Money and the Bible (Part 2)

God is a great restorer and a great provider. He does not forget those who have given even when men have.  The Bible also helps us to see that famines are called by God.  There is hardly any famine mentioned in the Bible that is not shown as an instrument in the hands of God to get His own children to repent.  God does not need to send famine to those He has marked out for destruction.  Indeed, their destroyer is their own wealth and surfeiting in excess….their greed soon overtakes them to make grievous mistakes just as God preserves and restores His own.

2 Kings 8[1]  Then spake Elisha unto the woman, whose son he had restored to life, saying, Arise, and go thou and thine household, and sojourn wheresoever thou canst sojourn: for the LORD hath called for a famine; and it shall also come upon the land seven years. [2]  And the woman arose, and did after the saying of the man of God: and she went with her household, and sojourned in the land of the Philistines seven years. [3]  And it came to pass at the seven years’ end, that the woman returned out of the land of the Philistines: and she went forth to cry unto the king for her house and for her land. [4]  And the king talked with Gehazi the servant of the man of God, saying, Tell me, I pray thee, all the great things that Elisha hath done. [5]  And it came to pass, as he was telling the king how he had restored a dead body to life, that, behold, the woman, whose son he had restored to life, cried to the king for her house and for her land. And Gehazi said, My lord, O king, this is the woman, and this is her son, whom Elisha restored to life. [6]  And when the king asked the woman, she told him. So the king appointed unto her a certain officer, saying, Restore all that was hers, and all the fruits of the field since the day that she left the land, even until now.

It is difficult to expound on God’s truths about giving without appearing to be a hungry charlatan angling for help.  Many have twisted the scriptures and misused people and gifts given to God…others say God does not expect our tithes, offerings and first fruits…and instead give God the crumbs and remnants after we have consumed God’s money in our hands on wicked living.  With our appetite constantly whetted by consumer advertising telling us to borrow to spend on what we really do not need… how can we have anything for God?  The preacher is not allowed to talk about the needs of the temple…the Bible is not silent.  Hear what God is still saying.

Haggai 1[4]  Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your ceiled houses, and this house lie waste? [5]  Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. [6]  Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes. [7]  Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. [8]  Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the LORD. [9]  Ye looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why? saith the LORD of hosts. Because of mine house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house.

Dear friend, God is never mocked … God is His own judge and interpreter of all situations. In the passage is a woman who surrendered space and provision for the Prophet of God. God (not a preacher) does not only ensure she has a son (2 Kings 4:9-17)… but God brings back her son from death.  But that is not all.  When God calls for a famine, this woman is given an instruction to sojourn to the land of the Philistines …and she is blessed with a rare faith as she obeys.   The blessing of faith is a great blessing indeed.  Do you observe that the Philistines have food while God calls a famine on His own children.  God chastises His own and often just permits others to live as they wish and get away with anything.

In the end after the famine, she returns and cries for help to the King … and meets Gehazi – a servant who the Bible tells us served but not faithfully.  God still uses Gehazi to draw attention to this woman and the King orders an unusual restoration.  She is not just given her land…but all the fruit that would have been harvested for seven years if there had been no famine was also given to her in one single act of benevolence.

Gehazi, the other servant …the greedy person who knows the corridor of power well and who has mastered how to use God’s principles of giving but for His own selfish purpose … we read elsewhere ends up a leper.  Remember Gehazi was useful to ensure the woman was blessed.  The greedy huckster pastor – peddling advantage, prayers, even the gospel and books etc  does have his uses.

In summary…though seven years pass, but God has still not forgotten your gifts.  He will restore you. As for the many Gehazis in the temple – clever ones who have deceived many … God also knows.  Gehazi also got his surprise eventually – leprosy…

The greatest thing you can give to God is your heart …surrender it to Him, today.  let Christ be Lord of your life.

You may also want to read Part I.

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Money and the Bible

Money is to be regarded as a gift from God to be used to the glory of the giver, God.  We worship the giver and not the gift. We cannot therefore spend as we wish even if we can afford it knowing that we will give an account someday to the giver, God.

We are only stewards of all that has been entrusted in our care.  There are some principles worth recalling as we begin the year, even as we are blessed with funds.

I Corinthians 4[7]  For who maketh thee to differ from another ? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it , why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it ?

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.

1.God should be the ultimate beneficiary of how we spend money.  Money is thus another tool to be used to please God.  We must be thankful of the opportunity to steward even the smallest portions as for large sums, with the understanding that it may indeed be as difficult or even more tough to be found faithful when we are in possession of great wealth.

2.Do not allow money to master you by seeking for it at all costs.  This leads to devilish clamouring for opportunities and intrigues disguised as business savvy.  This love of money has led to murders of born and unborn, robbery, fraud or the more civilised sins of envy, subtle misrepresentation and exaggeration.

3.Do not be a borrower at all if you can help it, nor be a lender.  What you cannot afford to give, do not give as a loan so as not to create a chain of bitterness instead of love. If you must borrow, be very certain that the means of redemption is already within your reach…never borrow for lifestyle expenses.  Live as simply as the means God has made available to you dictates.

4.Enjoy simple living and resolve to be contented, never envying another for what they have or making comparisons.  God may have very good reasons for permitting certain persons to have a higher standard of wealth and living to accomplish their specific mission.  Do not imagine that the wealthy have an easier kingdom assignment.  To steward great wealth can be a very difficult examination requiring a greater reservoir of self control and patience than most have been prepared for.  Having more money than we can steward for God turns wealth to a destroyer.  Many families have generations gripped in various bondages …drugs, alcoholism, perversions, depression and early deaths  etc. mainly because of lack of disciplines that are needed to match great fortunes. Do not pray for wealth you cannot steward for God.

5.Impulsive buying and accumulation of non-essential gadgets will grieve the Giver who needs you as a conduit to direct funds to a need crying for provision.  The prayer of the one with excess funds should be for God to reveal the needs the extra funds are meant to meet.

6.God is not against luxury, entertainment and leisure, but how does this glorify God if this consumes most of the money of a Christian?  Visitors should be properly entertained and our homes should be comfortable and open to show a warm hospitality always. Partying and many celebrations are simply opportunities to show off and eat gluttonously and cannot glorify God. Certain forms of leisure such as viewing some films and some “innocent”  games and music genres can expose us to youthful lusts we have been admonished to flee from.  We are cautioned to be watchful.

7.The Christian keeps good records of money spent and budgets wisely.  The Bible is a book of records, numbers and specifications suggesting that God is exact and cares about the fine  details and so should we. Living carelessly expecting a miracle when we run out of cash is like testing God by jumping down a cliff.

8.Enjoy being a generous giver, giving without grumbling to several worthy causes also remembering to thank God always for the privilege of giving.  Investing more in people’s lives and the work of God than in shares or investments can be more satisfying and pleasing to God.

My favourite Bible verses as it relates to God and Money are from Philippians;

Philippians 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. [13] I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Remain Blessed.

Adapted from Christian Conduct by Kayode Adesogan and Wealth Out of Ashes by the Blog Author, Bode Ososami.

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