Bargaining with Pharaoh (9): “Only Your Flocks and Your Herds Shall Remain”
If we take a firm stand,
as Moses did, that all we have
is for serving the Lord,
we will not be held captive by
the riches of the world
Pharaoh’s final offer to Moses was,
“Go, serve the LORD; only let your flocks and your herds be kept back. Let your little ones also go with you.”
— Exodus 10:24
Even after allowing them to leave with all their little ones, Pharaoh still sought to subject the Children of Israel by keeping their livelihood with him. He knew that if he was able to do that, then practically speaking they would still be under his authority; how could it be otherwise if they had to constantly return to Egypt and gain permission to get some of their sheep and cattle?
Once again, however, Moses was very firm to reject this offer. He told Pharaoh,
“Our livestock also shall go with us; not a hoof shall be left behind. For we must take some of them to serve the LORD our God, and even we do not know with what we must serve the LORD until we arrive there.”
— Exodus 10:26
Here we see another test we as believers must pass through today before we can truly serve the Lord. Moreover, the fact that it is the last of Pharaoh’s efforts to get Moses to compromise indicates it is most difficult of all the tests we must pass through.
In the New Testament, the Lord tells us plainly,
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break through and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break through nor steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
— Matthew 6:19-21
So, if our treasures remain in “Egypt,” so to speak, that is where our heart will be also, and if that is the case, we will not be able to serve the Lord. Thus He adds, a few verses later,
No man can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
— Matthew 6:24
In brief, any compromise we make with the world will keep us from serving the Lord as our true master.
However, in the reply Moses gave to Pharaoh, we also see the secret of how to deal with the material things of the world in a proper way. That is, Moses did not say the Children of Israel needed their livestock for their own use; rather, they needed them to serve the Lord.
And that should be our attitude as well: we may gain some of the riches of this world, but we should not feel we have them just for us to take care of our own need, or so we can live an enjoyable life; it is so we can serve the Lord. It is good even to declare to the Lord,
Lord, my life is uniquely for You! Even all that I am and all that I have is for You and for Your kingdom on this earth!
We do not need to be anxious about our living, for as Jesus also says in this passage,
Your heavenly Father knows you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
— Matthew 6:32-33
Only when we have such an attitude, of trusting in the Lord to provide for us, so that even our means of making a living must ultimately be for His sake, will we be able to deal with the material things of the world as we should. Thus we will be finally and completely delivered from bondage to Satan and his world-system to serve the Lord in the fullest way.
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— 3 February 2024 —