The Prosperity Paradox
God created all things. God owns all things. God distributes to everyone according to His will. God causes one to have wealth, while He limits the wealth of others, even to the point of food and clothing.
Wealth has a definite effect on recipients, and one might be surprised by the paradox presented in Scripture. Woe is for the rich (Lk 6:24; Rev 18:19). When one reads his Bible and discovers this fact, it remains difficult to believe. Man is so conditioned to believe the lie of prosperity, and its religion (God has blessed me with wealth), that to learn the opposite is true requires grace from God.
Riches cause a man to forget God. The rich are proud. They tend toward harshness and even violence against the poor. The wicked claim that God has blessed them to gain wealth, but is this really true?
The Bible displays a paradox of blessing and curse, as it shows us rich and poor. Blessed are the poor, but woe to the rich. This paradox confronts those who want to get rich, “Why do you desire a curse from God?”
The prosperity of the wicked is known to all (Ps 73:3). Pride is their necklace (Ps 73:6). They speak against heaven (Ps 73:9), as if God could possibly know (Ps 73:11). Yet, God has positioned the rich to fall (Ps 73:18–19).
Envy is the temptation for the poor to join the rich on the slippery slope. Christians must study the Word and receive instruction, in order to avoid the evil longing to be rich and cursed.
Men enter the world with nothing, and they leave the world with nothing, but even this cannot dissuade the work of hoarding wealth to their own hurt.
The desire of the wicked heart is independence from God via wealth, and men will serve any idol that promises to give them what they want. After a brief habitation of godless wealth accumulation, men leave their riches to others, passing on the curse to them.
What could possibly be better than the curse of wealth? For the child of God, his portion is the Lord Himself (Ps 73:26). God is provider for His people, and He Himself is their inheritance. The Lord Jesus has taught us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.”
Silver and gold can redeem the soul of no man, for they are deficient to meet man’s real need. The void for every man is God Himself. Man lusts for a beautiful wife, to live on a beautiful hill, overlooking the beautiful lake, where he can drive his luxury car to the airport to fly to someplace even more beautiful. He repeats this like a broken record. He never finds satisfaction because only God can fill man’s void.
The rich man, according to Scripture, is the fool for misplacing his trust (Lk 12). He is oblivious to the curse that is upon him. He lusts, only to lust again. He works more diligently, and he gets more of the curse he is trying to elude. Vanity and chasing after the wind are the reward for those who love the world and the things of the world (1 Jn 2:15–17).
Christian, do not envy the empty riches of the wicked. Trust in the Lord and be content with what you have been given for life and ministry. Enjoy God’s daily provision of grace granted to you, and acknowledge Him with thanksgiving, for He cares for you. Better things await His saints, but these are the spiritual things enjoyed as a token today. These are the true blessings of God which He gives without measure. He Himself is our true blessing.
Spokane Valley, Washington
September 21, 2021