Prosperity Versus Poverty: What’s God’s Desire For His Children?

It shouldn’t be a subject of debate that poverty is not a virtue, and that God delights in the prosperity of his servants. It’s no secret that having poor, beggarly children doesn’t glorify God. Being wealthy isn’t a sin, for we see God making many of his devout servants extremely rich. Yet, some Christians still vilify wealth and glorify poverty. We’ve heard some Christians talk about the “blessedness of poverty” and the “curse of prosperity”. What does the Bible say concerning prosperity? What’s God’s will for his children when it comes to the issue of acquiring wealth? We shall examine Scripture to find God’s mind concerning the issue of prosperity for his children.

Psalms 35:27 Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favor my righteous cause: yes, let them say continually, Let the LORD be magnified, which has pleasure in the prosperity of his servant (AKJV).

The Hebrew word translated as prosperity in the verse above is “shalom“. Its various meanings include “peace”, “welfare”, “good health”, “well-being” and “wholeness”. That God wants his children to be at peace, to be sound in body, soul and spirit, and to do well in life, shouldn’t surprise anyone, simply because God loves his children! He loves us more than our earthly parents do, and earnestly desires to give us all the good things of life! God is no sadist!

Matthew 7:7 Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

Matthew 7:8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.

Matthew 7:9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone?

Matthew 7:10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent?

Matthew 7:11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! (ESV).

Yes, if our earthly parents who are evil can give us good things and desire for us to prosper, how much more will our heavenly Father give good things to his children who ask him! How much more will he prosper those who seek him! God wants his children to ask and receive the good things of life from him, so that our lives will be filled with joy. He wants his children to live glorious and fulfilled lives. That’s the reason he sent his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to come to earth. Christ came to die and pay the ransom for our sins, so that we can be delivered from the bondage of sin, sickness, disease, poverty, shame and sorrow. He became poor on our behalf so that we, through his poverty, might become rich! Christ came so that we may have and enjoy a life of abundant prosperity! That’s what the Bible says!

St. John 16:23 “In that day you will ask me no questions. Most certainly I tell you, whatever you may ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you.

St. John 16:24 Until now, you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be made full (WEB).

John 10:10 The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows) (AMP).

2 Corinthians 8:9 You know how full of love and kindness our Lord Jesus Christ was. Though he was very rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich (NLT).

Matthew 6:31 Don’t worry and say, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’

Matthew 6:32 The people who don’t know God keep trying to get these things, and your Father in heaven knows you need them.

Matthew 6:33 Seek first God’s kingdom and what God wants. Then all your other needs will be met as well (NCV).

God’s will for his children is that we prosper and be healthy, even as our souls prosper. God’s salvation encompasses wholeness of our entire being (body, soul and spirit), as well as our material well-being and comfort. Christ doesn’t just save our souls from spiritual death and damnation in hell. He also delivers us from all the curses of the fall, including bodily sickness and diseases, as well as the sufferings of poverty and hardship brought about by the fall. Yes, total prosperity is God’s will for his children!

3 John 1:2 Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be healthy, even as your soul prospers (NHEB).

One of the evidences of divine favour is material prosperity and wealth. We see it repeatedly displayed throughout the Bible. God promised to bless and prosper the righteous here on earth, during their lifetime. We see the evidence in the lives of godly men and women who prospered abundantly in their times, because of divine favour and blessings upon them. God’s people have been among the richest men and women that have walked upon the earth. Their wealth was a constant reminder of God’s faithfulness to bless and to prosper those who trust in him. God is faithful, and he will keep his promises to all who hold unto him, without fail!

Deuteronomy 28:1 If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations on earth.

Deuteronomy 28:2 All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the LORD your God:

Deuteronomy 28:3 You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country.

Deuteronomy 28:4 The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock —the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks.

Deuteronomy 28:5 Your basket and your kneading trough will be blessed.

Deuteronomy 28:6 You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out.

Deuteronomy 28:7 The LORD will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven.

Deuteronomy 28:8 The LORD will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to. The LORD your God will bless you in the land he is giving you.

Deuteronomy 28:9 The LORD will establish you as his holy people, as he promised you on oath, if you keep the commands of the LORD your God and walk in obedience to him.

Deuteronomy 28:10 Then all the peoples on earth will see that you are called by the name of the LORD, and they will fear you.

Deuteronomy 28:11 The LORD will grant you abundant prosperity —in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your ground —in the land he swore to your ancestors to give you.

Deuteronomy 28:12 The LORD will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none.

Deuteronomy 28:13 The LORD will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the LORD your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom.

Deuteronomy 28:14 Do not turn aside from any of the commands I give you today, to the right or to the left, following other gods and serving them (NIV).

EXAMPLES OF GODLY PEOPLE IN THE BIBLE WHO BECAME WEALTHY THOUGH DIVINE BLESSINGS:

JOB:
Job 1:1 There was a man named Job who lived in the land of Uz. He was blameless, a man of complete integrity. He feared God and stayed away from evil.

Job 1:2 He had seven sons and three daughters.

Job 1:3 He owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred teams of oxen, and five hundred female donkeys, and he employed many servants. He was, in fact, the richest person in that entire area (NLT).

Job 42:12 So the Lord blessed Job in the second half of his life even more than in the beginning. For now he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, one thousand teams of oxen, and one thousand female donkeys (NLT).

ABRAHAM:
Genesis 22:15 Then the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven,

Genesis 22:16 and said, “By Myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this thing and have not withheld your son, your only son,

Genesis 22:17 indeed I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies.

Genesis 22:18 In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.” (NASB).

Genesis 24:34 So he said, “I am Abraham’s servant.

Genesis 24:35 The Lord has greatly blessed my master, so that he has become rich; and He has given him flocks and herds, and silver and gold, and servants and maids, and camels and donkeys (NASB).

ISAAC:
Genesis 26:12 Now Isaac sowed in that land and reaped in the same year a hundredfold. And the Lord blessed him,

Genesis 26:13 and the man became rich, and continued to grow richer until he became very wealthy;

Genesis 26:14 for he had possessions of flocks and herds and a great household, so that the Philistines envied him (NASB).

SOLOMON:
1 Kings 3:3 Solomon showed he loved the Lord by following the commands his father David had given him, except many other places of worship were still used to offer sacrifices and to burn incense.

1 Kings 3:4 King Solomon went to Gibeon to offer a sacrifice, because it was the most important place of worship. He offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar.

1 Kings 3:5 While he was at Gibeon, the Lord appeared to him in a dream during the night. God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”

1 Kings 3:6 Solomon answered, “You were very kind to your servant, my father David. He obeyed you, and he was honest and lived right. You showed great kindness to him when you allowed his son to be king after him.

1 Kings 3:7 Lord my God, now you have made me, your servant, king in my father’s place. But I am like a little child; I don’t know how to do what must be done.

1 Kings 3:8 I, your servant, am here among your chosen people, and there are too many of them to count.

1 Kings 3:9 I ask that you give me a heart that understands, so I can rule the people in the right way and will know the difference between right and wrong. Otherwise, it is impossible to rule this great people of yours.”

1 Kings 3:10 The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked this.

1 Kings 3:11 So God said to him, “You did not ask for a long life, or riches for yourself, or the death of your enemies. Since you asked for wisdom to make the right decisions,

1 Kings 3:12 I will do what you asked. I will give you wisdom and understanding that is greater than anyone has had in the past or will have in the future.

1 Kings 3:13 I will also give you what you did not ask for: riches and honor. During your life no other king will be as great as you.

1 Kings 3:14 If you follow me and obey my laws and commands, as your father David did, I will also give you a long life.” (NCV).

1 Kings 10:23 So Solomon had more riches and wisdom than all the other kings on earth (NCV).

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that God’s children should be among the richest and wealthiest people on earth. The reason is simple: the earth is the Lord’s, as well as everything in it. Also, it is God that gives the knowledge and wisdom to make wealth. It is God that gives wealth. That being so, shouldn’t the children of God have greater access to the wisdom and knowledge to make wealth, since their God and their Father is the source of all wisdom and knowledge? Shouldn’t God particularly favour his children in teaching them how to make wealth? Yes, he does! God not only delights in the prosperity of his children, he actually equips and empowers them with the knowledge and skills to make and enjoy wealth!

Psalms 24:1 The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him (NLT).

Deuteronomy 8:18 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 (NLT).

Isaiah 48:17 Thus says the Lord,
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
“I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you in the way you should go.

Isaiah 48:18 O that you had hearkened to my commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea; (RSV).

1 Chronicles 29:10 David praised the LORD in the presence of the whole assembly, saying, “Praise be to you, LORD, the God of our father Israel, from everlasting to everlasting.

1 Chronicles 29:11 Yours, LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.

1 Chronicles 29:12 Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all (NIV).

We need money to take care of ourselves and others around us. We need money to solve problems and propagate the gospel. Money is not evil, as long as it remains our servant. Money is a defence and an answer to many of our needs and problems in the world. It is the love and worship of money that’s evil, not money itself. Poverty is not a virtue, as it can frustrate people and make them steal and commit other crimes. Poverty is a curse that leads to sufferings, sicknesses and premature and untimely death! Being unable to take care of ourselves and those around us makes us worse than infidels! That’s what the Bible teaches!

Ecclesiastes 7:12 For wisdom is a defense, even as money is a defense; but the excellency of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the life of him who has it (WEB).

Ecclesiastes 10:19 A feast is made for laughter, and wine makes the life glad; and money is the answer for all things (WEB).

1 Timothy 5:8 But if anyone doesn’t provide for his own, and especially his own household, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever (WEB).

Proverbs 30:7 “Two things I have asked of you; don’t deny me before I die:

Proverbs 30:8 Remove far from me falsehood and lies. Give me neither poverty nor riches. Feed me with the food that is needful for me;

Proverbs 30:9 lest I be full, deny you, and say, ‘Who is Yahweh?’ or lest I be poor, and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God (WEB).

Finally, Jesus himself made it abundantly clear that those who follow and serve him will start receiving their blessings here on earth. He made us understand our rewards for being Christians will start here and now in this lifetime, in terms of both material and spiritual blessings. Yes, we will be blessed with eternal life and eternal prosperity in the Kingdom Age and for all eternity. Yes, we’ll receive the crown of glory at the end of our ministry, for faithfully serving the Lord. However, the rewards and blessings of following Christ as Lord and Saviour start here and now, in this present world! The gratification for being a child of God is both immediate and delayed; it’s both temporal and eternal! Let no one therefore tell you that your reward is only in heaven! Let no one tell you poverty is a virtue! Jesus didn’t honour or glorify poverty, and neither should we!

Mark 10:28 Peter said to him, “Look, we’ve left everything and followed you.”

Mark 10:29 Jesus said, “I assure you that anyone who has left house, brothers, sisters, mother, father, children, or farms because of me and because of the good news

Mark 10:30 will receive one hundred times as much now in this life—houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and farms (with harassment)—and in the coming age, eternal life (CEB).

St. Luke 6:38 “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will be given to you. For with the same measure you measure it will be measured back to you.” (WEB).

In conclusion, we’ve seen from Scripture that it’s God’s will that his children prosper and be healthy, even as their souls prosper. We’ve seen also that God doesn’t just delight in the prosperity of his children, he equally teaches them how to make wealth and how to prosper. Money is a defence and an answer to many of our human needs and problems. Money is also needed to propagate the gospel and foster the work of God on earth. Godliness and prosperity are not mutually exclusive, as some of the most godly men and women on earth have been some of the wealthiest. Jesus promised his followers great rewards (spiritual and material) for faithful service, starting here and now, and culminating in the crown of life and glory in the hereafter. Prosperity is therefore not a vice, as poverty is not also a virtue! From the overwhelming evidence of Scripture alone, we safely conclude that prosperity is a blessing from God, which his children need to acknowledge, embrace and enjoy without guilt.

Published by Dr. Ndubuisi E. Ojo

Dr. Ndubuisi E. Ojo is a teacher and an expositor of the word of God with an intense passion for doctrinal purity and the restoration of the Church to the original Apostolic faith.

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