What’s your price? How much would it require to get you to sell out, to compromise your integrity? Before you raise an objection, insisting you’re beyond that, that you cannot be bought, have a little humility, please! The holy Book tells us that some godly people ‘sold out’ when pressed, that it was not just weak or foolish men that gave in. Soup, sex, and selfishness were the price of honor and integrity in the lives of some of the best and brightest men in the Bible!
- The story of Holy Week includes the infamous compromise of Judas Iscariot. He sold himself for 30 pieces of silver. With a kiss, he betrayed the Man he had hoped would bring the Kingdom of God. Remember the tragic story of his remorse? That silver became a terrible weight until he threw it back at the feet of those who conspired with him in the death of Jesus. His guilt drove him to suicide.
- Esau (Genesis) made the choice to trade away his place of honor as the family’s firstborn son for a bowl of lentil soup! This terse comment sums up the transaction: “Jacob gave Esau some bread and lentil stew. Esau ate and drank and went on about his business, indifferent to the fact that he had given up his birthright.” (Genesis 25:34 NLT) His remorse caused him to hate his brother so intensely that the family was divided for nearly two decades.
- David sold himself for another man’s wife, the gorgeous Bathsheba! He invited her for dinner, found her enchanting, and got her pregnant. His scheme to hide his sin culminated in the murder of his faithful servant, Uriah. The sordid tale is found in 2 Samuel 11. This breach of integrity brought God’s judgment on David and he reaped the consequences of his sin for the rest of his life.
- Moses broke under the stress of leadership and threw a temper tantrum that cost him dearly! After leading Israel for months and listening to their complaints, he decided that he could let himself go. One day when water was in short supply, God promised meet that need. He directed Moses to speak to a rock for a miraculous provision. Instead, he blew up. “Listen, rebels! Do we have to bring water out of this rock for you?” With that Moses raised his arm and slammed his staff against the rock—once, twice. Water poured out. Congregation and cattle drank. God said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you didn’t trust me, didn’t treat me with holy reverence in front of the People of Israel, you two aren’t going to lead this company into the land that I am giving them.” (Numbers 20:10-12, The Message)
Those stories make me shudder! Judas walked with Jesus every day for 3 years and still failed. David was the Psalmist, the warrior hero, yet testosterone got the best of him! Moses experienced the Presence of God face to face and yet, in the critical moment, dishonored God! I tremble for the knowledge of my own sinful nature reminds me that, apart from the empowering Presence of the Spirit of God, I am equally prone to greed, sensuality, and self-will. But, I have a Redeemer who loves me and who restores me when I fall, who for His own sake, forgives my sins. I was once hopelessly held in the grip of the sinful nature, glory gone, honor lost, and death was my destiny. “But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so very much, that even while we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s special favor that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ, and we are seated with him in the heavenly realms—all because we are one with Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:4-6, NLT)
I am so glad that you and I live in the era of GRACE. Truth be told, I have been bought, too. Jesus Christ, the Lord of Glory, stepped down to stand next to me, let His blood be spilled for me, forgave me my dishonor and sin, and restored me my honorable place in the family of God. I join the song of gratitude, praising Him: “And they sang a new song: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.”(Revelation 5:9-10, NIV)
The Word urges us to realize that with the privilege of redemption comes a responsibility to serve God. “God purchased you at a high price. Don’t be enslaved by the world.” (1 Corinthians 7:23, NLT) Sell out, not to sin, Self, or Satan, but to the Lord who loves you to life!
Here is a word from the Word for this Maundy Thursday.
“Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness.” (Romans 6:16-19, NIV)
Jesus! What a friend for sinners!
Jesus lover of my soul!
Friends may fail me, foes assail me;
He, my Savior, makes me whole.
Jesus! What a strength in weakness!
Let me hide myself in Him;
Tempted tried and sometimes failing,
He, my strength my victory wins.
Jesus! I do now receive Him;
More than all in Him I find.
He hath granted me forgiveness;
I am His and He is mine.
Hallelujah what a Savior.
Hallelujah what a Friend.
Saving, helping, keeping, loving,
He is with me to the end.
–Copyright Public Domain