… stop blaming God for making you rich …

Stop blaming God for making
you Rich (wealthy)

written:(5/25/2012)

““No one can serve two masters.
For you will hate one and love the other;
you will be devoted to one and despise the other.
You cannot serve both God and money.”
Jesus
(Matthew 6:24, NLT)

In many churches today we hear the testimonies of how God has provided Hummers , BMWs, Cadillacs, Mercedes Benzes, new houses, Rolex watches, iPods, expensive suits and purses; but is this scripturally accurate? Is it God that has provided these things? Lets look at what the Bible says.

It says that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8, NKJV) So God has not changed. From the foundation of the world, God has remained the same. He has the same principles that He always had. In Deuteronomy, under the Old Covenant Law, it says :

““There should be no poor among you, for the Lord your God will greatly bless you in the land he is giving you as a special possession.” (Deuteronomy 15:4, NLT)

This is a law to the believers, the partakers in the first Covenant, the Jews. What does He mean by ‘no poor’ among you? Let’s look at the word ‘poor’. What does it mean? The Hebrew word translated as ‘poor’ is אֶבְיׄון [ʾebyown /eb·yone/] Strong’s Concordance says that the King James translates this word as “needy” 35 times, “poor” 24 times, “beggar” once, and “poor man” once. It’s definition is: 1 in want, needy, chiefly poor, needy person. 2 subject to oppression and abuse. 3 needing help, deliverance from trouble, especially as delivered by God. 4 general reference to lowest class.* So God is saying to the people of the Old Covenant that there should not be anyone that is needy, or in other words, everyone should be well supplied. In the New Covenant it says

“And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19, NKJV)

I have had people tell me that it was God who made them rich. Doesn’t the Bible say that it is God who gives me power to gain wealth?

““And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.” (Deuteronomy 8:18, NKJV)

Does this verse say that He makes you rich? No. It says that because of the Covenant relationship that you have with God, He will give you the ‘power to gain wealth’. Or, in other words, when I join the Covenant, God has promised, on His part, to give ‘me the power to gain wealth.’ It does not say that He gives me the power to ‘be rich’.

There are many sayings in the Bible about ‘being rich’. Let’s look at some of them.

“There is one who makes himself rich, yet has nothing; And one who makes himself poor, yet has great riches.” (Proverbs 13:7, NKJV)

Isn’t it interesting that it says ‘one who makes himself rich’? So the Bible says that God ‘gives me power to gain wealth’, and it says that ‘there is one who makes himself rich’. Maybe we have the wrong definition of the word ‘rich’. Let’s look at that. The word translated as ‘rich’ in this verse is the Hebrew word עָשַׁר [ʿashar /aw·shar/] In Strong’s Concordance it says that the King James Bible translates this word as “rich” 14 times, “enrich” three times, and “richer” once. It is defined as: 1 to be or become rich or wealthy, enrich, pretend to be rich. 1a (Qal) to be or become rich. 1b (Hiphil). 1b1 to make rich. 1b2 to gain riches. 1c (Hithpael) to enrich oneself, pretend to be rich.1 It says to ‘become wealthy’. So this word is talking about money or wealth.

So what else does the Old Covenant say about ‘wealth’ or ‘riches’? The wisdom of Proverbs says:

“Do not overwork to be rich; Because of your own understanding, cease! Will you set your eyes on that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; They fly away like an eagle toward heaven.” (Proverbs 23:4–5, NKJV)

This is the same Hebrew word עָשַׁר, translated as ‘rich’. In Psalms it says;

“They trust in their wealth and boast of great riches. Yet they cannot redeem themselves from death by paying a ransom to God. Redemption does not come so easily, for no one can ever pay enough to live forever and never see the grave.” (Psalm 49:6–9, NLT)

And again in Proverbs it says;

“Two things I request of You (Deprive me not before I die): Remove falsehood and lies far from me; Give me neither poverty nor riches— Feed me with the food allotted to me; Lest I be full and deny You, And say, “Who is the Lord?” Or lest I be poor and steal, And profane the name of my God.” (Proverbs 30:7–9, NKJV)

Someone might say, doesn’t the Bible say that Abraham was rich? “Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold.” (Genesis 13:2, NKJV) Let’s see if it is the same Hebrew word. This phrase ‘very rich’ is the Hebrew phrase מְאֹד כָּבֵד [mâʿod /meh·ode/] [kabed /kaw·bade/] מְאֹד [mâʿod /meh·ode/], according to Strong’s Concordance, is translated in the King James Bible as “very” 137 times, “greatly” 49 times, “sore” 23 times, “exceeding” 18 times, “great” 12 times, “exceedingly” 11 times, “much” 10 times, “exceeding + 3966” six times, “exceedingly + 3966” five times, “diligently” four times, “good” three times, “might” twice, “mightily” twice, and translated miscellaneously 17 times. It is defined as: 1 exceedingly, much subst. 2 might, force, abundance. 3 muchness, force, abundance, exceedingly. 3a force, might. 3b exceedingly, greatly, very (idioms showing magnitude or degree). 3b1 exceedingly. 3b2 up to abundance, to a great degree, exceedingly. 3b3 with muchness, muchness.1 And כָּבֵד [kabed /kaw·bade/] according to Strong’s Concordance, is translated as “great” eight times, “grievous” eight times, “heavy” eight times, “sore” four times, “hard” twice, “much” twice, “slow” twice, “hardened” once, “heavier” once, “laden” once, and “thick” once. 1 heavy, great. 1a heavy. 1b massive, abundant, numerous. 1c heavy, dull. 1d hard, difficult, burdensome. 1e very oppressive, numerous, rich.1 The word translated as ‘livestock’ is the Hebrew word מִקְנֶה [miqneh /mik·neh/]. According to Strong’s Concordance, this word in the King James Bible is translated as “cattle” 63 times, “possession” five times, “flocks” three times, “substance” twice, “herds” once, and “purchase” once. It is defined as: 1 cattle, livestock. 1a cattle, livestock. 1a1 in general of a purchasable domestic animal. 1b cows, sheep, goats (in herds and flocks). It says that Abraham was abundantly supplied with these things, but it does not refer to him as ‘wealthy’. You could say that Abraham was ‘exceedingly abundantly supplied with substance’. Of course, if you are abundantly supplied with ‘silver and gold’ we would call you ‘wealthy’ or ‘rich’, but the supply was to take care of the throngs of people that were with him.

What does it say, under the Old Covenant, to do with the supply? In Proverbs it says, “He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, And He will pay back what he has given.” (Proverbs 19:17, NKJV) And then in Joshua we read, “Now to half the tribe of Manasseh Moses had given a possession in Bashan, but to the other half of it Joshua gave a possession among their brethren on this side of the Jordan, westward. And indeed, when Joshua sent them away to their tents, he blessed them, and spoke to them, saying, “Return with much riches to your tents, with very much livestock, with silver, with gold, with bronze, with iron, and with very much clothing. Divide the spoil of your enemies with your brethren.”” (Joshua 22:7–8, NKJV) He told them to ‘Divide the spoil of your enemies with your brethren.’ Interesting that he told them to share the spoil with their brethren, not keep it for themselves.

In the book of 1 Kings, God asks what He can give to Solomon; “At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, “Ask! What shall I give you?”” (1 Kings 3:5, NKJV) It goes on to say that he asked for wisdom, to which this is recorded: “The speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing. Then God said to him: “Because you have asked this thing, and have not asked long life for yourself, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have asked the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern justice, behold, I have done according to your words; see, I have given you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has not been anyone like you before you, nor shall any like you arise after you.” (1 Kings 3:10–12, NKJV) He is praised for not asking for ‘riches’. He was given what he wanted because he did not want riches. What are we asking for?

Are we seeing a pattern yet? “The rich man will lie down, But not be gathered up; He opens his eyes, And he is no more.” (Job 27:19, NKJV) And again, “Will your riches, Or all the mighty forces, Keep you from distress?” (Job 36:19, NKJV) And again, “A little that a righteous man has Is better than the riches of many wicked.” (Psalm 37:16, NKJV) And again, “Surely every man walks about like a shadow; Surely they busy themselves in vain; He heaps up riches, And does not know who will gather them.” (Psalm 39:6, NKJV) And this warning, “Do not trust in oppression, Nor vainly hope in robbery; If riches increase, Do not set your heart on them.” (Psalm 62:10, NKJV)

What does the Old Covenant say about the wealthy? “Behold, these are the ungodly, Who are always at ease; They increase in riches.” (Psalm 73:12, NKJV) “A thick bankroll is no help when life falls apart, but a principled life can stand up to the worst.” (Proverbs 11:4, The Message) Another warning, “He who trusts in his riches will fall, But the righteous will flourish like foliage.” (Proverbs 11:28, NKJV)

Well then, how is it that someone is ‘made rich’? The wisdom of Proverbs says it like this, “A gracious woman retains honor, But ruthless men retain riches.” (Proverbs 11:16, NKJV) A ruthless man retains riches. Oh, so I become ‘rich – wealthy’ when I choose to ‘retain – keep’ the provision that God has provided. So, that means that I make myself rich, according to the Bible.

You say, ‘fine, all of that is under the Old Covenant, but now I am under the New Covenant. Doesn’t the Bible say that Jesus came to make me rich”? “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.” (2 Corinthians 8:9, NKJV) Ok, let’s look at this verse. The first word ‘rich’, referring to Jesus, is the Greek word πλούσιος [plousios /ploo·see·os/] Strong’s Concordance says that in the King James Bible, this word is translated as “rich” 28 times. 1 wealthy, abounding in material resources. 2 metaph. abounding, abundantly supplied. 2a abounding (rich) in Christian virtues and eternal possessions.1 The second use of the word translated as ‘rich’ is the Greek word πλουτέω [plouteo /ploo·teh·o/] . Strong’s Concordance says that the King James Bible translates it as “be rich” seven times, “be made rich” twice, “rich” once, “wax rich” once, and “be increased with goods” once. 1 to be rich, to have abundance. 1a of outward possessions. 2 metaph. to be richly supplied. 2a is affluent in resources so that he can give blessings of salvation to all.1 It is interesting that it is two different Greek words. Maybe it would be more accurate to say that “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was wealthy, abounding in material resources, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become richly supplied.” Now you say that I am changing the Bible. Let’s continue to look at the New Testament and see if I am off base.

What did Jesus have to say, “Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.” (Matthew 13:22, NKJV) He called it the ‘deceitfulness of riches’. What else did He say, “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”” (Matthew 19:23–24, NKJV) What did He mean by this, ‘easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle’? Nelsons Bible Dictionary says: “EYE OF A NEEDLE — a figure of speech used by Jesus to illustrate the extreme difficulty of a wealthy person’s attaining salvation: “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” (Matt. 19:24; Mark 10:25; Luke 18:25). Much has been written in an attempt to explain this statement. Some have suggested that the “Needle’s Eye” was a particularly narrow gate adjacent to one of the main gates of Jerusalem. A camel could pass through this gate but only with great difficulty. First it had to be stripped of the goods it carried, and then it had to bow to its knees to get through the gate. However, this claim is unsupported by historical evidence. Another suggestion is that “camel” (kamelos) should be translated “rope” (kamilos) or “ship’s cable.” Neither of these suggestions has received much support from scholars. It is probably best to understand this figure of speech as an example of Jesus’ use of hyperbole, or exaggeration for effect. The image of a camel trying to climb through the eye of a needle would have been both vivid and amusing. When Jesus’ disciples heard this “hard saying” from their Lord, they asked, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus replied, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matt. 19:25–26). Even man’s best achievements cannot attain salvation, which is granted as a gift of God.”**

What else did He say? He said, “And the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, “Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God!” (Mark 10:24, NKJV) And you say, ‘well, that does not apply to me. I do not trust in my riches. I trust in God’. To you I would say, ‘If you don’t trust in your riches then do what Jesus said to the Rich Young Ruler’. He said, “So when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”” (Luke 18:22, NKJV) Prove that you don’t trust in your riches. Take care of the poor people that are all around you. Then your generosity will cause them to praise God. How cool is that?

And again He says, “ “But woe to you who are rich, For you have received your consolation. Woe to you who are full, For you shall hunger. Woe to you who laugh now, For you shall mourn and weep.” (Luke 6:24–25, NKJV) And again, “Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.” ’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”” (Luke 12:16–21, NKJV) Do you still say that God made you rich?

How about this, Jesus said, “Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own?” (Luke 16:11–12, NKJV) So what does it mean to be ‘faithful in the unrighteous mammon’? If you recognize that all good things come from God, then you must recognize that the provision is for taking care of each other. It was Jesus that also said, “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.” (John 13:34, NLT) Can you honestly say that you love someone when you have ‘money – mammon’ and you see someone who needs help paying their mortgage or buying food and you do not help them? Is that not what He is talking about?

I find this discourse very interesting. Jesus said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves. “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he is obliged to perform it.’ Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that sanctifies the gold? And, ‘Whoever swears by the altar, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gift that is on it, he is obliged to perform it.’ Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that sanctifies the gift? Therefore he who swears by the altar, swears by it and by all things on it. He who swears by the temple, swears by it and by Him who dwells in it. And he who swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by Him who sits on it. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!” (Matthew 23:14–24, NKJV)

Let’s take this one apart. He said, ‘you devour widows’ houses’. What could that mean? Maybe, He is talking about those land grabbers in the congregation, who like to make money on foreclosed properties. Are these the ones who stand in our churches and declare ‘praise the lord. He put another property in my hands at a ridiculously low price. Isn’t god good?’ So you made a lot of ‘money’ by buying up the widow’s house on the foreclosure sale. Do you really believe that it was God who made that happen for you? He then talks about swearing on the ‘gold of the temple’. Talking again about the money. Interesting. He talks about the tithe. Do you say that ‘we have paid our tithe, why, we’ve even given up to 50% of our vast wealth. Haven’t I given enough’? To that He replies, ‘you have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith.’ What is more merciful; to buy a house at a foreclosure sale or to take the abundance of money that you have in your bank account and help someone pay their mortgage? Which option shows mercy? Wouldn’t your faith say that God could refill your bank account or better yet, that God will supply my needs without a large bank account? Isn’t that what this verse means, “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19, NKJV)

Let’s look at the other verses in the New Covenant and see what they say. “Believers who are poor have something to boast about, for God has honored them. And those who are rich should boast that God has humbled them. They will fade away like a little flower in the field. The hot sun rises and the grass withers; the little flower droops and falls, and its beauty fades away. In the same way, the rich will fade away with all of their achievements.” (James 1:9–11, NLT) Did the Bible actually say that God has ‘honored’ the poor believers? Is that right?

And the many warnings; “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.” (1 Timothy 6:9–11, NKJV) And again, “Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” (1 Timothy 6:17–19, NKJV) “Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts? Do they not blaspheme that noble name by which you are called?” (James 2:5–7, NKJV)

“Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you! Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days. Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. You have lived on the earth in pleasure and luxury; you have fattened your hearts as in a day of slaughter. You have condemned, you have murdered the just; he does not resist you.” (James 5:1–6, NKJV)

And this,

“Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.” (Revelation 3:17–18, NKJV)

When we always have to have that latest of everything and expensive clothes and thing, isn’t that what this verse is talking about?

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” (1 John 2:15–17, NKJV)

So, what does the Bible say to do with the excess that has come into our hands?

“If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person?” (1 John 3:17, NLT)

Take care of the need. Plain and simple. If you have enough to live well – comfortably, if your needs are met; then meet someone else’s need. It is offensive to me that so many people say, ‘if God existed, then He would take care of the poor.’ Don’t you hear God’s heartbeat? Don’t you see that He has provided everything that we need? We just won’t share what He has given.

Jesus came to fulfill the Law of Moses.

““Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.” (Matthew 5:17–18, NKJV)

“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:17, NKJV)

Then He said it was done;

“So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.” (John 19:30, NKJV)

He gave us the New Covenant rules.

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” (John 13:34, NKJV)

This is the only command – law of the New Covenant. The response of the first church is recorded in the book of Acts. It says,

“Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.” (Acts 2:44–45, NKJV)

And again it says,

“Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need.” (Acts 4:32–35, NKJV)

Has anything changed?

So, once again I say, ‘Stop saying that God made you rich.’ To you I say “Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.” (Revelation 2:4–5, NKJV)

“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened,
and have tasted the heavenly gift,
and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit,
and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come,
if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance,
since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God,
and put Him to an open shame.”
(Hebrews 6:4–6, NKJV)

* Strong, J. (1996). The exhaustive concordance of the Bible : Showing every word of the text of the common English version of the canonical books, and every occurrence of each word in regular order. (electronic ed.). Ontario: Woodside Bible Fellowship.

** Nelson’s new illustrated Bible dictionary. 1995 (R. F. Youngblood, F. F. Bruce, R. K. Harrison & Thomas Nelson Publishers, Ed.). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc.

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