Sunday, 18 October 2015

The Disciplines of Wealth

Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD your God disciplines you.    (Deuteronomy 8:5)

The only tune I can play on the piano is a little piece called ‘Whispering Waltz.’  I received many piano lessons but I never practised.  Here, with Moses, it wasn’t music, but wealth - and its right use - that he was teaching, right there at the borders of the Promised Land.

1.  The lesson of the Wilderness is one of Trust.   The word ‘humble’ occurs frequently in Moses’ sermon (see v. 2, 3, 16).  His people had to reply upon God for everything in the wilderness, where God SAVED them, LED them, and FED them.  “Man does not live on bread alone” (v. 3) is bigger than any piano lesson.

2. The lesson of the Land is one of Obedience.  ‘Listen,’ says Moses in verse 7 – ‘the Lord has brought you into a good land.’  When life is flowing easily, then comes the tendency ‘to FORGET the Lord’ (v.11, 14).  If a family, a people, a church, a nation has at its centre an upholding of the God-given way to live, stability is the result.  And as C.H. Spurgeon declared, ‘Obedience must have Love as its mother, nurse and food.’

3. The lesson of Prosperity is one of Remembrance.  ‘You thought you had done rather well for yourselves?’ asks Moses.  “But REMEMBER the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth” (v. 17,18). 

There can be an age-old burden attaching to wealth: First there’s the burden of getting it, next that of keeping it, finally that of parting with it!  Clement of Alexandria highlighted the problem when he wrote "Wealth is like a  Viper".