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Altars or Idols?
by Tom Tottleben
09/13/04
Not For Sale
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There is hardly an issue in the body of Christ that has been more controversial than the topics of money or wealth. I am often asked questions like how much money is good for us to have? How much is bad? Won't money ruin you? Why does the preacher always ask for more of it? Will I be more spiritual if I don't have very much? How much should I give? While these are some good questions I cannot answer them all in this short article but I will show you the heart of God concerning wealth.

God shows us His heart in Deuteronomy 8:18a where Moses says, "It is the Lord your God who gives you the power to gain wealth...." Pause right here for a moment and think about what you just read. Can this scripture be right? It says that it is God who gives us the power to gain wealth. So if there were something wrong with us having wealth we know who we can blame, right? As you will see later in this article it is what we choose to do with this wealth that is the issue. With it some will establish altars increasing His Kingdom while some will build altars increasing the kingdom of darkness (Exodus 32).

Since God is responsible for our wealth, the question for a faithful steward to ask would be: "What am I supposed to do with it once I get it?" Good question. We have to know what to do with it or we might be tempted to build idols with it.

Have you ever noticed that God has ulterior motives? You might say He has a mission or a purpose for everything even the wealth He wants to move into your life. Read on in Deut 8:18b and you will see that purpose. "......so that you might accomplish the covenant He swore to your forefathers".

This is the mission for the money! God tells us the reason why He wants to cause us to be wealthy. God knew that in September, 2004 money was still going to be a requirement to bring in the harvest. So you can blame God for making you wealthy if you want. I choose not to.

I would rather let Him move it into my life remembering that He owns everything (Ps 24:1; 50:10-12; Haggai 2:8) and He has a sovereign purpose for the wealth. Faithful stewardship is a requirement in this life. We must pass the money test in this life to get our mansion in the next (1Cor4:2; John 14:2). Why not learn a lesson from the bad choices the Israelites made when they were put to the test in this matter?

As they were being delivered out bondage in Egypt God instructed the Israelite women to borrow all the gold, silver, jewelry, and money they could gather from the Egyptians. What a sight that must have been to see poverty-stricken people not only being delivered out of the oppression of slavery but also coming out as rich folks as well. Isn't that just like God to heap all that wealth on them and them take them to a desert where they couldn't use it?! They couldn't exactly go to a car dealership or a mall. So what did they do instead?

They built an idol. When Moses was on the mountain in the presence of God and receiving the Ten Commandments they built a golden calf out of the gold and jewelry God instructed them to borrow from the Egyptians. Why did they do this just after they had seen the Red Sea parted? Apparently, they did not understand God's purpose or the mission for this wealth.

Sometimes money or wealth can work like a magnifier. If a person is practicing sin and gets some money but doesn't understand the purpose for it, it will usually just end up magnifying their sin. An example would be a person who is having an adulterous affair at the local Best Western who gets some unexpected money and decides it might be better to have the affair in Europe.

God wanted a different kind of affair with His people. He wanted a relationship with them so He could be their God and they could be His people. He wanted the wealth from Egypt in order to build a wilderness dwelling place for Himself. A tabernacle with altars so He could dwell among His people and a place where He would accept their tithes and offerings as a sweet smelling savour.

When you think about it, it's no different today. The mission for the money is the same. He wants to dwell among His people in a special place that is holy where we can preach the good news, heal the sick, deliver people from bondage. A place where He will accept our tithes and offerings as a sweet smelling savour. He also wants the world to hear the message of Jesus Christ and how He came to set the captives free.

This is the mission for the money!

He wants to use us as vessels to accomplish His covenant by moving wealth into our hands. The question is, will He use you? When He gives you the power to gain wealth will you use it like He wants you to use it?

Will you build an altar or an idol?

Tom Tottleben

PS. Those of us who are Gentiles can have a part in helping to accomplish this mission for the money since we are in Christ and are Abraham's seed. We are joint heirs to the same covenant promises and can also share in helping to fulfilling this covenant. That is exciting! (1Cor4:2;Gal 3:29)



If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be! TRUST JESUS NOW

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Member Comments
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LaTara Ham-Ying 17 Sep 2004
Thisone is good too. As a matter of fact it is great. Juicy! Full of wisdom and knowledge and ripe for the picking. You can actually take this and develop other articles fro more knowledge.
Marina Rojas 16 Sep 2004
This article is full of God's truths. I think it may be too overwhelming for some readers, who are looking for a light read. There are misspellings here and there AND grammar and punctuation errors. For me, this was a meaty bite of information to chew on. I would have liked to see it broken up into a smaller, more-singular thought provoking series that could appeal to more people.




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