“When you go, you will come to people feeling safe and secure. The land is broad….”
Judges 18: 10
“Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a (woman’s) life does not consist in the abundance of (her) possessions.”
Luke 12: 15
New International Version
What is there in my life that I possess which makes me feel, “safe and secure?”
“All possessions of mortals are mortal.”
“You actually possess everything you can see when you close your eyes.”
It was a fertile land – Laish, a northern most settlement in Israel. Near the foot of Mt. Hermon in the vicinity near the headwaters of the Jordan River. Isolated from trouble, the people in this city apparently felt so secure they didn’t build high walls to defend themselves. In security and safety, contented and well-provided for, the people of Larish didn’t have a concern in the world.
But to the Danites, Laish meant something very different.
Remember, the Danites had no inheritance. Unable to take any land from the native inhabitants in Canaan, the Danites had been forced by the Canaanites to move into the rough mountainous country. With no prospect for improving their lot in life, they decided to take what wasn’t theirs. And in Judges 18: 27-29 we find the Danites surprised the unsuspecting people of Laish and the city was captured and burned to the ground.
Far away from any outside help and feeling safe within their own city, the citizens of Laish were not prepared for the heartless attack of those who were propelled by greed to take what didn’t belong to them.
And I ask you, “Does this scenario sound familiar?” Frankly, this story could have been taken right off the pages of any current newspaper. Unsuspecting victims, who are relying on the protection of the wealth they’ve built for themselves through the years, find all their well-laid plans upended by those motivated by uncontrolled greed that leaves a path of ashes behind. It wasn’t just the Danites who had a scorched earth financial plan. For greed in the hearts of many today, leads to the same abuse of power. This is why Jesus was so definitive in His warning in Luke 12: 15 (N.I.V.) when He said, “Protect yourself against the least bit of greed. Life is not defined by what you have, even when you have a lot.” In the King James Version, this text uses the word “covetousness” in place of greed. A word that is defined as, “the envious desire for that which is another’s.” As Thomas Watson so correctly noted, “The itch of covetousness makes a man (or woman) scratch what he (she) can from another.”
This is what the Danites did. Discontented with their life, they found a weak link where the inhabitants of Laish had become comfortable in the secure and safe little world they had created for themselves. Sitting in an unprotected environment, feeling that nothing could touch them, the citizens of Laish became “sitting ducks” for the hostile attack by the Danites who were prompted by the yearning for more. As Thomas Manton wrote, “Beware of the beginnings of covetousness, for you know not where it will end.” And in the case of the Danites, their greed led to the destruction of others on the outside and themselves on the inside. In the words of Leonard Wright: “Covetousness is the root of all evil, the ground of all vice.”
“Abundance consists not so much in material possessions, but in an uncovetous spirit.”
“Lord, you told us that a person’s life does not consist of the things he possesses. Help us not to judge others by what they own. Help us not to want more and more things for ourselves but to spend our lives seeking the true riches that will endure to life everlasting. Amen”
Malcolm L. Playfoot
“Lord, teach us to value our possessions in the right way. Help us never to think more of them than of people. Make us ready to use them freely for the good of others and to share them generously without grudging. Thank you for the beautiful things that we enjoy possessing. May our enjoyment be wholesome and right and may we hold lightly to all we own. For the sake of Jesus Christ, who became poor that we might be eternally rich. Amen."
“Lord, in times of poverty make me perfectly content, and in times of wealth make me generous and liberal.”
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