Pharoah's Treasure Cities


Exodus 1:11, 13, 14    “Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens.  And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses…And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigor: And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in mortar, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field: all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigor.


Joseph, who was a type of Christ, has died.  He has gone to be with his heavenly Father and left his children in Egypt, just as Christ has gone and left us until His return. Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph.  This Pharaoh who did not know Joseph neither liked Joseph’s children represents the one who wars against God’s people.  He represents that which the apostle Paul speaks of in the Ephesians epistle as the wiles of the devil.  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual darkness in high places.  So then because of Pharaoh’s enmity toward the children of Israel, he determines to set over them a great workload. 


The Pharaoh of today, the ruler of the darkness of this world sets over God’s people taskmasters.  How subtle these taskmasters attempt to take us in.! Under the guise of tradition and culture they teach that the secret of life is to aspire to get all we can of this world while we can.  Study, get education, and become wise in this world.  Start a career.  Climb the ladder of success.  Buy a home better than the neighbor’s home.  Purchase the most expensive automobile. Get the most out of life!  Acquire not just what you need but anything your eye desires—acquire stuff and then more stuff.   


But buy into this tradition and soon we become lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.   Step onto the treadmill of this world and soon, instead of finding the ever-illusive happiness we seek, our life is made bitter with hard bondage.  Unawares to us we have been pressed into the service of building Pharaoh’s treasure cities. 


How contrary is this world to the kingdom of God.  Since the fall of Adam the way of this world has been to bring men further into debt, but with God the captives are set free.  The world walks after the flesh but Christ’s quickened after the Spirit.  The worldly mottoes are ‘believe in your self’, ‘look out for number one’.  While the children of God pray ‘Not my will Father but thine be done’.  Christ is their all.  While the world is consumed with the desire for more of this world, the children of God wait patiently upon their Lord knowing they are but pilgrims in a land that is not theirs.      


Therefore, as we go back to our text, I read Exodus 1:12 and am thankful: But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew.  If not for God’s grace we would forget the promise of God and rush headlong after the pleasures of sin for a season.  If not for the preserving grace of God we would give our souls to build Pharaoh’s treasure cities.  Here is a story that my wife relayed to me recently that illustrates the folly of the lust of this world. 


There was a rich, entrepreneur who vacationed in Mexico and came upon a fisherman.   Seeing the morning catch the entrepreneur asked the fisherman how long it took to catch the fish.  The fisherman answered that he had only been fishing a short time and was now headed home. 

“But why do you not fish longer?”  The entrepreneur asked.

“Because this is all my family needs.”  The fisherman answered.

“But what will you do with the rest of your day?”

“Oh, I’ll spend time with my family and my children, maybe take a siesta, or visit a few old friends.”  The fisherman answered.  

Immediately, the entrepreneur began to explain to the fisherman what an opportunity he had before him.  “You see,” the entrepreneur began, “if you fish all day then you could sell the extra fish for profit.  Eventually you will have enough to buy a boat and then you could double or triple your productivity until finally you could purchase an entire fleet of boats.  Then you could sell stock in your company and when your much older and you’ve reached your goals of success you could sell the entire operation for millions and millions of dollars.”

“Millions!” the fisherman marveled. “Then what would I do?”

The entrepreneur replied, “Then you could retire.  You could go fishing in the mornings.  Spend the afternoons with your family.  Maybe take a siesta. Maybe even visit a few old friends.”   


I understand that what I am saying is as foolish to the man of this world as is the word of God. Still, I am confident that those within whom the Spirit of God dwells fully comprehend the meaning of these feeble words. Let the believer be a seeker of God’s kingdom, first. Let the believer rest will full assurance that God will sustain his people with all they need.  Let the believer raise their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord not in the dictates of this world. 


The question is this.  Would you rather be found a citizen of Pharaoh’s treasure city or the Lord’s Zion?  Would you rather take up residence in a city that is sure to loose all its splendor or take up your abode in a mighty, everlasting kingdom built on the precious cornerstone of Christ?  Moreover, would you rather spend eternity with Pharaoh himself or communing with He who is all our sufficiency, Christ Jesus the Lord?  Then let your hearts be settled in Him for He has made us sons and daughters and heirs of all of God’s inheritance.

Clay Curtis