Substance Heb.10:34 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
Substance in the Bible has to do with material possessions, property, and wealth. When you study this topic by looking up all of the references to the word “substance,” an interesting lesson emerges.
The first thing you notice is that Old Testament saints who were blessed by the Lord were given substantial wealth by the Lord. Job was blessed to be the greatest of all the men of the east – Job 1:3 His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east. God likewise blessed Hezekiah – 2 Chr 32:29 Moreover he provided him cities, and possessions of flocks and herds in abundance: for God had given him substance very much.
The next thing you see is that this great blessing of wealth could be and was often diminished in a number of different ways depending on what God decided to do with it. Men’s substance has been:
- Spent – Prov 29:3 Whoso loveth wisdom rejoiceth his father: but he that keepeth company with harlots spendeth his substance.
- Wasted – Lk 15:13 And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.
- Spoiled – Jer 15:13 Thy substance and thy treasures will I give to the spoil without price, and that for all thy sins, even in all thy borders. 2 Chr 21:17 And they came up into Judah, and brake into it, and carried away all the substance that was found in the king’s house, and his sons also, and his wives; so that there was never a son left him, save Jehoahaz, the youngest of his sons.
- Redistributed – Prov 28:8 He that by usury and unjust gain increaseth his substance, he shall gather it for him that will pity the poor.
- Cast Away – Prov 10:3 The Lord will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish: but he casteth away the substance of the wicked.
- Destroyed – Deut 11:6 And what he did unto Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, the son of Reuben: how the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their households, and their tents, and all the substance that was in their possession, in the midst of all Israel:
One thing is for certain, no matter how much any man was blessed with wealth on the earth, he never could take any of it with him and he never will. He may leave a large inheritance to his heirs, but he has no say over what they will do with it. In spite of all efforts to save the wealth, in time, perhaps through several generations, it will eventually go the way that all earthly possessions go, into the hands of someone else.
So, what should we do with our wealth? There are two good scriptural alternatives that we can follow with our possessions:
- Honour the Lord with our substance – Prov 3:9-10 Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.
- Minister to others with our substance – Lk 8:3 And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance. These others should be God’s people or those to whom you minister in order to reach them for Christ.
We should always keep in mind that we have, in heaven, superior possessions to any earthly accumulation of wealth. We have:
- Unseen substance – Heb 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
- Assured substance – Heb 11:1 – you cannot see it but it is there for sure – by contrast, you cannot be sure your stock portfolio will be there in the morning.
- Better substance – Heb 10:34 For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance.
- Enduring substance – Heb 10:34 – unlike your earthly substance your heavenly substance will be there forever.
- Inherited substance – Prov 8:21 That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures. God blessed Old Testament saints with possessions down here and then they left it – God blesses us with an inheritance up there that we wait for.
Conclusion: So, when it comes to wealth and possessions there is no need for you to look to the Lord to increase your earthly property – if he does then use it to honour the Lord and minister to others – keep in mind that our substance is not what we accumulate down here but what we inherit up there – all this stuff down here is going up in smoke, eventually – all the substance up there will endure forever. Never forget this!!