Monday, February 22, 2016

Is betting, playing the lottery or gambling a sin? What does the Bible say about gambling?

The Bible does not specifically condemn gambling, betting, or the lottery with one specific Scripture such as “Thou shalt not gamble!” The Bible does give us principles to work from. For example, we are told in 1 Timothy 6:10 that, “the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.” We are further instructed “Let your conduct be without covetousness (the love of money); be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5). The Word of God also exhorts the Believers to stay away from attempts to “get rich quick.” Proverbs 13:11 says, Wealth gained by dishonesty will be diminished, but he who gathers by labor will increase. In Proverbs 23:5 we are told, Will you set your eyes on that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away like an eagle toward heaven.” Ecclesiastes 5:10 declares, “He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; nor he who loves abundance, with increase. This also is vanity. Gambling, the lottery and betting of any kind is focused on the love of money and undeniably tempts people with the promise of quick and easy riches.

Gambling at best is a waste of money that really is not ours as Christians. The Bible says that we are to be stewards of everything we’ve been given. Nothing we have is ours because we are not our own we’ve been bought with a price and everything we are or have is the Lord’s! We are simply stewards of what we’ve been given and it is required of a steward to be found faithful (1 Cor. 6:19-20, 4:2)! It is true that most of us waste money on other things, but that does not justify gambling. We should not waste any of the Lord’s money it should be saved for future needs or given to the Lord's work, not gambled away. The Lord Jesus said, “Where your treasure is at, there is where your heart is” (Luke 12:34). It has often been said that you can tell where a believer’s heart is at by looking at the checkbook, credit card statements or how he spend his money!

The one time gambling is mentioned in the Bible was for an evil purpose. It was when the Roman guards gambled over Jesus’ garment at the crucifixion (John 19:23-24). The Bible does speak much about of events of “luck” or “chance.” As an example, casting lots is used in Leviticus 19:18 to choose between the sacrificial goat and the scapegoat. Joshua cast lots to determine the allotment of land to the various tribes. Nehemiah cast lots to determine who would live inside the walls of Jerusalem. The apostles cast lots to determine the replacement for Judas. Proverbs 16:33 says, “The lot is cast in the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord

What would the Bible say about casinos and lotteries? Casinos use all sorts of marketing schemes to entice gamblers to risk as much money as possible. They often offer inexpensive or even free alcohol, which encourages drunkenness, and thereby a decreased ability to make wise decisions. Everything in a casino is perfectly rigged for taking money in large sums and giving nothing in return! Research shows that the crime rates go up exponentially. Those areas close to gambling or gaming centers have experienced skyrocketing divorce rates. Also bankruptcies increase, drug and alcohol abuse goes up, and state and social services have a greater burden placed on them. There is also the need for more police protection as well.

Lotteries attempt to portray themselves as a way to fund education and/or social programs. However, studies show that lottery participants are usually those who can least afford to be spending money on lottery tickets. The allure of “getting rich quick” is too great a temptation to resist for those who are desperate. The chances of winning are infinitesimal, which results in many peoples’ lives being ruined.

Often times you hear people say they play the lottery or gambling so that they can give the money to the church or to some other good cause. While this may be a good motive, reality is that few use gambling winnings for godly purposes. Research has determined that the vast majority of lottery winners are in an even worse financial situation a few years after winning a jackpot than they were before. Does God really need or want need this kind of money to fund His mission in the world. Proverbs 13:11 says, “Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow.” God is sovereign and will provide for the needs of the church through honest means. 

We really need examine our own motives for why we would want to bet, gamble or play the lottery. Most of the times the idea of getting rich quick or getting something for nothing is totally selfish and actually pulls us away from the Lord! The Jesus declared that, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” (Luke 16:13).

But the Biblical principle is not getting rich quick schemes, but God is generous to those who give. Interestingly, the more generous you are, the more God gives back to you. Malachi 3:10 tells us to, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.”

24 comments:

  1. I agree with most you are saying in this post. Still imagine winning some popular lottery online, WinTrillions review, to remain anonymous and donate the money to support church or some social initiatives. Wouldn't that be a worthy did?

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  2. Titus, Thank you for your thoughts, but I really don't think any amount of money is worth violating God's principles that He set out in His Word which we have outline some of them. This is not a personal opinion, but it is the principle of God's Word!

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  3. It seems to me that this is a personal matter. I do not consider it a sin, for example to play with friends in poker for fun or buy a lottery ticket in the hope that you win money and change the world around, thus making a few dozen people happier. I ordered the development of a platform for poker http://evenbetgaming.com. I want to play with my friends and do not benefit financially from it, only entertainment and communication.

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  4. Carefully read through the book of Proverbs, the Bible clearly warns us about "get rich sceams". You used the words "it seems to me" and "I do not" and "I want". As a Christians my concerns ought to be what is the best way to please my Lord and Savior!

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  5. We need to be very carefull with this because scripture reminds us that a little leavens leavens the whole lump. Meaning the effects of sin grows and influences and has an negative affect on those who associate themselves with it.

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