The Rich Young Ruler
One of the most poignant stories in the Bible to me is the story of the rich young ruler. This impressive young man had made many “right” choices in his life and he was obviously from a successful, affluent family. I imagine he was admired and highly respected as a young man of both character and position. He realized that his wealth and influence came with responsibility and he seemed to embrace that.
And yet, something was still missing… despite all that he was and had, he inherently knew that he needed to be saved. His stuff wasn’t enough! He also recognized that there was something extraordinary about the authority and teachings of Jesus. In the gospel of Mark it says he RAN to Jesus – and then, this wealthy, influential man KNELT DOWN and humbly asked the simple sandal-shoed carpenter, “What must I do to have eternal life?” That’s quite a picture, isn’t it? Jesus saw the young man’s desire to measure up to the mark. He saw his hunger to hear from a man he considered a great teacher. He saw his willingness to do the right thing.
Jesus said, “You know the commandments: Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not testify falsely. Do not cheat, honor your father and mother.”
“Teacher, I have obeyed all these laws since I was a child.”
Before Jesus responded to the rich young ruler, the Bible says He looked at him and He felt great love for him. Then Jesus said, “You lack only one thing—go and sell all you have and give your money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come follow Me.” The Bible says the man’s face fell and he went sadly away because he had many possessions (see Mark 10:17-31).
What was that conversation all about? Jesus was extending an invitation to this man to embark on a “God-adventure” with Him. It was up to the man to choose what he would do. As much as he loved God, as much as he obeyed the law, he was entangled in and limited by his possessions. Jesus wanted to give him a new identity—a new name. He was inviting him to come along with Him into a life of walking in God’s plans and God’s purposes where God leads and supplies all that is needed. That’s an exciting invitation but a frightening one. It’s an invitation that is extended to every true believer. You see, God isn’t just out to touch our hearts and forgive our sins. He wants to CHANGE us. Then He wants to USE us. The more we are willing to be changed, the more He is able to use us. I wonder what might have happened if the rich young ruler had said “yes.” I wonder how many times he asked himself that question over the years.
What about you? You are created for God-adventures, you know. Don’t settle for a mediocre life because it is safe and predictable. The King of the Universe is inviting you to walk with Him. You have to let go of everything else so you can hold on to Him. Don’t miss out on His purposes for you. Say “yes!” and grab hold.
Numbers 12:1-3 1Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife, for he had married a Cushite. 2“Has the LORD spoken only through Moses?” they asked. “Hasn’t he also spoken through us?” And the LORD heard this. 3(Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.)
Moses family didn’t approve of his marriage. We don’t know what happened to Zipporah, his first wife. The new wife was an Egyptian, probably one of the multitude that came out with the Israelites to worship the God of the Hebrews. I think Moses was big enough to make his own decisions, and godly enough not to be second-guessed. The real issue is leadership. Who has the final say? “Shouldn’t we vote on whether or not this is the right decision? God speaks to us too! Why should he remarry at his age (over eighty-years-old)?”
Yes, God does speak to them. We just saw in the last chapter how His Spirit was placed upon the elders. The question remains; who will have the final say? It is a power struggle, and not the last one we will see in the desert. The power belongs to God. He’s in charge. He is leading through his servant Moses, but helping him through the elders. This most humble of men did not defend himself and his decision to marry, but God defended him.
We can know that if we are walking with the LORD, in humble submission to Him, that we need not defend ourselves. The office of the prophet as the intermediary between God and man has since ceased (Luke 16:16). The Holy Spirit communes with each of us, and we have His Word. Still, the principle is the same. We will often be questioned, and sometimes our whole family will be against us (Matthew 10:36). We should know that we need not argue our case. If it is a righteous decision, the LORD will defend us. If it is not a godly decision, we will see by the fruit and learn from our mistake. That is genuine humility.
Meditation: Can I trust God to defend my godly decisions?
Always Trusting – Streams in the Desert – March 6
- 20236 Mar
But we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. Not only this, but it is now the third day since these things happened (Luke 24:21).
I have always felt so sorry that in that walk to Emmaus the disciples had not said to Jesus, “We still trust”; instead of “We trusted.” That is so sad—something that is all over.
If they had only said, “Everything is against our hope; it looks as if our trust was vain, but we do not give up; we believe we shall see Him again.” But no, they walked by His side declaring their lost faith, and He had to say to them “O fools, and slow of heart to believe!”
Are we not in the same danger of having these words said to us? We can afford to lose anything and everything if we do not lose our faith in the God of truth and love.
Let us never put our faith, as these disciples did, in a past tense—“We trusted.” But let us ever say, “I am trusting.”
The soft, sweet summer was warm and glowing,
Bright were the blossoms on every bough:
I trusted Him when the roses were blooming;
I trust Him now…
Small were my faith should it weakly falter
Now that the roses have ceased to blow;
Frail were the trust that now should alter,
Doubting His love when storm clouds grow.
—The Song of a Bird in a Winter Storm
Predestination and calling
By: Charles Spurgeon
“Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called.” Romans 8:30
Suggested Further Reading: 1 John 3:19-24
The testimony of sense may be false, but the testimony of the Spirit must be true. We have the witness of the Spirit within, bearing witness with our spirits that we are born of God. There is such a thing on earth as an infallible assurance of our election. Let a man once get that, and it will anoint his head with fresh oil, it will clothe him with the white garment of praise, and put the song of the angel into his mouth. Happy, happy man, who is fully assured of his interest in the covenant of grace, in the blood of atonement, and in the glories of heaven! Such men there are here this very day. Let them “rejoice in the Lord alway, and again I say rejoice.” What would some of you give if you could arrive at this assurance? Mark, if you anxiously desire to know, you may know. If your heart pants to read its title clear it shall do so before long. No man ever desired Christ in his heart with a living and longing desire, who did not find him sooner or later. If you have a desire, God has given it to you. If you pant, and cry, and groan after Christ, even this is his gift; bless him for it. Thank him for little grace, and ask him for great grace. He has given you hope, ask for faith; and when he gives you faith, ask for assurance; and when you get assurance, ask for full assurance; and when you have obtained full assurance, ask for enjoyment; and when you have enjoyment, ask for glory itself; and he shall surely give it to you in his own appointed season.
For meditation: Are you content with a logical possession of God’s salvation, or do you long for a heart-felt assurance? Both head knowledge and heart knowledge are important. (1 John 2:3-5; 3:14,19,24; 4:13; 5:2,13,19-20).