Put God First
Now why did this guy go for it? The Bible makes it clear why he took it. Joshua 7:20
“They finally found him out”, he said: “I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and
this is what I did: when I saw among the spoils a beautiful Babylonian garment, two
hundred shekels of silver and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels - here it is - I
coveted them, and took them, and I hid them”.
The Bible says in the New Testament, that coveting is idolatry. So what happened is
this. He went in, he fought the battle. When he fought the battle and they conquered the
city, he comes into a place where there are these garments, in silver and gold.
Now the instructions were clear: this belongs to the Lord. Give it to the Lord. But he
looked at it and thought: ooh man, I could do with these - this is good. He kept it for
himself. He coveted what belonged to God; and so the sin of coveting, or greed,
indicates he was under the power of the spirit of Mammon.
Mammon is a spirit that moves in greed, you just can't have enough - so a problem
came. Notice this: before he took it, it's devoted; after he took it, it's cursed.
This is how it seems to me to work: I can either have 100 per cent of everything I have -
and it's all under a cursing, and under the power of the spirit of Mammon; or I can have
90 per cent of what I have - and it's blessed.
I have found from years of experience, that 90 per cent with blessing, is better than the
100 per cent with trouble. I know at times it has been very difficult to uphold that
commitment, but it was always about an issue of the heart. Will I put God first, and trust
Now I want to just pick up four very simple heart issues that lie behind giving the first
portion to the Lord. Remember Jesus said: “the battle is one for your heart”, there's a
spirit that is seeking to conquer your heart, so here they are.
#1, the first one is the principle of Honour. The word honour means „to value’, or „to
place a weight’ on something.
So will I honour God; and place value on His willingness and ability to bless me? What
value will I put on that? Will I honour, God and put Him first in my finances? What value
do I place on God, in the issue of managing money?
That's what it boils down to; and very similar in Proverbs 3:9 – “Honour the Lord with all
your substance, and with the first fruits of all your increase”.
Now the way we have done it is: whatever we have done, we've always considered
God's best, and how we would best advance His kingdom. So when we come to buy a
house, it was never about what would look good, or be nice, or in the right area. It was
always: what would help advance the kingdom of God? What kind of house do we need
to have that would enable us to have people in and out, and show hospitality?