On Losing What Matters Most

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings
Exodus 9-11, Matthew 15:21-39


Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and say to him, This is what the Lord, the Hebrews’ God, says: Let my people go so that they can worship me. If you refuse to let them go and you continue to hold them back, the Lord will send a very deadly disease on your livestock in the field: on horses, donkeys, camels, cattle, and flocks. But the Lord will distinguish Israel’s livestock from Egypt’s livestock so that not one that belongs to the Israelites will die.” The Lord set a time and said, “Tomorrow the Lord will do this in the land.” And the next day the Lord did it. All of the Egyptian livestock died, but not one animal that belonged to the Israelites died. Pharaoh asked around and found out that not one of Israel’s livestock had died. But Pharaoh was stubborn, and he wouldn’t let the people go (Exodus 9:1-7, Common English Bible).

I know. Let me say that up front. I know the most important thing for any of us is not any of our stuff, it is our relationship with God. That being said, imagine losing the most important earthly thing in your life? It happens to people on a fairly regular basis. Fires burn down homes. People are unable to pay for homes and the property faces foreclosure. Here in southeast Texas about five months ago, many people lost their homes due to Hurrican Harvey. For many of us, me included, the most valuable thing we own is our home. For some, it might be their car, but the same kinds of things can happen with them.

For the ancients of the Old Testament era the most important, the most valuable thing they owned was their livestock. And, I have to tell you, this passage bothers me. The people who are suffering the most because God hardened Pharaoh’s heart isn’t Pharaoh. Of course, the Israelites in slavery suffer most but just after them would be the average Egyptian. Average Joe on the street lost all his livestock. He lost the most valuable thing he had and the place of his birth is all he did wrong. Isn’t God punishing the wrong guy?

For Pharaoh, sure he lost his livestock too, but it wasn’t the only thing he owned. Besides, just with his attitude in general, stealing the Israelites cattle isn’t beyond the realm of possibility.

Whenever we see someone who is a victim, it seems to me, our hearts should reach out to them. At least for the most part, just as the Israelites had done nothing wrong, the average Egyptian had done nothing wrong. If the story went as I would want, the Israelites would have held a huge barbecue and helped out their Egyptian neighbors. It may have happened on an individual basis. We have no way to know.

Without question, the world was different in those days. God hadn’t given any of the commandments yet. The world didn’t know, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” The important thing is, we do. When our neighbor losses the thing of greatest value, even the greatest earthly value, it is up to us to love our neighbor and we make that real by sharing what we have.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Published by drjkbroyles

I love Mike Ashcraft's book, "My One Word." For the past nine years I have participated and encouraged others to participate to in the "My One Word" Challenge. My first word was discipline was my word the first year. Since then my word has been focus, sight, jungle, peace, concentration, serve, genuine and this year is fit. I seek to be fit for my health, my family, my church, my ministries. I seek to be fit in any are of my life where God might point to me. I also have a nickname, "Dr. B." When I was a public high school teacher, Dr. B. is what most of my students called me, at least in my presence. I am still called that by many people though I no longer teach in public schools. I am the author of "Average Joe: With an Extraordinary Story" (available on Amazon). The book fits into the genre of "Biblical Fiction" or "Christian Fiction" and features some of the Bible's lesser known characters. The name of my blog is, "Fork in the Road." Life is filled with forks in the road. It isn't a matter of if we encounter a fork in the road, but when will we and how many will we experience in a lifetime. I love to strum my guitar. I am not a great guitar player but I enjoy it. I also enjoy writing music. I get excited with I feel a new song emerging. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog, "Bishop" in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 30 years as a United Methodist pastor, serving churches all over east and southeast Texas, from just north of Tyler to south of Houston, from the Gulf Coast to east of Madisonville. I currently serve Perritte Memorial UMC in Nacogdoches. I spent one year in the classroom, teaching High School government, economics, psychology, and sociology. Cindy and I have been married for 43 years. We have two grown sons and six grandchildren, three boys and three girls. I enjoy preaching and all it's aspects from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading. I have dabble in drawing and "painting" with pastels as well as woodworking and woodcarving. My current projects are two ukuleles. I collect, repair and restore guitars too. I play the guitar (badly, but I still do) I also enjoy working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, TX, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. This blog started out as devotional writings. In August of 2020, I made a major change to the blog, switching to a daily theme format. Sunday Sermon-usually my manuscript sermon Miscellaneous Monday-misc. writing, poetry, ministry Tuesday Thoughts-Devotion Wed. with Wesleys-hist. & theol. of early Methodists TED Talk Thursday-Video & appl. in current theology Five for Friday-5 things I've seen & my thoughts Sing-Along Sat. - Usually a new song I have written I write, "Strumming a G-Chord with Dr.B." to get my thoughts onto something permanent. After all, they say, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. Seeking the Genuine, Keith Lufkin, Texas August 2020

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