THOU SHALT HAVE NO OTHER GODS BEFORE ME – 11 Mar 2000

Unless I am mistaken, there are not many who are rich amongst us.  Most of us are rather poor but, bless the Name of the Lord Jesus, we are rich in Christ!  We do not have many assets in our lives here in this world.  For the relatively few who do, remember — and do not forget — to give thanks always to our Father in Heaven for blessing you.  May you be a blessing to those in need — their “angels”, as Eddy taught last week.  For the truth is that our real treasure is the life God has prepared to give for eternity to those who love Him.

That raises the question for us today, for those who are in themselves poor:  are we demonstrating that we believe in the God who has shown His love for us by sending His Son Jesus to die for us so that we can live with Him forever?  Are we by our lifestyle and behavior giving a testimony of a genuine faith in the living God who has promised never to leave us nor forsake us?  Holy is the LORD, and His commandments — if we obey them — discipline us in holiness as His children.  Do we really love God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, or do our hearts deceive us in this area of our lives as we hope in luck and resign ourselves to our fate?

In Israel — and I am sure in other countries — the rich exploit  and oppress the poor, and tempt them in their desperation and troubles, by suggesting to them a get-rich-quick scheme, with the idea behind it that with money all your problems will be solved.  Look at how much national enthusiasm is given each week to the lottery!  How many poor people, who need food, clothing, medicines, spend what little they have with the small hope that their “luck will change” and make them rich to do and buy the things that they never actually needed.  Without going into more details about the psychology of lotto and toto, the question true believers in the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ have to ask and answer is whether this is God’s way to meet our needs?

Our God is sovereign over all things and He knows the end from the beginning (Is. 46:10).  He knows how many hairs are on each of our heads (Mt. 10:30).  The LORD is the Creator and Former of our bodies and its inmost parts (Ps. 139: 13-16).  Live by the faith you have — however small or large — in God our Father who hears the prayers of His children, especially when our requests are suitable and worthy of Him (Lk. 11: 9-13; 12:31).  We will lose a measure of our love for the Lord Jesus if we do not care to obey Him.  He has joined together loving Him with obeying Him.  Let God increase your faith  to trust Him for your lives and the influence that will have on others near and dear to you.  Give your money and your hopes to the Lord and for His use.  Mifal haPayis (the lottery group) has its objectives; God has His.  Whom are you serving?  At the same time, learn and do what the Scriptures say to us about how to live your life.  I remember after Randi and I were born-again, and the hope quickened in me that Jesus would come back soon, I said to her that our lives had to change; we needed to repent of our sins and learn to live in accordance with the teachings in the Bible.  Even our attitudes about our marriage relationship needed correction after seeing that God’s thoughts were different than ours and the world’s.

Lk. 12: 15, 22-34   Do not covet.  Do not worry; God our Father looks after His little flock.

In looking at the passage, let’s notice just a few points:

     v. 15   Be careful and do not covet (Ex. 20:17; Mic. 2:2; Col. 3:5).  Covetousness is idolatry.  It places our lusts and love of personal ease above the will and wisdom of God for each of us.  It is opposed to the greatest commandment to love the LORD above all, and against the second to love your neighbor as yourself, because covetousness wants more for “Me” and less for “Him/Her/Them”.  The Messiah our Lord tells us that it is wrong thinking and a wrong attitude to think that money and possessions will truly satisfy.  It can indeed help in some ways, but it is not the substance of life and happiness.  Rather, being rich towards God — being conformed to the image of Jesus who did all things with God’s purposes in mind — this is the real source of contentment in life, both now and forever.

     v. 22-29    Food and clothing are basics that even those without God in the world in any personal way worry about.  Jesus says that our Father knows we need these things so do not worry about them.  (Paul teaches elsewhere [2 Thes. 3:10] that if a man will not work then he will not eat).  Men, Husbands, we have a serious responsibility to provide for our families.  They depend on us as a rule.  We need to work in such a way that both gives our God and Savior a good name, and gives no good reason or excuse for us to lose our jobs.  In any case, we must work with thanksgiving to God and our employers for our jobs, because by it we help give our families security.

     v. 30-32   Ask in prayer for what we really do need, and God knows how to answer.  Seek first the Kingdom of God in your lives, in your hearts.  Jesus the King is telling us that His Father and ours wants to give us the Kingdom.  Praise God!  Who can lay hold of that?  Let this very great and precious promise enter your ears and into your hearts (2Pet 1:3-4).

      v. 33-34     To guard against covetousness and the spirit of the age, Jesus tells us to sell what we do have and give charity.  As the rich man found out, you can not take this world’s wealth with you when you die, nor even guarantee what will become of it here.

Brothers and Sisters, our Father is looking for those who would be His children, those who honor His Son Jesus, the righteous Judge, even as they say they honor God the Father who sent Him (John 5:21-23).    God is making for Himself a holy people who live by faith in Him who is invisible and who produce the fruit  of righteousness and peace (Heb. 12:5-11).  The Sovereign God has determined that we each have the freedom to choose to live according to His Word or not:  one way leads to blessedness; the other to misery and despair.

If any of you here are taking the name of the LORD in vain by living in a way which makes Him a god of luck or of fate, then hear what the Holy Spirit is saying to you and confess your sin and ask God’s forgiveness and grace to repent.  As we saw, seek first the Kingdom of God, asking our Father to give what He is pleased to do, and begin today to live by faith in Jesus in the power of the Spirit according to His teachings.  Jesus came to give us life in abundance with all spiritual blessings that belong to salvation, even godliness with contentment (1 Tim. 6:6-7).  Our Father is seeking those who worship Him in spirit and truth.  He is seeking you.  If today you hear His voice, do not harden your heart, but rather humble yourself under the Hand of God and He will exalt you in His time.