Betting. Gambling. Vegas. Roulette. Sports.
It’s fun and exciting. I like to gamble. I have visited Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Cherokee NC, and New Orleans. I bet money online for sporting events. I’ve experienced the highs and the lows. But is it wrong? Is it a sin? I don’t have a gambling problem. It isn’t an addiction. When I bet on the baseball games today, I’ll probably spend $5 or less and I’ll either lose it, or make a small profit. I am aware that the chances that I lose is high, and I’m okay with that, because to me it’s fun. It’s a game. And we typically spend money on entertainment.
I understand that some people do have a problem with gambling though. I’ve heard stories of people betting their money, house, and kids college fund away. But there are others who make a living off of gambling and writing/talking about it.
I’m not a craps player (it’s too confusing for me), but apparently Israelites were proficient at it, Joshua 14:1-2 “The conquered lands of Canaan were allotted to the remaining nine and half tribes of Israel. The decision as to which tribe would receive which area was decided by throwing dice before the Lord, and he caused them to turn up in the ways he wanted. Eleazar the priest, Joshua, and the tribal leaders supervised the lottery”. Not only did they throw dice, but they did it before the Lord, which makes me think He was okay with it. They were doing it to determine who got what land, not for money. But on the other hand, land could make them money, so…
The anticipation of winning something provides an indescribable adrenaline rush. I could be on the brink of winning a dollar or two hundred and I still get excited. I’ve never made a bet for an actual, material item, but I assume the feeling would be similar. In Judges 14:12-13 “Samson told the thirty men, ‘This party will last for seven days. Let’s make a bet: I’ll tell you a riddle, and if you can tell me the answer before the party is over, I’ll give each one of you a shirt and a full change of clothing. But if you can’t tell me the answer, then each of you will have to give me a shirt and full change of clothing’. ‘It’s a bet!’ the Philistines said. ‘Tell us the riddle'”. The Philistines wanted those clothes!
I had to Google what “Casting lots” meant for this next bit of Scripture. But even immediately after the death of Jesus, John 19:23-24 tells us, “The soldiers therefore, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also the coat: now the coat was without seam…They said therefore one to another, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be”. Apparently, casting lots is something equivalent to our flipping of a coin. A game of chance.
I do not think that gambling is a sin. But, it is warned against having a love of money. 1 Timothy 6:10 “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil: which some reaching after have been led astray from the faith”. So if you’re betting for fun, and not losing the family farm by doing it, then I think it’s okay. You should still be able to pay your bills, tithe, feed your kid…whatever it is that you NEED to do, before gambling.
We should still work hard for our money. Proverbs 20:21 says, “The more easily you get your wealth, the less good it will do you”. Easy money isn’t the answer. Work hard. Play hard. That’s my motto.