If you've read the Bible a couple of times, you'll probably agree with me when I say that nowhere in it does God explicitly say, "You shall not gamble or put a stake in the lottery."
But does that mean that gambling is in no way harmful?
While the Bible neither condones nor prohibits gambling, it does teach us some good foundational principles that may show us how gambling can actually be detrimental to us.
The most common reason why people gamble is to earn money doing so. But the best way to earn money has always been in providing value to other people in exchange for value back. I can't imagine gambling providing any value for others other than the person holding your pot (especially if you lose).
Gambling may not be explicitly labelled in God's Word as sin, but here are five reasons that should convince us that gambling can do us more harm than good.
1. Who or What Do We Trust?
The Bible does not speak against gambling, but it does speak against trusting in "luck." As Christians, we live lives submitted to the will and authority of Christ and luck is not another name of God's. Proverbs 16:33 tells us, "The lot is cast in the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord."
Gambling tends to put hope and trust in luck instead of God's ways and plans.
2. Your Chances: Love of Money
Gambling could very well lead to, or be motivated by, the love of money. The Bible does speak strongly against that. 1 Timothy 6:10 tells us, "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs."
3. Gambling Clouds Our Judgment
Because gambling has very little to do with useful and Spirit-lead judgment, it can often even be a cause of confusion for us. Gambling can fight out godly wisdom to walk in a way that honours God, benefits people and fulfils God's plans for our lives.
4. Quick Money Never Lasts
So maybe you might win a lottery or a big pot at a card game. Sadly, we all know of stories of big winners who always ended up with the same amount or even less than what they had before they won. Quick money is a snare that can get us into a lot of financial trouble. Proverbs 13:11 says, "Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it."
5. Relationships Often Fall Victim to Gambling's Snare
Because gambling can cause a lot of financial instability and become a motive for a whole lot of lying and cheating, it can ruin relationships with one draw. God is a God of relationships and desires for us to flourish in peace with one another. Gambling does not help us do that.