What is Gambling? (part 1)

Gambling

(Outline notes taken from a sermon on the same topic)

I. Gambling Defined

  1. Legal – “Gaming or playing for money; or betting on the result of a game; the playing of a game of chance or skill for stakes.”
  2. Dictionary – “To play or game for money or other stake; to hazard; wager. Connected with gambling is the strong element of uncertainty, the large chance of losing.”
  3. Popular View – “Getting something for nothing without rendering service or exchange of goods and is essentially stealing and a form of robbery.”
  4. Psychiatrists – “A compulsion. Habitual gambling is a mark of a disturbed personality, an undesirable character trait.”
  5. Summary – Gambling involves three parts:
  • Chance is a major element. Some skill may be needed.
  • A prize or payoff in cash or merchandise.
  • To be eligible for the prize something must be placed at risk.

IRONIES OF OUR CULTURE

One of the ironies of our culture is that we move from a holiday focused on being thankful for the things we have, to a holiday marked by frenetic shopping and the pursuit of more ‘things.’ We should be mindful of the great sin of covetousness and also make sure we have the proper perspective on gift giving.

Merriam-Webster online defines ‘covetousness’ as: feeling or showing a very strong desire for something that you do not have and especially for something that belongs to someone else. It’s important we understand the sin is not limited to a focus on what other people have, but it can also involve our existing possessions. Jesus warned of the little talked about sin of covetousness; “And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth” (Luke 12:15).  He then went on to give a parable about a rich man who God called a ‘fool’ because he stored up many things for himself and was not rich toward God (Luke 12:16-21). The murder of Naboth was due to Ahab and Jezebel’s covetousness and should stand as a stark reminder of where the sin can lead. (1 Kings 21).

It may be surprising to some, but covetousness is listed among the most grievous sins.  When we understand that it is idolatry, it becomes more clear how God views it. “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry” (Col. 3:5). One of the great indictments against the people that Jeremiah spoke against was that, “For from the least of them even unto the greatest of them every one is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely” (Jer. 6:11). We must be careful as we deal with our desires regarding the material things of this life.

Scripture does not condemn gift giving but we should consider those to whom we give, as well as when we ‘exchange’ gifts.  The Proverbs make a startling comparison on those that give gifts to ‘the rich.’ “He that oppresseth the poor to increase his riches, and he that giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want” (Prov. 22:16).  While none of us may consider ourselves ‘rich’, compared so some in this country and certainly in the world, that characterization would still be accurate. Sometimes giving to the rich was seen as a way to ‘prime the pump’ in order to receive something better in return. In other cases, it was associated with buying influence or bribing someone. Whatever the case, those words are true.

Exchanging gifts, is not the same as giving to those who are poor and can’t repay us. Jesus said, “For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?” (Matt 5:46). The money we spend on gift exchanges should certainly not be counted for our contribution to God! Giving gifts or having material possessions is not wrong but as always, we must guard our heart in all we do. –Matthew Johnson

Review Questions

QUESTIONS based on Micah. 2:2—And they covet fields, and take them by violence; and houses, and take them away: so they oppress a man and his house, even a man and his heritage.

(Cross references for Mic. 2:2)

they covet fields,

  1. Exod. 20:17–What things was a man under the Old Law not to covet?  Is this different than 1 Corinthians 5:10-11?
  2. 1 Kings 21:2-19–What did Ahab covet and what was he willing to do to obtain his desire?  Does covetousness encourage us toward loving our neighbor or hating him?
  3. Job 31:38-40–Job wishes a curse upon himself if he has taken anything by covetousness.  IF he had taken anything by covetousness, what would have happened to him?
  4. Isa. 5:8–Considering what these people have taken, what benefit is it that they own all these things?  See also Ecclesiastes 5:11.
  5. Jer. 22:13-19–How were Josiah and his son, Jehoiakim different?  In what way did Josiah know the Lord and Jehoiakim not know the Lord (vs. 16-17)? Why would Jehoiakim have the burial of an ass?
  6. Amos 8:4-6–What were the covetous people doing in this passage?
  7. Hab. 2:2-9–In the vision which the Lord gave to Habakkuk, what kind of man is being described?  What would happen to him (vss. 8 & 9)?
  8. 1 Tim 6:10–What will happen to those who love money and covet after it?

so they

  1. Exod. 22:21-27—List the ways a man may be covetous and tell what punishment would follow.
  2. 2 Kings 9:222-26—Why did Jehu kill Jehoram and where did they cast his body?
  3. Neh. 5:1-8—During a time of famine, the nobles and rulers took advantage of the poor.  What did they do?
  4. Job 24:2-12—What things did the violent, covetous men do to the people?
  5. Ezek. 18:12—What kinds of things did this man’s son do?
  6. Ezek. 22:12—In “the bloody city” what were the nobles doing to the people?
  7. Mic. 3:9-12—What were the heads of the house of Jacob doing in Israel?  What was to be the punishment?
  8. Mal. 3:5—What did the Lord promise to do to the covetous?  What others were in the same category?
  9. Matt 23:14—What were the Pharisees doing in Jesus time?  What curse did Jesus pronounce on them?

oppress a man and his house,

  1. 1 Sam. 12:3-4—When Samuel was trying to reason with the people about their need for a king, what argument did he use to prove his integrity?

Just how odious is the sin of covetousness to our Heavenly Father?  Read the following scriptures and judge.

  • “And he said, That which      cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil      thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness,      wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride,      foolishness: All these evil things      come from within, and defile the man (Mark 7:20-23).
  • “And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life      consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth” (Luke      12:15).
  • “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge,      God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not      convenient;
  • 29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full      of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers…” (Rom. 1:28-29).
  • “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth;      fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry” (Col. 3:5).
  • “For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor      a cloke of covetousness; God is witness” (1 Thess. 2:5).
  • “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” (Heb. 13:5).
  • “And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make      merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and      their damnation slumbereth not” (2 Pet. 2:3).

Consider other strong admonitions against the sin of covetousness:

  • “Then I returned, and I saw vanity under the sun. There is one alone, and there is not a second; yea, he hath neither child nor brother: yet is there no end of all his labour; neither is his eye satisfied with riches; neither saith he, For whom do I labour, and bereave my soul of good? This is also vanity, yea, it is a sore travail (Eccl. 4:7-8).
  • He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity. When goods increase, they are increased that eat them: and what good is there to the owners thereof, saving the beholding of them with their eyes” (Eccl. 5:10-11)?
  • “Woe to him that coveteth an evil covetousness to his house, that he may set his nest on high, that he may be delivered from the power of evil! Thou hast consulted shame to thy house by cutting off many people, and hast sinned against thy soul. For the stone shall cry out of the wall, and the beam out of the timber shall answer it” (Hab. 2:9-11).
  • “A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous [Strongs: not fond of silver – 866 = (not) + 53660, as in Lk 1614) (1 Tim 3:2-3).
  • “Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself” (1 Tim. 6:5).
  • “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” (1 Tim. 6:10).
  • “For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre (Titus 1:7).

COVETOUSNESS: First Review

We all know that discipline of unrighteous members should be carried out within the body of Christ.  There are certain things that a man may do which not only make him repugnant to God but also would corrupt the body of Christ, the church.

Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? Do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person (1 Cor. 5:10-13).

But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God (Eph. 5:3-5).

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away (2 Tim. 3:1-5).

Examples from scripture show how covetousness affects the work and ultimately the destiny of specific men and women.  We have studied these accounts to find out how we compare and how we can avoid being caught up in the same traps.

EXAMPLES WE HAVE STUDIED

  1. Eve, in desiring the forbidden fruit
  2. Lot, in choosing the plain of the Jordan
  3. Laban
    • In giving Rebekah to be Isaac’s wife
    • In deceiving Jacob when he served him seven years for Rachel
    • In deceiving Jacob in his wages
  4. Esau
    • Coveted food
    • Gave away his birthright
  5. Pharaoh and the Egyptians
    • Coveted slaves (human bodies to serve them)
    • Coveted their property during the famine
  6. Ahab covets the vineyard of Naboth
  7. Gehazi, the servant of Elisha coveted clothing and money (2 Kings 5)
  8. Ahaz in coveting an altar of a heathen (conquered) nation (2 Kings 16:9-20)
    • Required Urijah to build one like it before the temple in Jerusalem
    • Worshipped at the new altar every evening
  9. Balaam, in loving the wages of unrighteousness
  10. Achan, in hiding the treasure
  11. Eli’s sons, in taking the flesh of the sacrifice, and Samuel’s sons, in taking bribes
  12. Saul, in sparing, Agag and the booty
  13. David coveted Bathsheba

DIFFERENT WORDS USED FOR COVETOUSNESS:

OT:2530 chamad (khaw-mad’); a primitive root; to delight in: KJV – beauty, greatly beloved, covet, delectable thing, (X great) delight, desire, goodly, lust, (be) pleasant (thing), precious (thing).

OT:183 ‘avah (aw-vaw’); a primitive root; to wish for: KJV – covet, (greatly) desire, be desirous, long, lust (after).

NT:1937 epithumeo (ep-ee-thoo-meh’-o); from NT:1909 and NT:2372; to set the heart upon, i.e. long for (rightfully or otherwise):KJV – covet, desire, would fain, lust (after).

NT:2206 zeloo (dzay-lo’-o) or zeleuo (dzay-loo’-o); from NT:2205; to have warmth of feeling for or against: KJV – affect, covet (earnestly), (have) desire, (move with) envy, be jealous over, (be) zealous (-ly affect)

GREEK DICTIONARY DEFINITION:

pleonexia (pleh-on-ex-ee’-ah); from NT:4123; avarice, i.e. (by implication) fraudulency, extortion: covetous (-ness) practices, greediness.

beauty, greatly beloved, covet, delectable thing, (X great) delight, desire, goodly, lust, (be) pleasant (thing), precious (thing).

ENGLISH DICTIONARY DEFINITION:

cov•et “k€-v€t verb [ME coveiten, fr. OF coveitier, fr. coveitié desire, modif. of L cupiditat-, cupiditas, fr. cupidus desirous, fr. cupere to desire] (14c)

verb transitive

1 : to wish for enviously

2 : to desire (what belongs to another) inordinately or culpably

verb intransitive

: to feel inordinate desire for what belongs to another

: to wish for enviously

: to desire (what belongs to another) inordinately or culpably

verb intransitive: to feel inordinate desire for what belongs to another syn see desire

cov•et•ous  adjective

1 : marked by inordinate desire for wealth or possessions or for another’s possessions

2 : having a craving for possession <covetous of power>

Synonyms

covetous, greedy, acquisitive, grasping, avaricious mean having or showing a strong desire for esp. material possessions.

covetous implies inordinate desire often for another’s possessions <covetous of his brother’s country estate>.

greedy stresses lack of restraint and often of discrimination in desire <greedy for status symbols>.

acquisitive implies both eagerness to possess and ability to acquire and keep <an eagerly acquisitive mind>.

grasping adds to covetous and greedy an implication of selfishness and often suggests unfair or ruthless means <a hard grasping trader who cheated the natives>.

avaricious implies obsessive acquisitiveness esp. of money and strongly suggests stinginess <an avaricious miser>.

COVETOUSNESS: Lesson 11–Eli and Samuel’s Sons

“Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial; they knew not the Lord. And the priests’ custom with the people was, that, when any man offered sacrifice, the priest’s servant came, while the flesh was in seething, with a fleshhook of three teeth in his hand; And he struck it into the pan, or kettle, or caldron, or pot; all that the fleshhook brought up the priest took for himself. So they did in Shiloh unto all the Israelites that came thither. Also before they burnt the fat, the priest’s servant came, and said to the man that sacrificed, Give flesh to roast for the priest; for he will not have sodden flesh of thee, but raw. And if any man said unto him, Let them not fail to burn the fat presently, and then take as much as thy soul desireth; then he would answer him, Nay; but thou shalt give it me now: and if not, I will take it by force. Wherefore the sin of the young men was very great before the Lord: for men abhorred the offering of the Lord” (1 Sam 2:12-17). “Now Eli was very old, and heard all that his sons did unto all Israel; and how they lay with the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation” (1 Sam. 2:22).

“And it came to pass, when Samuel was old, that he made his sons judges over Israel. Now the name of his firstborn was Joel; and the name of his second, Abiah: they were judges in Beer-sheba. And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment” (1 Sam. 8:1-3).

The quality of heart that causes men to turn aside to lucre, take bribes and to pervert judgment is pure covetousness. They wish for more and more, and so stoop to devious, sinful means to satisfy their greed. Why did God condemn Eli for the behavior of his sons but count Samuel righteous when his sons were also wicked?

First, Eli was a high priest while Samuel was only a judge. Eli knew that his sons coveted other men’s wives and committed adultery with the women at the temple itself. Today, the church has the responsibility of putting adulterers and covetous men out of the assembly (1 Cor 5:10-12). Similarly, Eli had both the responsibility and the authority to remove adulterers and thieves from the temple, but he did not fulfill his responsibility. He may have rebuked the adulterer and covetous man, but those in authority have the responsibility to get that kind of person out of the assembly. A little leaven leavens the whole lump whether in Israel or in the church (1 Cor 5:7-8). Eli was the ultimate authority over the nation of Israel, his own sons included. Eli’s sons had left home many years before, and as a father he could chide but not physically restrain them; however, as high priest he had the responsibility to use force to stop their wickedness according to the Law of Moses whether that behavior was criminal or immoral. God condemned and cursed Eli because “his sons made themselves vile and he restrained them not.” (1 Sam. 3:13-14).

Secondly, Eli not only did not restrain his sons, but he also accepted the stolen goods, (illegal booty), and honored his sons above God Himself (1 Sam. 2:29). Samuel did neither of those things. The high priest at the time Samuel was judge could have restrained Samuel’s sons as God expected Eli to do when he was high priest, but apparently no one was able to restrain them. Eli obviously loved or feared his children more than he loved or feared God.

In contrast to Eli, as a father after his sons became of age and left home, Samuel could only chide his son’s disobedience. Eli’s sons, as priests who offered God’s worship, had a far greater responsibility to be an example of holiness, purity and honesty. Instead of being good examples, their covetous hearts caused them to steal from God. Eli recognized this and chided them, saying: Nay, my sons; for it is no good report that I hear: ye make the Lord’s people to transgress. If one man sin against another, the judge shall judge him: but if a man sin against the Lord, who shall entreat for him (1 Sam. 2:24-25a)?

When people are covetous, they become God’s enemy. Eli’s sons not only destroyed their own souls by their greed but the souls of the family—even the High Priest. Samuel was not covetous and spoke freely of never taking a bribe: “…of whose hand have I received any bribe [kopher, “covering”] to blind mine eyes therewith?” (1 Sam. 12:3). Samuel waited until he was old before he appointed his sons as judges in the city of Beer-sheba; however, they could not handle the position with its great responsibilities and temptations and fell to some the sins of Eli’s sons.

Israel immediately pointed to the sins of Samuel’s sons as an excuse to ask for the object of their own covetousness. “Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah, And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations” (1 Sam. 8:4-5). Covetousness seemed to destroy the entire nation in that time, which makes Samuel’s faithfulness all the more apparent. He was able to withstand the temptation to live for this life and lived for God and the next life.

“And Samuel said unto all Israel, Behold, I have hearkened unto your voice in all that ye said unto me, and have made a king over you. And now, behold, the king walketh before you: and I am old and grayheaded; and, behold, my sons are with you: and I have walked before you from my childhood unto this day. Behold, here I am: witness against me before the LORD, and before his anointed: whose ox have I taken? or whose ass have I taken? or whom have I defrauded? whom have I oppressed? or of whose hand have I received any bribe to blind mine eyes therewith? and I will restore it you. And they said, Thou hast not defrauded us, nor oppressed us, neither hast thou taken ought of any man’s hand” (1 Sam. 12:1-4).

What a wonderful commendation for Samuel. We know that no one, except a criminal wants a covetous ruler who accepts bribes. Why then would any man do what he hates in others? Even today, every man or woman who is known for covetousness is despised. We see by Samuel’s example that we should turn from such things because we belong to God who has promised to supply all our needs.

QUESTIONS:
1. Were Eli’s sons faithful to God (1 Sam. 2:12-17; 1 Sam. 8:3)?
2. Give at least two reasons why Eli was held responsible for the behavior of his sons?
3. How had Eli participated in the evil his sons were doing?
4. As a result of Eli’s evil actions, what did God tell young Samuel to say to him (1 Sam. 3:11-14)?
5. During his youth, Samuel was an assistant to Eli, the high priest. What was the designated lineage of the priests assistants (Num. 3:5-9, 12, 17, 32; Num. 4:46-47)?
6. Give the names of Samuel’s two sons. Be sure to include the scripture references.
7. In what city did they do their work? Give a scripture reference.
8. What were Samuel’s sons accused of doing? Include a scripture reference with your answer.
9. Did Samuel participate in the evil his sons were doing? Give a reference to prove your answer.
10. How might Samuel’s sons have kept themselves from such wickedness (Luke 12:15; 1 Cor. 5:11)?
11. DISCUSSION QUESTION: Besides Samuel, there were other righteous fathers who had bad sons. Name as many as you can remember and tell what they did wrong.
12. RESEARCH QUESTION: Samuel was known both as a prophet and as a judge of Israel. Explain the difference between the two types of work.