Failing the Test of Prosperity

As they were increased, so they sinned against me: therefore will I change their glory into shame.

Hosea 4:7

…I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

Philippians 4:11

The book of Hosea is book of judgment in which God is telling His people both that He is going to judge them and why He is going to judge them.  We looked at one of the reasons yesterday: they “had no knowledge.”  They had rejected Him and had rejected the knowledge of Him.  Of course rejecting Him will bring judgment.  But why had they rejected the knowledge of Him?  I think this verse gives us an idea.

“As they were increased, so they sinned against me…”

The Israelites failed the test of prosperity.  They were God’s chosen people.  God had helped them, blessed them, brought them out of Egypt, gave them their own land flowing with milk and honey, fought their battles for them, drove out their enemies before them, fed and clothed them in the wilderness, and made them into a great nation.  What more could He have given them or done for them?

They had everything.  But in the midst of all of that prosperity and increase, they started to forget the God Who gave them everything.  Their forgetting God led to refusing and rejecting Him, which led to ever increasing sinning, which ultimately led to their destruction.  Sometimes it is easier to trust the Lord and follow Him when you don’t have anything than it is when you have seemingly everything.  The church of the Laodiceans the book of the Revelation had this problem.  They thought that they were “rich and increased with goods” and that they had “need of nothing.”  However, in all of their material increase, they also forgot God, Who found Himself on the outside. (Revelation 3:17-20)

In Philippians, Paul tells us that he had learned “both how to be abased”  and “how to abound.”  That is a lesson that many of us (especially Americans) need to learn.  There is much wisdom in the words of Proverbs 30:8b:

“…give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me”

6 responses to this post.

  1. Thanks Ben!

    Your post speaks volumes 🙂

    I find it particularly interesting because I wrote along similar lines (from the book of Proverbs) for next post… I take it as confirmation.

    God bless you richly. May He grant you the desires of your heart!

    Blessings,
    ann

    Reply

    • Thank you- I look forward to reading that post. Sometimes I start looking at others and feeling sorry for myself that I don’t have everything that they have. But then I ask myself- would I trade places with them? Absolutely not. I have been richly blessed and am very thankful for it!

      Reply

  2. Ben this is a word of affirmation to me. God has been prodding me to a walk of simplicity in these days. Our muchness often tends to drive us from Him rather than towards Him. Thanks for the reminder and the warning. For myself I am taking heed!

    Reply

    • I’m glad to hear that. I responded in about the same way when I read these verses the other day. It’s so easy to be drawn into the trap of spending your entire life in a mad race to accumulate “bigger, better, newer, nicer” things. The more I think about it, the more I think that “give me neither poverty nor riches” is a call to simplicity.

      Reply

  3. Thank you so much Ben, for pointing this out. I was talking to my mom tonight and trying to explain to her, as weird as it sounds, that I am thankful for the lean times too. There is something so faith boosting to have just a small amount of money and see Him get you through until the next pay day, 🙂 The temptation is there to take it out of savings, or use the credit card . . .but I love to just see what He can do! 🙂

    Reply

    • I have done that many times, too. In fact, there is a situation coming up this weekend in which I have had to excercise a little faith. I just have to remember that He is in control!

      Reply

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