Pharaoh said, “I will let you go to offer sacrifices to the Lord your God in the wilderness, but you must not go very far.” (Exodus 8:28)
The world welcomes our faithfulness to God as long as we do not get too carried away with it. Like Pharaoh, they will let us have our religion and our relationship with our Redeemer, as long as we only go so far with it. Pharaoh did not want to let the children of Israel go too far away from his influence, his authority, and his control, and the same is true for the world we live in today. The world will tolerate our Christianity as long as our faith does not contradict its morals or infringe upon its practices. The world cheerfully welcomes the “cultural Christian” who embraces the worldly wisdom of “tolerance” and “compromise.” But it reacts harshly when we go too far and declare that the Bible commands us to live in a certain way.
The world loves truth . . . just as long as it is not absolute. The tragic truth is that many in the church today are in bondage to Pharaoh’s demand that “You must not go very far” in your faithfulness to your God.
But this is not for you! If we are going to be true to our first love, we must walk into the wilderness and separate from the wisdom of this world. The fleshpots of Egypt have nothing of eternal value to offer us and Pharaoh seeks only that which is pleasing and profitable to him. The religion of this world tells us to do whatever seems right in our own eyes; true religion tells us to do whatever is right in the eyes of God. The religion of this world says, “If it feels good, do it.” True religion says, “Regardless of how it feels, if God says it is good, do it!”
We are in this world, but we are not of this world; we are commanded to “Come out from them and be separate” (2 Corinthian 6:17). If we are to make a difference in this world, it will be because we are different from this world.
We are not called by God to separate physically from this world, but we are to separate spiritually in every way. We are to have different dreams, different desires, and ultimately a different destination. We have a new King, and His name is Jesus Christ. He has called us to live a life that is committed to expanding the cause of His kingdom in this world. On the cross, our King not only paid the penalty for our sin, He also paid to remove both its power—and ultimately, its pleasure.
So, where does this message find you today? Have you been seduced by the “Pharaohs” of polite society who demand that you only go so far with your commitment to Christ and your relationship to your Redeemer? If that’s the case with you, remember that His mercies are new every morning. Rise up and renew your commitment to your calling as a child of God. Advance confidently in the direction He is leading, regardless of how far it takes you into the wilderness.
By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. (Hebrews 11:24-27)
The choice is yours: Will you live a life that is sold out for your Savior? Do you regard Him to be more precious than the things of this world? Or will you live a life that only goes so far?
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!