Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Financial Management - Hebrews 13:5

Many people who read the Bible are quite familiar with Hebrews 13:5. We quote it easily. It is a popular Scripture verse and undoubtedly all would agree comforting. However, what caught my attention today was the entire verse. See, I too knew the second half, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." This is God's promise straight from the throne room. And He states "never" not once, but twice just so we don't miss His vow!

And if you look up the word "forsake" in the dictionary most often one can find "leave" listed as a synonym for forsake. So in essence, God is repeating Himself! On purpose, people. On purpose.

And so why I mention this popular place in Scripture is that in my devotions this morning the Lord directed me to Hebrews 13:5 - the entire verse, which I realized for the first time - offered much more than God's promise (as if that were not blessing enough!)....

The entire verse, "Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."

I so desperately needed to hear that today! I undoubtedly was handed a pearl upon reading the first part of Hebrews 13:5. I refer to this first portion of Scripture as a pearl because like the pearl in the oyster, the first part of Hebrews 13:5 is an unexpected gift. It is precious and just like a pearl - revealed at just the right time.

Allow me to expand on that comparison. Pearls are formed inside the shell of certain mollusks: as a defense mechanism to a potentially threatening irritant such as a parasite inside its shell, the mollusk creates a pearl to seal off the irritation. These small particles or organisms enter the animal when the shell valves are open for feeding or respiration.

And so - just like the oyster, we often choose to be vexed by the Word rather than surrendering to the potential God has hidden in our shells. If only we would surrender to the Word and not fight it!

I am so happy to tell you that today I chose not to rebel but to submit to God's Word (though quite convicting and a charge to say the least!). However, like the mollusk which ingested something foreign, I ate my Daily Bread (which is foreign to my natural sinful man condition). And as a result of reading all of Hebrews 13:5, my eyes were opened to the first part of Hebrews 13:5. I saw this venture into my Bible today as an opportunity to take in sustenance which God will one day produce in me a pearl.

Yes, I know that though I may temporarily fail in my flesh, I will one day enjoy spiritual victory! In the case of the pearl, its very existence is due to its irritating that which it inhabits. What enters the oyster is actually of an extremely vexing nature! And in the same way, if the Word didn't charge and challenge us to change - and at times irritate (okay I said it, but I say that respectfully), we would not grow. And the result - so few precious gems in this world!

I began searching all of Hebrews and was blessed to realize one key word in Hebrews. That key word is the word "better".*

Christ is better than the angels (Chapters 1-2)
Christ is better than Moses and Aaron (Chapters 3-6)
Christ has a better priesthood (Chapter 7)
Christ has a better covenant (Chapter 8)
Christ has a better sanctuary (Chapter 9)
And Christ gives His people a better life (Chapters 11-13)

Christ gives a life of faith - Christ offers us heavenly pearls at a great price - His life. According to Wikipedia, The Parable of the Pearl or the Pearl of Great Price is a parable told by Jesus in explaining the value of the Kingdom of Heaven, according to Matthew 13:45-46

You will understand what I am saying if you have made the choice to repent and surrender all to the Lord Jesus. I have made that choice (Romans 10:9-11). Now I must heed all of Hebrews 13:5 as I am not only saved by faith but I must live by faith.

Lastly, I know the writer of Hebrews made it a point to remind us to follow our spiritual leaders. If we do, we will love the brothers and sisters (v.1), help strangers (v.2) and prisoners (v.3), live above lust (v.4) and covetousness (vv.5-6) and not be led astray by false doctrines (v.9).

*Reference pgs. 822-823 Nelson's Quick Reference Chapter-By-Chapter Bible Documentary by Warren W. Wiersbe.

Lord, today I surrender my will and ask for Your will be done for my finances. If I take back the worry or fear, I know You will never leave me nor forsake me, but gently bring me back to the beginning of that verse. I will undoubtedly be reminded - I am a pearl which has forever forsaken that cold, ugly old oyster shell. I now sit securely in the palm of Your nail-scarred hand. I am precious in Your sight. I am Your beloved. I am pressing ahead. Never looking back. Thank you for Hebrews 13:5 - all of it. Amen.
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