My wife and I are undergoing the rite of passage known to many parents- sending a son (and next year it will be sons) off to college. This makes for a season of great belt tightening and watching every penny. College is not cheap and many of you know exactly what I’m talking about. Let’s just say it makes for some stressful months.
I read with intrigue this morning from Deuteronomy 6. There the Lord gives some sober warnings to His people: 10 “And when the LORD your God brings you into the land that he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you—with great and good cities that you did not build, 11 and houses full of all good things that you did not fill, and cisterns that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant—and when you eat and are full, 12 then take care lest you forget the LORD, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 13 It is the LORD your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear. 14 You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are around you— (ESV).
God is warning His people against the dangers of prosperity. What is He saying?
Don’t forget that ALL prosperity is God’s grace- (vv.10-11) It was because God made covenant promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that Israel received this great land filled with homes, cities, and wells of water for their use. It wasn’t because they were so impressive and had earned it. Whatever God has given us by way of blessing is always due to His grace and mercy. This should produce humble gratitude.
Don’t forget that prosperity can lead to apathy- (vv.11-12) Take care that God’s blessing doesn’t lead you into complacency and spiritual amnesia. This happens all too easily. It has happened to the American Church and it can happen to us as families and individuals.
Don’t forget that prosperity can lead to idolatry- (vv.13-14) The gods of our culture are materialism and consumerism. We are more steeped in it than we realize. Francis Schaeffer warned against the twin idols of personal peace and affluence. If I’m ok and can enjoy a nice meal out and nice vacation regularly then all is well. Such a minimalist approach to Christian living is skating on spiritual thin ice. It’s rife with danger
These are things to remember in the midst of prosperity. So if God has blessed and is blessing- don’t forget His grace and be thankful! If times are tight and tough-thank God that you and I can think in fresh ways about the dangers that He may just be keeping us from at this moment.
Paul Bankson is the Senior Pastor of Houston Lake Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Warner Robins, GA. He and his wife, Connie, have three sons. A native of...