I am sure you have heard the terms: Raffle, Bingo, Scratch n’ win, Lottery, or Gaming? Have you ever made a “wager” on the outcome of a sporting event? Our country is obsessed with gambling. The top three addictions in our society are alcohol, drugs, and gambling. The promises are “thousands” here, and “millions” there, and you know “somebody’s got to win”—however the reality is that millions of dollars are gambled and lost before anyone ever walks away with money.
Does the Bible condemn such gambling? We must search the scriptures and then we will know what God expects of us in this and any other situation. Not every sin has a “thou shall not”, but the Bible does tell us how to develop our senses in order to discern both good and evil (Heb 5:12-14).
The Bible condemns gambling on its principles. What is the agenda of gambling? On the part of the Lottery Business: to feed on the public’s greed and to have more ticket revenue, than prize payout (barely more than half of the ticket revenue is ever paid out in winnings). The public who plays the lottery, or gambling of any kind, is attempting to get something for nothing, and to get as much money as possible for as little effort as possible.
The Bible speaks clearly on these things. Greed is covetousness, look at greed in the light of the scriptures: Romans 1:28-32 “such a little sin?” It is mentioned here along with “haters of God”. Ephesians 4:17-24 instructs us to no longer walk as those that are given over to greediness. 1 Timothy 6:10, to pursue “greediness” is to “stray from the faith”.
What about getting something for nothing? The picture of the lottery is getting everything you ever wanted without any effort. From the time that man was driven out of the garden we were told that we must work for our sustenance (Gen 3:19). If a man does not work, he shouldn’t eat (2 Thess 3:10-12). There are people in this life that get things that they do not work for by taking advantage of others. They are called thieves. We are to work and receive our livelihood (1 Thess 4:11)
We Must Learn To Be Content
Why do you think that you need that much money? Are you not content with what God has given you? Do you think you deserve more than others? Not all of us are five talent people (Matt 25:14-30 “Each was given a measure according to their ability”). We are given according to our ability. We need to have the wise attitude of Agar in Proverbs 30: 7-9.
Become content: Learn to find your happiness in Christ, like Paul (Philip 4:9-13 ff; 1 Tim 6:6; Hebrews 13:5).
Trust In God
When a person desires to win the lottery they silently, but surely, proclaim: They have needs that God cannot meet (Matt 6:25-34). They want their treasures now on earth and not in Heaven (Mat 6:19-21). They don’t trust God (1 Tim 6:17).
We must develop our trust in God. The God of Heaven who, with the words of His mouth, spoke all things into existence. Who, by His own great power, was able to make this world from nothing, has promised to never forsake you or leave you (Heb 13:5).
Examine all the things that God has done for you in this life: your home, your health, your talents. As long as we have not wasted our talents or buried them, we all should be doing the best we can. God knows our needs (Matt 6:32). If we do not appreciate what we have been given we will squander it away and will not be able to meet our needs. The things that we waste are what we have received from God in order to meet those needs.
Conclusion: Is gambling a sin? Is covetousness a sin? Is greed a sin? Is materialism a sin? Is the love of money the root of all kinds of evil? So an activity that involves all of those things is definitely a sin!
That “lottery ticket” says, “Buy me, one or two dollars is not going to break you”. Is that the point? If you have money to gamble, why not forget gambling it away and give it to the Lord, and see what great things He can accomplish with it.
We must trust in God to take care of us according to His will. And no, God does not will that you make personal gain through immoral, or inappropriate means. It simply boils down to a statement Jesus made one time in a garden, “Your will, not my will be done.” Be content with such things as you have and let not greed be once named among you.