Gamblers and Gambling
Normally we think of gamblers as those who frequent the casinos, or the track, or bet on the outcome of games and sporting contests. Moreover, biblically, the engaging in such activity is patently wrong and condemned of God as it denies the sovereignty of God and does not acknowledge the working of God in the lives of each and every person. Plainly, the LORD God works in every person’s life, either to bring them to the point of salvation, or if they are born again, to cause them to grow in Christ. The following are the clearest and easiest passages of Scripture to remember concerning this.
For those who do not know the LORD (the lost):
I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings. (Jeremiah 17:10)
And for those who are born again in Christ:
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
Moreover, the LORD God is in control of and governs events today, just as He has been in control of events from the very beginning. Not that he chooses for individuals, but that he knows the outworking of all events, and choices that everyone makes. Even as He judged individuals and nations of old, He continues to do so today. One example of the LORD governing the events of old was the destruction of Sisera:
And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time. And she dwelt under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in mount Ephraim: and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment. And she sent and called Barak the son of Abinoam out of Kedeshnaphtali, and said unto him, Hath not the LORD God of Israel commanded, saying, Go and draw toward mount Tabor, and take with thee ten thousand men of the children of Naphtali and of the children of Zebulun? And I will draw unto thee to the river Kishon Sisera, the captain of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his multitude; and I will deliver him into thine hand. (Judges 4:4-7)
What the LORD did with Sisera is no different than what He has done in so many instances, which is use what was is in the heart of the individual to draw them to their own destruction. Sisera could not resist oppressing the children of Israel, and apparently missed no opportunity to do so. Thus the LORD placed an opportunity in front of Sisera, that Sisera could not resist — which led to Sisera’s destruction.
Now, we have a society that is obsessed with obtaining something for nothing. This is the attitude when one “bets” upon the outcome of something, or joins a “pool,” the draw is always “minuscule investment” and a “large return.” The reason that these things exist and flourish is only due to the hearts of the individuals who involve themselves in such activities. Those persons are drawn by the lure of something for little to no effort and work. Plainly, if we understand the LORD’s view of this heart and attitude, we can begin to understand what the LORD will do when a society is predominately populated by such people.
If we simply take a surface view of this mindset, we can see that the problems with this are manifold:
1. It encourages individuals to think that something can be got for little to no work. This, in itself encourages a bad work ethic and laziness.
2. All that ever happens in any gambling operation, pool, or lottery, is that money is simply transferred. No goods are produced, no raw materials supplied in exchange, and no service is performed. At least when someone cuts the grass and you pay them for it (a service), you are freed up to do other (hopefully), more important or demanding things.
3. Very few actually gain anything, and the vast majority lose repeatedly. This is nothing more that the oldest scam in the book. The promise and allure of gain, when in reality, the conditions are so stacked that only a minuscule ever gain anything. Just ask yourself: When was the last time a gambling operation went out of business due to bankruptcy? No, they only “go out of business” if they are busted by law enforcement.
4. When government supports the “lottery” for the purposes of “education” or other such governmental program, it becomes a tax on those least able to afford to pay extra taxes. Additionally, since someone will get some minuscule part of the lottery ticket sales, it becomes wealth redistribution. Unfortunately, it is redistributing “wealth” from ignorant and uneducated individuals who think they have a chance at winning, to some other individual, who will then have the daylights taxed out of them (50% of “winnings”) by the very government that supported the lottery in the first place. In all, it’s quite the racket.
However, all the above reasons are not the worst part of the effects of allowing a gambling mindset to become endemic in society. No, the worst effect is that it angers the LORD God as it implicitly denies His sovereignty and His commands to be diligent in labor. The LORD roundly condemns the deception inherent in any form of gambling, and He condemns the individuals who begin such activities. They know they are stealing from their fellow man by holding out a false promise.
So, what would the LORD do to such a people and nation — like the United States, which has embraced gambling wholesale? How about the following:
Shortage fears push oil futures near $140
By Carola Hoyos and Javier Blas in London
Published: May 20 2008 19:06 | Last updated: May 21 2008 10:57
Fears of a shortage within five years propelled long-term oil futures prices to almost $140 a barrel, further stoking inflationary pressures in the global economy.
The spot price of Nymex West Texas Intermediate hit a record $130.30 a barrel on Wednesday. On Tuesday investors had rushed to buy oil futures contracts as far forward as December 2016, pushing their prices as high as $139.50 a barrel, up more than $9.50 on the day. ((Shortage fears push oil futures near $140))
Notice how far into the future the “investors” have pushed the futures market for oil? How about 8½ years into the future! Now really, how could anyone have the foggiest idea of what will occur over the next 8½ years? After all, someone may discover how to produce electricity cheap enough and on a small enough scale to allow individual electric production (we’re almost there now) and the ability to charge an all electric, or fuel cell vehicle, off-grid at their own home. That would certainly put a dent in the necessity for oil wouldn’t it? Or, rail transport technology could become a lot more efficient and also reduce the need for oil. In short, any number of things could happen, from war on a global scale (a distinct possibility) to new technological discoveries that could render oil almost obsolete as an energy source.
In short, the “investors” in the futures market are doing nothing less than pure, outright gambling. Moreover, this surge of gambling is based solely on “fear,” and that is all.
However, it is a fitting judgement for a society that is consumed with gambling. The gambling of the supposed “investors” in the oil “futures market” (read “pool”) robs everyone of their wealth — including the investors themselves.
Somebody produces the cars they drive, the food they eat, the clothes they wear, and everything else they have. When they collapse the economy due to their greed, just where will they get the things they need to live? Moreover, just how much will it cost them to get it. Moreover, since they will be perceived to be the “haves,” do they really think all the people they hurt in obtaining their wealth will let it slide right on by without so much as a word? No, I don’t think so. History has repeatedly shown that when such economic conditions occur, war almost always (if not always) results. Moreover, it is generally the “have nots” that target the “haves” in such cases. It’s awful hard to be “wealthy” when your dead.
Lovely thing to think about. But if we consider how God’s judgement works, we can certainly see it happening.
And who says God is not judging us?