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Chapter 4 - Can the Rich be Saved? - Industrial Camel
Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible. - Matthew 19:23-26
Two thousand years after Jesus spoke these words we actually have technology that theoretically could liquefy a camel and push the resultant material through a small opening such as the eye of a needle. It would be very difficult, expensive, and time consuming, however, it is still illustrative of an almost impossible task.
From our perspective it is impossible for someone given over to riches (whether those riches have actually been obtained or not) to become free of the grip with which such lust can hold one.
It has been said that there are more people receptive to hearing about Jesus in prisons and hospitals than in country clubs. Riches and the desire for riches come to be seen as an alternative god. They seem to offer provision, protection, and security even to the point where just the idea of God is seen as laughably anachronistic, a sort of an embarrassing legacy of a heritage considered primitive and superstitious,
For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: - 1 Corinthians 1:26-28
Riches are deceitful because they lead us to first consider God less important than what riches could provide. We can then come to forget about God. We can even come to intentionally reject any consideration of God. The illustration of a camel going through the eye of a needle attempts to picture how unlikely it is that any of the people who have come to be so distant from their creator to ever consider their need for a Savior. Yet God is still all powerful and can bring anyone to himself.
The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles' feathers, and his nails like birds' claws. And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: - Daniel 4:33-34
Here in the dealing God had with Nebuchadnezzar, we see an example of how 'with God all things are possible'. It is also an illustration of how intense a divine intervention needs to be to penetrate the delusion of self-sufficiency we can create for ourselves.
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