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God's Word on Prosperity
The Christian Business Association

 

 GOD’S WORD ON PROSPERITY

WHAT DOES GOD THINK ABOUT OUR PROSPERITY?
Psalm 24:1-2 . . . The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him. For he laid the earth’s foundation on the seas and built it on the ocean depths.
Job 41:11 . . . Who will confront me and remain safe? Everything under heaven is mine.
Psalm 50:12 . . . If I were hungry, I would not mention it to you, for all the world is mine and everything in it.
Haggai 2:8 . . . The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, says the Lord Almighty.
Proverbs 22:2 . . . The rich and the poor have this in common: The Lord made them both.
1 Samuel 2:7 . . . The Lord makes one poor and another rich; he brings one down and lifts another up.
Ecclesiastes 5:19 . . . It is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life-that is indeed a gift from God.
Deuteronomy 8:17-18 . . . He did it so you would never think that it was your own strength and energy that made you wealthy. Always remember that it is the Lord your God who gives you power to become rich, and he does it to fulfill the covenant he made with your ancestors.
Genesis 26:12-13 . . . That year Isaac’s crops were tremendous! He harvested a hundred times more grain than he planted, for the Lord blessed him. He became a rich man, and his wealth only continued to grow.
Deuteronomy 26:9-10 . . . He brought us to this place and gave us this land flowing with milk and honey! And now, O Lord, I have brought you a token of the first crops you have given me from the ground.’ Then place the produce before the Lord your God and worship him.
Job 1:21 . . . He said, “I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be stripped of everything when I die. The Lord gave me everything I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord!”
God does not seem to criticize his people who prosper, as long as they honor him with their prosperity. It is not what we have, but what we do with what we have that counts.
1 Timothy 6:17 . . . Tell those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which will soon be gone. But their trust should be in the living God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment.
Revelation 18:14, 20 . . . “All the fancy things you loved so much are gone,” they cry. “The luxuries and splendor that you prized so much will never be yours again. They are gone forever.” . . . But you, O heaven, rejoice over her fate. And you also rejoice, O holy people of God and apostles and prophets! For at last God has judged her on your behalf.
God lovingly and generously provides for our needs. God’s desire is for us to trust in him as the living provider-not to trust in the provision itself or the pursuit thereof. Those who choose to trust in anything or anyone other than God will be judged by God.
Ephesians 1:3
. . . How we praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we belong to Christ.
Ephesians 3:8 . . . Just think! Though I did nothing to deserve it, and though I am the least deserving Christian there is, I was chosen for this special joy of telling the Gentiles about the endless treasures available to them in Christ.
Philippians 4:19 . . . This same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.
1 Peter 1:4 . . . God has reserved a priceless inheritance for his children. It is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay.
God’s glorious riches are available to all those who believe in Christ Jesus. But we must think of them as coming from him, and not of our own doing or fully in our own possession.
Matthew 16:26
. . . How do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul in the process? Is anything worth more than your soul?
1 Peter 1:18 . . . You know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver.
Luke 12:21 . . . “Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.”
1 Timothy 6:6-7 . . . True religion with contentment is great wealth. After all, we didn’t bring anything with us when we came into the world, and we certainly cannot carry anything with us when we die.
Psalm 19:8-11 . . . The commandments of the Lord are right, bringing joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are clear, giving insight to life. Reverence for the Lord is pure, lasting forever. The laws of the Lord are true; each one is fair. They are more desirable than gold, even the finest gold. They are sweeter than honey, even honey dripping from the comb. They are a warning to those who hear them; there is great reward for those who obey them.
Psalm 119:14 . . . I have rejoiced in your decrees as much as in riches.
Proverbs 16:8 . . . It is better to be poor and godly than rich and dishonest.
Proverbs 23:23 . . . Get the truth and don’t ever sell it; also get wisdom, discipline, and discernment.
Proverbs 16:16 . . . How much better to get wisdom than gold, and understanding than silver!
1 Kings 3:9-13 . . . “Give me an understanding mind so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong. For who by himself is able to govern this great nation of yours?” The Lord was pleased with Solomon’s reply and was glad that he had asked for wisdom. So God replied, “Because you have asked for wisdom in governing my people and have not asked for a long life or riches for yourself or the death of your enemies-I will give you what you asked for! I will give you a wise and understanding mind such as no one else has ever had or ever will have! And I will also give you what you did not ask for-riches and honor! No other king in all the world will be compared to you for the rest of your life!”
Proverbs 22:1 . . . Choose a good reputation over great riches, for being held in high esteem is better than having silver or gold.
Too often we define prosperity quantitatively by how many possessions we have or how much financial wealth we have. Instead, we should think of prosperity as God does, such as the true value of our souls, our relationship with him, his Word, godliness, truth, wisdom, and a good reputation. These are riches that are lasting and priceless.
Proverbs 12:11
. . . Hard work means prosperity; only fools idle away their time.
Proverbs 13:11 . . . Wealth from get-rich-quick schemes quickly disappears; wealth from hard work grows.
Philippians 4:18 . . . At the moment I have all I need-more than I need! I am generously supplied with the gifts you sent me with Epaphroditus. They are a sweet-smelling sacrifice that is acceptable to God and pleases him.
2 Corinthians 9:11 . . . Yes, you will be enriched so that you can give even more generously. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will break out in thanksgiving to God.
Regarding “financial” prosperity, God is pleased when we work diligently and we share generously. God is concerned with our attitude about, and stewardship of, financial wealth. When we have those right, he may be more apt to entrust us with great resources. Don’t assume, however, that everyone with financial prosperity has the right attitude about wealth. It is more important to have the right attitude about wealth than to have great wealth.


WHAT ARE SOME OF THE POTENTIAL DANGERS OF PROSPERITY?
Deuteronomy 6:10-12 . . . The Lord your God will soon bring you into the land he swore to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It is a land filled with large, prosperous cities that you did not build. The houses will be richly stocked with goods you did not produce. You will draw water from cisterns you did not dig, and you will eat from vineyards and olive trees you did not plant. When you have eaten your fill in this land, be careful not to forget the Lord, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt.
Deuteronomy 8:11-14, 18 . . . That is the time to be careful! Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the Lord your God and disobey his commands, regulations, and laws. Deuteronomy 31:20 . . . For I will bring them into the land I swore to give their ancestors-a land flowing with milk and honey. There they will become prosperous; they will eat all the food they want and become well nourished. Then they will begin to worship other gods; they will despise me and break my covenant.
Deuteronomy 32:15 . . . Israel soon became fat and unruly; the people grew heavy, plump, and stuffed! Then they abandoned the God who had made them; they made light of the Rock of their salvation.
Psalm 62:10 . . . Don’t try to get rich by extortion or robbery. And if your wealth increases, don’t make it the center of your life.
Hosea 13:5-6 . . . I took care of you in the wilderness, in that dry and thirsty land. But when you had eaten and were satisfied, then you became proud and forgot me.
Proverbs 30:8-9 . . . First, help me never to tell a lie. Second, give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?” And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name.
Forgetting God is a danger of prosperity.
Psalm 10:4-6
. . . These wicked people are too proud to seek God. They seem to think that God is dead. Yet they succeed in everything they do. They do not see your punishment awaiting them. They pour scorn on all their enemies. They say to themselves, “Nothing bad will ever happen to us! We will be free of trouble forever!”
Jeremiah 49:4 . . . You are proud of your fertile valleys, but they will soon be ruined. You rebellious daughter, you trusted in your wealth and thought no one could ever harm you.
Psalm 52:7 . . . “Look what happens to mighty warriors who do not trust in God. They trust their wealth instead and grow more and more bold in their wickedness.”
Jeremiah 48:7 . . . Because you have trusted in your wealth and skill, you will be taken captive. Your god Chemosh, with his priests and princes, will be exiled to distant lands!
Proverbs 11:28 . . . Trust in your money and down you go! But the godly flourish like leaves in spring.
Being prideful is a danger of prosperity; trusting in anyone, even our own abilities; or anything, even our wealth, other than God is dangerous.
Mark 10:22-25
. . . At this, the man’s face fell, and he went sadly away because he had many possessions. Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for rich people to get into the Kingdom of God!” This amazed them. But Jesus said again, “Dear children, it is very hard to get into the Kingdom of God. It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!”
Revelation 3:17 . . . You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.
Being spiritually blind or complacent is a danger of prosperity.
1 Timothy 6:9-10
. . . People who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is at the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.
Being tempted and even trapped is a danger of prosperity.
Luke 12:15
. . . Then he said, “Beware! Don’t be greedy for what you don’t have. Real life is not measured by how much we own.”
Placing value on inappropriate things (using the wrong valuing stick) is a danger of prosperity.
Mark 4:19
. . . All too quickly the message is crowded out by the cares of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for nice things, so no crop is produced.
Using money to pursue only futile things is a danger of prosperity.
Proverbs 23:4-5
. . . Don’t weary yourself trying to get rich. Why waste your time? For riches can disappear as though they had the wings of a bird!
Ecclesiastes 5:13-14 . . . There is another serious problem I have seen in the world. Riches are sometimes hoarded to the harm of the saver, or they are put into risky investments that turn sour, and everything is lost. In the end, there is nothing left to pass on to one’s children.
1 Timothy 6:7 . . . After all, we didn’t bring anything with us when we came into the world, and we certainly cannot carry anything with us when we die.
Accepting the temporary nature of prosperity as a permanent lifestyle choice is a danger of prosperity.
Ecclesiastes 5:10 . . . Those who love money will never have enough. How absurd to think that wealth brings true happiness!
Hebrews 13:5 . . . Stay away from the love of money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never forsake you.”
Pursuing greed and dissatisfaction is a danger of prosperity because money often makes us only want more.


WHY DO THE WICKED SEEM TO PROSPER HERE ON EARTH?
Psalm 37:35-36
. . . I myself have seen it happen-proud and evil people thriving like mighty trees. But when I looked again, they were gone! Though I searched for them, I could not find them!
Psalm 49:10-12 . . . Those who are wise must finally die, just like the foolish and senseless, leaving all their wealth behind. The grave is their eternal home, where they will stay forever. They may name their estates after themselves, but they leave their wealth to others. They will not last long despite their riches-they will die like the animals.
Psalm 49:16-20 . . . Don’t be dismayed when the wicked grow rich, and their homes become ever more splendid. For when they die, they carry nothing with them. Their wealth will not follow them into the grave. In this life they consider themselves fortunate, and the world loudly applauds their success. But they will die like all others before them and never again see the light of day. People who boast of their wealth don’t understand that they will die like the animals.
Ecclesiastes 5:15 . . . People who live only for wealth come to the end of their lives as naked and empty-handed as on the day they were born.
Although the wicked may prosper here on earth, they are mere mortals who will die and leave their earthly prosperity behind. The currency of this world has absolutely no value in heaven.
Psalm 73:3-13, 16-19
. . . I envied the proud when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness. They seem to live such a painless life; their bodies are so healthy and strong. They aren’t troubled like other people or plagued with problems like everyone else. They wear pride like a jeweled necklace, and their clothing is woven of cruelty.
These fat cats have everything their hearts could ever wish for! They scoff and speak only evil; in their pride they seek to crush others. They boast against the very heavens, and their words strut throughout the earth. And so the people are dismayed and confused, drinking in all their words. “Does God realize what is going on?” they ask. “Is the Most High even aware of what is happening?” Look at these arrogant people-enjoying a life of ease while their riches multiply. Was it for nothing that I kept my heart pure and kept myself from doing wrong? . . . So I tried to understand why the wicked prosper. But what a difficult task it is! Then one day I went into your sanctuary, O God, and I thought about the destiny of the wicked. Truly, you put them on a slippery path and send them sliding over the cliff to destruction. In an instant they are destroyed, swept away by terrors.
Psalm 10:4-6 . . . These wicked people are too proud to seek God. They seem to think that God is dead. Yet they succeed in everything they do. They do not see your punishment awaiting them. They pour scorn on all their enemies. They say to themselves, “Nothing bad will ever happen to us! We will be free of trouble forever!”
Ezekiel 7:19 . . . They will throw away their money, tossing it out like worthless trash. It won’t buy their deliverance in that day of the Lord’s anger. It will neither satisfy nor feed them, for their love of money made them stumble into sin.
Luke 16:24-25 . . . The rich man shouted, “Father Abraham, have some pity! Send Lazarus over here to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in anguish in these flames.” But Abraham said to him, “Son, remember that during your lifetime you had everything you wanted, and Lazarus had nothing. So now he is here being comforted, and you are in anguish.”
James 5:1-6 . . . Look here, you rich people, weep and groan with anguish because of all the terrible troubles ahead of you. Your wealth is rotting away, and your fine clothes are moth-eaten rags. Your gold and silver have become worthless. The very wealth you were counting on will eat away your flesh in hell. This treasure you have accumulated will stand as evidence against you on the day of judgment. For listen! Hear the cries of the field workers whom you have cheated of their pay. The wages you held back cry out against you. The cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have spent your years on earth in luxury, satisfying your every whim. Now your hearts are nice and fat, ready for the slaughter. You have condemned and killed good people who had no power to defend themselves against you.
The wicked-financially poor or wealthy-are not to be envied as their eternal destiny is one of judgment and punishment. Time spent on this earth is but a small dot on line that never ends. What really counts is the heavenly treasure we lay up while we are here on earth.


HOW CAN WE BEST USE OUR PROSPERITY?
Deuteronomy 16:17
. . . All must give as they are able, according to the blessings given to them by the Lord your God.
Proverbs 3:9-10 . . . Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the best part of everything your land produces. Then he will fill your barns with grain, and your vats will overflow with the finest wine.
Malachi 3:10 . . . Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lord Almighty, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Let me prove it to you!
1 Corinthians 16:2 . . . On every Lord’s Day, each of you should put aside some amount of money in relation to what you have earned and save it for this offering. Don’t wait until I get there and then try to collect it all at once.
We should honor the Lord by giving to his work.
Luke 16:9
. . . I tell you, use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. In this way, your generosity stores up a reward for you in heaven.
2 Corinthians 9:9 . . . As the Scriptures say, “Godly people give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will never be forgotten.”
1 John 3:17 . . . If one of you has enough money to live well, and sees a brother or sister in need and refuses to help-how can God’s love be in that person?
Luke 12:33 . . . “Sell what you have and give to those in need. This will store up treasure for you in heaven! And the purses of heaven have no holes in them. Your treasure will be safe-no thief can steal it and no moth can destroy it.”
1 Timothy 6:9, 18-19 . . . People who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction . . . Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and should give generously to those in need, always being ready to share with others whatever God has given them. By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may take hold of real life.
We should be sensitive to opportunities to generously meet others’ needs.
Luke 6:38
. . . “If you give, you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use in giving-large or small-it will be used to measure what is given back to you.”
We should invest our prosperity in the lives of others.


PROMISES FROM GOD:
Philippians 3:8
. . . Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the priceless gain of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I may have Christ.
Luke 16:9 . . . I tell you, use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. In this way, your generosity stores up a reward for you in heaven.