2 Samuel 24:1- 25 Money and Debt
Money can be a test, temptation, or a treasure.
God made it a test (2 Samuel 24:1)
Satan made it a temptation (1 Chronicles 21:1)
David made it a treasure (2 Samuel 24:2-3)
In essence, David was counting his wealth. He was counting all of the “things” he had. In the Old Testament, the size of an army and the size of a king’s population was a measure of his wealth and status. That was the problem.
PROBLEM: We make money (and things it can buy) our treasure
Some take pride in a chariot, and others in horses, but we take pride in the name of the LORD our God.
(Psalms 20:7 HCSB)
“some take pride in chariots and some in horses (wealth and things), but we take pride in the name of the Lord our God.”
He was counting his wealth. So God sends an economic disaster. But the economic disaster was also a result of David’s poor choices (24:1-9).
This was the result of making wealth your treasure.
There had to be a consequence for this behavior. God gave David a choice for his consequence. He could choose a set of a “punishments” (24:13-14)
Seven years of famine
Three months of enemies chasing David down
Three days of massive death coming upon His people
David chose the most merciful of all punishments. What did David learn out of this disaster? David learns that it is foolish to depend and take pride in his own wealth. David also learns that He has to give back to God a sacrifice. He learns the principle of sacrificial giving. How does David learn to give sacrificially in his giving to God? David learned that He needed to trust God first with His wealth. David learned to make putting God first in what he receives an important value. He learns to make God his treasure, not his worldly possessions.
So David takes some of his worldly possessions (in the form of valuable assets – sheep and cattle) and he buys it at the market price. David doesn’t take the King’s discount. He takes the offerings at the value they are worth. Then David makes a sacrifice to worship. The site that David buys would eventually be the place of Solomon’s Temple. David bought the land where the Temple would stand. It would be the same as taking your money that you get at the paycheck and not using buying what you want with it. Instead, you give that money to God.
Taking your tax rebate and giving it to God.
Taking the money you saved up for a vacation and giving it to God.
Taking your financial profit and giving it to God.
God expects us to make a sacrifice out of our treasure. The problem is that we don’t have any treasure from what we earned. We have treasure from debt. In essence, we have sacrificed my money to other gods:
The Visa and MasterCard god
The WalMart god
The local rental place god
The local credit agency god
Our problem is that by our sacrificing our hard-earned wealth to other gods, we don’t have the money when the economic crisis hits. We have to make hard choices. We have to beg for God’s mercy when the economic punishment hits our house.
I have to downsize my lifestyle because of the luxury gods I have chosen to worship.
I have to suffer the “famine” of high credit payments and low credit scores because I can’t keep up with all of the things I bought too quickly and did not wisely save to purchase.
What do I do?
I learn (or in this case re-learn) to make the financial sacrifice that God expects.
There is the three-fold sacrifice that God expects.
David doesn’t even deal with the tithe. He tithes. He gives ten percent. But it is based on a lifestyle choice.
I take 10% of what I earn and I give it to God. It also assumes that I learn to live on what I earn. In general, I should learn the 70/30 principle.
Live on 70%. This is my food, my house payments, and other general expenses.
Tithe on 10%. Give God His ten.
Save on 10%. Learn to put back money for a rainy day next month.
Invest on 10%. Learn to put back money for when I stop earning money.
Folks, it is hard to live on 70%. We have to get there somehow. You start getting there by giving to God first.
You will never learn to live on what God gives you until you learn to give back on what He gives you.
So work on making your income more than your outgo. Then, when that starts to happen, you can learn to give on money that is left at the end of the month. That will happen because God will start to leave you money at the end of the money and He will start to let you make the wise choices with that money.
An offering is more than 10%. The Israelites gave offerings all the time. David is giving an offering here. So we know that he has given his first ten percent. Now, he is giving more. When I say that you need to give to the your tithe and your offerings to church, this is what I am talking about. Give beyond your ten percent.
The third sacrifice is to give out of your treasure. This can only happen when you stop living on debt. God wants your treasure, not just your tithe. But you can’t do that if you are still worshipping another debt god.
This brings up the issue of debt. Why do you have debt? There is good debt and there is stupid debt. Some things you bought that you knew would last you a long time. Some things you bought and it is taking too long to pay it back. Credit cards are one example. Payments to vehicles that eat up too much gas is another. Why does that matter? In today’s society, gasoline is a necessary expense. The higher it goes, the more efficient your vehicle needs to be to keep the payments to gasoline down. If you have to choose between gasoline and food, then you need to rethink your means of transportation. Why do you need to do this? You want to get to the point where you have enough money to sacrifice for God’s desires, not just your own.
God blesses the lender and not the borrower. The borrower is a slave to the lender. You will be a slave financially and you won’t reap the benefits of God’s treasures in your life until you learn to get your debts under control. God wants you to be financially successful, but it takes following His priorities.