Your Soul is for Sale
Manuary 8, 2016
Sometime in 1979 Robert Hanssen sold more than he could ever deliver. He had been an FBI agent for three years and had recently been transferred to the New York City Office where he and his family began to have some minor financial problems; as was common for FBI agents in the New York City area at the time, because of the high cost of living. He was struggling personally and he was going through a famine in his life.
We all go through famine in our lives. The hard times when our abilities and our resources are put under strain. Sometimes it’s hard financially, sometimes mentally, other times spiritually. But it’s where we turn in those times of difficulty that determine our destiny.
During the time of Elisha, while a man name Joram was the king over Israel in Samaria, the Syrian king name Ben-hadad decided to besiege Samaria so that there was a famine in the city. A famine so severe that people began to eat there own children. Because of this, Joram decided that he was going to execute Elisha, since Elisha was the man of God. So the king sent one of his servants to bring Elisha to him. This is how the Bible tells it. “Elisha was sitting in his house, and the elders were sitting with him. Now the king had dispatched a man from his presence, but before the messenger arrived Elisha said to the elders, ‘Do you see how this murderer has sent to take off my head? Look, when the messenger comes, shut the door and hold the door fast against him. Is not the sound of his master’s feet behind him?’ And while he was still speaking with them, the messenger came down to him and said, ‘This trouble is from the LORD! Why should I wait for the LROD any longer.’” – 2 Kings 6:32-33 (ESV)
I wonder if we blame the LORD for our troubles sometimes. Perhaps we’re even right. Perhaps we have trouble coming to us. Or maybe we’re being taught something, or being prepared for something. The problem arises when we begin to take matters into our own hands, denying God. Here is Elisha’s reply to that messenger. “But Elisha said, ‘Hear the word of the LORD: thus says the LORD, ‘Tomorrow about this time a seah of fine flour shall be sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley for a shekel, at the gate of Samaria.’ Then the captain on whose hand the king leaned said to the man of God, ‘If the LORD himself should make windows in heaven, could this thing be?’ But he [Elisha] said, ‘You shall see it with your own eyes, but you shall not eat of it.’” – 2 Kings 7:1-2 (ESV)
During that time of famine in Robert Hanssen’s life he decided to take matters into his own hands. He decided as an FBI agent that he was going to sell himself to his own provisions by giving the Soviet Union secrets in return for $30,000. Over time he sold more and more, and received more and more in return from the Soviet Union and later the Russian Federation. Through it all he was conflicted however. It wasn’t just about the money, it was about something bigger I believe. Maybe it was about his own self worth too. All totaled it’s estimated that he received somewhere around 1.7 million dollars for being arguably the most damaging spy in American history. Ironically, had he retired honorably from the FBI instead of going to Federal prison for the rest of his life, his pension would have probably been worth more. Whatever his conflicts inwardly, his decision in 1979 to sell something bigger than himself secured a sad destiny. Because as Hanssen’s friend Paul Moor said, “Once you’re in the game, you’re in the game for life, and you’re betting your life all the time.” – Spy, pg. 284
When that captain on whose hand the king leaned proclaimed that God was unable to solve his problems he decided to bet his life against God’s will that day too. Because as it happened, a few starving lepers who were hanging around the gate of the city decided they were going to try and survive by giving themselves up to the Syrians, but when they came to their camp they found it empty. The Bible says, “For the Lord had made the army of the Syrians hear the sound of chariots and of horses, and the sound of a great army, so that they said to one another, ‘Behold, the king of Israel has hired against us the kings of the Hittites and the kings of Egypt to come against us.’ So they fled away in the twilight and abandoned their tents, their horses, and their donkeys, leaving the camp as it was, and fled for their lives.” – 2 Kings 7:6-7 (ESV) This captain saw it all. But he was unable to participate because he was trampled in the gate of the city by the people rushing for the food God had provided. His sad destiny was secured because he decided against something bigger than himself.
What destiny are we choosing for ourselves? Are we choosing to survive our famines by our own means, or are we choosing to put our trust in a higher power? It’s easy to look at the decisions of others in hindsight and call them foolish. But in the future will we look back on the decisions we’re making today and call them foolish too? Are we selling our souls to the wrong bidder? Our souls are for sale. And they will be bought. But by whom? The answer to that question determines our destiny more than any other. Do you belong to Christ, who bought you with His life on the cross already? Or… Jesus paid it all for us to have a destiny greater than we could ever imagine. A destiny with Him. But we must choose. We must choose to validate his payment already made for us. Our destiny relies on our decision.
God bless you,
Bible quotations were taken from the English Standard Version, marked (ESV)
The accounts of Robert Hanssen were taken from the book “Spy, The Inside Story of How the FBI’s Robert Hanssen Betrayed America” by David Wise