Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Greed and Idolatry


The righteousness of the upright will deliver them,
But the treacherous will be caught by their own greed.
Proverbs 11:6

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence! Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup, so the outside of it may also become clean.   
Matthew 23:25
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. But immorality 1or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.

Ephesians 5:1-5

People will never stop dying and being destroyed, and they will never stop wanting more than they have.
Proverbs 27:20 

The love of money causes all kinds of evil. Some people have left the faith, because they wanted to get more money, but they have caused themselves much sorrow. 
1 Timothy 6:10

Here is the man
who would not make God his refuge,
but trusted in the abundance of his riches,
taking refuge in his destructive behavior.
Psalm 52:7 7 

Look at this person who refused to make God his fortress!
Instead, he trusted his great wealth
and became strong through his greed.
Psalm 52:26 7

Then Jesus said to them, "Be careful and guard against all kinds of greed. Life is not measured by how much one owns."

Luke 12:15  

It is so easy to want more and more in this world.  We are bombarded daily — no nearly every minute — with stimuli to entice us to obtain more an more stuff.  Things we are sure we need.  Thing we accumulate just so we can say we have it. Several years ago, when bumper stickers were on every other automobile, one of the most prominent was - He Who Dies With the Most Toys, Wins.   That philosophy was meant to be facetious and funny — but many times it was likely all too true.   That is just the opposite of the words of Jesus. Luke 12:15

There are more than 70 verses in the Bible that either refers to greed or tells of incidents of greed. One very vivid description of greed is found in Proverbs 30:15  The leech has two daughters: “Give, Give!”  The point that could be made is that greed, symbolized by the leech, is as insatiable.  The proverb would constitute a warning against the insatiable nature of greed.

In the Old Testament there is warnings by God to His people Israel many times against idolatry. When Israel was exposed to any false idols they were to be completely destroyed. Deuteronomy 7:25-26  The idols were to be burned with fire. Any silver or gold that was on the images was not to be used or recycled by them. The precious metals were to be destroyed so that the people would not become ensnared by it.  The idols were an offense to God. This was not a condemnation of wealth. Idols were abhorrent to God and any thing associated with them was to be annihilated so as to not offend God.

In the New Testament, greed is compared to idolatry. Ephesians 5:5 and Colossians 3:5  To be sure there was much idolatry in both the Greek and Roman cultures at the time of Paul. the Christians were warned against idolatry. They were living in a world filled with idols. Paul observed that greed was idolatry as well as openly worshiping false idols. Idolatry was not just bowing down before a statue, but the replacement of God in the mind of the worshiper.  Exodus 20:5  There is nothing wrong with riches.  What one uses the riches for, what one does to get the riches, what value and importance one places on the riches — that is where the danger lies. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul   Mark 8:3  In today's world greed is a difficult thing to avoid.  It is quite a temptation. We may not make or bow down to a statue, but we must guard against letting anything come between us and God. When something does come between us and God, that thing is an idol, and we are committing idolatry.

Jesus had a definition for greed. He called it the practice of measuring life by possessions.
Greed equates a person’s worth with a person’s purse.

1. You got a lot = you are a lot.
2. You got a little = you are little.

The consequence of such a philosophy is predictable. If you are the sum of what you own, then by all means own it all. No price is too high. No payment is too much.…
Greed is not defined by what something costs; it is measured by what it costs you.
If anything costs you your faith or your family, the price is too high.
When God Whispers Your Name- Max Lucado


The things we want the most can sometimes be the worst for us. This principle often applies to material possessions. 

Our dog Dusty learned this principle the hard way. She loved to chase the squirrels that came into our yard. If one appeared, she took after it in a flash, chasing it up the maple tree and barking at it furiously. Although she chased them for 6 years, she never caught one. But all that changed one winter day. A squirrel warmed by the sun was out in the yard, and Dusty went after it. With snow on the ground, the squirrel couldn't scamper as fast as usual - and Dusty caught it! She finally had what she always wanted, but soon wished she didn't. The terrified squirrel wrapped itself around Dusty's nose, kicked her throat furiously with its hind feet, and bit her under the chin. Dusty couldn't let go fast enough. She came out of the fracas with a deep gash and several nasty scratches. I've noticed now that even though she still chases squirrels, she makes sure they get away. 

You can see the point. If we insist on getting what we want - wealth, fame, love, or whatever - it could hurt us. If it's illegitimate, it surely will. Let's learn the lesson of the squirrel.   
Unknown Author

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