1 Samuel 8:1-22
2 Corinthians 4:11-18
2 Corinthians 5:1
Greediness opposes serving God even among believers who have a false
sense of what it really means to serve God.
Most people seem to seek God for what He can do for them as opposed to really doing what God wants us to do.
Others just seem to want God to bless them and their greediness, even to the point of expecting God to do it.
Think about what we are told in Micah 6:8…
8. He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the LORD require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God?
There is no place for greediness in this passage; there is only a place for
those who truly seek the Lord and desire to do everything He has called upon
us to do.
In 1 Samuel 8:1-22, we see the opposite taking place, and how the Lord responds.
1. And it came about when Samuel was old that he appointed his sons judges over Israel.
Note carefully that Samuel appointed his sons to be judges and not God.
Samuel was doing this because he wanted to have his sons in a position of power, which is a prideful act that is really a form of greediness.
What was the result?
2. Now the name of his first-born was Joel, and the name of his second,
Abijah; they were judging in Beersheba.
3. His sons, however, did not walk in his ways, but turned aside after dishonest gain and took bribes and perverted justice.
Joel and Abijah were in a position of serving God, but their greediness got
in the way.
We have seen and heard of many so-called Christian animal farmers doing and saying similar things, for they want God to bless their horrible treatment and utter lack of empathy for the animals’ desire, which makes those farmers’ actions totally against the creation and heavenly will of God; we are to be plant food eaters (Genesis 1:29-31).
Let’s return to our 1 Samuel passage and see how the people react to the way Samuel’s sons were acting.
4. Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at
5. and they said to him, "Behold, you have grown old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint a king for us to judge us like all the nations."
They are unhappy with the way things are, but instead of seeking God’s direction and guidance, they seek to live like the people of the world whose greediness opposes serving God.
6. But the thing was displeasing in the sight of Samuel when they said, "Give us a king to judge us." And Samuel prayed to the LORD.
We can tell from what he says that Samuel really knows the truth, even
though his pride got in the way of wholly serving God.
Note how the Lord responds.
7. And the LORD said to Samuel, "Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them.
God is giving the people exactly what they want…to be like the ungodly people of the world whose greediness opposes serving God.
8. Like all the deeds which they have done since the day that I brought them
up from Egypt even to this day — in that they have forsaken Me and served
other gods — so they are doing to you also.
9. Now then, listen to their voice; however, you shall solemnly warn them and tell them of the procedure of the king who will reign over them."
This is a very similar situation to what happened at the end of the Flood,
when God also gave the people what they wanted.
God had used the flood that cleaned the earth of evil and saved only eight human beings (Noah and his family) along with the animals, and the whole 300 days they were aboard the ark there was no death for they all ate only plant foods, but note what happened immediately afterwards (Genesis 8:20-9:5).
Note what we are told in Genesis 8:20-21…
20. Then Noah built an altar to the LORD, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar.
Instead of just seeking the Lord for forgiveness, Noah, and most likely his family’s greediness, opposes serving God and they destroy the peace God had established upon the ark and they betrayed the animals who had been their companions.
21. And the LORD smelled the soothing aroma; and the LORD said to Himself, "I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man's heart is evil from his youth; and I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done.
God seems to have accepted their repentance, but at the same time He sees
that their evilness He had tried to wipe out with the Flood was carried
through in the hearts and souls of the eight human beings, which prompted
the Lord to say, “the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth.”
We also strongly believe that this came about because they also ate the flesh of the animals.
As a result, God reluctantly gives the people what they want, and the penalties for their actions, as we are told in Genesis 9:2-5…
2. And the fear of you and the terror of you shall be on every beast of the earth and on every bird of the sky; with everything that creeps on the ground, and all the fish of the sea, into your hand they are given.
This is because the animals on the ark obviously saw Noah’s and his family’s
betrayal, and could no longer trust any human being, and for what they were
about to do.
They are no longer the companions God created them to be.
3. Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant.
This is the result of their greediness and because they refused to obey God and follow the plant food diet He commanded us to eat in Genesis 1:29-30.
4. Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.
5. And surely I will require your lifeblood; from every beast I will require it. And from every man, from every man's brother I will require the life of man.
We believe this is the curse or result of not eating what God created us to
eat, because it is really impossible to remove all the blood from flesh.
We were created to be plant eaters, and, by eating animal products, we bring upon ourselves all kinds of diseases and shorten our lives.
With this in mind, let’s return to our 1 Samuel passage.
10. So Samuel spoke all the words of the LORD to the people who had asked of him a king.
In other words, this will be the result of rejecting God as our King, and wanting instead a human king or leader like the rest of the world.
11. And he said, "This will be the procedure of the king who will reign over
you: he will take your sons and place them for himself in his chariots and
among his horsemen and they will run before his chariots.
12. And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and of fifties, and some to do his plowing and to reap his harvest and to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots.
This is furthering the death and destruction or warring madness that plagues this earth even to this very day.
13. He will also take your daughters for perfumers and cooks and bakers.
14. And he will take the best of your fields and your vineyards and your olive groves, and give them to his servants.
15. And he will take a tenth of your seed and of your vineyards, and give to his officers and to his servants.
16. He will also take your male servants and your female servants and your best young men and your donkeys, and use them for his work.
17. He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his servants.
Aren’t these things very similar to the way the world is now?
And, it explains, in part, why we have so many wars and so much strife and violence in the world today.
18. Then you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the LORD will not answer you in that day."
We also believe that this is part of the reason that God has not intervened
in the world today.
Human greediness opposes serving God, and it continues to this very day and, like today, the people refused to listen to the heavenly will of God.
19. Nevertheless, the people refused to listen to the voice of Samuel, and
they said, "No, but there shall be a king over us,
20. that we also may be like all the nations, that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles."
21. Now after Samuel had heard all the words of the people, he repeated them in the Lord's hearing.
22. And the LORD said to Samuel, "Listen to their voice, and appoint them a king." So Samuel said to the men of Israel, "Go every man to his city."
This same greediness and hardness of heart is still prevalent in the world
today, but we are not to be a part of it.
We are to be the loving, compassionate, and peacemaking children of God who help free creation from its present corruption.
Let’s now take a look at a New Testament passage and see how our theme of “greediness opposes serving God” applies.
In 2 Corinthians 4:11-5:1, Paul tells us about our heavenly relationship with God.
11. For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus' sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.
As we are told elsewhere, the wages of sin are death; thus, the sin that is
all around us in a worldly way delivers us over to death, which is the
result of our greediness being tempted by our former worldly ways.
But Jesus and the inward dwelling of the Holy Spirit help us overcome the evil temptations we face every day.
12. So death works in us, but life in you.
Paul is comparing the greater temptations he faces as a teacher, and the fact that his teachings help us overcome the evil around us.
13. But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, "I
believed, therefore I spoke," we also believe, therefore also we speak;
14. knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and will present us with you.
15. For all things are for your sakes, that the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God.
This is the power that overcomes the greediness that lingers in us and the influence of the worldly evil around us.
16. Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.
In other words, our renewed soul and spirit is in the heavenly will of God, even though our physical body may decay in this corrupt world.
17. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison,
This means that we are not to despair because of our problems in this world, because we are to keep our eyes upon the glory to come.
18. while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
2 Corinthians 5:1
1. For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house [body] is torn
down, we have a building [spiritual being] from God, a house not made with
hands, eternal in the heavens.
Knowing that greediness opposes serving God, we have the power to overcome
it by keeping our eyes and hearts focused upon the heavenly realm of God.
We can overcome this world.
We can be the peacemaking children of God who help free creation from its present corruption.
We can bring the heavenly will of God to earth as it is in heaven.
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