Israel & the Rich Fool (Lk. 12:13-21)

It recently occurred to me that Jesus' parable about the Rich Fool in Luke 12 is very much related to Israel and the 1st century Jewish leaders. Luke is very explicit that the Pharisees were lovers of money (Lk. 16:14). Jesus Himself accused the Pharisees of being filled with greed and wickedness (Lk. 11:39). They were the ones devouring widows' houses (Mk. 12:40). As seen in the story of the Good Samaritan (Lk. 10), the religious leaders of Israel were like the rich man who walked by poor Lazarus every day (Lk. 16:19ff.).

God had blessed Israel abundantly when He returned them from Exile with the plunder of the pagans (Esther 9) and the full support of King Ahaseurus/Cyrus (2 Chr. 36:22ff.). Is Herod a rich fool who decided to use the ill-gotten Temple revenue to build a bigger "barn", i.e. completely renovate and expand the Temple?

Whether we look at financial or spiritual blessings, it's clear that Israel had been hoarding God's gifts. They had been neither rich toward God nor rich toward anyone else. They had forgotten the warnings of Deut. 8 and the prophets and so incurred God's wrath. While they were consumed with in-fighting over how to divide the inheritance amongst themselves (Lk. 12:13), the Lord came and took it from them in order to give it to others (Lk. 20:9ff.).

The question for the Christian church is this: What will we do with the treasures of the Gospel? What will we do with the Spiritual blessings that are ours in Christ Jesus? What will we do with the wealth and prosperity that God entrusts to us? Will we be rich toward God and rich toward others, or will we hoard it all for ourselves?

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