“But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is He that giveth thee power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.” ~ Deuteronomy 8:18
The Promised Land that God was leading the Hebrews into was fertile and super-productive (Numbers 14:7-8). Once they settled down to work the land they would thrive. However, while thriving, it is often easy to forget the One who made us succeed and forget the purpose of our success.
It is God that provides everything we need to do well. He gives us strength, health, intelligence, and opportunity. Moreover, He protects us and guides us in ways we often don’t understand or even perceive. For example, Job prospered greatly until God allowed satan to attack him (Job 1). And, once God restrained satan again, Job prospered again. Without God’s protection, Job could not have prospered.
“Bless the Lord , O my soul, and forget not all His benefits:” ~ Psalm 103:2
If we fail to recognize that God is the one who supplies all our needs, instead of being thankful to Him, we will attribute our blessings to ourselves (or to a god/source we invent). Sadly, Israel would make this mistake and it would lead to their downfall.
“For [Israel] did not know that I gave her corn, and wine, and oil, and multiplied her silver and gold, which they prepared for Baal.” ~ Hosea 2:8
Nevertheless, success is not an end in itself. God would allow the Hebrews to prosper so that He could “establish His covenant” with them. In the covenant God made with them, He promised to bless them if they were faithful (Deuteronomy 7:8-16).
The intended result of this arrangement was that Israel would become an example to all nations: the world would recognize the everlasting benefits of faithful obedience to God (Deuteronomy 4:5-7). In other words, God would make Israel succeed so that other nations would seek to have a relationship with Him. The ultimate purpose of Israel’s blessings was the salvation of the world.
Similarly, in the covenant of The Cross, Christians are promised the indwelling of The Holy Spirit if we put our trust for salvation in Christ Jesus.
“If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?” ~ Luke 11:13
God gives His children many different gifts to meet their various needs. However, the Holy Spirit is the gift that every Believer is guaranteed to receive. The Holy Spirit applies God’s Word to our lives, thereby enabling us to thrive: to become mature Christians growing to “the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13-15, 2 Peter 1:3).
However, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, in the life of a Believer, is not an end in itself. Rather, we are to become witnesses: testifying of the mercies of God to the world around us (Matthew 28:18-20, 1 John 4:13-15).
“Hereby know we that we dwell in Him, and He in us, because He hath given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.” ~ 1 John 4:13-14
The ultimate purpose of the blessings of God, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, in the life of a Believer is the salvation of the world.
But there is a problem.
Our definition of success/prosperity often differs from God’s definition. God’s gift to us is the Holy Spirit, through Jesus’ redemptive death and empowering resurrection. But that’s usually not what we desire when we think of success/prosperity. Usually, our focus is on material wealth and/or physical health. Material wealth and physical health are gifts from God, but they are not always beneficial. Therefore, God does not always provide them to us.
If we are primarily concerned with material wealth and/or physical health, it is easy for us to become insensitive, even blind, to God’s desired work in us (to conform us to the image of Christ, Romans 8:29, Ephesians 4:13) and through us (to reconcile the world to Himself, 2 Corinthians 5:19).
Remembering that God is our provider also means that we trust in His provision. Whether He gives us material wealth, physical health or the forgotten gift of suffering (Philippians 1:29), we trust that God provides us with everything necessary for us to thrive BECAUSE He is The Good Father.
“According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue:” ~ 2 Peter 1:3
This is the third of a nine-part series on Principles for the Promised Land summarized from the book of Deuteronomy