The Freedom of Letting Go

  • September 23, 2015
Wednesday 23

1 Peter 5:6-7

Our heavenly Father is interested in every detail in our life. If we want Him to work in a particular area—whether relationships, finances, vocation, habits, or something else—we must be willing to let go of our control and give over to Him whatever He asks of us.

We may think we have no attachments that come between us and the Lord, but He knows our hearts. One Sunday as I was about to preach a sermon along these lines, He showed me something I hadn’t yet surrendered. I realized I needed to deal with it, or I wouldn’t be able to preach the sermon. So I was glad when the choir’s song took a while, because I had time to come to a place of being able to say, “Lord, if that’s what You desire, I commit it to You. You have the right to claim it at any time, so it’s Yours right now.”

It’s difficult to be completely obedient if we’re holding on to something too tightly. The Lord wants our attachment to be exclusively to Him. You may have multitudes of things that God has blessed you with, but the moment any of it has a hold on you, His work in your life will be blocked. But when you open your hands, gripping nothing, you will be totally free as the Holy Spirit’s power flows through you.

Is there anything you feel you could never give up? Think about whatever captivates you, and honestly consider whether it also holds you captive. I challenge you to release that relationship or situation to the Lord right now so He can give you the freedom you’ve been craving.

Bible in One Year: Obadiah 1, Jonah 1-4

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6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time,

7 casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.

1 The vision of Obadiah. Thus says the Lord GOD concerning Edom-- We have heard a report from the LORD, And an envoy has been sent among the nations saying, Arise and let us go against her for battle"--

2 Behold, I will make you small among the nations; You are greatly despised.

3 The arrogance of your heart has deceived you, You who live in the clefts of the rock, In the loftiness of your dwelling place, Who say in your heart, `Who will bring me down to earth?'

4 Though you build high like the eagle, Though you set your nest among the stars, From there I will bring you down," declares the LORD.

5 If thieves came to you, If robbers by night-- O how you will be ruined!-- Would they not steal only until they had enough? If grape gatherers came to you, Would they not leave some gleanings?

6 O how Esau will be ransacked, And his hidden treasures searched out!

7 All the men allied with you Will send you forth to the border, And the men at peace with you Will deceive you and overpower you. They who eat your bread Will set an ambush for you. (There is no understanding in him.)

8 Will I not on that day," declares the LORD, Destroy wise men from Edom And understanding from the mountain of Esau?

9 Then your mighty men will be dismayed, O Teman, So that everyone may be cut off from the mountain of Esau by slaughter.

10 Because of violence to your brother Jacob, You will be covered with shame, And you will be cut off forever.

11 On the day that you stood aloof, On the day that strangers carried off his wealth, And foreigners entered his gate And cast lots for Jerusalem-- You too were as one of them.

12 Do not gloat over your brother's day, The day of his misfortune. And do not rejoice over the sons of Judah In the day of their destruction; Yes, do not boast In the day of their distress.

13 Do not enter the gate of My people In the day of their disaster. Yes, you, do not gloat over their calamity In the day of their disaster. And do not loot their wealth In the day of their disaster.

14 Do not stand at the fork of the road To cut down their fugitives; And do not imprison their survivors In the day of their distress.

15 For the day of the LORD draws near on all the nations. As you have done, it will be done to you. Your dealings will return on your own head.

16 Because just as you drank on My holy mountain, All the nations will drink continually. They will drink and swallow And become as if they had never existed.

17 But on Mount Zion there will be those who escape, And it will be holy. And the house of Jacob will possess their possessions.

18 Then the house of Jacob will be a fire And the house of Joseph a flame; But the house of Esau will be as stubble. And they will set them on fire and consume them, So that there will be no survivor of the house of Esau," For the LORD has spoken.

19 Then those of the Negev will possess the mountain of Esau, And those of the Shephelah the Philistine plain; Also, possess the territory of Ephraim and the territory of Samaria, And Benjamin will possess Gilead.

20 And the exiles of this host of the sons of Israel, Who are among the Canaanites as far as Zarephath, And the exiles of Jerusalem who are in Sepharad Will possess the cities of the Negev.

21 The deliverers will ascend Mount Zion To judge the mountain of Esau, And the kingdom will be the LORD'S.

1 The word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai saying,

2 Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me."

3 But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. So he went down to Joppa, found a ship which was going to Tarshish, paid the fare and went down into it to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.

4 The LORD hurled a great wind on the sea and there was a great storm on the sea so that the ship was about to break up.

5 Then the sailors became afraid and every man cried to his god, and they threw the cargo which was in the ship into the sea to lighten it for them. But Jonah had gone below into the hold of the ship, lain down and fallen sound asleep.

6 So the captain approached him and said, How is it that you are sleeping? Get up, call on your god. Perhaps your god will be concerned about us so that we will not perish."

7 Each man said to his mate, Come, let us cast lots so we may learn on whose account this calamity has struck us." So they cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah.

8 Then they said to him, Tell us, now! On whose account has this calamity struck us? What is your occupation? And where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?"

9 He said to them, I am a Hebrew, and I fear the LORD God of heaven who made the sea and the dry land."

10 Then the men became extremely frightened and they said to him, How could you do this?" For the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them.

11 So they said to him, What should we do to you that the sea may become calm for us?"--for the sea was becoming increasingly stormy.

12 He said to them, Pick me up and throw me into the sea. Then the sea will become calm for you, for I know that on account of me this great storm has come upon you."

13 However, the men rowed desperately to return to land but they could not, for the sea was becoming even stormier against them.

14 Then they called on the LORD and said, We earnestly pray, O LORD, do not let us perish on account of this man's life and do not put innocent blood on us; for You, O LORD, have done as You have pleased."

15 So they picked up Jonah, threw him into the sea, and the sea stopped its raging.

16 Then the men feared the LORD greatly, and they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made vows.

17 And the LORD appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the stomach of the fish three days and three nights.

1 Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the stomach of the fish,

2 and he said, I called out of my distress to the LORD, And He answered me. I cried for help from the depth of Sheol; You heard my voice.

3 For You had cast me into the deep, Into the heart of the seas, And the current engulfed me. All Your breakers and billows passed over me.

4 So I said, `I have been expelled from Your sight. Nevertheless I will look again toward Your holy temple.'

5 Water encompassed me to the point of death. The great deep engulfed me, Weeds were wrapped around my head.

6 I descended to the roots of the mountains. The earth with its bars was around me forever, But You have brought up my life from the pit, O LORD my God.

7 While I was fainting away, I remembered the LORD, And my prayer came to You, Into Your holy temple.

8 Those who regard vain idols Forsake their faithfulness,

9 But I will sacrifice to You With the voice of thanksgiving. That which I have vowed I will pay. Salvation is from the LORD."

10 Then the LORD commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah up onto the dry land.

1 Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time, saying,

2 Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and proclaim to it the proclamation which I am going to tell you."

3 So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, a three days' walk.

4 Then Jonah began to go through the city one day's walk; and he cried out and said, Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown."

5 Then the people of Nineveh believed in God; and they called a fast and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least of them.

6 When the word reached the king of Nineveh, he arose from his throne, laid aside his robe from him, covered himself with sackcloth and sat on the ashes.

7 He issued a proclamation and it said, In Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let man, beast, herd, or flock taste a thing. Do not let them eat or drink water.

8 But both man and beast must be covered with sackcloth; and let men call on God earnestly that each may turn from his wicked way and from the violence which is in his hands.

9 Who knows, God may turn and relent and withdraw His burning anger so that we will not perish."

10 When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it.

1 But it greatly displeased Jonah and he became angry.

2 He prayed to the LORD and said, Please LORD, was not this what I said while I was still in my own country? Therefore in order to forestall this I fled to Tarshish, for I knew that You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity.

3 Therefore now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for death is better to me than life."

4 The LORD said, Do you have good reason to be angry?"

5 Then Jonah went out from the city and sat east of it. There he made a shelter for himself and sat under it in the shade until he could see what would happen in the city.

6 So the LORD God appointed a plant and it grew up over Jonah to be a shade over his head to deliver him from his discomfort. And Jonah was extremely happy about the plant.

7 But God appointed a worm when dawn came the next day and it attacked the plant and it withered.

8 When the sun came up God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on Jonah's head so that he became faint and begged with all his soul to die, saying, Death is better to me than life."

9 Then God said to Jonah, Do you have good reason to be angry about the plant?" And he said, I have good reason to be angry, even to death."

10 Then the LORD said, You had compassion on the plant for which you did not work and which you did not cause to grow, which came up overnight and perished overnight.

11 Should I not have compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know the difference between their right and left hand, as well as many animals?"

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Publish Date November 21, 2017
Causes of Rebellion

Believers are not immune to the dangers of doubt and pride.

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