What does the God say about Prosperity?

by: Bill Bratt

Email: info@icogsfg.org

What is prosperity? Websterís Dictionary defines "prosperity" as: "The condition of being prosperous and having good fortune or financial success."

We in the United States are very fortunate to live in a country that is very prosperous. We Americans are "stinking rich" compared to the average person in the world. Think about it. Most Americans have an automobile for every driver in the household. Most of our homes have more than one television set. We have beautiful homes with multi-colored landscaping. We have all of the modern conveniences from microwaves, video cam recorders and players to sauna baths and swimming pools. We take for granted the fact that we have running water, telephones, electric, gas, and sanitary sewer systems. Many of us also take for granted our computers and email and all of our other electronic gadgets.

What does God say about Prosperity?  

God wants people to prosper and be in good health. He wants people to enjoy the fruit of their labors. The apostle John relates in 3 John 1:2 (NKJV): "Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers."

God wants to bless and prosper those who will obey Him and walk in His ways. Notice Psalms 1 (NKJV) "Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; {2} But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. {3} He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper. {4} The ungodly are not so, But are like the chaff which the wind drives away. {5} Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. {6} For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the ungodly shall perish."

God wants us to magnify and serve Him and He wants to bless us with prosperity. Notice Psalms 35:27 (NKJV): "Let them shout for joy and be glad, Who favor my righteous cause; And let them say continually, "Let the LORD be magnified, Who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant."

The Young Rich Man

"Now as He (Jesus) was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, "Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?" {18} So Jesus said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. {19} "You know the commandments: 'Do not commit adultery,' 'Do not murder,' 'Do not steal,' 'Do not bear false witness,' 'Do not defraud,' 'Honor your father and your mother.'" {20} And he answered and said to Him, "Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth." {21} Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, "One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me." {22} But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions" Mark 10:17-22 (NKJV). Jesus may have had a job in mind for this young rich man. Notice that verse 21 says that Jesus "loved him". Perhaps this young man could have taken Judasí place as an apostle. There is risk in having great prosperity. With prosperity comes responsibility. Perhaps this young man had a thriving business with many employees that he felt responsible for. Perhaps he had many investments that took to much of his time to manage. Whatever his excuse was, he turned from Jesus and left.

With God All Things Are Possible

Jesus discusses this situation with His disciples: "{23} Then Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, "How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!" {24} And the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, "Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God! {25} "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." {26} And they were greatly astonished, saying among themselves, "Who then can be saved?" {27} But Jesus looked at them and said, "With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible." {28} Then Peter began to say to Him, "See, we have left all and followed You." {29} So Jesus answered and said, "Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel's, {30} "who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time; houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life. {31} "But many who are first will be last, and the last first." Mark 10:23-31 (NKJV).

Jesus gives a warning in verse 23 to those who are rich: "How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!" People who put their trust in riches feel that they donít need God. Their conquest for riches crowd God out of their lives.

A Warning from God!

When people have it good and are prosperous they tend to loose sight of the fact that it was God who blessed them. Letís look at a warning from God: "For when you have become full and prosperous and have built fine homes to live in, {13} and when your flocks and herds have become very large and your silver and gold have multiplied along with everything else, {14} that is the time to be careful. Do not become proud at that time and forget the LORD your God." (Deu 8:12-14 NLT)

When people become proud they have a tendency to forget God. They do not want to listen to God.

Jeremiah 22:21 (NKJV) says: "I spoke to you in your prosperity, But you said, 'I will not hear.' This has been your manner from your youth, That you did not obey My voice."

When people forget God, God will forget them. Notice this frightful warning in Hosea 4:6 (NKJV): "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children."

Notice that this warning to Godís priests is also a warning to Godís people. The warning says: "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge". Why? "Because they have rejected knowledge". What kind of knowledge? The world has had a knowledge explosion. We are living in the informational age. The knowledge that God is talking about is knowledge about Him and His truth.

People have turned to fables

The ways and customs of this world are based upon fables. We must not let pagan customs interfere with our worship and relationship with God. We must worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24).

God warns us that the time is coming when people will not have sound doctrine: 2 Timothy 4:2-4 (NKJV) "Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. {3} For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; {4} and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables."

As a result of rejecting the knowledge of God, God will reject His people and their children. Letís look at Hosea 4:6 (NKJV) again: "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children."

Do we really want to take a chance of God forgetting our children? Did you notice the reason why God will forget your children? " Because you have forgotten the law of your God". God gave us His law for our good. When we break Godís law bad things can happen. There are always consequences for our law-breaking. Godís law tells us right from wrong.

David in the Psalms said: "The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple" (Psalms 19:7).

Paul said the law was HOLY, JUST and GOOD. "Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good" (Romans 7:12).

In conclusion:

God wants us to prosper. God enjoys blessing His people. But we must be very careful that after we have been blessed and have prosperity that we do not forget God. We should also desire to worship God in spirit and in truth and to keep His laws and commandments.

We must not trust in our riches. We must put our trust in God and He will reward us with eternal life in the Kingdom of God.

Remember, donít forget God!