When We’re Called to Let Go

He had it all. Every comfort you could imagine. The best of Egypt at his fingertips. The latest technology, the fastest chariots, the choicest of fruits, servants, wealth, prestige, power, fame. He said it and it was done. He asked for it and it was delivered.

Devotional Scripture: Acts 7:17-29; Hebrews 11:23-27
Key Verse: “He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.” Hebrews 11:26

401 Easy Street, is where Moses resided. In the shimmering, cool, palace of an elite world power. Adopted as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter it’s even possible he was next in line for the throne.

Yet Hebrews 11:24 tells us he refused it. He “refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin” (Heb. 11:24-25). Considering “the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward” (Heb. 11:26).

Counting the luxuries he’d been handed as nothing, he exchanged the palace for a tent, riches for a relationship, honor for dishonor, affluence for affliction, ample amenities for very few, the royal robes of Egypt for a shepherd’s coat

Would you have done it? Would you have left the lap of luxury for a seat at the commoner’s table? I don’t know if I would have. In all honesty, I’ve stumbled through the text this week for fear of what lies on the other side. What sacrifice I might be called to make.

Because the truth is, I like my comforts and conveniences. Don’t you? Nestled amid the amenities of the palace I know the conversation I would have been having with Jesus. “LORD, please, can’t I just serve you from here? I have money for the poor. I have power. I have influence. I’ll use them for your glory. I promise.” There’s no doubt in my mind I would have hung on.

But Moses didn’t. Considering the reward much greater than the cost, he gave it all up. And he did so by faith. (Hebrews 11:24 – The same way we’re to do it.) Taught by his parents, grandparents, siblings, or maybe God himself, Moses took God at his word and believed it.

You know who else exchanged affluence for affliction? Jesus. “Who though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men” (Phil 2:6-7).

Humbling himself he exchanged the throne for a stable, the royal robes of heaven for some simple swaddling, the brilliance of glory for no form of majesty, the table of heaven for a seat with commoners, the praise of angels for the rejection of men, a crown of splendor for that of thorns, fellowship with God for the wrath of sin. Obedient to the point of death, that we might live.

How’d he do it? Much the same as Moses. He looked ahead. He looked to God. He looked to heaven. Enduring the cross “for the joy that was set before him” (Heb. 12:2).

Handing the hope of heaven to us who can’t get there. Weaving grace into the fabric of human hearts. Offering peace and reconciliation to a people apart from God. Giving us who come with nothing of eternal value, every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. (Eph. 1:3) And an inheritance we can’t even fathom.

“But as it is written in the Scriptures: “No one has ever seen this. No one has ever heard about it. No one has ever imagined what God has prepared for those who love him” (Is. 64:4, ICB).

It’s too great. Too wonderful for us to wrap around. Take beauty and go a step further. Take marvelous and magnify it. Take superb and marry it to delightful and you’ve got a small piece of our future in Christ Jesus.

Therefore, we can let go. We can sacrifice. Whether it simply be time or money or the life we thought we wanted. The way we thought things would be. The dream we felt sure we needed. The career. The plan. Or the life of ease and convenience we’ve grown comfortable in.

We can humble ourselves. We can be obedient to the call of God, even if it means running in a direction the world never would. Keeping before us the reproach of Christ, because the reward is far greater than the cost. The Savior far greater than the sacrifice.

Moses gave up much to gain more. And because of his willingness he experienced an intimacy with Christ so spectacular his face radiated with God’s glory. (I want that.)

But it took time. And a path he never expected. Are you willing? If and when God calls us to let go, let’s do so in faith my friend, for the riches of our King are far greater than that of this kingdom. And the surpassing worth of experiencing Christ a treasure like none other.

“But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Phil. 3:7).

In obedience we gain immeasurably more than we could ever lose. Be faithful my friend, be faithful.

Contemplate and Evaluate:
Have you been busy counting the cost or the reward? I often get caught up in the cost. What is God calling you to let go of today? Are you willing?


Claiming the Promises

Devo Scripture: Genesis 12:10-20
Key Verse: “The LORD knows the days of the blameless, and their heritage will remain forever; they are not put to shame in evil times; in the days of famine they have abundance.” Ps. 37:18-19

I don’t think Abram expected it. A famine that is. I wouldn’t have. “Lord you brought me all this way for a famine? Really? I don’t understand. Why? Why are you allowing this?”

These…all things I could hear myself saying. Or maybe I should just admit…all things I have said. We pray. We seek God. We sense his leading. We take a step of faith. And then…a famine. Something so completely unexpected. Something so hard it makes us question if we really did the right thing. And maybe we didn’t. Maybe we stepped out of God’s will to serve our own purpose or pleasure. Yet other times…other times we can be sure, we’re right where he wants us. Right smack dab in the middle of a famine.

So that HE can show himself faithful. So tremendously faithful to every promise. To every single soul who reverently fears his wonderfully holy name. This is why the famines come. This is why the hard things happen. The unexpected things. So we will know him as faithful. Faithful to his promises. The promises we so seldom claim.

I am convinced if Abram had sought God for his needs Genesis 12 would have contained a story of God’s miraculous provision. I am convinced if Abram had claimed the promises of God he would have been a strong tower; a testament to God’s goodness; a refuge for many, in a dry and desolate land. I am convinced God would have blessed him for his faith.

Instead Abram fled to Egypt. He took matters into his own hands. (Something I am guilty of more often than I care to admit.) He lied out of fear for his life. (Fear being the opposite of faith. Fear being that which strangles our faith.) And got himself into a serious predicament.

Sarai was indeed his half sister (Gen. 20:12). So to protect himself (for it was apparently not uncommon to kill a man for his wife) he commanded of Sarai from the moment they entered Canaan “This is the kindness you must do me: at every place to which we come, say of me. He is my brother” (Gen. 20:13). Then instead of killing him they would negotiate with him, giving him time to formulate a plan of escape from any would be suitors. (Unless of course the suitor ends up being the king of Egypt.)

Off she was taken…to the palace. At 65 years of age Sarai must have been quite the looker! I cannot even comprehend the anguish of Abram’s heart. He knew there would be no negotiating with Pharaoh. What had he done? I’m sure with every sheep, every oxen, every donkey, every servant delivered to his doorstep the guilt festered deeper within. Thank goodness he knew a God faithful to his promises. Did Abram pray? It doesn’t say. But when he walked out of Egypt with his wife and all that he had acquired, no doubt he knew who had delivered him. Pharaoh should have killed him. Abram jeopardize his entire household. And caused him much suffering. Yet he was alive and free and blessed with many riches. (Grace…God’s abundant grace)

But he missed it. He missed the opportunity to showcase God’s faithfulness to the world. His goodness to those who revere him. Did Abram get off scotch free? No. It was only a matter of time before the Egyptian servant Hagar, whom they likely acquired on this trip, would cause him severe grief. How different things might have been if Abram had simply claimed the promises and remained in the land of Canaan. I’m not saying it would have been easy. I’m not saying he wouldn’t have endured great loss. But God is faithful to his promises. Even in the days of famine…God is always faithful.

A truth we must harbor deep within our souls. Don’t be fooled by the heaping piles of food on the table. Right now, today, we’re smack dab in the middle of a great famine…a great spiritual famine. And I’ll be first in line to admit…I have concerns. I have fears. I have doubts but I know whom I have believed in. “Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations” (Deut. 7:9).

Let’s prove to the world he is faithful by remaining strong and steadfast, deeply rooted, in this dry and desolate land. Even if our fears are legitimate. He is faithful. Do you believe him? Great are the promises we have to claim!

Whoever despises the word brings destruction on himself, but he who reveres the commandment will be rewarded.” Prov. 13:13

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Phil 4:19

The LORD knows the days of the blameless, and their heritage will remain forever; they are not put to shame in evil times; in the days of famine they have abundance.” Ps. 37:18-19

The steps of a man are established by the LORD, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the LORD upholds his hand.” Ps. 37:23-24

The LORD helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.” Ps. 37:40

But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children, to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments. The LORD has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all.” Ps. 103:17-19

Great are the promises for those who remain steadfast in the famine. Who keep the commandments of the LORD. Instead of compromising. Instead of taking matters into our own hands. Let’s wait for the LORD. Let’s not miss the opportunity. That the whole world may know…he who promised is faithful.

Contemplate and Evaluate:
What promise are you claiming today?
Are you a testament to God’s goodness in this dry and weary land? How so?image