Idolatry of Trusting in Riches

February 1, 2008
by Steven Lambert

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Keep deception and lies far from me,
Give me neither poverty nor riches;
Feed me with the food that is my portion. (Prv. 30:8)

As I have been indicating in some previous posts, in many Kingdom-related matters, the difference between truth and error is excesses and extremes. Those excesses extremes can be at either end of the spectrum.

Such is the case with the real truth regarding the matter of prosperity and success versus whatever is the diametric opposite of that, which I suppose is poverty and failure. The real truth, that is, the Truth of the mind of God that is both concealed and revealed in Christ through the Spirit of Truth, lies somewhere between these opposing messages. The extremes on both sides are error and deception. We must be careful not to swerve too far to either side so as to fall into a spiritual ditch of error. There are a great number of passages of Scripture telling us how much God indeed does want us to “prosper and be in (good) health even as our soul prospers” (3 Jn. 2). But, the last part of that Scripture is the weightier and balancing part. From God’s perspective, true prosperity is commensurate with soul-prosperity, and not defined by the amount of mammon, or material things, we possess. Prosperity and success, and divine healing and health, taken to extremes and taken out of context of the rest of Scripture that speaks of counterbalancing matters can become an abomination to God: “A false balance is an abomination to the LORD; but a just weight is His delight” (Prv. 11:1).

(Please read the preface on the previous post for more on this aspect.)

Before I get to the topic of this post, I feel compelled to say I truly believe that this whole matter I am discussing in these posts are far from being a mere side-bar. I feel what I am about to say is of a prophetic nature. I believe it is a critical Kingdom Matter that the Church must turn its attention to in order to be delivered from the dastardly and destructive spirit of mammon that now pervades the Church. Many individuals in the Church are obsessed with the spirit of materialism, and if they continue in their ways and in giving place to the devil, what is an obsession now, will continue to escalate and take more and more ground in their heart until materialism, the love of money, will totally possess them. Some who were once bona fide believers and members of the Body of Christ, have become apostate in their heart having yielded to the allure of purely material “wealth,” and as a result are already possessed by the spirit of mammon. I believe the judgment that MUST begin with the household of God has begun, and will continue in the form of the economic collapse America and the nations of the world are facing. But, as I have written in so many words in so many of my writings, this judgment that God is bringing upon the Church precedent to the judgment He shall bring upon the world is a judgment of purification and refinement. It is a corrective and reproving judgment to purify the Lamb’s Wife for the imminent return of Christ to claim His Betrothed as His Eternal Bride and Helpmate suitable to partner with Him in the judgment of the nations in the Day of His Fierce Wrath.

What I see is that there is two sides of this coin regarding this matter of God’s provision for us. The focus of the previous post was what the Word of God tells us about God’s desire to prosper and abundantly bless His people. Like Abraham, he has promised to not only bless us, but also make us a blessing. In this and the next post, my focus will be the abundance of Scripture that counterbalance the “prosperity” side of the same coin.

The Parable of the Sower (see, Mark 4:1-20), according to what Jesus Himself said about it, could be aptly called “The Paramount Parable.” When His disciples asked Him to explain it to them, He responded, as He did on several other occasions, with seeming frustration at their spiritual dullness, saying, “Do you not understand this parable? And how will you understand all the parables?” Jesus also indicated that this parable contained the key to understanding the “Mystery of the Kingdom.” That is the title of a book I wrote and published in 1984 in which I explained what the Lord showed me concerning the meaning of this Paramount Parable and the “secrets” it unveils of how to bear Kingdom Fruit as well as “hidden” principles of how the Kingdom of God operates here on Earth. The rest of this post is taken from that book. Click here to read more about the book, which is available in both e-book and print versions.

Mark 4:7,18,19
7 And other seed fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked it, and it yielded no crop.
18 And others are the ones on whom seed was sown among the thorns; these are the ones who have heard the word,
19 and the worries of the word, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.

Jesus identified in the Parable of the Sower four different categories of hearers, all of whom heard the Word, though only one responded properly and became doers of the Word, thereby producing Kingdom Fruit in their lives. As Jesus said, the Seed of the Word of God was sown on this category of hearers, which means they heard the Word, but there were also thorns growing in their lives along with the Word that eventually choked out the Seed, and thus it “yielded no crop” — that is, it produced no Kingdom Fruit in the lives of these hearers. In His explanation to the disciples, Jesus indicated these thorns were “thorns of worldliness,” and identified them as being, 1) the worries of the world, 2) the deceitfulness of riches, and 3) the desires for other things. He said these thorns of worldliness entered into these believers’ lives, and choked out the Seed which was sown into their lives by the Sower (Fivefold Ministers) as the two grew together in the soil of their hearts, and prevented the Word from becoming fruitful. In the previous post we began examining one of those thorns of worldliness — “the deceitfulness of riches.” I continue that discussion by addressing the Idolatry of Trusting in Riches, taken from the book, The Mystery of the Kingdom.

Idolatry of Trusting in Riches
God says He is a “jealous God,” and that we are to have no other gods before Him, and that we are not to make or serve any idols (Ex. 20:1-5). An idol, or false god, is something you attribute undue homage and affection to, or something you trust in and place your faith in and look to, to deliver you, and to help you overcome the adversities of life, and to attain unto personal desires, ambitions, and aspirations.

By that definition, money is the false god of multitudes of people in this world. This has always been true, but never more so than it is in this last day in which we live, something which was explicitly prophesied by the Spirit, “But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, LOVERS OF MONEY…” (2 Tim. 3:1,2). Money, however, is such a vain thing in which to trust. God says, “He who trusts in riches will fall” (Pr. 11:28). Riches are only temporal, they do not last forever. They can be here one day and gone the next, as the following scriptures indicate:

For riches are not forever. (Pr. 27:24);

Do not worry yourself to gain wealth, cease from your consideration of it. When you set your eyes on it, it is gone. For wealth surely makes itself wings, like an eagle that flies toward the heavens. (Pr. 23:4,5);

Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to…fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches but on God. (1 Tim. 6:17);

Let the rich man glory in his humiliation, because like flowering grass he will pass away. For the sun rises with a scorching wind, and withers the grass, and its flower falls off, and the beauty of its appearance is destroyed; so too the rich man in the midst of his pursuits will fade away. (Jas. 1:10,11);

Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries which are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments have become moth-eaten. Your gold and your silver have rusted; and their rust will be a witness against you and will consume your flesh like fire. (Jas. 5:1-3);

But godliness actually is a means of great gain, when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into this world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. (1 Tim. 6:6,7);

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. (Mat. 6:19)

Without realizing it, multitudes in the world today have made money their god. They trust in it to deliver them from every adversity of life, for personal validation and to give them a sense of dignity and rightness, to afford them prestige and preeminence, to garner for themselves the favor and deference society bestows upon the wealthy, and to provide them with a sense of security, satisfaction, and fulfillment. In a nutshell, people look to money and riches to give them the peace, happiness, contentment, and sense of general well-being to which people commonly aspire. It is in looking to money to supply all this, that people unconsciously make money their god, notwithstanding the adamant denials of most that they have done so in their own case.

But, it is Jehovah God who is the true Supplier of all these things, and He desires that people recognize Him as such. In fact, all these things can only be realized in their truest form through fellowship with God. To seek any other object or entity as a source of these things is idolatry, and is making a false god of that object or entity.

The love of money, or covetousness, which is idolatry, is a natural motivation of the carnal nature which is inherent within us all, however (Eph. 5:5; Gal. 5:19,20). In varying degrees, before we were saved and began renewing our minds according to the Word of God, we all trusted in money for all the things we are supposed to trust God to accomplish in our lives. Thus, most people commit their entire lives and energies in the quest to acquire more and more money, the more the better. They seem to think that the more diligent they are in the pursuit of it, the more favorable the false god of money will be to them. The more they have of it, the more it will deliver them from the adversities and tribulations of life, and fulfill the various yearnings of their heart. So they think.

How often have we all thought at one time or another in our lives, “If I can just get this one bill paid off, then I just know everything will be alright.” Or, “If I can just get that new car,” or “that new house,” or whatever, “I just know everything will be fine, then.” Or, “If I can just save up $10,000 in my savings account,” or “make this one great stock purchase,” or “buy this new business,” or “get that new job,” or “that promotion,” or “that raise,” — “well, everything will be great then!”

That, my friend, like it or not, is IDOLATRY. It is placing a false trust in money. It is making money your god. It is trusting in riches, and in your own power to make wealth. But, even more than all that, such reasoning indicates you have been deceived by “the deceitfulness of riches!” The truth of the matter is that once you do get that one bill paid off, you only get more and even larger bills to contend with, and everything is still not “alright.” Or, have you ever noticed, after you buy that new house or car, everything is still not “fine?” Or you save up that $10,000, or purchase those stocks, or buy that new business, or you land that new job, or get that promotion or raise in pay, and then everything is still far from being “great?” Instead you have even more problems. That’s the deceitfulness of riches; he who trusts in them is heading for a fall (Pr. 11:28).

You see, God does not want everything to be “alright” merely through the means of monetary gain and because of financial wealth. He does not want you to be trusting in money as your savior and deliverer. If you do, money is your master and god, not Him. God delights in the prosperity of His servants, but therein is the key: He wants our lives to be prosperous in every way, not through the self-glorifying means of self-achievement, but through serving Him, whereby all the glory for our prosperity is attributable to Him alone. He wants to be our total Source, our only Savior and Deliverer, our Master, and our very present Help in the time of trouble. He wants to be the object of our affection and trust.

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