Biblical Privacy Advice: Cover Your Bank Door!

It never ceases to amaze me how relevant the Bible is even for struggles that are most often associated with our present-day challenges. My wife, for example, has suggested that the Body of Christ needs BIBLICAL instruction in protection against identity theft.

Whoa! Identify theft in the Bible?! Does Jesus warn us against phishers of men? While computer technology obviously did not exist during Bible times, the principles taught can provide us guidance that will protect our financial privacy.

About 27 centuries or so ago, Judah’s King Hezekiah exercised some poor judgment that jeopardized the kingdom years later.

Identity Theft: The Cause

At that time Merodachbaladan, the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present to Hezekiah: for he had heard that he had been sick, and was recovered. (Isaiah 39:1 KJV)

Identity thieves often appear as buddies bearing goodies. Perhaps the prince of Babylon really was sincere in his motives to wish Hezekiah well. However, Merodachbaladan was part of a culture that was diametrically opposed to God’s ways. His very name (translation “Mars is god, the lord”) as well as that of his father’s (“Worshipper of Bel”) should’ve given King Hezekiah a clue.

Hezekiah received the messengers warmly. He took them on a tour of his royal precincts, proudly showing them all his treasures: silver, gold, spices, expensive oils, all his weapons—everything out on display. There was nothing in his house or kingdom that Hezekiah didn’t show them. (Isaiah 39:2 Message)

On Guard!

How very typical of an identity theft victim. There was no holding back from Hezekiah. He proudly opened up every detail of his financial life to his enemies. If only he had paid attention to King Solomon’s advice:

Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life. (Proverbs 4:23 Amplified)

This applies to our finances as well. Jesus observed that your treasure and your heart are intertwined. (see Matthew 6:21) Believers should exercise great discretion in financial matters. The details of your financial life should be kept private.

It’s Not About (Just) Us

After the visit of the Babylonian officials, the prophet Isaiah debriefs Hezekiah:

3Later the prophet Isaiah showed up. He asked Hezekiah, “What were these men up to? What did they say? And where did they come from?”

Hezekiah said, “They came from a long way off, from Babylon.”

4“And what did they see in your palace?”

“Everything,” said Hezekiah. “I showed them the works, opened all the doors and impressed them with it all.”

5-7Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Now listen to this Message from God-ofthe-Angel-Armies: I have to warn you, the time is coming when everything in this palace, along with everything your ancestors accumulated before you, will be hauled off to Babylon. God says that there will be nothing left. Nothing. And not only your things but your sons. Some of your sons will be taken into exile, ending up as eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.”

8Hezekiah replied to Isaiah, “Good. If God says so, it’s good.” Within himself he was thinking, “But surely nothing bad will happen in my lifetime. I’ll enjoy peace and stability as long as I live.” (Isaiah 39:3-8 The Message)

We can infer from this dialogue that the result of Hezekiah’s indiscretion will put his family in bondage and the family treasure, in which he took great pride, will be confiscated by his Babylonian “pals.”

Verse eight highlights Hezekiah’s incredible selfishness. He did not comprehend – or was indifferent – that his actions go beyond himself. The entire kingdom of Judah, in addition to his family, paid a dear price for his arrogance.

As believers, we are part of God’s kingdom. We should recognize that we are stewards – caretakers – of God’s property. This includes the information associated with God’s property. We should not recklessly broadcast this data without considering that this could jeopardize our household as well as the Kingdom affairs entrusted to us.

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