I would like to know what the Bible says about buying lottery tickets. Is it wrong to buy a ticket to see if I can win a lot of money?
There are literally millions of dollars spent buying lottery tickets daily. Buying lottery tickets, however, is not a part of God’s plan for man in providing for himself or for his family. There is not a Bible text that deals specifically with buying lottery tickets, but there are Bible principles we can apply to this issue.
First, the Lord, knowing that man would need to have a certain lifestyle because of his fall into sin, told our first parent in the Garden of Eden that he would now have to earn his living by the sweat of his face. (Genesis 3:17–19.) This was prescriptive, not punitive. God knew what was best for man in his fallen condition. For a person to earn his keep by lawful labor has always been best for his character development.
Knowing this, the devil has been at work trying to make man think that God’s plan is too harsh. He encourages man to try to get money an easy way, but God says that work is the best answer for man’s general well being.
Second, gambling with money, trying to win a big return is throwing the money away. Gambling cities thrive on the fact that there are many more losers than there are winners. The statistics reveal the fact that your chances of winning a lottery are in the millions to one range.
A person who buys lottery tickets is supporting an industry that drains families of needed funds to help them survive. Isaiah 55:2 says, “Wherefore do ye spend money for [that which is] not bread?” The money that a person earns should be used for the family and its needs, not to try to make life easier by short circuiting God’s plan in favor of the devil’s plan.
Many people become addicted to gambling, bringing them to poverty and unable to provide for their family’s basic needs. In 1 Timothy 5:8, we are told, “But if any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” These are serious words. If we are inclined to do anything that would bring us into such a situation as this, we need to pray to God to help us stay far away.
Third, if we gamble away money, which could be used for the welfare of the family, we have become guilty of theft. Exodus 20:15 warns, “Thou shalt not steal.”
Other Bible principles, which should govern our thinking on this matter of gambling to become rich, may be read in Proverbs 23:4, 5; 28:20 and 1 Timothy 6:10. The bottom line is that we need to seriously consider the principles about gain that is ill gotten.
The question for many people is, “How close to sin can I come and still be okay?” The Bible tells us that it is never safe to see how close we can come to sin. We need to see how far away we can be from it, and that means the farther away from sin we are, the closer we are to Jesus. I hope that you will continue to study this issue from biblical principles of Christian character. You will be blessed in the process.
Pastor Mike Baugher is Associate Speaker for Steps to Life Ministry. If you have a question you would like Pastor Mike to answer, e-mail it to: email@example.com, or mail it to: LandMarks, P. O. Box 782828, Wichita, KS 67278.