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The Millennium ~ Envisioning the Rest of God ~ Part 4

What The Economic Structure Will be Like in the Millennium

Do we ever stop and think about how unique our times are? That there has never been a time like the times we are living in as far as prosperity and high tech modern day conveniences. In all of known history most people who have ever lived and died have never seen cars, electrical appliances, jet planes, telephones, televisions, computers, i-pods, etc. etc.

We are so used to these things that we take it for granted that this is the way life is suppose to be and we tend to forget what it must have been like for our ancestors. It seems to be a wonderful blessing when we look at our way of life compared to the horse and buggy days when there were no such things as electricity, TV’s, grocery stores, or easy transportation; and no Internet.

But are we really as blessed as it appears that we might be? If someone were to come back to life that lived in, say, 200 B.C. (or any time in history before the 1900’s) and saw all the marvelous inventions and how easy it is to do day-to-day chores, travel to other places, prepare meals, take showers, communicate instantly with anyone in the world, what would their reaction be? They would probably think that this is some kind of utopia on earth. “If only we would have had what you people have, there is so much we could have done to make the world so much better”, they might say to us.

But if they were to take a closer look they would see the pollution, corruption, immorality, family breakdown, alcohol and drug addiction, instant access to pornography and despicable entertainment of every kind, the inner cities and our highly sophisticated war machinery; they would see that the prosperity and technology that mankind has gained in these last couple hundred years have not made planet earth any kind of a utopia, in fact the world has become worse than ever before.

Have the vast resources in the western Israelite nations along with the technological advancements made us a better people; a more caring and more responsible people? As a whole, it has not! In spite of the United States being supposedly one of the wealthiest nations in all of history, we are now very close to being 20 trillion US dollars in debt as per the US Debt Clock web site. Total personal debt in the US is over 17 trillion and credit card debt is close to 972 billion dollars. US Debt Clock

If we are so prosperous why all this debt? Where is God’s wisdom in all of this? And what happened to godly stewardship in managing our finances? Scripture has a lot to say about money, wealth, greed, contentment and a variety of other topics as they pertain to our financial and spiritual lives.

Blessings Bestowed on Israel in the Latter Days

The blessings that were prophesied to be bestowed upon Israel toward the end of the six thousand years of mankind (in the latter days) have been fulfilled. Most of us reside in the modern day countries that pertain to Joseph (Ephraim and Manasseh) and we have been the recipients of these blessings and do not know what it is like to live in an impoverished country.

God removed the curse of the ground to a certain extent in giving the modern day Israelite nations, especially in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and North America, abundant resources from the earth (and many other blessings) from which we have been greatly blessed. Looking back at history over the last few hundred years we can see that this happened just as God said it would in His Word. “And for the chief things of the ancient mountains, and for the precious things of the lasting hills, And for the precious things of the earth and fulness thereof” (Deuteronomy 33:15-16)

Genesis 49:1 And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days.

Genesis 49:22 Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall: 49:23 The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him: 49:24 But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel:) 49:25 Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb: 49:26  The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren.

Many years later Moses repeated the blessings that Jacob conferred upon the tribe of Joseph.

Deuteronomy 33:13 And of Joseph he said, Blessed of the Lord be his land, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that coucheth beneath, 33:14 And for the precious fruits brought forth by the sun, and for the precious things put forth by the moon, 33:15 And for the chief things of the ancient mountains, and for the precious things of the lasting hills, 33:16 And for the precious things of the earth and fulness thereof, and for the good will of him that dwelt in the bush: let the blessing come upon the head of Joseph, and upon the top of the head of him that was separated from his brethren. 33:17 His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns: with them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth: and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh.

In these latter days, God granted the tribe of Joseph to come into the most verdant lands of the earth which contained vast amounts of ore, coal, minerals, gold and silver, huge lakes and streams that provided much fresh water for millions, grasslands for livestock, and rich top soil that produced a whole array of food in abundance. The modern day descendants of Ephraim and Manasseh were given an opportunity to be wise stewards of the lands that they came to inhabit and to manage the richness derived from the soil that they had been given by God more than any other people throughout history.

Most of the immigrants that came to these nations were far from perfect but they had a courageous/innovative spirit with some morals and they believed in the importance of maintaining strong families; they were hard-working and made huge sacrifices to make these countries the greatest nations the world had ever seen.

Yes, it was God who had blessed the peoples who came here, but most of the populace rose to the challenge and worked hard to provide for their families and lead a life of a semblance of dignity and integrity, and also wanting to leave a good legacy for their families and to ensure that their descendants would do well. Many were grateful for the opportunity to live in these “new lands” and they showed their gratefulness by working hard, growing, inventing, building; and for the most part the latter day Israelite countries thrived in spite of two world wars, the great depression, and many other obstacles.

But what happened? Why are those same countries in recent years crumbling, cities are now the crime capitals of the world; the leaders are all corrupt to the max; the coal industry and factories are shutting down with many jobs going to foreign countries; our infrastructures are falling apart; traditional family life is no longer regarded as the norm and even held in derision; our leaders are allowing an invasion of illegal immigrates who do not want to enter the country through legal means, and unlike our forefathers do not want to integrate into the culture, instead many want to force their culture and laws upon their host countries which is causing all kinds of problems.

Moses addressed this prospect in his day when he was leading the children of Israel on the way to the Promised Land, which was the land of Canaan at that time.

He told them what kind of land it would be: that they were going inherit a beautiful land full of milk and honey and with everything they could possibly need to make life a blessing and not a curse. It could be theirs for the taking but only if they remembered to keep all of God’s commandments and to live life the way they had been taught by God through Moses and Aaron.

Deuteronomy 8:6 Therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to fear him. 8:7 For the Lord thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills; 8:8 A land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey; 8:9 A land wherein thou shalt eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack any thing in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou mayest dig brass. 8:10 When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the Lord thy God for the good land which he hath given thee. 8:11 Beware that thou forget not the Lord thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day:

But if they were to forget who it was that really had given them the power to attain wealth through the abundance of the land and in providing the right conditions for growing their crops and then go after other gods besides the God who had delivered them from Egypt, then they would be destroyed from the land just as the nations before them had been.

Deuteronomy 8:12 Lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein; 8:13 And when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; 8:14 Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the Lord thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; 8:15 Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint; 8:16 Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end; 8:17 And thou say in thine heart, My power and the  might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth. 8:18 But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day. 8:19 And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the Lord thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish. 8:20 As the nations which the Lord destroyeth before your face, so shall ye perish; because ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the Lord your God.

It is helpful to review Deuteronomy 28 and Leviticus 26 also from time to time to help us understand why the blessings of our western nations are being removed, and what our conditions will progress to in the near future when total correction comes down upon us and when the consequences that these Scriptures are warning about are actually happening. These passages are also prophesying of the coming tribulation; God’s correction which will happen in the latter days because of the people’s personal and national sins of which they refuse to repent.

The consequences and the curses that come from going after other ways and not obeying God are horrifying to read about and yet we see these things beginning to happen right here in our own cities and neighborhoods, and on the News every night.

As we read through these chapters we realize that the curses that we incur are the consequences of not being good stewards of (and not being grateful) for what God has provided us with, beginning with all His laws and ordinances and the way of life that He has given to us in His Word.

Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.

Why do the modern day Israelite people not have knowledge of God and His commandments? And do not even know what they are? It is not because there is a lack of Bibles and God’s Word everywhere, but it is because they refuse to listen to what God has to say in His Word (there is a famine of the “hearing” of the words of the Lord).

This has happened in both the physical nation of Israel, but also within those organizations that say that they have the true God but then refuse to do what He says (including most of the COG’s). They would rather hold to their traditions of men rather than believe the Word of God and then obey His clearly stated commandments.

Hosea 8:11 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD:

This has been Israel’s legacy throughout time until both Israel and Judah became so corrupt that God removed them from His land and sent them into captivity. It seems that God gave Israel and Judah one last chance in the latter days by giving their descendants another physical Promised Land, only in different parts of the earth; and yet we still say in our hearts and prove it by our actions: “My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth” and we have totally forgotten God.

The people in the nations that call themselves “the Christian” nations of the world have forgotten that it was God who gave us all that we have attained, even the power to get our wealth. We have come to worship the gods our own hands have made and gone after perversity and wickedness to the degree that God is soon going to bring disaster on these nations just as happen in times past when God loses His patience with us.

Cursed in Our Finances

Besides mankind being under the curse of the ground and the curse of sickness and disease; so also the burden of poverty and financial woes of every type has been the norm for most of humanity. Even in these latter days with the blessings given to us because of God’s promises to the twelve tribes of Israel, man has shown by his fruits that without God, he is incapable of managing the resources and his finances on a personal and national level. Man has shown by his actions that he does not want the Eternal as the focus of his affairs.

Isaiah 1:2 Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the Lord hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. 1:3 The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider. 1:4 Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward. 1:5 Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint.

The six thousand years of man’s legacy of complete failure will stand forever as a testimony that mankind is incapable of managing the earths resources and is totally inept at governing himself and others on his own. This is meant to keep us aware, always, even throughout eternity, what happens when men throw God out of the equation and live in rebellion against Him. The memory is being embedded in men’s memories for those who do attain to eternal life so that they will never want to forget God and go back to conditions brought on by disobedience to Him.

Mankind has followed Satan’s way of conducting business which is predicated on greed and lust and exploiting those who have no power to defend themselves, taking advantage of every situation to make a profit no matter whom it hurts.

Ezekiel 28:3 Behold, thou art wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that they can hide from thee: 28:4 With thy wisdom and with thine understanding thou hast gotten thee riches, and hast gotten gold and silver into thy treasures: 28:5 By thy great wisdom and by thy traffick hast thou increased thy riches, and thine heart is lifted up because of thy riches:

The whole world’s system of economics is based on Satan’s system and it is bringing the modern nations of Israel to total catastrophe and ruin in spite of the blessings we received from God. Just as in all other areas of life, man has chosen to determine for himself what is right when it comes to managing the economy and his business affairs. 

Christ’s Laws Will Bring Abundance and Wealth to the Economy

When Christ returns and takes over the nations of the world He will restore the Government of God on earth and He will teach the people how to have strong thriving economies and how to rightly manage the resources of the world. This will cause abundance to flow for all the peoples of the world in the Millennium. No one will be able to exploit others for their own gain; and the leaders will rule with equity desiring to help every person and family to have an abundant and blessed standard of living.

In the Millennium and beyond, the economy and the financial system will be based on God ‘s laws and ordinances and wise stewardship, and the world’s economies will be strong and will flourish unlike any other time in the history of the world.

Isaiah 60:5 Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee. 60:6 The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; all they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense; and they shall shew forth the praises of the Lord. 60:7 All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together unto thee, the rams of Nebaioth shall minister unto thee: they shall come up with acceptance on mine altar, and I will glorify the house of my glory. 60:8 Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows? 60:9 Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, unto the name of the Lord thy God, and to the Holy One of Israel, because he hath glorified thee. 60:10 And the sons of strangers shall build up thy walls, and their kings shall minister unto thee: for in my wrath I smote thee, but in my favour have I had mercy on thee.

God gave Moses His laws and statutes to teach the children of Israel a way to live that would bring blessings including how to administer things pertaining to economics. When the Israelites were faithful to God, they were blessed; but a study of the Old Testament shows that those times were few and short lived.

Those laws will be put into place once again under the reign of Christ and those who have been raised up in the resurrection as kings and priests will help Him teach all peoples about God’s laws and all things that bring blessings rather than curses.

The economy will thrive and be a blessing; and not be a curse as we are living under in today’s world. As God’s called-out we need to be learning the economic and agricultural laws that will be implemented in God’s kingdom. But we are now living in a different dispensation than the time of ancient Israel and Gods’ people no longer have a physical nation of their own with the capacity to govern it the way the nation of Israel was instructed.

In our day the scattered called-out are (physically) citizens of secular societies that have leaders and governments that do not look to God as their Sovereign Lord and Master; the countries we live in refuse to follow His laws of righteous and just governance. Those of us who are living under the New Covenant dispensation make up the spiritual Israel of God, and we are dispersed among ungodly nations whereas it is impossible to impose God’s laws that Israel received in the Mosaic Covenant to our own nations.

At this point in time we are instructed to live according to the laws of the land as long as they do not conflict with God’s laws. But even though we may not have much control over the laws of our country and what our leaders do; as those called out to live God’s way, we are to be personally striving to live by God’s spiritual principles of wise stewardship in everything that has been placed in our possession and this includes wise money management.

If we are going to be the teachers in the Millennial and beyond, it is absolutely necessary to be learning and applying God’s ways in all aspects of our lives. Just as we have studied last week about God’s desire for us to be good stewards pertaining to His laws regarding health, He wants us to be learning how to manage our resources to the best of our ability so that we will be well-trained teachers in helping others how to conduct their financial affairs that will make for strong and functional economies in Christ’s kingdom.

As the spiritual nation of Israel, God now requires that we apply the spiritual intent of all of His laws including His laws pertaining to money and how to stay free from being in financial bondage due to noncompliance to the principles that He has put in place.

Ancient Israel was instructed to apply God’s laws in every aspect of living and therefore set an example for the people around them. This is how a nation becomes great; it is when the people of that nation are following God and are faithful to Him and when they are doing everything the way God commands; then they will be the lights for others, for they will see the excellency that comes from doing things God’s way, and not the way of Satan. As a result, they, too, will want to seek God’s ways and live them as well. This is how it is going to be in God’s kingdom here on earth in the near future.

Deuteronomy 4:5 Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the Lord my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it. 4:6 Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. 4:7 For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lord our God is in all things that we call upon him for? 4:8 And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?

Isaiah 2:2 And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. 2:3 And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. 2:4 And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. 2:5 O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the Lord.

Isaiah 49:6 And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.

Living God’s Way in a World that Rejects God

We live in a world that is far from God’s commandments on how to have a healthy economy and as we all know, there are things that we have no control over but there are financial principles, that when implemented into our own personal lives, will help us to live free from some of the curse of financial pitfalls. Even if we are suffering because of unforeseen circumstances, like job loss, health issues, financial setbacks of all kinds, family problems, we can at least be trying and at the same time we should be learning about how God’s economy will operate in the Millennium.

Just as we studied last week, we are stewards of everything that God has placed in our possession, including our finances. We are in training to be future leaders in God’s Kingdom and we will be teaching the people how to conduct their finances in ways that honor God and bring financial stability to themselves and in turn will bring stability to the whole economy.

If every individual was following God’s laws and principles, we would be greatly blessed, and if all the families were managing their finances God’s way, then their nation would have economic stability as well; for a nation is only as stable as the families that comprise it.  God told Adam to rule and to have dominion of the earth and of all the other living creatures; but when he and Eve rebelled, they brought judgment upon themselves with the curses that make life hard.

As God’s called out people we still have to live in a world that conducts its affairs contrary to God’s ways and many of us find ourselves struggling to make ends meet even though we are personally trying to keep God’s laws and His Sabbaths.

Just because a person is poor does not mean that some sin or lack of godly money management has brought it on, for many of God’s servants were very poor. And we are learning to walk by faith which means that most of us have to wait on God and depend on His provision in the face of harsh financial trials at this time. It is mostly the poor and lowly that God calls who then become rich in the spiritual things of God if they are walking with Him.

James 2:5 Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?

But there are things that we can learn and do to help us understand the principles that Christ is going to instill in the people that will make the Kingdom prosperous and flourishing, when all peoples on earth are following God.

God will do away with Satan’s way of greed and lust that influence man’s economic and governance policies and the curses that come from them. Learning about what it will be like in the Millennium will fill us with hope and if we are physically poor now in this life, we can have the spiritual riches now, but also, there is much to look forward to when Christ removes the curses of poverty and poor management of the earth’s resources from off the planet.

We can go to many, many Scriptures that give us an overview of the vast richness that is coming to earth when men and women cease their sinning and God brings forth His kind of prosperity when He establishes His Kingdom. In the meantime there are certain financial principles that we can be learning and implementing while we wait for that glorious time and then we will be fully equipped to teach these principles to others.

Biblical Financial Principles

Following are some basic financial principles taught in God’s Word that if followed can help to keep people from financial trouble. These will be the things that we will be teaching in the Millennium so we need to be practicing these things now in our lives as part of our training to enable us to teach as God’s kings and priests.

Just as we studied last week, there are things that we have no control over that are part of the broader picture out there in society. There are trials that come our way that can ruin our finances as in the case of Job who lost all that he had. God allowed Satan to take everything from him as a test, but in spite of his whole world crumbling to ashes, Job did not lose his faith and God richly rewarded him in the end.

Even though there are things we cannot control, there are some things that we do have control over in our lives. If we look to the Bible, it contains lots of principles regarding the management of money and resources, and then it is up to each of us whether we will obey them or not.

These basic principles reveal God’s instructions to His children for conducting their financial affairs that are in sync with His commandments. If we are trusting God we will release to Him the things we cannot control, and then obey Him by incorporating His principles into this area of lives as much as we can, just as we do all other areas of our lives.

In this way we demonstrate godly stewardship of the physical things that God has entrusted us with, and in doing so, will train us for when we will be entrusted with the bigger things after we have proven ourselves in the smaller things. Our finances are another area where we can develop faith as well, and trust God to take care of His children after we have done our part in obeying His whole Word.

Luke 16:10 He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. 16:11 If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? 16:12 And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own?

Here are some basic financial principles found in God’s Word that can help us to stay out of financial trouble and give us a stratagem for wise money management. I know there are many morem but this will get us started in our study of God’s Word on this subject. And by adhering to these principles we will be lights to the world in how we manage the resources that have been given to us just as we can be lights in obeying God in all areas of our lives.

~ 1 God Owns Everything and is the Source of All Things

All things on earth and in heaven were created by God including we ourselves, and He has the rightful ownership of everything. It is to Him that we are look first to provide for all our needs.

Psalm 24:1 The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.

Psalm 50:10 For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. 50:11 I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine. 50:12 If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof.

In Proverbs 8 Solomon presents God’s wisdom as an allegory of a woman that is crying out to those who will listen. Seeking God’s Wisdom is the means by which all true riches will come to us; His riches will come legitimately because we put God first and not because we behave as the rest of the world who care nothing about seeking out God’s ways that leads to blessings that they so crave. But God’s children are to seek God first and then He will abundantly supply according to what He wants for us and in His timing.

Proverbs 8:1 Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice? 8:2 She standeth in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths. 8:3 She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors. 8:4 Unto you, O men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of man. 8:5 O ye simple, understand wisdom: and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart. 8:6 Hear; for I will speak of excellent things; and the opening of my lips shall be right things.

Proverbs 8:8 All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them. 8:9 They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge. 8:10 Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold. 8:11 For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it. 8:12 I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions. 8:13 The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.

Proverbs 8:20 I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment: 8:21 That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures.

So if we belong to God and we are putting Him first above all else, even above going after silver, choice gold and rubies [symbolic of other fine treasures], seeking to learn of all His ways of righteousness and living our lives according to all of His Word, then He promises that He will take care of us.

Philippians 4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Acts 17:25 Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; [everything else].

Psalm 145:15 The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season. 145:16 Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.

It may appear that we obtain our wealth through our own efforts, but God created our bodies and gave us life; He then created within us certain talents and gifts; we are to use His gifts and talents to work which helps us in making a living. But the gifts and talents also enable us to bring glory and honor to God when we use them in our worship toward Him and when we use them to benefit the Body of Christ.

Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

1st Corinthians 12:4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 12:5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. 12:6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. 12:7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.

If we have it firmly fixed in our minds that everything belongs to God, including our own selves along with our gifts and talents, that belief will serve to remind us that we are only stewards in this life and that our true reward will come only after we have proven that we have been faithful in all aspects of our lives. Our reward will be according to how faithful we have been in this life in all areas and how well we have managed God’s possessions which were really only on loan to us (Matthew 25:14-30).

Our Creator God created all men and women with certain talents and gifts and as we approach adulthood many have already realized what we are good at and what we would like do with our lives. This often leads us to a certain career or profession in which we can exercise our gifts.

As adults, it is expected that we are to become contributing members of society, but as we are making money and accumulating possessions along the way, those whom God has called out are also to serve and worship the Lord with every fiber of our being.

But most people think of the physical things in this world as what matters most and spend much of their lives trying to attain as much as they possibly can before they die. People will always serve most what they treasure the most, whether it is wealth, power, relationships, hobbies, sports, fame, etc. This is something that God’s children must be aware of and strive to overcome, and then seek those things that are from above and not those things of the world.

Colossians 3:1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 3:2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

God, who knows the hearts of all men, knows that the lure of money and possessions consume the thoughts and ambitions of most people. During Jesus’ ministry while here on earth, He spoke more on the subject of finances and “riches” than on any other subject.  One passage that talks about the attitude we should have toward our money and possessions in this life is in Luke 12. Jesus spoke to the very heart of the matter when He said:

Luke 12:34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. ( See all of Luke 12:15-34)

Paul gave much assurance to the brethren when he wrote in his letters to the Ephesians and the Corinthians that God is able to do abundantly more than what they could ever imagine, and that we must trust Him in every situation even when things look grim, while giving all glory to God.

Ephesians 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 3:21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

2nd Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:

Whatever we may need, whether it is money or other certain things, prayer is the answer. Look to God and ask Him in faith for those things that we may need, and He will provide it according to His will for us.

~ 2 The Principle of Giving

The second principle is that of giving. When we use our finances to help others, we are showing them love and concern just as God has love and concern for His creation.

Luke 6:38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

Proverbs 19:17 He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.

As wise stewards we are not to give beyond our means though, but to give out of our excess and not give so much to others that we impoverish ourselves and our families. It is important that we keep all of our prior financial commitments, to be able to pay all of our bills promptly, and to take care of our own family’s genuine needs and then give only what we are able.  We must be responsible givers and give only to those who are truly in need and not to con-men or to the lazy, those who refuse to work or do anything to help themselves. 

1st Timothy 5:8  But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

The apostle Paul condemned those who deliberately will not work; he teaches that for those who refuse to work, then they should not be given food to eat.  

2nd Thessalonians 3:10  For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.

It is better to help a person to learn a trade, if it is possible, so that he can help himself and take care of his own family than it is to just give him food or money.  A good rule is: “Giving a fish helps for a few hours, teaching to catch fish helps for a lifetime.”  

Even though God owns everything, He is the greatest giver of all. And if we are being made into His spiritual image and developing His divine nature during these physical lives, then as His image bearers He wants us to be givers and not takers just as He is a giver of all good things.

James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

Luke 12:32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure [He is delighted] to give you the kingdom.

Revelation 21:7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

Most of the world believes that it is more blessed to get and they spend their whole lives trying to get as much as possible. When Paul was giving his farewell address to the believers in Miletus he reminded them of Jesus words when he said: “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).

That goes against all carnal intuitions and instincts, but there are many reasons why it is more blessed to give than to receive, and why Christ wants us to incorporate this principle into our character. The principle of wise thought-out giving obeys God’s command to give to others as we have received from Him. Giving is not necessarily just giving of our money.  We may not have much money to give to others and ministries, but perhaps we can give in terms of our time, skills, encouragement, or even in giving of our prayers for others. 

Matthew 10:7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. 10:8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.

2nd Corinthians 1:3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 1:4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. 1:5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.

As we give to others as God commands, we too will be blessed knowing that we are obeying God in this way. And we will be blessed spiritually as we give to others.

Proverbs 11:25 The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.

When we give, we acknowledges God’s Sovereignty over us. We have been so steeped in the belief that our money and things are our security that it may be hard for us at first to give. This is an area where many of us are tested for we may not want to give for we do not trust God enough to supply for our needs and want to hang on to money which represents our security. Giving recognizes that God is Sovereign in our lives and we must not let our money rule us.

Luke 16:13 No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

We are to give what we can afford (after meeting our own obligations), so that others may receive God’s salvation just as we have been given the knowledge of the way of salvation. Christ gave His life so that we could be forgiven of our sins and His death made it possible for God’s faithful children to receive eternal life.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

We are to follow in Christ’s footsteps and sometimes we will be called upon to give sacrificially for the benefit of others. We read of the things that Paul went through in 2nd Corinthians 11; it was out of his love for his brethren that he desired to bring them the Gospel message and God’s teachings. Paul writes in Philippians of how a brother called Epaphroditus sacrificed his own health in order to help him and others (Philippians 2:25-30). 

One deterrent to giving is fear that if we give away what we have we will not have enough for our own provision. When we give to others and to God’s Work we are expressing faith and trust in God to still provide for us and our family. This also is part of wise stewardship, to not give haphazardly or foolishly but to make wise decisions when it comes to how much to give and to whom. This too is part of responsible giving.

Ecclesiastes 11:1 Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.

2nd Corinthians 9:7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.

It gives God pleasure to see His children gladly opening their hearts and hands to provide for the needs of the Ekklesia and for the needs of those less fortunate. Paul commends and praises those who gave of their funds and of themselves for the needs of their brethren and also to the work of preaching and teaching the Gospel message.

2nd Corinthians 8:1 Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; 8:2 How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. 8:3 For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; 8:4 Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. 8:5 And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.

Giving testifies to God’s power, and although we are not to boast about our giving, when God’s people are generous it sends a message to the world that their faith is real and genuine.

Giving in a right spirit is an act of worship and praise toward God. It is rendering to Him our gratefulness for all that He has given to us.

Psalm 116:12 What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits toward me?

When we give, we glorify God and we, too, are blessed when we seek to be a blessing to others.

Giving that Advances God’s Kingdom

Tithing is also giving, it is a way we give back to God.  Under the Mosaic Law God commanded the Israelites to tithe (See Leviticus 27:30-32; Numbers 18:21-28; Deuteronomy 12:6-17; 14:22-28; 26:12-14).

Think of the unseen (for now) blessings that result when we fund God’s Work here on earth. When we tithe we make it possible for ministers and teachers to work full time in preaching God’s message. We are also funding the methods and means necessary to get that message out to the Ekklesia and to the world. 

But as good stewards of the things that God has given to us to mange on His behalf, including our tithes and offerings, we must honestly determine if a corporate church is teaching the whole Word of God and pointing the members to Christ as their head, rather than in exalting the corporate’s leaders. If an organization is NOT teaching God’s truth and is NOT willing to address our questions regarding the doctrines they teach, then we should not give them God’s tithe; for giving to them is NOT giving to God, nor is it furthering His work here on earth. 

When we tithe to those who are diligently preaching and warning people to repent and believe the Gospel, we are actually investing in the spiritual and eternal welfare of people from every nation, tribe, kindred and tongue. Our dollars are used in educating those who are being called, and for those who hear the message, repent, and then commit to live for Christ. If they stay faithful to the end, our investment (tithes and offerings) was used to possibly change their eternal destiny.

1st Corinthians 9 is a good chapter to study in light of funding God’s Work in the present dispensation.

Here are just a few excerpts from Paul’s writings on this matter.

1st Corinthians 9:7 Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock?

1st Corinthians 9:9 For it is written in the law of Moses, thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen?

1st Corinthians 9:13 Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar?

When we tithe we learn to put God first and His Work above other things that we may want to spend our money on. Tithing helps us to put God’s priorities above our own. But we must also remember that God expects us to take care and to nurture our families, this too is being good stewards of the gifts and money that God has provided to us, for we must take care of their legitimate needs and fulfill our responsibilities and commitments when considering how much to give to further the Gospel. 

Proverbs 3:9 Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: 10 So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.

Malachi 3:8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. 3:9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. 3:10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. 3:11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts. 3:12 And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts.

This is one way we can be involved in preaching the Gospel and teaching all nations about the way to Salvation. If God is not willing that any should perish, that should be our concern as well, and one way we can help others is to warn them and teach them. Tithing helps to finance the Ekklesia’s efforts in doing so.

Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Here is more information on the subject of “Tithing” in an article written by James:  

Tithing

~ 3 The Principle of Being a Hard Worker

And in order to give we first have to receive, and one way we receive is to work for our wages.

In our study on the subject of stewardship, we spoke last week of God’s mandate to Adam and Eve to have dominion over the the earth and the other living creatures; which means that they were to exercise wise management over God’s creation.

Genesis 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.  1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.  1:28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

God commissioned the man and the woman with the responsibility of caring for the earth and the other living creatures. To have dominion is to rule and from the context here in these verses, it indicates that God told Adam and Eve that He wanted them to be wise and resourceful co-managers with Him in managing the earth to the degree that they were able to. From this we see that God is a worker and He wants His children to be hard workers as well.

John 5:17 But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.

Hebrews 1:3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power,

Luke 2:49 And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?

Last week we saw that God created Adam and Eve to rule the earth as His stewards of His creation. It was an opportunity for them to learn and to grow to be more like Him, to become responsible for and to even enhance, decorate, and build upon all that God had made. To learn how to exercise good stewardship is a part of what this physical life is about.

Genesis 2:15 And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. 

Psalm 8:4 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? 8:5 For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. 8:6 Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: 8:7 All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; 8:8 The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.

Everything in heaven and earth belongs to God and is only on loan to man for him to use while living in this present world. God meant for man to take care of the things that belong to Him and He also wants us to be good mangers of our finances for that too belongs to God. It too is a test to see how well we do with what He has loaned to us.

Another financial principle is that of being industrious, in order to provide for ourselves and our families and in order to give to those who are in need. There are many Scriptures that speak of the importance of work and of planning ahead for future needs.

Proverbs 13:4 The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.

Proverbs 22:13 The slothful man saith, There is a lion without, I shall be slain in the streets.

Proverbs 14:23 In all labour there is profit: but the talk of the lips tendeth only to penury.

Colossians 3:23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;

Proverbs 6:9 How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? 6:10 Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: 6:11 So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.

2nd Thessalonians 3:10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. 3:11 For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. 3:12 Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.

Colossians 3:24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.

Galatians 6:9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

Proverbs 12:11 He that tilleth his land shall be satisfied with bread: but he that followeth vain persons is void of understanding.

Genesis 2:15 And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.

Proverbs 18:9 He also that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster.

1st Timothy 5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

It is important to work and to work hard striving for excellence in all that we do. In the beginning God “created” (Genesis 1:1). God works hard to create, build, sustain; and He wants his children who are being made into His image to be hard workers as well.

Those who are chosen to be in the resurrection to become kings and priests will need to be willing to work hard to assist Christ in bringing the rest of humanity into the Family of God. There will be much work that will need to be done. God will need hard-working laborers that are willing to assist Him in bringing many to glory in the Millennium and beyond.

Matthew 9:36 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. 9:37 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; 9:38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.

~ 4 The Principle of Saving

The fourth financial principle concerns saving a portion of our money and setting something aside for a rainy day. The Bible backs up the idea of saving for the future, and for emergencies that may come up. This is part of good management and stewardship. We think of Joseph who told Pharaoh that he needed to store up grain to accommodate the coming seven-year famine in Egypt.

It is very wise to plan ahead for major purchases, our children’s education, in case of loss of job or sickness, and for later retirement. The saying goes “those who fail to plan, plan to fail”, as long as we put God first and do not go overboard in storing up for tomorrow.

When we save up for major purchases and are able to pay cash for the things we want, we pay so much less than if we buy on credit. Just think of all of the interest that we save, and that alone brings the price of the item down. If we can exercise patience in waiting until we have the money, we will be much further ahead in the long run than if we charge everything.

And having money put aside allows us a cushion (or margin) that could possibly keep a somewhat small trial into becoming a major calamity. For instance if we were to lose our job and we have some savings, we would not be forced to take the first menial job offered. We would be able to take our time; perhaps go for extra training so that we can get a better job rather than be trapped into something because we were desperate. Living on a margin and having some savings (if possible) simply means allowing room for things to happen and is part of wise stewardship.

 Proverbs 22:3 A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.

Proverbs 6:6 Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: 6:7 Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, 6:8 Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.

Proverbs 30:24 There be four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise: 30:25 The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer;

Proverbs 21:20 There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up

With these things in mind it is always wise to have a emergency fund set aside for the unexpected; things like car repairs, to replace a furnace that goes out, accidents and sicknesses. That will help to provide a cushion when things go wrong and if we have adequate funds saved for the unexpected, we will have the money to go ahead and provide for those emergencies.

~ 5 The Principle of Avoiding Excessive Debt

Is it a sin to go into debt? Scripture does not explicitly command against all forms of debt. But we find many verses that do warn about the pitfalls of being in bondage to creditors.

God speaks out against those who would abuse those who are in debt to them (Matthew 18:23-35). And under the Mosaic covenant there were many rules that were to be followed in regard to indebtedness, and owning bond servants or slaves.

But what about for us today? What is the wisest course to take when it comes to debt, especially debt that we know we are unable to pay back?

Romans 13:7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour. 13:8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

Paul’s admonishment to us in this passage is to pay our bills on a timely basis, to fulfill our commitments to all for this is righteousness (and godly stewardship). When we pay back what we owe, pay our bills on time, and fulfill our commitments we are exemplifying God’s love.

Romans 13:8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

Psalm 37:21 The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again: but the righteous sheweth mercy, and giveth.

We may question the lawfulness of charging of any interest on loans, but several times in the Bible we see that a fair interest rate is expected to be received on investments (Proverbs 28:8; Matthew 25:27). In ancient Israel the Law did prohibit charging interest on one category of loans, those made to the poor and those who had misfortune.

Leviticus 25:35 And if thy brother be waxen poor, and fallen in decay with thee; then thou shalt relieve him: yea, though he be a stranger, or a sojourner; that he may live with thee. 25:36 Take thou no usury of him, or increase: but fear thy God; that thy brother may live with thee. 25:37 Thou shalt not give him thy money upon usury, nor lend him thy victuals for increase. 25:38 I am the LORD your God, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, to give you the land of Canaan, and to be your God.

This law protected the poor of the land and kept others from taking advantage of them. This ruling genuinely helped the poor by not making their situation even worse then it already was. It was bad enough to have fallen into hard times which caused them to become poverty stricken and it could be humiliating to have to seek assistance from their neighbors. The law protected the poor from having to (in addition to repaying the loan) make impossible interest payments which would even further their poverty and hardship.

But also the law forbidding the charging of interest on our brethren teaches an important spiritual lesson,  for a lender to forgo interest on a loan to a poor person shows mercy to that person.

 

The Bible neither expressly forbids nor condones the borrowing of money. But the wisdom we can glean from many parables and teachings in the Bible teaches us that it is usually not a good idea to go into debt if at all possible. Having excessive debt essentially makes us a slave to the creditor who provides the loan. We instinctively know from experience that if we have a lot of debt we are enslaved to make the payments each month which are often a burden and Proverbs confirms this.

Proverbs 22:7 The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.

In some situations going into debt is a necessary evil for it is often impossible to buy major necessities like a vehicle so that we can work, and housing for ourselves and our families. As long as money is being handled wisely and the debt payments are manageable, God permits a believer to take on the burden of financial debt if it is absolutely necessary.

Credit Cards

A word of warning, though, about credit cards which are a modern day invention. Watch out for credit card debt; these companies know how to bait people, appealing to our desire to spend money on things we may want now, but cannot afford right now.

They try to deceive us into thinking that if we buy what we cannot afford, somehow the money will come along later when it is time to pay back the debt. In the meantime they make all kinds of money with their exorbitant interest and late fees. If you read the fine print on rules that apply, they can also instantly raise the interest and charge fees on other credit cards that you might have if you are late one time. Be wise as a serpent when it comes to their sneaky tricks and try to stay out of their traps.

Too many people think you can buy now and pay later. That, of course, is not true and usually a person has to pay for the use of borrowed money in all of the interest that is charged.   If we can pay cash for items we forgo the interest we would have to pay.

Co-signing for Others

The Bible definitely does have a say about co-signing for other peoples’ debts though. This is a sure way to ruin relationships and possibly be taken captive by someone else’s indebtedness. It is better to just give someone we want to help a gift (an amount we can afford) then to help them get a loan with an amount that would be a burden for us to have to pay their creditor if they should fail to meet their commitment.

We are not saying that all family and friends would take advantage of us if we helped them in this way, but all too frequently it is the one that co-signs that is left with the bill, and God clearly warns us not to do it. Logic tells us that if a person needs a cosigner it is because banks and creditors are unwilling to lend him or her money and there is usually a reason why they refuse.

The same with land-contracts which is a type of so-sign. I know of many people who got burned by lending to people in this way. If the banks will not give a person a mortgage, then realize that there must be a reason and that you may end up with non-payment with no way of removing the land contractors out of your home;, and when they do leave they often leave behind destroyed property and mess for you to clean up.

Proverbs 6:1 My son, if thou be surety for thy friend, if thou hast stricken thy hand with a stranger, 6:2 Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken with the words of thy mouth. 6:3 Do this now, my son, and deliver thyself, when thou art come into the hand of thy friend; go, humble thyself, and make sure thy friend. 6:4 Give not sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber to thine eyelids. 6:5 Deliver thyself as a roe from the hand of the hunter, and as a bird from the hand of the fowler.

~ 6 The Principle of Contentment

 Hebrews 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

If we just want what we already have instead of always wanting more or new things, that will go a long way in keeping us from over-spending, going into debt, and coveting the things that we just cannot afford. Having godly contentment will save us from many financial woes. 

Philippians 4:11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. 4:12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.

~ 7 The Principle of Budgeting and Record Keeping

Years ago I took a Dave Ramsey biblical financial class and instructor constantly emphasized the importance of doing up a budget and then strictly adhering to it. In doing so, it is surprising to see what we spend our money on and how we tend to waste, or buy, thinking that we can afford something, but the books or our budget tells us otherwise. This principle, too, is implied in many of Solomon’s proverbs: to always stay on top of the state of our affairs.

Proverbs 27:23 Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds. 27:24 For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation?

Proverbs 23:23 Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.

Proverbs 24:3 Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established: 24:4 and by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.

If we were managing someone else’s property or business it would be expected that we keep accurate records of all our transactions and inventory. We are in fact stewards of God’s money even though it is in our possession. It is wise and prudent to keep track of our income and spending just as any business does, for our homes are a type of mini business, and having records helps us to know where we have been, where we are at, and where we are going in all of our affairs. Keeping good records can help us even more in being good stewards of what really belongs to God.

By keeping good records, having a plan and being disciplined in sticking to it, a person usually can avoid the pitfalls of getting into financial trouble. The habit of budgeting and keeping good financial records will tend to help us to better manage our money and affairs more responsibly. 

Leaving a Will

If we truly love our family members we will be sure to have a WILL drawn up to avoid financial nightmares for those we leave behind when we die. This, too, is responsible stewardship, to make up a will and to appoint someone we trust to take care of all the details of closing out our affairs and distributing properly our assets to our heirs according to our written out requests.

~ 8 The Principle of Knowing the Pitfalls of Gambling

Will Christ allow casinos in His kingdom under His reign? (even the question to me seems ludicrous). Will He have casinos in every city and allow merchants to sell lottery tickets in their stores? I do not think so!

Is it wrong for a Christian to gamble? There is nowhere in the Bible that says “Thou shalt not gamble” but gambling breaks the spirit of God’s law, especially “thou shalt have no other gods beside the true God, thou shalt not steal, and thou shalt not covet.

Gambling is defined as: the wagering of money or something of value (referred to as “the stakes”) on an event with an uncertain outcome with the primary intent of winning additional money and/or material goods. Gambling thus requires three elements be present: consideration, chance and prize (Wikipedia)

Gambling is taking an excessively unnatural, unnecessary risk in hopes of excessive gain far above what a common sense investor would pay and it is all based on “chance” or “luck”.

Gambling is taking a risk purely for the purpose of making a huge profit at someone else’s expense. Is this a godly mindset and does it fit in with any of the financial principles we previously listed in this article?

I have heard friends and family try to justify gambling by saying that life itself is a gamble. They say things like “There is nothing wrong with gambling. After all, gambling is just taking a chance, everything we do in life is a gamble”.

But there is a huge difference between taking an unnecessary risk (gambling) that depends solely on luck, and that of investing that is based on knowledge and skill even if the outcome is uncertain. For example, the farmer is not gambling when he plants a crop and hopes for a return on his labor and investment. A business owner is not gambling when he sets up shop, hoping to bring in a profit even though he knows there will be risks, just as the farmer knows that there could be upsets in weather and he could lose a whole year’s crop.

Along this same line of thinking that life is a chance and therefore gambling is okay, what if no one married because they thought marriage was like gambling and too much of a risk? Or that riding in a car or plane was too much of a gamble. This reasoning does not make much sense.

What about casting lots? The casting of lots in Scripture is not the same as casting dice in a gambling bet. When lots were cast in the Bible it was for the purpose of determining God’s will in a certain matter

In Leviticus 16:8-10, Aaron cast lots to determine which of the two goats would be used for the sin offering, and which would become the scapegoat.

In Joshua 18:1-6 it states that lots were cast to determine the distribution of land between the twelve tribes of Israel.

In Jonah 1:7, the sailors cast lots to determine who was responsible for the rough seas.

The casting of lots in Acts 1:21-26 was also a way of determining who God wanted to replace Judas. It was not gambling nor was it voting. The lots indicated to the disciples that God had chosen Matthias to be the replacement for Judas..

The casting of lots is not the same as gambling, for gambling’s whole purpose is to gain something for nothing, and casting of lots is to determine God’s will which is a very big difference.

Another line of reasoning that gamblers give for excusing their desire to gamble is “we just want to have a little fun, it’s our entertainment, what difference does it make if we spend 20 dollars on a movie or at the casino?”

Sure some may be disciplined enough to just spend a few bucks and leave it at that, but it is the principle involved in gambling that matters. It is buying into, supporting, and endorsing a practice that is part of Satan’s own system based on greed, lust and theft. It is seeking to get something (easy money) without having to work for it.

I can remember when it was illegal to gamble when I was little, but then in my teens laws were passed making it legal for certain segments of the populations. Then casinos started springing up everywhere, and store clerks began to ask while ringing up groceries: “would you like to add a lottery ticket to your order?”

Gambling is no longer called gambling; the politically correct term is now “gaming”, probably to make it sound more like just a sport rather than actually risking to lose hard earned money.

But gambling or gaming, it does not matter what you call it, has taken over the logical thinking of most adults and even children. Gambling and lottery ticket sales are everywhere and our nation has become consumed with casinos and winning lottery numbers.  The modern day laws regarding the legitimacy of gambling has spawned a whole industry in most states.

The chance of winning is about the same as throwing money out the window (in my opinion) and for those who cannot afford to throw away money, they are the ones who are most vulnerable to the deceits it fosters. They do not seem to realize that their gambling habits are only contributing to their poverty. Almost everybody now buys lottery tickets, in the hope of getting something and getting rich at the expense of someone else losing.

Yes, it is true that a few do win huge amounts at gambling from time to time, but it is all a set-up to make it appear that winning is fun and easy and to get the hopes up of those who fall for this bait.  Allowing a few to win from time to time encourage the populace to keep buying and trying to win the “big one” which only serves to add to the coffers of those who own and operate these kinds of businesses.

Most of us have read or heard of those who win big and then squander all that they had won and became even poorer than they were ever before. Gambling can caused so much friction in families that it breaks up marriages and families. For those who do win,  it seems that distant relatives come out of the woodwork wanting their share of the winners “good luck”.

Does winning really help anyone spiritually? Are homes and families strengthened and made more moral and intact by gambling even when one is successful at winning? Has the moral fiber of our nation increased as a result of the gambling industry? We know by the fruits that it has not.

In actuality, the real issue of gambling is all about what (or whom) we put our trust in; it is an issue of right and wrong ways of thinking and behaving to get our money and to get rich. To gamble is surely a form of idolatry, for instead of looking to God to provide for us, we instead are trusting in money and what it can do for us without having to work for it; or without worrying about living to please God which is the only way that ultimately brings us blessings. When we gamble, we are attempting to get around obeying God;  it is a shortcut to being blessed without having to work for those blessing. The issue then is “righteousness”.

Proverbs 14:34 Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.

Acts 10:35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.

It is also an issue of trust, for those who gamble depend on their gambling to give them the things that they want; they are not really trusting in God to provide for them, and in this way they show that they are not truly followers of Christ. This is what the Bible has to say about putting our future and our provision in God’s hands:

Psalms 9:10 And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.

Psalms 28:7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Deuteronomy 28:1 And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: 28:2 And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God.

Gambling versus Contentment

1st Timothy 6:6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 6:7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 6:8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.  6:9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 7:11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.

Proverbs 15:16 Better is little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble therewith.

Proverbs 15:27 He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house; but he that hateth gifts shall live.

1st Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

These verses speak volumes of the trouble that we bring on ourselves when we are motivated by greed and by putting too much emphasis on the things of this world, a world that is passing away. It is much better to be seeking the things that make for righteousness and then waiting patiently for God’s world that will be here shortly and will be here for all eternity.

Jesus warns His disciples of the trap that the cares and the riches of this world can be in deterring us from the eternal riches that we can have by seeking Him and by having a close walk with Christ in all areas of our lives. When we seek what this world has to offer instead of trusting God, we lose our peace and contentment.

Matthew 13:22 He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.

 Jesus is warning us of becoming entangled with the riches of this life, becoming so distracted by them that we  lose our spiritual bearings, and we then eventually lose the eternal wealth that could be ours. God’s people are taught to trust God and not trust in sorcery (which gambling really is) for their daily provision. Jesus tells us to seek Him and His righteousness as our top priorities in life.

Matthew 6:31  Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? Or, What shall we drink? Or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 6:32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

The one who gambles is really saying, What God has provided for me is not enough. I need more than what I can attain with my own labor and skill.

The person shows by his actions and thinking that winning is all that matters in this life and if he can just hit the jackpot he will be set for life, he will not need God, nor have a need to work and wisely plan out his life if he has a million dollars from lottery or casino winnings in his bank account.

As we have been studying, Genesis 3:17-19 states that a part of the curse that was placed upon humanity when Adam sinned involves earning a living by the sweat of the brow.

It is God’s will that we work for the things we possess, or that we legitimately receive as gifts and inheritances from others. But when people risk the little money that they already have and gamble it to obtain a huge windfall (and by attempting to gain money they have not worked for), they are refusing to submit to God’s will for mankind and for His servants. From God’s perspective this is wrong in His sight and this attitude damages us spiritually. Paul, too, addresses the problem of those who refuse to work and pronounces punishment on them.

2nd Thessalonians 3:10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.

If nations pass laws making it legal to gamble, they only have themselves to blame for the ruin and mayhem it brings for it will eventually ruin the economy of that nation. We are bringing up a whole generation of young people who do not have a work ethic and who think of gambling as their means to make a good living, thinking that everyone else’s lost is their gain. The gambler is not thinking of the welfare of the other person, but only his own selfish interest, for gambling contains no love for anyone except oneself (See 1st Corinthians 13). This lack of work ethic and unconcern for being a productive contributor to the society is disastrous and is one of the things that is bringing this nation down.

Of course we know that casinos and lottery tickets will not be a part of the Kingdom of God. Only hard work, inventing, creativity, building, planting, reaping, parenting, businesses conducted according to God’s laws, and being productive will be allowed and only then will the nations be great in God’s sight.

Proverbs 14:34 Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.

For those who trust and obey God, we have God’s own promises that He will provide what we need, when we need it. When we believe and follow what Jesus taught His disciples, we will pray, and then seek, ask and knock for every good gift that God wants for us (Matthew 6:31-33). We will be busy doing the will of the Father, being about His business and not wishing and hoping on the toss of a dice or the lineup of icons that come up on a slot machine.

Deuteronomy 4:5 Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the Lord my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it. 4:6 Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. 4:7 For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lord our God is in all things that we call upon him for? 4:8 And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?

~ 9 The Principle of Learning About Finances and Seeking Godly Counsel

Sometimes we need advice from those who are older and wiser and there are some good biblical financial ministries that do teach wise sound money management out there. It may be necessary sometimes to seek out wise counsel when we are faced with financial problems, or it may be that we just need to have an outside perspective on decisions we may be contemplating. This too is wise and good stewardship.

Proverbs 15:22 Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established.

Psalm 1:1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly.

Before buying a house, purchasing a car, or just borrowing money, pray about it and perhaps seek the counsel of others who are mature and godly.  They may just keep us from making a big mistake. Sometimes the reason so many do not seek counsel is that they do not want to be told by someone an intended action is unsound because they just want to do what they want to do. This is not very wise.

It is prudent to not sign to any commitments too quickly, but wait until we have had a chance to think intelligently about it and perhaps get some advice if we think it could help.  Also, we will tend to make big mistakes if we are being pressured to hurry up and make our decision regarding buying or selling something and sometimes it helps to wait a day or two. Do not let high pressure sales people talk you into anything that you feel is not right for you or does not fit your financial situation, or without doing a thorough check on whether the deal or product is what it purports to be.

Most of all, look to God and to His Word first. Acknowledge Him in all your decisions and actions and pray that He would guide you as to what His will is for you and what He would want you to spend your money on.

Proverbs 3:4 So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man. 4:5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 4:6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. 4:7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil. 4:8 It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.

These are just a few of the biblical financial principles that I have found and have tried to incorporate into my life over many years. I am sure that there are many more principles that are applicable and searching them out would be an excellent study and to meditate upon.

As we learn to follow God’s principles in our personal finances, we can know the blessing that comes from trusting and obeying God (even if we have made mistakes but have learned from them); and set it in our hearts that this is the way we will conduct our affairs from now on.

A Word About Being Poor

In spite of being a hard worker, having a savings plan, not gambling away our money, cheerfully giving and tithing, etc. we can still be struggling financially. Many of us in God’s Ekklesia live far below the poverty level, including myself. Most of us have made financial blunders and we have had to learn lessons the hard way, myself included.

And like I mentioned earlier, things happen outside of our control and we have to deal with the consequences; or we may be dealing with the consequences of other people’s sins which are effecting us.

The governments of this world are exacting more and more taxes to pay for high salaries of their elected officials and their wasteful spending; health care costs are skyrocketing; food costs have risen sharply; and all these things are effecting those who have to pay for these things from low paying jobs or fixed retirement income.

Remember, God calls the poor of this world and by being poor we learn to have even more faith than if we did have lots of money to fall back on and to buy all the things that others have. God’s called out have to learn to trust God to take care of our needs rather than trust our bank accounts to provide for us.

James 2:5 Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?

What monetary value could we possibly put on all the knowledge of God’s plan and purpose for mankind that has been given to us? Or how much is having God’s Holy Spirit worth compared to anything else we could desire? or having a personal relationship with the very One who made us and who died for us that we could have eternal life?

We may be poor now in this life, but if we are one of God’s faithful children we have the most fabulous opportunity anyone could ever desire; being chosen for on-the-job training in this life to be one of His kings and priests in God’s glorious kingdom and live with Him throughout eternity.

If we have THESE things, we are are truly RICH indeed. And the fact that we do live in poverty at this time may be the very tool that is helping us to be molded and fitted to be the kind of leaders that will have empathy and compassion for the poor of the world when we finally have the opportunity to help them to become members of God’s spiritual family as well.

We live in very unstable times, just before everything is about to collapse. We are going to need to walk in solid faith no matter how much our world falls apart. The laws of the land are changing; ungodly mandates that outlaws all decency and righteous living and believers are going to be persecuted. To escape these mandates, the result may be that we will have to one day leave the physical things we have worked for behind.

The prophet Habakkuk saw a time such as we are facing and He looked to the Lord to take care of him even when the wealth of his nation had dwindled to nothing. Verse 19 is an allegory of when God brings His people into a time of peace and rest from the troubles of this present evil world. God will reward those who were faithful to Him during the hard times by renewing their strength in the resurrection and then putting them in high positions.

Habakkuk 3:17 Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: 3:18 Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. 3:19 The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.

In Summary

There is much we can learn about finances and economics; the Bible has over 2000 references to money, stewardship, tithing, parables that use monetary metaphors, etc., so this article just touches the surface of what the economy of the Kingdom of God will be like and how we will be implementing God’s financial principles in regard to those things.

God is going to intervene in the affairs of men and when He sets up His kingdom, He will make it possible to extract the vast amounts of resources that still remain in the heart of the earth and below the oceans.

The people then living in His kingdom will conduct their affairs and businesses in righteousness, and wealth will flow out to all those who yield to Christ’s rule and want to live His ways.

If everyone is more concerned about giving and making sure that everyone is benefiting, and if vast amounts are no longer going for war, wasteful government spending, graft, corruption and bribery; just think of what Christ, along with His resurrected saints and the people then living, will be able to achieve!

At this point we can only imagine the glory of an earth that reflects wise master stewardship and when mankind is industrially working at enhancing it rather than destroying it. What a wonderful world we have to look forward to when the whole world is at peace and can rest from all the pillaging of the earth’s resources and all the mismanagement that has gone on for six thousand years.

Have a wonderful Sabbath everyone,

 

Constance

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