by Paul Benson
I’m Not Opposed To Prosperity Teachings
Since I am somewhat prone to speak unfavorably of the teachings of the ‘faith and prosperity’ ministries some folks get the impression I don’t believe the Bible teaches a promise of blessing upon the children of God. Actually, I do very much believe that the Word of God is full of such promise. The concern I have is that people are being taught a perversion of these truths in order to rob them of their time and money.
A proper understanding of this matter is crucial to actually receiving and retaining God’s blessing, and not ending up along the wayside disappointed, discouraged, and separated from your hard earned cash. All because you listened to the unbalanced teachings of some covetous charismatic false teacher(s). Let’s look at what the Scriptures really teach about the subject of God promising to bless His people, and how to walk in his favor.
God’s Promise of Prosperity
Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. 3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. Psalms 1:1-3
We see in this passage of Scripture a promise of fruitfulness and prosperity upon the believer who is steadfast in his faith, and walking right before the Lord. Notice it says ‘in his season’. This is not a promise that all believers will be wealthy, but that there will be seasons of fruitfulness to get you through; and that he will bless the work of your hands. It is important to have a confidence in this promise. Let me show you one of the reasons why.
We Need A Vision Of Prosperity
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2
This verse says it was the knowledge of what lay ahead, after His death and resurrection, that gave Jesus the strength to endure what He did on our behalf. The joy set before him helped him to suffer the ridicule, the shame, and finally the horrible and torturous death on the Cross of Calvary. We really have no idea what he endured that day. No wonder Paul, in giving thanks, called it: his unspeakable gift (2 Corinthians 9:15).
We need a joy set before us; a vision of God’s willingness and promise to bless us and provide for us. Not just to give us faith to get stuff but also an endurance that will carry us through times of trial and suffering. There is a lot more incentive to plow on through a wilderness or desolate valley if you have an expectation there is a promised land waiting for you on the other side. Some people who lose sight of the promised land also lose heart; they just give up and perish in the wilderness.
I have learned this truth the hard way. This loss of vision and the resulting discouragement caused me to backslide for a number of years. Where there is no vision, the people perish… (Proverbs 29:18) We need to get it fixed in our heart that God’s desire is to bless His children beyond their dreams; and not just in the sense of an eternal reward. God has promised us blessing in this life also (along with trials, tribulations, persecutions, and possibly some correction thrown in for good measure!).
For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield. Psalms 5:12
God’s Promise of Prosperity
The idea of God pronouncing a ‘promise of blessing’ upon His followers is not a heresy; nor is it some obscure teaching hard to find in the pages of the Bible. It is clearly spoken in Scripture. Here are some of the many hundreds of verses that speak of that promise:
- The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever. Psalms 37:29
- …he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved. Psalms 55:22
- The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Psalms 92:12
- The LORD will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish: Proverbs 10:3
- …the desire of the righteous shall be granted. Proverbs 10:24
- Behold, the righteous shall be recompensed in the earth: Proverbs 11:31
- …the root of the righteous yieldeth fruit. Proverbs 12:12
- …to the righteous good shall be repayed. Proverbs 13:21
- …among the righteous there is favour. Proverbs 14:9
- In the house of the righteous is much treasure Proverbs 15:6
- Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings. Isaiah 3:10
Hey now, that’s a lot of promise! This list could go on and on, but I guess you get the point. Now, in all of these verses of promise, please notice they share one common factor. The promise is not for just anyone; but only for the ‘righteous’! Seeing this, it might be a good idea to figure out who these righteous folks getting all this promise are, and how might we go about joining them. (We will pick up that thought in part 2 of this post)