It is difficult to concretely describe what the Bible says about gambling because, though we do see evidence of it in biblical times, it took a vastly different form than what we see today. Gambling, being a game of chance, is something we see often in the Bible in the form of casting lots (Matthew 27:35, Esther 9:26, and Joshua 18:8). In these instances the casting of lots was somewhat equivalent to our idea of a coin toss. Leaving it up to chance the division of something that everyone desired decreased the prevalence of arguments (Proverbs 18:18). They saw the casting of lots to be sacred and therefore did not argue with the ‘decision’ of the lots. Though the games we play today, that are considered gambling, also have a heavy element of chance associated with them their purpose is entirely different.
Most all gambling now involves the aspect of money. Not the allotment of money between individuals that all want and deserve it but the acquisition of it by people who willingly lay down their own money in hopes of leaving with more. Some people are experts at dancing with chance; they make their living that way and sometimes also dig their graves that way. Dancing with chance is a tricky thing because in reality it is not chance that you dance with but God. We only have the ability to throw the dice it is God who determines where they fall (Proverbs 16:33). Because God is such a huge part of gambling it is only wise to understand what He has to say about it.
No one has a choice about depending on God for the outcome of everything in life. Whether a person intentionally dapple in games of chance or not God is orchestrating all of life’s events. The God who dictates where the dice falls also dictates where out feet lead us (Proverbs 16:9). Whether we are chance takers or not God is in control.
Next on the topic of gambling is what God says about money, and how we should handle out money. Nowadays gambling involves money and so it must be taken into account to get the full picture of what God says about it. We see in Matthew 6:24 that we are not able to serve both God and money. This means that our motives and priorities have to be in check if we gamble. Our number one goal cannot be the desire or the lure of money. In 1 Timothy 6:17 we are reminded not to put our trust in money. If we are trusting in gambling to get us by then we are putting our trust in money, and our own ability to gain it, not in God’s ability to provide. Hebrews 13:5 and Titus 1:7 show us that to be a good leader we cannot love money but we need to be content with what God gives us. We have to be careful when we are drawn to gambling for the money. God has put up parameters to protect our hearts and our lives from the catastrophe that the love of money can bring.
God has given to each of us specific things. Whether it is our money, our family members, our talents, our job or our special gifting God has given them to us for a purpose. We see in Matthew 25:19-29 that God does not simply give us these gifts so that we can squander them. He gives us things so that we can be faithful to Him. By using all He has given us to honor Him we use wisely the good gifts from our Father King. Ending this section of verses Jesus reminds us that the one who is not faithful in the small amount he (or she) is given even the little they have will be taken away. We must be faithful with the little that God gives us and not squander it away for the love of money.