“Ye…took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance” – Heb. 10:34.
Overcomers of all ages have experienced such as we have recorded in Hebrews ten. In fact all believers have suffered some losses, but not all have been able to take them joyfully. I believe this is mainly because they focused their attention and affections on the temporal instead of the eternal (II Cor. 4:16-18).
The scriptures give us many examples of those focused on either the material or spiritual wealth. We read in Genesis thirteen that there came a separation between Abram and Lot. “And Lot lifted up his eyes and beheld all the plain of Jordan…Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan…and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom.” But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly.
By way of contrast we find Abram allowing God to focus his attention, direct his path, and chose his inheritance. It seems that God was comforting him when He told Abram to lift up his eyes and look from the place that he was. Abram could have been very severely pained by the separation as well as greatly releaved.
In genesis fourteen we read of a war wherein Lot’s property was plundered or “goods spoiled.” Lot had gone away farther, after having pitched toward Sodom, he now dwelt with the losers of this battle, and was thus taken captive. Can we not see the sequel among God’s people today?
“And the vale of Siddim was full of slimepits; and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, and fell there…” and their enemies took all their goods and victuals, and went their way. “And they took Lot, Abram’s brother’s son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods and departed” – Gen. 14:10-12. We next see a real overcoming attitude manifested in Abram. When he heard that Lot was taken captive he went to war, won the victory, and brought back all the plundered goods, even Lot and his goods.
When the king of Sodom went out to meet Abram, the victor and to reward him, Melchizedek king of Salem got there first with bread and wine, and blessed him, saying, “Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth.” Abram is here identified as belonging to God who owns it all, and Abram proved it by his actions. He was surrendered to God, he had solemnly promised by the uplifted hand what he would do when victorious. Therefore when the king of Sodom approached him with the suggestion, “take the goods to thyself” Abram proved that he was indeed living by faith, for he refused his offer. Living by faith in God keeps us from becoming indebted to or dependant upon man.
“After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. And Abram said, Lord God, what wilt thou give me…” Gen. 15:1-2.
Abram seemed to need comfort and assurance after such marvelous victories. The possessor of heaven says, “fear not.” Oh, thank God for His fear nots! To our hearts. What better protection could we find, than to have the “I AM” as our shield. And what greater possession than to have the “I AM” as our reward. I believe he manifested an earnest faith, and sincere interest in God’s promise, when he asked, “what will thou give me?”
Faith cannot refuse such an offer. Doesn’t Jesus still offer Himself to believing hearts today as the Prize of the high calling? Oh, how foolish we would be to refuse such an offer, He is worth everything. May our love abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; that we may (be able) to approve things that are excellent; that we may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ (Phil. 1:9-10).
“Then sent Joseph, and called his father Jacob to him, and all his kindred” – Acts 7:14. Joseph had been thrown into the pit by his brothers. Then he was sold into slavery and put in prison. Eventually he came to the palace, and advanced to a place of rulership. We know that He was placed there by God to be instrumental in his brother’s deliverance. He eventually told his brothers, “God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance” (Gen. 45:7). He had been told to tell his father and bothren, “Also regard not your stuff; for the good of all the land of Egypt is yours.” V. 20.
It seems that our heavenly Father and our lovely Lord, who was beautifully typified by Joseph, speaks thus to us; about our stuff and the goods of our heavenly homeland, and promised inheritance. Don’t place such high value on that which you all one day leave behind, so as to allow it to hold you back, hinder your progress, but come on, come on, forget those things you have left behind, reach forth to that which I have set before you.