And a Gooooooooooooddddd Morrrrrrrnnnnniiinnnnggg to you!
With all of the time out for the discussions on miracles (and they're still happening!) and angelology, and a few other things thrown in besides, it has been a couple of months or more since we left this discussion. We need to revisit some previous truths talked about and make some clarifications for the sake of those who have not clearly understood where we're going with this.
Kingdom Economics is a system of operating, a means of living, a spiritual dimension which supersedes every natural -- or world-based, fleshly -- mindset, law, and mode of dealing with one's physical, mental, spiritual and financial health and welfare. It absolutely requires a reversal of how we view our lives and live them in this every-day world.
Kingdom Economics is more than money-talk. In fact, money is perhaps the smallest part of this economic system. It is an important ingredient and one cannot leave it out, but it takes last place in the prioritization of our focus in life. The economy of God's Kingdom is totally at odds with the economy (or economies) of this world.
The system(s) of this world were founded in
In Matthew (and repeated in Luke ), Jesus made this statement: "No man 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."
Let's render this from the Greek text so that you see the picture a little more clearly.
"No man can serve or be in bondage to two different controllers and opposing systems of [mind] control: for he will rather detest and persecute the one and be consumed with desire for the other; or else he will adhere to and care for the one and detest and think in opposition to the other. You cannot serve and yield to God [and His mode of thinking and operating], and at the same time be in bondage to [and have confidence in] the Spirit of Poverty and Avarice."
Kind of wordy, I know, but this is an accurate word picture drawn from the Greek.
Ooooops! Almost forgot. Have you poured that first cup of hot java yet? Well.....what are you waiting for?
All right. Let's consider Mammon for a minute. The Greek text uses the word, mammonas, which we better translate to deified poverty and avarice: hence, the Spirit of Poverty and Avarice.
Poverty and avarice do go together. The spirit of poverty is part of the curse that came upon mankind and the world as a result of Adam and Eve's partaking of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil -- God's holy portion in the Garden, reserved to Himself.
I'll give you a clear picture of this spirit of poverty in a minute, but before I do, take a look at one more portion of Scripture from Malachi 3:9-12.
"Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
"And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts."
When Adam and Eve ate of that Tree, they robbed God. They stole from Him what He had said, "Don't touch!" The result was that the land became cursed. The ground was cursed. They went from a divinely-supplied economy to a work-based economy where they had to engage in hard, painful toil and sweat just to eat.
This is where the Spirit of Poverty and Avarice was born. We see it manifested in Cain's offering (Genesis 4:5-8) to the Lord where he brings the left-overs of his harvest to God. The terminology in the Hebrew text is quite clear. There is a sharp contrast drawn between the two offerings of Abel and Cain.
Abel brings "the firstlings of his flock, and the fat thereof." This is the first, the best of what he has. The term "and the fat thereof" in the Hebrew is a metaphor for the absolute finest.
Cain, on the other hand, "brought of the fruit of the ground an offering." The Hebrew word used here for "offering" is minchah: a bloodless, costless donation or tribute. He didn't bring the firstfruits of his harvest: he brought that which was left over, that which wouldn't cost him anything or take away from his own supply.
That, folks, is the Spirit of Poverty personified. It is the Spirit of Avarice: greed.
Now, back to the picture in Malachi. The tithe has always represented God's portion: the
first, the best of what you have.
Malachi was sent by the Lord to challenge them. "Try me," the Lord was saying. "Bring back to me my portion. Give it where I've designated: the storehouse, the primary source of your spiritual life and breath. Then watch and see. I'll literally open up Heaven and pour out the same kind of blessing I gave to Abraham: so much that Abraham couldn't carry it. (c.f., Genesis 13:2: "And Abram was very rich [kabad: heavy, overloaded, burdened to the point of being glorious] in cattle, in silver and in gold.")
Are you seeing the picture? Are you beginning to understand the plague of the Babylonian system of economics?
Then let me draw for you a clearer understanding of this Spirit of Poverty and Avarice.
1. The Spirit of Poverty is totally self-centered. It only thinks of its own needs or desires.
2. The Spirit of Poverty is Avarice. It is the personification of greed. It is never satisfied with "enough."
3. Corollary to greed is hoarding. People driven by this spirit have the need to store up "for emergencies" -- but not just normal "storing up." They hoard, they gather to excess, they put away extra food, extra groceries, extra money, extra tools and supplies, extra anything, to the point that things spoil, they rot, they decay in storage. (More on this later.)
4. The Spirit of Poverty is totally driven by the Fear of Death. The Fear of Man works hand in hand with the Spirit of the Fear of Death to keep one from appearing to be in need or dire straits to those around.
5. The Spirit of Poverty robs people financially. It is a thief who comes to steal, kill and destroy. It deprives them of trust in God and in His Word.
6. The Spirit of Poverty causes Christians to short-change God at every hand. When they tithe, they tithe on the "net" rather than the "gross" paycheck, and then wonder why their money never increases or multiplies to more than supply every possible need. They only see the actual amount of what they get to deposit in the bank or receive in cash instead of recognizing that the money deducted for payroll taxes, insurance and social security is still part of their income. Thus, when they pay their tithe, they make God wait in line until the taxes are paid, their life insurance or health insurance is paid, and their social security retirement has been paid.
Because this isn't money they get to spend -- at least right now -- they treat it as though it isn't income. It is a relatively small portion of their total income, but it is still part of it. Hence, they cheat God of a portion of His money. It isn't any different than Adam taking one bite of one piece of fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. He didn't take the whole tree: just one bite of one piece of fruit. The curse came nonetheless.
7. The Spirit of Poverty brings and promotes doubt and unbelief. It tricks you into doubting God's Word; and specifically Matthew 6:30-34.
8. The Spirit of Poverty stands in direct opposition to the promises of God. It opposes the Blessing of Abraham. It opposes and exalts itself above the name, the authority, the power, the character, the personality and the very essence of the Lord Jesus Christ.
9. The Spirit of Poverty rejects the fact that Jesus' death on the Cross cancelled out its very existence.
10. The Spirit of Poverty revels in want, in need, in doing without, in living an austere, sub-normal life on the bleeding edge of death.
11. The Spirit of Poverty causes people to fear having any abundance. Abundance becomes a sin to Christians who are afflicted with this spirit.
12. The Spirit of Poverty drives sickness, want and disease. It is one of the primary motivating factors behind stress and depression.
13. The Spirit of Poverty is the
driving force behind slavery. Stop and consider the history of
14. The Spirit of Poverty -- like all evil spirits -- is a lying spirit. It couldn't tell the truth to save its existence! Jesus said, "And ye shall know the Truth and the Truth shall make you free." (John 8:32) Jesus continued that same conversation with the Jews as He said, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant (The Greek word here is doulos: slave -- see #13) of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." (John 8:34-36) The Truth of God's promises frees people from the lies of the Spirit of Poverty -- if they are willing to believe the Truth.
OK, I see that we're not going to finish this picture of the Spirit of Poverty without making this Coffee Break very lengthy, so let's quit here and we'll pick this up again in our next Coffee Break.
Poverty is a form of Hell caused by man's blindness to God's unlimited good (and blessing) for him. God's plan for man is the prosperity that comes by living in divine favor. Living in divine favor is the product of direct and committed -- covenanted -- obedience to Him and His Word!
The Blessing of the Lord: it makes rich and He adds no painful toil and sorrow! (Proverbs 10:22) Be blessed!
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