Summary: Don’t fall in love with money, which quickly disappears and only leaves you depressed. Instead, fall in love with the Lord, and rejoice, even when all the money is gone!
Pastor John Ortberg tells the story about putting his kids on the envelope system when they were little. When they received their allowance, they would put it in envelopes labeled “Give,” “Save,” “Gifts,” “Spend,” and so on.
Well, Pastor Ortberg thought it was working until one day he had a Band-Aid on his arm. His daughter, who was about six at the time, asked, “Why?”
He explained that he had gotten a medical exam that day to get life insurance.
She asked, “What's that?”
He explained, “Well, Daddy loves you so much and loves the family so much, so if anything were to happen to Daddy (which of course it won't, but if it would), it would provide for $250,000.”
Her eyes got really wide. She has a tender heart, and Pastor Ortberg knew she'd be worried. She looked up at him and said, “Apiece?” And Pastor Ortberg thought, “I'm not sure the right lesson is getting communicated.” (John Ortberg, "The Ten Financial Commandments," www.PreachingToday.com)
Try as we might, it is so easy for our children to get the wrong idea about money. In fact, we can ALL get the wrong idea about money; and if we’re not careful, begin to love it more than anything else.
The Bible says, “The love of money is a root of all kinds of evils” (1 Timothy 6:10). The love of money can be absolutely ruinous to our spiritual lives, our relationships, and even to our sense of well-being.
So, in our materialistic society, how can we avoid falling prey to this ruinous love? How can we keep from being hooked by money’s lure? Well, it helps to get God’s perspective on money and see where those who love money end up. So, if you have your Bibles, I invite you to turn with me to Revelation 18, Revelation 18, where we get that perspective and see what happens to those who love money.
Revelation 18:1-2 After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven. He had great authority, and the earth was illuminated by his splendor. With a mighty voice he shouted: “Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great! She has become a home for demons and a haunt for every evil spirit, a haunt for every unclean and detestable bird. (ESV)
Now, Babylon in the Scriptures is current day Iraq. But throughout her history, she has always pursued wealth and power in opposition to God and His people. Like I said two weeks ago, I believe God is raising up the Babylonian Empire again (in the form of Iraq), just so he can fulfill the promise he made in Isaiah 13 to completely destroy it in the last days.
Well, here, we see the announcement of its destruction, so sure, that it’s in the past tense. Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great! – Babylon is doubly fallen. That means she will come to a sudden and total destruction. All that will be left are demons and vultures to haunt her palatial dwellings.
Revelation 18:3 For all the nations have drunk the maddening wine of her adulteries. The kings of the earth committed adultery with her, and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries.” (ESV)
Babylon was, and will again become, the center of great commerce, making a lot of people rich.
Revelation 18:4-8 Then I heard another voice from heaven say: “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues; for her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes. Give back to her as she has given; pay her back double for what she has done. Mix her a double portion from her own cup. Give her as much torture and grief as the glory and luxury she gave herself. In her heart she boasts, ‘I sit as queen; I am not a widow, and I will never mourn.’ Therefore in one day her plagues will overtake her: death, mourning and famine. She will be consumed by fire, for mighty is the Lord God who judges her. (ESV)
Despite her boasts, God will burn the empire down. Babylon will fall. God will judge her, and she will be suddenly and unexpectedly destroyed. In a single day, verse 8 says. One day she’s boasting about her wealth. The very next day she’s burning.
That’s what happens to those who make money and power their god like Babylon did. Quickly and unexpectedly, at a time when they least expect it their entire empire will come crashing down. Skip down to verse 21.
Revelation 18:21-24 Then a mighty angel picked up a boulder the size of a large millstone and threw it into the sea, and said: “With such violence the great city of Babylon will be thrown down, never to be found again. The music of harpists and musicians, flute players and trumpeters, will never be heard in you again. No workman of any trade will ever be found in you again. The sound of a millstone will never be heard in you again. The light of a lamp will never shine in you again. The voice of bridegroom and bride will never be heard in you again. Your merchants were the world’s great men. By your magic spell all the nations were led astray. In her was found the blood of prophets and of the saints, and of all who have been killed on the earth.” (ESV)