Num 33:50-53, 55,56
(50) And the LORD spake unto Moses in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho, saying,
(51) Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye are passed over Jordan into the land of Canaan;
(52) Then ye shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their pictures, and destroy all their molten images, and quite pluck down all their high places:
(53) And ye shall dispossess the inhabitants of the land, and dwell therein: for I have given you the land to possess it.
(55) But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell.
(56) Moreover it shall come to pass, that I shall do unto you, as I thought to do unto them.
It is imperative that we understand that in order for the Israelites to take possession of the land promised to the children of God, THEY had to meet a condition. All the promises of God are conditional (if... then...). This Israelites NEEDED to drive out all the inhabitants of the land, destroy ALL their pictures, ALL their molten images, and ALL their high places. There is no doubt that these three represent idolatry.
As it was in the days of the Old Covenant, these conditional promises are for us under the banner of the New Covenant. If we are to obtain the promises of God, we MUST drive out the ALL "foreign inhabitants"; destroying ALL idolatry that has been erected. The difference is, these "inhabitants", "pictures", "molten images", and "high places" are all symbols of idolatry in ones own heart. Idolatry is spiritual adultery in the eyes of the Lord. Idolatry is similar to all, but uniquely different for each individual. Therefore, each individual must get in their "closet" with the Lord and seek conviction for what needs to be zealously repented of (Rev. 3:19).
The focus of this study will be the idol of riches.
(Parallel passages: Mat 19:16-24 ; Luk 18:18-25)
(17) And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?
(18) And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.
(19) Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.
(20) And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.
(21) Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.
(22) And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.
(23) And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!
(24) And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!
Did you notice that when Jesus listed a summary of the "commandments" (ten commandments), one of those that He did not mention was the first? The first commandment was this rich young ruler's idol. The riches of the world that this man had acquired were great and he could not part from them in order to follow Jesus, even though he had kept the rest (he wasn't corrected by Jesus for believe that either).
Here then is an account given to us all as a warning, but targeting "the rich". Beware... because inherent in having the riches of the world is the temptation of having them be an idol that you will find it difficult to part from.
Did you know that Jesus taught us to be wise enough to have rich friends?
(1) And he said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods.
(2) And he called him, and said unto him, How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest be no longer steward.
(3) Then the steward said within himself, What shall I do? for my lord taketh away from me the stewardship: I cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed.
(4) I am resolved what to do, that, when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.
(5) So he called every one of his lord's debtors unto him, and said unto the first, How much owest thou unto my lord?
(6) And he said, An hundred measures of oil. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty.
(7) Then said he to another, And how much owest thou? And he said, An hundred measures of wheat. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and write fourscore.
(8) And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.
(9) And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations.
(10) He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.
(11) If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?
(12) And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own?
(13) No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
This parable of the rich man and his unjust steward was not a parable of the kingdom like many others (where the Lord or the Master is actually God etc.), at least in my humble opinion.
The unjust steward, who wasted his master’s goods, was put out of the stewardship because the master recognized that he was unjust. He wasn’t retained because of his wisdom. He was only commended by the Master because he had made a remedy/refuge for himself knowing he was going to be put out. By obtaining from the master's debtors a portion of what they owed the Master, the unjust steward did two important things:
Appease the master, somewhat, and…
Have people to go to after he was put out of the stewardship
The unjust steward thought ahead and made provision for himself knowing the outcome. Not only did the master commend him, but Jesus used the parable to simply highlight the wisdom that the man exemplified. Hence, Jesus says, “…for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.” Then Jesus points out and concludes with some very important points, by statement or rhetorical question, to take from the parable:
Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations. (make friends with the rich, they may be your refuge in your time of trouble having either pity on you, or because at once in the past you helped them out, and they will feel obligated to help you out)
Principle: if you are faithful with a little, you will be faithful when given much; if you are unjust with a little, you will be unjust when given much.
If you haven’t been faithful with the riches of the world, who will entrust to you greater and weightier riches of heaven?
If you don’t take care of someone else’s belongings, why would anyone spend to give you your own belongings?
You can’t serve God and the riches of the world.
There's nothing wrong with being rich, but inherent in being rich is the temptation to fall away quite easily through the deceitfulness of riches.
© copyright 2010 Jesus M. Ruiz