Moses And Materialism – Mark Miller

Moses And Materialism – Mark Miller

We live in a very materialistic society. In this context we would define materialism as “a preoccupation with, or stress upon, material things rather than upon intellectual or spiritual values.” In America we like our stuff.  Whether it be homes, second homes, vehicles of various types, clothes, jewelry, guns, sport vehicles, IT gadgets…we like our stuff! The Scriptures present to us a different set of priorities focused on spiritual blessings rather than stuff.  In Matthew 6:19-21 we read, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth…But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven…For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Such priorities are not presented to deny us of necessities for the Lord concludes this context with these words, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33). The emphasis is priorities.

In Hebrews 11 Moses is presented to us as a man of faith and a prime example of a godly man with godly priorities making godly choices.

By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharoah’s daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is invisible (Heb. 11:24-27).

His life began with interesting contrast (Ex. 1,2; Acts 7:22-25). He was born to Amram and Jochebed during a time that the Hebrew people were in hard bondage in the land of Egypt. Placed in a basket of reeds, set afloat in the Nile and found by Pharaoh’s daughter who chose Moses’ own mother to be his nurse; and so the life of contrast and its challenging choices were set in order. On one hand we see that Moses benefited greatly from being raised in Pharaoh’s court. He was well educated and skillful in all the ways of the Egyptians. No doubt he was being groomed for a powerful position and great inheritance.  Pharaoh’s food tasted delicious, the best clothes, soft bed, finest chariot in Egypt and the best horses to pull it, possibly even a chauffeur – “treasures.” Oh, and the social circle, servants bowing, men stepping aside, ladies swooning, Moses was a prince! On the other hand, he knew who his people were and cared for them. Even though they were in hard bondage they had a purpose in God’s scheme of redemption of which he played a vital role. What would Moses’ choice be? Scripture reveals that Moses was a man of faith “choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God.” The word “rather” indicates that he determined one choice to be better than the other. His choice was rooted in faith. I believe the key to Moses decision is revealed in the closing phrase of verse 27, “as seeing Him who is invisible.” Moses had learned from his mother that all the material things that he had enjoyed truly belonged to God, he was just a steward of these things. Many in the world today do not understand biblical stewardship and so are given to materialism. This world belongs to God (Ps. 50:10-12). We belong to God (1 Cor. 6:19-20) When we wrap our minds around this simple truth the principles of stewardship, the choices, the priorities all fall into place and the struggle with materialism is overcome.

Christians are expected to be people of faith today and hence the reason these examples are set before us. When I obeyed the gospel to become a Christian I was working in a middle management position in a prominent oil company. I had started with this company as a mechanic but by long hard hours of work I had attained a much better position. However, as I examined my life there were problems. The CEO was embezzling from the company, and I was in a position that I had to turn a blind eye to his sin. I confronted the man with his sin to which he responded, “Have a good life young man” as he pointed to the door. Oh, the choices we face, and each with possible eternal consequences. What would I do? On one hand a profitable job with an easy climb up the corporate ladder. On the other hand, my soul’s salvation. I walked out that door that day. The next day as I passed by a local service station, I saw that it was available for lease. I thought to myself, with God’s help I can do this. I called the phone number and met the men who would help me enter my own business. Those men were Don Stewart, a deacon, and Bill Siebert, an elder, at the Southwest Church of Christ. Isn’t God amazing!

We will all face choices that test us. Like Moses, “choose rather” keeping godly priorities, “as seeing Him who is invisible.”