Gambling

Did you know there is no chapter and verse command against gambling in the Bible? True.
 
Today I’ll identify 2 principles I live by concerning gambling that may help you, but first a little Bible education. The casting of lots – basically rolling the dice – was used by the High Priest to decide between the goat of the sin offering and the scapegoat, Joshua cast lots to determine which tribe got which parcel of Promised Land, gate keepers were appointed by lot, and before Pentecost the apostles cast lots to determine Judas Iscariot’s replacement. (Lev 16:8, Josh 18:6-10, I Chron 26:13, Acts 1:26)
 
These examples don’t qualify as gambling as it was actually a means of determining the Lord’s will, not the wagering of money hoping to get rich quick. The casting of lots as a method of determining the Lord’s stopped when the Holy Spirit came to live in people – after Pentecost they never cast lots or put a fleece out again because He lives within, so we have direct connection.
 
Gambling if nothing else, is a waste of money but not necessarily evil, though like anything done to an extreme, leads people to ruin. The raffling of a bicycle at $1 a ticket to help the junior high band raise money for uniforms isn’t evil, while gambling away one’s mortgage and food money at the casino is…so what are foundational principles we might live by?
 
If you let me win the lottery Lord I’ll give you…
While the Bible doesn’t provide chapter and verse for or against gambling, there are many verses that warn the wise about get rich quick schemes, lusting for money, and so forth. (Prov 13:11, 23:5, Ecc 5:10, Mt 6:24, I Tim 6: 6-10)
 
So we must take our cue from what scripture DOES say, and then look for the reason behind the reason. If the Lord thought like us, the lottery would only go to Christians each week because so much prayer goes up before each drawing that starts something like this: If you let me win the Powerball Lord, think of how much good I could do…” or “If you let me win, I promise to give you X%…”
 
Since that doesn’t happen each week, maybe there is a reason?
 
Principle #1
The Lord determined at the fall of Adam that man would gain wealth by work: “By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food…” (Gen 3:19)
 
This is a hard lesson for some as it goes against the flesh, which would like to work as little as possible yet receive a disproportionately large return. One of the Proverbs I listed above is 13:11: “Dishonest money (gotten with no work) dwindles away; but whoever gathers money little by little makes it grow.
 
“Little by little” means an organized, disciplined lifestyle, and that’s contrary to credit cards which allow us to spend money we don’t have, contrary to a no-budget approach to finances, and contrary to the lusts of the flesh and desires of the eyes which would have us live beyond our means or keep up with the neighbors.
 
Though God’s Word repeatedly says we are to work for gain, scams involving Christians abound, fed by well meaning people who believe God will go against His Word and Spirit because their heart is motivated by good, or their need is great, or they’ll give x percentage to the Lord, or by winning it will allow them to fulfill their call, or they really are sorry about piling up all that debt…and on it goes.
 
Proverbs basically says there are two kinds of people; the man who won’t work to earn a living, and those who work hard but spend their money foolishly. (18:9)
 
It is a very hard thing when one realizes the Lord ordained hard work and good money management habits but they’ve done exactly the opposite. As they say, to get yourself out of a hole you first have to stop digging. Reversing that digging of the financial hole you are in requires painful character growth, denying the flesh, and plain hard work. Exactly what God told Adam after he fell – ‘sweat of your brow’ means it is hard!
 
Principle #2
Principle #2 is directly related to principle #1, but like I said at the start, this is how I live, revelation I’ve lived by – to me, these are foundational truths everything else is built upon. You just can’t get any more foundational than the first words out the Lord’s mouth to Adam after he fell, being; ‘By the sweat of your brow you will eat your bread.’
 
Let me set up the context of principle #2. In Genesis 14 some marauding kings near Abraham had conquered several cities and carried away a lot of possessions and people, including his nephew, Lot. Abraham arms 318 of his trained servants and defeats those kings and reclaims the people and their possessions, plus the spoils from the defeated army.
 
When the king of Sodom, where Lot lived, congratulates Abraham, he tells him to give him the people but to keep all the spoil for himself. To which Abraham responds:
 
“With raised hand I have sworn an oath to the Lord, God most High, Creator of heaven and earth, that I will accept nothing that belongs to you…so that you will never be able to say ‘I have made Abraham rich’. (Genesis 14)
 
Abraham was extremely aware of the blessing on his life through his walk and covenant with the Lord. He worked hard, was good with his money, and was blessed. He did not want any get rich quick gain that would allow men to say they made Abraham rich. That would take away from, even devalue the sacred trust he felt with the Lord concerning His blessing on his life.
 
We live in a perverted world
Most people do not have Abraham’s heart that cherished and held sacred his walk with God. Abraham never wanted to do anything that might grieve the Lord. Accepting wealth that came from outside his daily walk with God would hurt the Lord’s feelings who had promised to bless him.
 
Yet today our churches are filled with believers who count wealth by any means as a stamp of God’s approval and blessing on their life. Where are the people who hold sacred in their hearts “I don’t want any man to say he made me rich; but let all know it is God alone who blesses me so!”
 
These are the two foundational reasons I don’t gamble, don’t buy lottery tickets, don’t look for a disproportionate return on a tiny investment. I know it is by hard work and the sweat of my brow that I eat, and I have in my heart I don’t want any person to say they made me rich. When people look at my life, I want them to be able to say ‘God has blessed him’ – blessed the work of his hands. And I won’t look outside what He has given me to do in life for my provision.
 
This is how un-Biblical our thinking is: If many met a winner of a huge lottery they’d say to them ‘God sure has blessed you’. But Abraham would think they didn’t value their walk with the Lord enough that they looked outside of Him blessing their work in order to gain riches.
 
As I said at the start
Gambling at the least is a waste of money, and evil if a person finds themselves betting their mortgage or food money. The foundational reason for having the freedom not to gamble, is that I know it is by work that God blesses man, and in my heart I esteem my walk with Him so very much, that I would not insult what we have by looking outside that relationship to have man be able to say they made me rich.
 
Hope that makes sense, that’s my heart and thoughts on the matter…alcohol and things legal but maybe not expedient next week…blessings,
John Fenn

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