The last Bible reference of Money according to the ESV version of the Bible comes from Hebrews 13:5. It reads this way: Keep your life from the love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Heb. 13:5).
What a glorious promise comes at the end of that verse: I will never leave you nor forsake you!
The presence of God is the best blessing we can have! The Bible often talks about the blessings that the presence of God brings.
It brings into our life a joy which the world cannot give. David writes in the Psalms: “In your presence is fullness of joy” (Psa. 16:11). Lasting joy does not come from presents we receive – that gadget, that device – but from His presence!
The Presence of God in our lives distinguishes us from other people. That was Moses’ point. He said, “For how then can it be known that your people and I have found favor in your sight unless you go with us? How else will we be distinguished from all other people on the face of the earth!” (Ex. 33:15-16). You may be working in a company with thousands of employees. But the presence of Jesus in your life distinguishes you, sets you apart from others!
We are talking about the blessings of having God’s presence in our lives. King David penned a moving Psalm after he sinned with Bathsheba – Psalm 51. In that Psalm he refers to the Presence of God often. He writes, “Do not cast me from your Presence or take your Holy Spirit from me” (Psa. 51:11). Stubborn sin would take away God’s sweet joy-giving presence from His life, David knew. So, the loss of the sense of the presence of God when we indulge in stiff-necked sinful behavior motivates us to live Holy.
Another Psalm by David leads us to yet another angle to the blessing of God’s presence. David writes, “You hide them in the protection of your presence. Your presence can conceal them in a shelter from the schemes of men from quarrelsome tongues” (Psa. 31:20). In David’s life, the presence of God protected him from the repeated assassination attempts which King Saul launched onto him under the influence of an evil spirit (I Sam. 18:10; 19:9). The presence of God in our lives serves as a shield against the evil schemes of cunning co-workers in our offices.
The book of Jonah revealed to me something about the presence of God, something which I had not noticed before. God’s presence is already there in the location that God wants us to be present preaching and living the Gospel in the one life we have. Why do I say that? I say that because Jonah 1:3 says Jonah fled from the presence of God as he disobeyed God to go to Tarshish. That means God’s presence was already in Nineveh waiting for Jonah to do his missionary work! God’s presence waits to empower us to do what he has called us to do in the one life we have. I have witnessed that when I have executed his calling upon my life – grabbing the Google Generation from going to Gehenna (the word Jesus used for hell).
So, the promise of Hebrews 13:5 is the promise of God’s presence which brings in a bag full of blessings as the above paragraphs show!
But as it is true with every promise in the Bible, there is a condition for this promise as well. What is the condition? Let me copy paste the same verse under discussion here again: Keep your life from the love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Heb. 13:5).
The first condition for this promise is COOPERATION. This verse reads this way, “Keep yourself…” It is talking about your cooperation with God’s already available power! The Bible is full of things that God does for us. I call these things as our privileges! But don’t forget that the same Bible is also full of things that we must do in response, having received those wow privileges from God! I call these our responsibilities! The Scripture is full of both God’s Charis and God’s Commands.
The New Testament is dotted with “keep yourself” commands. Here is a sample: keep yourself in God’s Love…. (Jude 21); keep yourself pure (recorded twice – I Tim. 5:22 and 2 Tim. 2:21); keep yourself from ‘such things’ and one such thing is sexual immorality (Acts 15:29). Keep yourself united in Spirit (Eph. 4:3). Let us cooperate with the Holy Spirit and life that is pleasing to the Lord. Then, the promise of his presence is ours!
The second condition for this glorious, ‘I will be with you’ promise comes from this phrase found in Hebrews 13:5: ‘and be content with what you have….’ CONTENTMENT is the second condition found in Hebrew 13:5 for the Hebrews 13:5 promise of “I will never leave you nor forsake you”.
There is a reason why contentment is the focus of the book of Hebrews. It was written at a time when Jewish believers were backsliding from their newfound Christian faith and wanting to become Jews again. It was easier to be a Jew than being a Christian during that time because the Roman government recognized the Jews but not the Christians. This government of that time started persecuting the Christians. The properties of Christians were being “plundered” after Government orders (Heb. 10:34). It was quite possible that Christians lost out on a job promotion and increase in salary because of their faith during those times when persecution against them was slowly but surely increasing. So, Christians had to learn to live contented lives managing with what they had.
Such times are already upon us. If they have not yet come, they are bound to come, sooner than later, no matter which nation you live! We could be persecuted for our Christian faith by the State Government as well as the Central Government. This is quite possible. This persecution could lead to loss of income. But we need to learn to live with contentment. And when we do that, we have this glorious promise from Hebrews 13:5: I will never leave you, nor forsake you! What else matters?
Mulk Raj Anand, senior journalist wrote, ‘We buy things we don’t need, to impress people we don’t like!’ How true! Let’s inculcate contentment in our lives. If we have to buy an iPhone because that does the job well for us, let us see if we can be content with a smaller size screen edition of the same and a lesser memory edition of the same! If we need a compact SUV car we could choose to be content with the frills-free model of the same!
Let us not forget these two ‘C’s: Cooperate and be Content! Then, the glorious promise of Hebrews 13:5 – I will never leave you nor forsake you – will be ours!
(This article was published by Aim Magazine published by Evangelical Fellowship of India in its March 2022 edition. Dr. Duke Jeyaraj is an itinerant preacher and writer. His book, Straight Talk, covers 50 taboo topics including porn, sexual temptation, masturbation, homosexuality, boy-girl physical intimacy boundaries, wise life-partner choice, sex inside marriage, and much more. You can get this book by WhatsApping 91-8886040605 following which you will get a payment link. Duke preaches ‘promise’ messages from the Bible that are balanced during the Month-End Midnight Prayer which starts at 11:45 PM of the last day of each month. WhatsApp +91-8886040605 to receive the link to join this meeting where people from different parts of India and the world – a small group – join together to enter the new month in God’s presence.)