Gambling and Pious Poverty

Quote from
Promises of Law, Curses and Blessings, by Dr. R.J. Rushdoony

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Now man wants and needs a world of curses and blessings. Everything in his nature, because man is God created, demands a world of consequence and causality. However, because man has fallen and is in rebellion against God, he wants those curses and blessings to be meted out on his terms. In relationship to his demands and his estimate of what justice is.

Nine{?} and a half years in Nevada in the forties, was a very instructive period. One of the things that really startled me was how often gamblers prayed. I never would have thought it. Never. But more than once as I encountered all kinds of characters in Nevada, some of these people took time out to come over to me and tell me how angry they were with God, and me, because I was God’s minister. Why? God wasn’t a square shooter, He didn’t play fair. They were gambling and they needed to win. They were risking everything. Thousands of dollars {?}. And they said a prayer then and there and they told God that if He would let them win, they’d go partners with Him. And they would take so much to the priest or to a minister in the community, or to a particular church. I know one angry man told me that he had promised to repay his mother a sizable sum of money he owed her, and he felt that was so noble; he couldn’t understand why God hadn’t let him win. Of course he had chiseled his mother out of that money to begin with. In other words, look God, I’m going to be noble, I’m going to cut you in. Now why don’t you bless me?

But he reached a time in his early forties, and even in terms of today’s money, he was, we would say, well off. I think almost all of us would have liked to have been in his shoes. In terms of the latter part of the 1940’s, he had a lot of money. But it wasn’t enough to suit him.

And he had grandiose ideas for what he wanted to do for his children, who had reached the college age and before long would be out in the world, and he wanted to set them off even better than he was, in some business, or in homes, and so on. And he felt God should help him to do that. And the business, which was doing very well, wasn’t doing it fast enough, especially with all the college expenses. And so he turned to gambling. And began to lose heavily. And his bitter, his savage statement to his pastor, and to several of his friends, who were friends of mine, was one of total resentment and anger with God. Why didn’t God bless him? After all, he’d gone to Sunday school and church all his life, he’d never cheated on his wife, he’d been an honest storekeeper, or businessman, rather. And he was ready to give God a sizable share of his winnings. Why didn’t God let him win? He not only gambled away a large sum of capitol, but was finally taking the profits out of the store and finally the money that was coming in, before the bills were paid, and his wife asked finally the, one of the girls in the office, to let her know when the money came in and he headed for the casino.

And she got there before he did, because he stopped to cash the checks, and pleaded with him to stop. And he struck her down in the street. It was such a scandal in that community, he had to sell out and leave within a month. And yet, those who were close to him said, to the last he was bitter against God. Why didn’t God bless him? In other words, what he wanted, what he believed in, was blessing, yes, but on his terms, not in terms of God’s law. An unsound operation is not made good by naming God a partner. Man cannot break God’s law without being broken. Look again at those curses. A man is not exempted from a curse because he has avoided the first eleven offenses, is he? There’s always the twelfth, the big one. When God arraigns us for violating His law, we therefore cannot plead that we did not commit incest or bestiality or murder, we must plead in terms of the offense of which we are guilty.

—<Quote ends>—

So, what we can learn from this:

  • You can’t manipulate God.
  • Stupidity with money, even for a “good cause”, is going to be punished.

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