Gambling

Gambling Defined

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Gambling is defined as taking an artificial, unnatural, unnecessary risk in hopes of excessive gain far above what an investment would pay. Gambling is taking a risk purely for the purpose of taking a risk, which will give gain at someone else’s expense.

Many seek to justify gambling by calling almost everything gambling. I have heard people say, "There is nothing wrong with gambling. After all, gambling is just taking a chance - all of life is a gamble."

There is a difference between taking an unnecessary risk (gambling) and operating with skill in the unknown. For example: the farmer is not gambling when he plants a crop. The wise investor is not gambling when he invests in the stock market. The driver is not gambling when he drives down the highway. Buying insurance is not gambling, as there is no opportunity of excessive gain. The insurance company is not gambling, but engaging in a business risk, as the farmer engages in a business risk when he plants his crop.

Casting Lots

The Bible mentions "casting lots", but this is not gambling. The casting of lots was used in certain instances to determine the will of God.

Proverbs 16:33 states, "The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD."

In Leviticus 16:8-10, Aaron cast lots to determine which of the two goats would be used for the sin offering, and which would become the scapegoat.

Joshua 18:1-6 records that lots were cast to determine the distribution of land between the twelve tribes of Israel.

In Jonah 1:7, the sailors cast lots to determine the course of action concerning Jonah.

The casting of lots in Acts 1:21-26 to replace Judas with Matthias was simply the casting of votes, not throwing dice

The casting of lots is not gambling because there is nothing wagered, therefore nothing is lost.

The Right/Wrong of Gambling

Gambling, now called by the politically correct term "gaming", to make it more palatable to our consciences has overtaken our nation. Almost everybody wants something for nothing, and it is believed gambling is the way to get something for nothing. Almost everybody buys lottery tickets, in the hope of getting something at the expense of someone else.

Headlines often tell of a person winning a large sum of money in the lottery. What the headline should tell is that millions failed to win. Some have gambled and won, that is true. But has winning helped spiritually? Have families been strengthened? Has the moral fiber of our nation increased as a result of gambling?

The real issue of gambling is not about winning, or casinos making a lot of money; or people losing a lot of money; or jobs; or the supposed lowering of taxes. The issue is righteousness and trust.

The issue is righteousness because:

Proverbs 14:34, "Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people."

Acts 10:35, "But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him."

The issue is trust because that nation, that people who fail to trust God cannot be a Christian nation, or a Christian people.

The Bible and Gambling - Contentment

I Timothy 6:6-11 - But godliness with contentment is great gain. {7} For we brought nothing into [this] world, [and it is] certain we can carry nothing out. {8} And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. {9} But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and [into] many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. {10} For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. {11} But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.

Proverbs 15:16 - Better is a little with the fear of the LORD, than great treasure with trouble.

Proverbs 15:27 - He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house; but he that hateth gifts shall live.

These verses speak of the grief caused by greed, by putting too much thought into this world, which will soon pass away, and too little thought into the world to come, which shall never pass away.

As God’s children, we lose contentment when we seek what this world provides instead of trusting God. We are not going to take houses, land, and bank accounts to heaven. In the parable of the sower, Matthew 13:22, Jesus explains, "He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful." Here is a child of God who becomes entangled with the riches of this life and loses eternal wealth.

God’s people are supposed to trust God (not winning the lottery) for their daily provision. Matthew 6:31-33 states, "Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? Or, What shall we drink? Or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 34 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 35 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."

It is likely every person reading this article has dreamed of being rich, of having all the money they will ever need or want. It is not wrong to be rich, but it is wrong to trust your riches or your station in life. Some of God’s most faithful servants were rich, but they did not trust their wealth. They trusted God – everyday and every way.

God’s children are rich – even though they may not have a large bank account. We have the promise of God that he will provide what we need, when we need it. All we have to do is believe. When we believe Matthew 6:31-33, we will seek, ask and knock. Then, and only then, will we receive from God those things necessary for everyday living.

The Bible and Gambling – Working

Genesis 3:17-19 reveals a part of the curse upon man involves earning a living by the sweat of the brow. When people gamble, they are refusing to submit to the curse by attempting to gain money they have not worked for. This is a sin in the sight of God. II Thessalonians 3:10 commands, "For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat."

The Bible and Gambling – Selfishness

Matthew 22:34-40 records the answer of Christ to the question, "…which is the greatest commandment in the law?" Christ replied, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment." But Christ did not stop there. He continued with an explanation of the second greatest commandment, which is to love thy neighbor as thyself.

Gambling not only breaks the first commandment, gambling breaks the second commandment as well.

The gambler desires to gain, without working, that which another must lose. The gambler is not thinking of the welfare of the other person, but only his own selfish interest. I Corinthians 13:5 states true love, "…seeketh not her own…" The gambler is showing no love for the other person as Christ declared in the second greatest commandment.

The Bible and Gambling – Secular

Not only is God against gambling, but also the secular magazine, U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT, dated March 14, 1994, carried the cover story, "How Casinos Empty Your Wallet". The magazine covered the subject from a "human viewpoint" and reports on the economic disasters that have been documented in communities that have legalized casinos. The article states that the casinos at first contribute money to the budgets of the towns but in time all other businesses in town (restaurants, clothing stores, grocery stores, drug stores, etc.) suffer loss of sales and lay off employees.

The article referred to the owner of a pawnshop in Tunica County, Mississippi (in the Memphis area), who stated, "gamblers frequently go bust and trade rings and jackets for gas money home".

A Police Chief declared, "The number of people failing to pay their rent and bills had doubled".

A county justice clerk stated, "Arrests for drunken driving has increased 500%".

The report concluded by stating the dollars that come into the community level off and the cost of police, fire protection, government, etc., increase.

Conclusion

The gambler is saying, What God has provided for me is not enough. I need more than God can provide. It is like saying being poor is bad and being rich is good. God does not need our gambling windfall for the furtherance of his kingdom. Everything is his.

Many churches are accepting offerings that come from gambling. Independence Baptist Church will not knowingly accept any funds from anyone that comes from gambling or "gaming".