5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
“Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5 (NIV)
What if we humans ever possessed everything that we might possibly desire – what would come next? There is Biblical evidence to suggest that our next desire would be to become like, or even greater than, God. That actually happened to two powerful leaders, the kings of ancient Tyre and of Babylon.
The king of Tyre had achieved the pinnacle of material success and worldly power. Every precious stone or valuable possession was at his disposal, granted to him by the hand of God. Yet, there was spiritual rot and unrighteousness within his being, and these led to his ultimate downfall. The prophet Ezekiel writes of him:
11 Again the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 12 “Son of man, take up a song of mourning over the king of Tyre and say to him, ‘This is what the Lord God says:
“You had the seal of perfection,
Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
13 You were in Eden, the garden of God;
Every precious stone was your covering:
The ruby, the topaz and the diamond;
The beryl, the onyx and the jasper;
The lapis lazuli, the turquoise and the emerald;
And the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets,
Was in you.
On the day that you were created
They were prepared.
14 You were the anointed cherub who covers,
And I placed you there.
You were on the holy mountain of God;
You walked in the midst of the stones of fire.
15 You were blameless in your ways
From the day you were created
Until unrighteousness was found in you. Ezekiel 28:11-15 (NASB)
The greatness of this king was not just limited to an earthly realm. He had also been given spiritual honor as an anointed covering cherub, serving at the level of an angelic being attending to the needs and work program of God. With all this great power and authority comes great responsibility. Unfortunately, the internal character flaws of Tyre’s king prevented him from following through on his duties, and God ultimately removed him from his position.
A parallel between the tragic fates of the king of Tyre and the king of Babylon is found in writings by the prophet Isaiah, who lived many years before Ezekiel. Isaiah writes of the king of Babylon:
12 How you have fallen from heaven,
You star of the morning, son of the dawn!
You have been cut down to the earth,
You who defeated the nations!
13 But you said in your heart,
‘I will ascend to heaven;
I will raise my throne above the stars of God,
And I will sit on the mount of assembly
In the recesses of the north.
14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High.’
15 Nevertheless you will be brought down to Sheol,
To the recesses of the pit.
16 Those who see you will stare at you,
They will closely examine you, saying,
‘Is this the man who made the earth tremble,
Who shook kingdoms,
17 Who made the world like a wilderness
And overthrew its cities,
Who did not allow his prisoners to go home?’ Isaiah 14:12-17 (NASB)
Some have interpreted these passages as a dual reference to the fate of the devil, the enemy who tempted Jesus after He fasted forty days in the desert wilderness, and later taunted Jesus as He was dying upon the cross.
But these words also have application for us today. A persistent desire for more will invariably lead us away from the path intended for us by God. Acceptance, contentment, and serenity are the blessings God gives to help balance our natural ambitions and desires to achieve a better life. When gain becomes the sole objective and craving for more our constant companion, we are unable to truly enjoy what the Lord has already provided. If we seek God’s help and guidance with life’s journey and recognize His generous hand along the way, He will open many doors of opportunity for us, consistent with His will.
Most everyone would like to achieve a little more prosperity in the coming year than we had in the last. God knows that – He designed us this way. And it is my prayer that each one of us would achieve this and be able to enjoy it with our families, remembering to return a portion back to the Lord and His kingdom in gratitude.
Proverbs 3 gives good guidance on how to lead a balanced life.
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.
7 Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the Lord and turn away from evil.
8 It will be healing to your body
And refreshment to your bones.
9 Honor the Lord from your wealth,
And from the first of all your produce;
10 Then your barns will be filled with plenty,
And your vats will overflow with new wine. Proverbs 3:5-10 (NASB)
May we all enjoy the blessings of life which God has provided as we live under the shadow and protection of His wing.
Lord, help us to fulfill our spiritual duties and responsibilities as we pursue our earthly ones. Anoint us to be like the cherubs who help others see You in the midst of their trials and struggles. Help us to keep our eyes upon You as we follow our earthly aspirations and keep us close to Your will each step of the way. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.