No other gods

As I sat down to my brown bag lunch one day at work, I was a bit disheartened to find contest offers in the wrappers of a small bag of chips and a candy bar I had just purchased. "Oh, it's just for fun," I've heard it said of gambling. But it's occurred to me that a society's infatuation with gambling hints at an underlying loss of hope for dependable, consistent good. And because the source of true certainty is not understood, mortals adopt a "try anything" attitude, diluting moral integrity and becoming slaves of fear in the process.

Turning to gambling as a means of gain necessarily involves a turning away from the only provider, the one true substance, God. Looked at frankly, gambling, or chance-taking, is a form of idolatry. The source of true security, the Bible confirms, is God: "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning" (James 1:17).

One of the best proofs that God is the unchanging source of good is found in the Bible's story of Moses' trek, leading the children of Israel out of slavery. Along the way, Moses turned to the one God in prayer for what was needed. In the passage out of Egypt, more than freedom from physical slavery was being gained. The children of Israel were being given the opportunity to learn of God as provider and Shepherd. Thought was being freed to a degree from the entrenched belief that man is dependent on matter for life, supply, joy, home, security, nourishment. Was it "good odds" that the Red Sea parted when it did, safely delivering them from Pharaoh's forces? Was it luck that provided food and water in the wilderness when the usual sources were not there? In each case, Moses' unwavering trust in the one omnipotent God helped free human thought enough that the people could witness evidence of God's supremacy and care for man and man's dominion over error —something Christ Jesus would prove so fully in his great lifework.

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Bethesda revisited
October 24, 1994

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