Don’t Depend on Pharaoh

Joseph went to Egypt as a slave. After a few years of struggle, he found favor with Pharaoh and became a powerful leader in Egypt. Later, his whole family joined him. For several years, Egypt became a safe haven for Israel. Pharaoh loved, cuddled, and protected Israel. One day, however, a new Pharaoh ascended the throne and Israel became vulnerable. As the Scripture says, “Now there arose up a new king [Pharaoh] over Egypt, which knew not Joseph” (Exodus 1:8). Under the old Pharaoh, Israel was comfortable. Over time, Israel came to depend on Pharaoh’s friendship and generosity. They took it for granted that this situation would continue. They were wrong.

The new Pharaoh didn’t care about the long standing friendship with Joseph’s family. His priority was to put Egypt’s interests first. And as far as he was concerned, Israel’s presence posed a threat to Egypt’s security. He determined that the risk of letting Israel expand far outweighed any benefits to be gained from keeping Israel as a friend. Israel’s fortunes turned overnight. They didn’t see this coming. I won’t go into the rest of the story. There’s a key lesson here, and that’s what I want to talk to you about: Don’t depend on Pharaoh.

In the story, “Pharaoh” represents the flesh, i.e. mortal human beings as well as all human systems that are subject to change. To depend on Pharaoh means to depend on people. When people love you, give you gifts and shower praises on you, you tend to assume they’ll always be there for you. Or vice versa, when you extend love and kindness to others, you tend to assume they’ll have your back in return. Love and friendship can blind you to reality. Love itself isn’t the problem. The problem is with the mindset of the people who are in charge of expressing love.

People change. That’s the problem. But somehow, we haven’t learned our lesson. When people are kind and nice toward us, we soon forget they can, and will, change. Since the dawn of history, countless souls have been hurt and disappointed because of their dependence on other people. We come to expect, at a mostly unconscious level, that certain people, especially friends and family, will always be with us and for us. Those who think like this, and there are many who do, will soon find out the hard way. I’m here to help you, to save your heart from being broken time and again. Hopefully, you’ll open your eyes to reality once and for all. If you do, your life will become more peaceful. You’ll be happier than ever.

Understand, change is inevitable. Everyone changes, even you. It’s therefore dangerous and unwise to depend on people. Don’t fool yourself with the idea that there are exceptions. There are no exceptions. Because everyone changes, everyone is capable of letting you down, especially those you least expect. If you want a happy life, don’t depend on anyone whose name isn’t I AM THAT I AM. This includes your wife, your husband, your siblings, your relatives, your friends, your girlfriend, your boyfriend, your co-workers, your pastor, your boss, even your own children.

Does this mean you should have no friends, no family, and no relationships? No, not at all. Stay connected to as many people as possible. Have all the friends you want. Enjoy family and any relationship you want, while it lasts. But in your mind and in your heart, don’t put your hope in them. It’s about your inner attitude. Open your heart to give love and to receive love. Be kind, and receive kindness when it is offered. But remember, there are no guarantees. When people are kind to you today, there’s no guarantee they’ll act the same way tomorrow.

Nothing lasts. No one lasts. Accept the reality. It’ll save you from headaches, heartaches, and confusion. Love everyone, but depend on no one. Depend on God alone, because God alone is unchanging. The worst mistake you could make in this life is to depend on human beings or human systems to support you. The reverse is true. The best decision you could make is to depend on God alone.

Learn to love yourself. Learn to support yourself. Build a life that makes you less dependent on someone or something other than God. This is your key to true happiness and true peace of mind. Remember what the Scripture says, “Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm . . . Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is” (Jeremiah 17:5, 7). Every mortal is a ‘Pharaoh.’ Don’t depend on Pharaoh. Depend on your Maker.

Love & Light

Stephen

One-Time
Monthly
Yearly

Make a one-time donation

Make a monthly donation

Make a yearly donation

Choose an amount

$5.00
$15.00
$20.00
$5.00
$15.00
$100.00
$5.00
$15.00
$100.00

Or enter a custom amount

$

Thank you for your support.

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly

Separating Admirers from Friends (Pt 1)

Daily Devotion | Day 328

“Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did. But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men, and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man” (John 2:23-25, NKJV).

Friends are forever. Admirers are for a season. Understanding the difference will spare you confusion and heartache. Friends are committed to you. Admirers, on the other hand, are addicted to you but they are not necessarily committed to you, even if they appear so. We should clarify that there is nothing wrong with admiring others. We all have people we admire, for different reasons. It is a problem, however, when we give (or are given) the impression of friendship when, in fact, what is at stake is admiration and not friendship. Friendship and admiration may overlap but they are not identical.

In this teaching, we will identify important distinctions between friends and admirers. Our goal is to discover insights from the Scriptures which will help us become more aware of the different types of people in our life and how we can best relate to them.

Often, people confuse admiration with love. Because we admire certain people, we suppose we love them, and we give that impression when what we mean is, we are attracted by something they possess: status, charm, charisma, physical features, talent, money, power, etc. Conversely, when people admire us, it gets into our head. When they shower us with praise and affection, it gives a boost to our ego. Our emotions are aroused and we feel loved. Subsequently, we naively assume that those people are our friends and we draw them closer and closer to our heart.

The inability to differentiate between admirers and friends has led many into confusion and heartbreak. But here is the reality: While all your friends are your admirers, not all your admirers are your friends. Discerning this distinction will keep you safe and sane.

Let us look at an example from today’s opening Scripture. Jesus was a magnetic and charismatic figure. Not surprisingly, He attracted a large following. His ability to make miracles look like daily routine made Him even more appealing. On one occasion, He traveled from Capernaum to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. John tells us that while Jesus was in Jerusalem, “many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did.” This sounds like great news. However, right after making this statement, John adds a curious comment. He says, “But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men” and “He knew what was in man.”

Jesus could tell the difference between those who were His committed followers (friends) and those who followed Him for the sake of His miracles or for other reasons (admirers). Many believed in Him, but He was not fooled by the numbers. He cared not so much about the numbers who followed Him, but rather their motivation for following Him. This awareness kept Him from falling into the trap of false friendship. A lot of people admired Jesus and were attracted to Him, but not all His admirers were His friends. The point is: Jesus does not want admiration. He wants friendship. And He knows the difference between the two.

We, too, need to discern the difference between our admirers and our friends. It is unwise to commit ourselves to people on the sole basis of their admiration and praise. May the Lord give you wisdom to understand the people in your life. Amen.

To be continued tomorrow, God willing.

For further studyMatthew 7: 15-23 and John 6:60-71

God Provides in a Time of Obedience and Trust

Daily Devotional: Day 133

“And if you say, “What shall we eat in the seventh year, since we shall not sow nor gather in our produce?” Then I will command My blessing on you in the sixth year, and it will bring forth produce enough for three years. And you shall sow in the eighth year, and eat old produce until the ninth year; until its produce comes in, you shall eat of the old harvest” (Leviticus 25:20-22, NKJV).

In Leviticus chapter 25, God commanded the people of Israel to keep a sabbath for the land they were about to occupy (Canaan). They could sow and reap for six years, but the seventh year was to be a year of rest for the land. During the seventh year, they were prohibited from all farming activities on the land. This commandment was to be observed – as in a cycle – every seven years, for as long as they remained on the land.

Obviously, this commandment presented its own opportunities and challenges. On one hand, it afforded them the opportunity to rest; but on the other hand, they were left with the obvious question: “What shall we eat during the seventh year?” What God was asking them to do required radical trust and obedience. Recall that once every week, on the sabbath day, they did no work. It is one thing not to work once a week; but no farming for an entire year was a completely different story. This brings us to today’s Bible text.

God allayed the fears of the people with the following promise: “I will command My blessing on you in the sixth year, and it will bring forth produce enough for three years.” This blessing ensured that the Israelites had food provision for the sixth year, the seventh year, and the eighth year. What we can learn here is that God is not limited in His ability to bless you. Oftentimes obedience to God requires a sacrifice. Not sowing or reaping, for the Israelites, was a huge sacrifice. But today’s Bible reading assures us that when you do what God requires of you, He will not leave you without provision. Our God is a dependable provider. Dare to trust Him.

May the God of Israel command His blessing upon you and your family today! Amen.

For further study: Genesis 22:1-18

How to Trust, God’s Way

Daily Devotional: Day 115

“It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes” (Psalm 118:8-9, KJV).

Trust is an investment. You can make profit or you can incur losses. In the Bible, we’re commanded to love people, but nowhere – from what I recall – does God command us to trust people. If anything, we’re taught repeatedly to be careful about putting our trust in people. No human being is God. I know this sounds simple. But it’s not simple to a lot of people. Some degree of trust is, of course, necessary for human interactions to thrive. Nevertheless, we should make a distinction between people and God.

All human beings are fallible, even the best of us. It is, therefore, unwise to channel wholehearted trust into any individual or group of people. Trust is sacred, and we should be careful who we trust and to what extent we trust them. If we trust blindly and rashly – without discerning – we can become susceptible to deception and unnecessary heartbreak. It is not wrong to question something. On the contrary, it is commendable. Blind trust is unbiblical and dangerous. Many Americans are probably familiar with the famous phrase “Trust, but verify.” This phrase, it appears, is an old Russian proverb which was popularized by President Ronald Reagan in his speeches. A brother of mine in the Lord once said to me, “Truth does not fear verification.”

Today, the Psalmist tells us that it is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man or in princes, i.e. noble people.” Why? Because Jehovah alone is a solid Rock. He alone never changes. He alone is ever dependable. Jesus Christ is the same yesterdaytoday and forever (cf. Hebrew 13:8). The same cannot be said of any human being. We know ourselves. We are constantly changing like Spring weather. Today, it’s “I love you so much, my dear.” Come tomorrow, we could be singing a different tune. For others, mood swings is the order of the day. If you catch them in a good mood, it’s your lucky day. You don’t want to imagine catching them in a bad mood.

Bottom lineIf you must trust people, trust intelligently. This means, keep your eyes open and keep your mind in a state of prayerful vigilance.

The peace of Christ Jesus our Lord be with you today. Amen.

Pray to our heavenly Father about the message that has come to you today.

For further study: Jeremiah 17:5-8

Forgetting the “Lottery Prayer”

Daily Devotional: Day 107

“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (Luke 11:9-10, NKJV).

Jesus teaches us a simple approach to prayer. In this approach, the key elements are trust and expectation. He exhorts us to do three things: ask, seek, and knock. When we pray, our mindset shouldn’t be like playing a lottery. In a lottery, the odds of you winning are awful. It is said, for example, that in the Mega Millions multi state lottery in the USA, the odds of you winning is 1 in almost 176 million. When you play the lottery, you’re basically trying your luck, hoping against hope that perhaps you’ll be the lucky one and everyone else will lose. Lottery is largely based on chance and wishful thinking. Unfortunately, there are Christians who approach prayer with a lottery mindset. They may not say it out loud, but they somewhat believe that God is very busy trying to keep up with billions of prayer requests sent to His desk in Heaven. Plus, they are not sure if God even hears them. And if he did hear them, they aren’t sure if He will be kind enough to show them favor. The bottom line is, when they pray, they’re hoping (the lottery kind of hope) to get lucky one day and have their request granted. This mentality needs to change.

Today, Jesus’ message is simple. The Father loves you. You are His child. In fact, he is willing and happy to answer you. He wants to bless you more than you want to be blessed. Prayer in not a lottery. When you pray, all the odds are in your favor. So, Jesus says, just ask; just seek; and just knock. That’s all you have to do. No drama. The only thing is, when you ask, expect to receive; when you seek, expect to find; and when you knock, expect the door to be opened – and never give up on your prayer. Keep it simple.

Prayer:

Dear Father, I know that you love me. Thank you for always hearing me. Grant me faith to believe that what I ask, I shall receive; what I seek, I shall find; and when I knock, the door shall be opened. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

For further study: Luke 11:1-13