“Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.”
–Philippians 2:7-8 (NLT)
Picture yourself surfing the Internet, and looking at all the beautiful people on it. They’re wearing all the latest styles, and getting out of chauffeur-driven limos.
Glassy-eyed, you permit yourself to wonder what it’s like to be rich. You think, “If I only had their money, all my bills would be a thing of the past.”
But then you look closer, and you see something curious. You didn’t notice it at first, but all these people you admire have chains growing from them. Your mouth falls open, because some of them are bound by more than one chain.
Your next discovery is barely noticeable, and hidden behind a veil of posh pretense. But if you look just right, you can tell that each group of chains has a tag attached to it. Your computer screen looks fuzzy, though, and you can hardly read them. So you make the picture larger in order to see what they say. Words like “anxiety”, “fear” and “worry” pop out at you.
“What a strange sight!” you muse. “What does all this mean?”
Before we answer that, let’s shift topics and talk about Moses who, at one time, had all of the riches of Egypt at his disposal. Like the beautiful people of today, he would have been driven around by chauffeurs, had the finest servants at his beck and call, and an education that was second to none.
But we see in his story that Moses also wore a chain. It was a chain of pride, and we need to examine it, as all of us can fall to this deadly serpent.
Remember that Moses had been brought into Pharaoh’s courts by adoption. The servants that were in his house would have probably been fellow Israelites.
As you know, when one of those servants was being mistreated, Moses tried to take a civil rights matter into his own hands by murdering the cruel Egyptian. But the point is not only what he did, but what he didn’t do.
Moses often did what we tend to do. Like the beautiful people in the opening paragraphs, he confused what he had with who he was. Also, being raised in Egypt, he would have been exposed to their many gods. I’m sure that when his birth mother nursed him, however, she told him about the true and living God who delivered his people. But instead of calling on Him, Moses committed a rash act that he would later regret.
The next thing you know, God appeared in a very unusual way. You know the story–there was a bush which burned, but was not consumed by the flame. This stopped Moses dead in his tracks, for it was not like anything he had seen in the temples growing up. An angel–perhaps the pre-incarnate Christ–called to Moses, and he soon left Egypt behind in order to free God’s people from slavery.
In the same way, when Christ came to earth, the Bible tells us that He emptied Himself of all His heavenly riches, leaving His glory behind. But the similarity ends there, as we compare God’s riches with those of Moses.
To do this, look at the book of Genesis with me, and let’s ponder the creation of the world. When we read the Biblical account, it is clear that God’s riches were created out of nothing. That is a fact we can scarcely imagine.
But Moses must have seen things quite differently growing up. Since he was the successor to his father’s throne, he would have taken wealth and prestige for granted. Therefore, it is likely that only his murderous action could have caused him to flee.
From this vignette, we can get a small idea of the price which Moses paid, but no one can comprehend what the staggering cost of leaving heaven was for Jesus. Jesus did much more than just leaving heaven, though. The gospels tell us that He had no place to lay His head on earth. Then, after a mock trial, He was crucified on a Roman cross and laid in a borrowed tomb. Three days later Christ rose from the dead, and He was seen by more than 500 witnesses.
So now, let me ask you a question. Do you think you are bound by chains, my friend? The Bible makes it clear that we have all been bound, but we no longer have to stay that way. According to the scriptures, Jesus took our sin upon Himself. Grace is the second password to His kingdom, and because of God’s grace we no longer need to be locked out of heaven.
While God’s Word says that choosing to be locked out leads to eternal separation from God, opening your heart to Him leads to abundant life now, and eternal life then. So instead of focusing on the chains which bind you, look to the one who can break them. Tell Him that you are a sinner in need of His grace, and that you want to receive the new life which He offers.
On the other hand, if you are a follower of His and you feel trapped by pressure and fear, call upon the name above all names. Ask Him for strength, and confess any sin that may be holding you back. Then praise Him as you walk by faith, knowing that He is walking with you.
Thank you for reading this, and may the Lord give you a wonderful week! We are trying to reach people who are hurting, so if God lays it on your heart, please consider becoming a partner with us. If you would like to make a donation, please visit www.hcmachaplains.org and click on the Donate Now link. You can also send donations by mail to HCMA (Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association). Our ID number is 560. The address is 101 S Kraemer BLVD, Suite 123A, Placentia, CA 92870.
Finally, you’re always welcome to join our Tuesday night Bible study. These studies are conducted by conference call, and they take place at 5:30 PM Arizona time. Our conference number is 313-209-8800. Our PIN is 8699032. We hope to talk with you soon!
If you have questions, comments or prayer requests for Timothy or Stephanie Burdick, please call 507-369-6861.