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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Wealth: Another Possible Self-Protective Sinful Strategy


(Photo from Wikipedia, photographer: Jean House)

What do you depend upon for your feelings of security or love or peace or satisfaction? We've been looking at the book of Obadiah to discover the self-protective sinful strategies that we may not even be aware of in our own lives. In verses 5 and 6, we find out the next one for us to consider. It is wealth.

“If thieves came to you,
If robbers by night—
O how you will be ruined!—
Would they not steal only until they had enough?
If grape gatherers came to you,
Would they not leave some gleanings?
“O how Esau will be ransacked,
And his hidden treasures searched out! (NASB)
The Edomites, to whom the prophecies of Obadiah are addressed, felt very wealthy in their protected city of Petra. And indeed they were. Petra was at the center of the caravan trade and controlled the main commercial routes which passed by it. From all appearances, there was nothing that was going to change their fortune. 


But God predicts their total destruction. He's saying that even robbers don't take everything and even grape gatherers leave some grapes behind, but God will make sure that the Edomites are completely wiped out. And that is indeed what happened. They died trying to defend Jerusalem in A.D. 70 and were never heard from again. 


The Edomites remind us that wealth is a fragile strategy to depend upon. I'm not saying wealth is wrong or sinful. It's whether we are depending upon it instead of the Lord that makes it sinful in our lies.


I need to remember that. I can easily depend upon Larry's retirement money for my security. We are indeed blessed that Larry's thirty-one year service in the police department provides a very comfortable income. Although it doesn't make us wealthy, it is steady. One that would seem secure. It comes from the huge retirement system in California. 

But nothing is secure, especially in our economy. I often have to consciously remind myself that my financial security is in God, not a retirement check. If I feel tense wondering how we would live without that income, then my "wealth" has become a self-protective sinful strategy. My trust is in the check, not the Lord. I must choose to think, "Even if our income is removed, I will trust in You, Lord, to provide. And in the meantime, thank You that You have provided for us through this means."

I confess that I can hear of someone who lost their home or has become homeless and I feel superior, thinking, "That will never happen to me." I can even couch it in, "I'm so grateful that will never happen to me." But the truth is, nothing in this life is secure. The Edomites thought, "Nothing will destroy us." But God wants us to depend upon Him, not our wealth nor anything else. Let us repent of our pride and then surrender to whatever God determines will draw us closer to His loving heart.

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