toward Zoar.” Many people don’t realize that Egypt is the biggest oasis in the biggest desert in the world. It is fed by the Nile River (“Travel Through Egypt” by Clive and Amanda Anderson is an excellent resource). The Greek historian Hecataeus called Egypt “the gift of the Nile.” The satellite image shows this beautiful pearl string with greenery on both sides. The Nile deposits rich silt on both sides which is perfect for growing crops. Some places the fertile land is only 1 mile wide and in others 20 miles wide. The water from the Nile could be easily directed to the fields. Listen to what God told the people of Israel as they were headed to the Promised Land – Deuteronomy 11:10“For the land which you go to possess is not like the land of Egypt from which you have come, where you sowed your seed and watered it by foot, as a vegetable garden.” The chief crops were barley and wheat. The vegetable crops were leafy salads, legumes, garlics, onions, beans, chickpeas, melons, watermelons, etc. Fruit crops included dates, figs, olives, apples, peaches, pears, cherries, etc. They had plenty of fish from the river and meat from goats, lambs, pork, ducks, etc. We see evidence for this also from the Old Testament.Exodus 16:3 And the children of Israel said to them, “Oh, that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” Again, in Numbers 11 4 Now the mixed multitude who were among them yielded to intense craving; so the children of Israel also wept again and said: “Who will give us meat to eat? 5 We remember the fish which we ate freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; 6 but now our whole being is dried up; there is nothing at all except this manna before our eyes!”
Egypt also had plenty of gold. The discovery of the incredible amount of gold found in the King Tut’s tomb was just a glimpse of the amount of gold that was in Egypt. In the Amarna letters, the King of the Mittani asked the Egyptian king to send him gold since it was like “dust in Egypt.” I can go on and on about the wealth of Egypt. Something very important here – Egypt was surrounded on both the east and the west by vast amount of desert, which means that no enemy could attack them from either side. If they did, the Egyptians could ferry their troops up and down the Nile. The Pharaohs built massive pyramids, tombs, and temples and the people lived happy peaceful lives. So, they lived peacefully and happily in the fertile green valley by the Nile, and then they died in the desert to be resurrected someday.The Ancient Egyptians thought that they had it made! They were very self-satisfied and proud of themselves. They looked at others as “Stinks being you!”
Application: How do you see the good things in your life? Do you give credit where credit is due? Are you grateful to God for his blessings in your life?
Let me switch gears here. In this world was born a little Hebrew baby boy. This was at a time when it says in Exodus 1:8 “Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph.” In other words, the children of Israel had lost favor with the Pharaoh because of how Joseph had faithfully served him centuries earlier. This was a different time. This Pharaoh and the Egyptians had made things very hard for the people of God. Listen to Exodus 1 13 “So the Egyptians made the children of Israel serve with rigor. 14 And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage—in mortar, in brick, and in all manner of service in the field. All their service in which they made them serve was with rigor.” It gets worse. Exodus 1:22 So Pharaoh commanded all his people, saying, “Every son who is born you shall cast into the river, and every daughter you shall save alive.” This was a holocaust of a different time and place. As you know, a young couple (Amram and Jochebed) had a son and they decided to hide him by placing him in a basket made waterproof with asphalt and pitch, and she laid it in the reeds by the river’s banks. Hebrews 11:23 tells us that this was an act of faith and that they did not fear the king’s command. What happened next is God’s hand of providence – Exodus 2 5 Then the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river. And her maidens walked along the riverside; and when she saw the ark among the reeds, she sent her maid to get it. 6 And when she opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the baby wept. So she had compassion on him, and said, “This is one of the Hebrews’ children.” Miriam, Moses’ sister was watching over her little brother, and she offered to bring a Hebrew woman to nurse the child. Of course, she brought her own mother who nursed him until he grew up and brought him back to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. There is plenty of evidence for that, even though many Egyptologists try to deny that. Nicole and I stood before several statues in Egypt, albeit he is not called Moses but Senmut or Senenmut. Several times, we see the connection between Pharaoh’s daughter and this person named Senmut. Many places, a systematic and aggressive attempt was made to eradicate any evidence of this connection. In fact, Hatshepsut/Nefure, the Pharaoh’s daughter, was also systematically erased from her own temple. You can understand why! Because she had made the mistake of adopting a Hebrew child who had then turned on them and brought all the plagues over Egypt. Neither she nor that child who became a young man named Senmut deserved to be remembered in Ancient Egyptian history. The Romans called it “damnatio memoriae” (literally ‘damnation of memory’). What about Senmut (mother’s brother)? Acts 7 20 “At this time Moses was born, and was well pleasing to God; and he was brought up in his father’s house for three months. 21 But when he was set out, Pharaoh’s daughter took him away and brought him up as her own son. 22 And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and deeds.” According to Egyptian history, this Senmut became the architect of the temple of Hatshepsut, general of Pharaoh’s army, he earned forty different titles, wore the royal seal, overseer of the granary, house of silver, overseer of everything you can imagine, even royal scholar! Then, all of a sudden, he is gone. Not only that, but every attempt was made to wipe out his memory!
What happened to him? Listen again to Hebrews 11 24 “By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, 26esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward. 27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible.”
1. Sin for Affliction
2. Riches for Reward
3. Wrath for Seeing the Invisible
He left the kingdom of darkness and entered the kingdom of light. By the way, one thing struck us more than anything was how the serpent was everywhere in Ancient Egypt. It’s as if Ancient Egypt was built on the premise that evil was good and good was evil. This was man’s attempt to create a kingdom without the Living True God.
In the opening video, you saw me in his unfinished tomb. It got cancelled, and I begged them to make it happen. Lots of phone calls were made. Why was this important? Tombs were a big deal to the Egyptians, even to Moses when he was young. They wanted their tombs to be left undisturbed, but the tomb raiders would get to it sooner or later. But Moses chose to follow God. He had to abandon his most monumental project. How did he die? Deuteronomy 34. 1 Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is across from Jericho. And the LORD showed him all the land of Gilead as far as Dan, 2 all Naphtali and the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the Western Sea, 3 the South, and the plain of the Valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, as far as Zoar. 4 Then the LORD said to him, “This is the land of which I swore to give Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I have caused you to see it with your eyes, but you shall not cross over there.” 5 So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD. 6 And He buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth Peor; but no one knows his grave to this day.
Jude 9 Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”
Isn’t that amazing that God came to do his funeral! His tomb is still hidden!
He chose the better offer. How about you? Are you saved?