by Brooke Shambley
Today, I was thinking about how I get so caught up in things. This morning I was caught up in an online contest, then later I was completely consumed by getting the church’s commercial range on Craigslist. Sometimes it’s the computer that has me caught up, sometimes the TV, sometimes life and circumstances. Bottom line, I know I get way too caught up by things.
Name something that you’ve been caught up with today, or within the last week.
I’m so caught up in __________________________________________ right now.
This really got me thinking, what does the Bible say about getting “caught up”. What does it mean to be “caught up”, what does it relate to?
There are a few Hebrew and Greek words that mean “caught” or “caught up,” here are their English equivalents: stolen, seized, take hold of, took hold, spoil, stolen, take away, catch away, handle, lay hold, prevailed upon, grasp
Two main meanings stand out from the Biblical idea of being caught up: 1. Taken forcibly and 2. Grasped or caught
My first question has to do with the first meaning, taken forcibly. Here are some questions to get you thinking:
1. What is taking hold of your time?
2. What is taking hold of your children?
3. What is taking hold of your money?
4. What is taking hold of your life?
The answer might be material things, other persons; maybe you are taking hold of it all. Anything that holds control in our lives without our making a decision to give it control has taken it, seized it, and stole the control. We even seize the control of our own lives often selfishly, but God is the one who ultimately controls our lives and we should submit to his authority.
Examples of things being stolen or seized (containing the Hebrew word we are studying):
Ecclesiastes 9:12 - Moreover, no man knows when his hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so men are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them.
Numbers 31:32 - The plunder remaining from the spoils that the soldiers took was 675,000 sheep . . .
Deuteronomy 22:28 - If a man meets a virgin who is not betrothed, and seizes her and lies with her, and they are found . . .
Just as fish are caught in a net, plunder is taken from the conquered, and at times virgins are seized and put through things they would never choose, so our life and circumstances are at times out of our control. Things are forcibly taken in our lives, our time, our resources, and for some when their own bodies were taken. Getting caught up in this way, we have no control over the circumstances, but we do have control to whom we relinquish our heartache. God still has a plan when our lives seem caught up by something we can’t control, and He can and will restore our lives.
My second question has to do with the second meaning of “caught up”. Sometimes our time, children, money, and lives are being caught but not by force. Sometimes it can seem like we are caught up in a wind or a storm, but are we getting caught up forcibly or are we giving ourselves over to things? Is it seizure or abandonment?
We must recognize God’s power over our lives and our sin. We can’t simply put up the white flag before the battle even starts. Satan doesn’t want a battle; because he knows that God will win every time.
Proverbs 7:13 - She seizes him and kisses him, and with bold face she says to him . . .
I’m guessing this fellow in the Proverbs example isn’t putting up much of a fuss. He’s giving himself over to the adulteress. Joseph’s example is quite different; he’s the example for how things should go.
Genesis 39:12 – [Potiphar’s wife] caught [Joseph] by his garment, saying, “Lie with me.” But he left his garment in her hand and fled and got out of the house.
Notice that Joseph recognized what was being taken and stood strong in God by actually running away. How easy it would have been for him to get caught up and simply give in to her pressuring! No matter what tries to catch us up and pull us in, we must seek to take hold of God instead of being taken hold of by other things.
We shouldn’t let other things seize control of our lives nor should we seize the control for ourselves and we shouldn’t allow things to catch us up due to inattention, then how can we deal with the “cares of this world”? What should we do when everything seems to overtake us and demand of our time? God has the answer and offers to take hold of our problems, etc.
What specifically has God offered to take care of in our lives? Can He stand strong in our storms?
1 Peter 5:7 - Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
Psalm 55:22 - Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.
Matthew 6:30-32 - If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
So God can take care of our problems, but how can we take hold of God? Specifically, how can we hold fast and cling to God instead of getting caught up by the world?
Hebrews 10:23 – Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
Deuteronomy 4:29 - But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul.
1 Timothy 6:11 - But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.
Philippians 3:7-14 – But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
I love the synonyms provided by Blue Letter Bible on the Greek word for “Press on” – run to, run swiftly, run after, press on, pursue, seek after eagerly, earnestly endeavor to acquire
What are you caught up with? Are you chasing after things or are you chasing after God? Are we letting things run our lives, or are we standing firm in God?
If you aren’t caught up by God, what are you caught up by?