Daily Devotional for Sunday February 1, 2015
The Biblical Case Against Gambling
***ASK BILL: Pastor Bill, I was flipping through the channels the other night and came across Joel Osteen preaching. What do you suppose blinds so many (obvious in the stadium) people to his "feel good" preaching?
ANSWER: Sadly, the better percentage of the past 2 generations have never even been to church, and those who have, are mostly in churches that water down the Truth. We live in an age of Biblical illiteracy where people are fed sermons to make them feel good for an hour, and Osteen is the king of the "feel good," "motivational" preachers!
Today is the Super Bowl between the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots. If you are a football fan, it is always a special day each year. Hundreds of millions around the world will tune in to watch the game. Billions will be wagered on the outcome. This is the perfect day to talk to you about the Biblical case against gambling. I am often asked whether it is a sin to buy a Lottery ticket. I am going to tell you up front that there is no verse in the Bible that says, "thou shalt not gamble." However, let me give you a Biblical basis why gambling is a sin.
Gambling involves an element of risk. Ultimately, you are putting your faith in something other than God for the outcome. Therein lies the foundation of why gambling is a sin. Instead of trusting God, instead of putting your faith in God, you have chosen to put your faith in luck. You are hoping to beat the odds and it is putting your hope and faith in something other than God that makes gambling a sin. Let me outline for you three additional reasons why gambling is a sin.
First, it can cause you to lose sight of your priorities. Never forget, anytime something is more important than the Lord in your life, it is a sin. We are to love the Lord our God with all of our heart and He MUST be our first priority at all times. Second, it can be a poor use of God's resources that He has entrusted to you. Many people I have counseled are in financial difficulties, not because they have not been blessed by God, but because they have misused and mishandled their blessing. Lastly, it can be a stumblingblock to your brother or sister. Many people have a compulsive nature, could end up in total bondage to gambling. So while it may not be a problem in your life, your involvement may cause someone else to have a problem with gambling.
Let me make an important point. When I talk about gambling, I am referring to the lottery, sports gambling, casino games, private card games...but I am also talking about the financial markets. Having been involved heavily in the financial markets in the 80's, I can tell you that many people use the word investing, when in fact they are literally gambling. When you are taking a financial position in the outcome of something that is unknown, that is gambling no matter what words you want to use. You have as much control over the stock price of a particular company as you do over the performance of your favorite football team.
***This is NOT an indictment against having stocks and bonds. Prudent, reasoned, well strategized investment plans are encouraged in God's Word. I am talking about those who are simply rolling the dice hoping to get lucky in the stock market.
The Bible teaches us to be wise stewards with the resources God has entrusted to us. I am a strong advocate of investing a portion of our resources in well researched, fundamentally sound opportunities that have the real potential of giving us a reasonable return. That is wise use of God's money. God encourages this type of prudent investing. The line is crossed into gambling when you are just "hoping to be right," or entering into a situation with greed as your motive. No prayer, no research, simply taking a chance you might win. For the above outlined reasons, that is a sin my friend.
I love you and care about you so much. I will be praying for you today, especially those who have been caught up in the bondage of this addiction to gambling. If you, or someone you know is addicted to gambling, know that I will be praying today for those who are in this bondage. God is a God of deliverance and He can deliver someone from the bondage of gambling.
Never forget that there is hope in Christ, and no matter how bad someone has destroyed their life, God can help them put the pieces together if they are ready to surrender to Him. Gambling is a sin, since inherent in the nature of gambling there is a reliance on chance instead of faith in God. But like all sin, Christ died on the cross to wash our sins away and give us victory!
In His love and service,
Your friend and brother in Christ,