Join us Sundays at 9:30am & 11am

More Than Able - Week 8: Trapped: Material Possessions and Believers

In this week's scripture focus found in Judges 8, we encounter a profound lesson about the risks tied to placing our faith in material wealth. Gideon fashioned the gold into an ephod (a significant garment or vestment worn by high-ranking individuals in Israel) and positioned it in Ophrah, his hometown. Sadly, this led the people of Israel astray, as they began worshipping the ephod, ultimately entangling Gideon's family in its negative impact. This narrative serves as a reminder of the dangers when material possessions become objects of our worship and adoration, impacting not just individuals but entire communities.

What can we learn from Gideon this week? Here are a few thoughts and takeaways for us today:

Material possessions can distract from spirituality
Gideon's focus shifted from God to the material wealth obtained. Similarly, in our lives today, the pursuit of material possessions can divert attention away from spiritual growth, causing a decline in faithfulness and devotion. Jesus warns in Matthew 6:24, 'No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.' As believers, we are to prioritize our devotion to God above worldly gains.

Possessions can become objects of worship
The ephod started as a symbol but gradually turned into an idol, diverting the people's worship away from the true God. Today, if we're not careful, our possessions, wealth, or success can unwittingly become idols that consume our time, thoughts, and energy. The Ten Commandments, specifically Exodus 20:3-5, explicitly state, 'You shall have no other gods before me... You shall not bow down to them or worship them.' This aligns with how the ephod, initially intended for religious purposes, turned into an idol, cautioning against allowing possessions to take precedence over God.

Materialism can lead to a spiritual trap
This verse specifically warns that the pursuit of wealth and possessions can trap even believers, ensnaring them in a cycle of consumerism, greed, and an unending desire for riches. It ultimately affected Gideon and his family, demonstrating how materialism can corrode relationships and spirituality. The parable of the rich fool in Luke 12:15-21 illustrates the dangers of greed and materialism. The rich man's sole focus on amassing wealth led to spiritual poverty and eventual downfall. It parallels the trap Gideon and his family fell into due to their fixation on material possessions.

The importance of stewardship
Believers are called to be responsible stewards of their possessions. Gideon's mismanagement of the gold highlights the need for wisdom in handling material wealth. Using resources wisely and with a heart attuned to God's purposes prevents us from becoming stumbling blocks. Proverbs 11:28 advises, 'Those who trust in their riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf.' This verse of wisdom aligns with the idea that proper stewardship involves trust in God rather than the ability to accumulate wealth. As kingdom builders, responsible handling of resources stems from a heart devoted to God's purposes. While God wants to bless us and wealth isn't inherently sinful, the desire for riches should align with eternal values. Remember, keeping Him first and center in our lives will lead to His blessings in due time.

In conclusion, Gideon's handling of the spoils offers an impactful lesson that resonates across various scriptures. It underscores the delicate balance between material possessions and spiritual development—a balance crucial for believers to navigate. Throughout the Bible, recurring reminders emphasize the necessity of prioritizing spiritual enrichment over the accumulation of worldly goods. Consider Jesus' warning about serving God versus serving money—it's a stark choice, emphasizing the need to prioritize our devotion. In essence, the word of God stresses the perils of pursuing material possessions devoid of wisdom and humility.

Here are the scripture references from this weeks message: (All scriptures listed in NLT unless otherwise noted)
1 Samuel 15:22-23, Matthew 22:21, Matthew 6:34, Proverbs 27:1, James 4:13-15, Psalm 118:24, Ecclesiastes 9:10, Philippians 4:6-7, 2 Corinthians 6:2b, Ephesians 5:15-16, Psalm 90:12 (NKJV).

No Comments