WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
APRIL 20, 2021
TOPIC: BEWARE OF PROSPERITY!
BY T. O. BANSO
“When you were prosperous, I warned you, but you replied, ‘Don’t bother me.’ Since childhood you have been that way — you simply will not listen!” (Jeremiah 22:21 New Living Translation)
Prosperity is mentioned many times in the Old Testament and only two times in the New King James Version of the New Testament. Different Hebrew words are translated as prosperity in the Old Testament. Though many people always think of prosperity in terms of financial prosperity, the Bible usage of the word prosperity or its variants is more than this.
Generally, prosperity in the Bible means peace, quietness, wealth, flourishing, well-being, safety, success, etc. To be prosperous, therefore, is to be in a favorable condition. That is what everybody prays for. However, prosperity has its drawback.
Many people have not been able to manage prosperity. Their success, therefore, led to their failure. What was supposed to be a blessing became a curse. Billy Graham said, “Comfort and prosperity have never enriched the world as much as adversity has.”
The prophet Jeremiah said to King Jehoiakim of Judah, the son of King Josiah, “When you were prosperous, I warned you, but you replied, ‘Don’t bother me.’ Since childhood you have been that way — you simply will not listen!” (Jeremiah 22:21 New Living Translation).
That is how many behave. They allow their prosperity to go to their heads. They get carried away by their successes, financial breakthroughs, good health, peace, etc. and fail to listen to God. The Word of God means nothing to them. They feel on top of the world. To hell with God!
Psalm 30:6-7 says, “When I was prosperous I said, ‘Nothing can stop me now!’ Your favor, O LORD, made me as secure as a mountain. Then you turned away from me, and I was shattered” (New Living Translation). Did you hear the boast of the psalmist, David, there: Nothing can stop me now? Perhaps he forgot momentarily that it was the favour of the LORD that made him secure as a mountain. However, when the LORD turned away from him, he was shattered.
I don’t know where you are in life today. Can God talk to you? Do you have time for God? Does He mean anything to you? Maybe you’re in the fast lane in life and things have been working smoothly for you. Congratulations! Be wise. Many have travelled on that same road before you but are nowhere today. The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God” (Psalms 14:1; 53:1).
You’ve been gathering things together and they’ve been gathering! You’ve been making plans and things are going fine! Congratulations! However, what is your relationship with God? In your prosperity, do you remember Him? Do you think you need Him? David who said nothing could stop him eventually realized that He needed God. When He turned away from him, he was shattered. Don’t wait for God to turn away from you before you respond to Him.
David said, “Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the LORD guards the city” (Psalm 127:1 New King James Version). In your prosperity, beware that you do not forget the Lord; don’t say your power and the might of your hand gained you your wealth. Remember the Lord in the time of prosperity. Don’t let prosperity make you rebel against Him.
Moses warned, “When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land which He has given you. Beware that you do not forget the LORD your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today, lest — when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them; and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied; when your heart is lifted up, and you forget the LORD your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; who led you through that great and terrible wilderness, in which were fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty land where there was no water; who brought water for you out of the flinty rock; who fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do you good in the end — then you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth’” (Deuteronomy 8:10-17 New King James Version).
Moses continued by warning on the danger of forgetting the LORD because of prosperity: “And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day. Then it shall be, if you by any means forget the LORD your God, and follow other gods, and serve them and worship them, I testify against you this day that you shall surely perish. As the nations which the LORD destroys before you, so you shall perish, because you would not be obedient to the voice of the LORD your God” (verses 18-20 New King James Version).
Prosperity is good but it could be destructive if not well managed. It has destroyed many. No wonder, the writer of Proverbs 30 made this second request to God: “Second, give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name” (verses 7-9 New Living Translation).
Beware of prosperity. “Nothing is more dangerous than to be blinded by prosperity” (John Calvin). Calvin further said, “Men are undoubtedly more in danger from prosperity than from adversity; for when matters go smoothly with them, they flatter themselves, and are intoxicated by their success.”
Hear the thought of the rich fool who couldn’t manage his sudden prosperity: “What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry’” (Luke 12:17-20 New King James Version).
God said to him, “Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?” (Verse 20 New King James Version). Don’t be blinded by prosperity. Don’t let it go to your head and cause you to misbehave. You must not allow it to cause your downfall.
Paul knew how to handle prosperity and adversity. He said, “I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need” (Philippians 4:12 New King James Version). He added that he could do all things through Christ who strengthened him (verse 13). This is how it should be.
Don’t put your trust in your prosperity; put your trust in God. Don’t let your prosperity become your god; let God be God in your life. The apostle Paul sent this warning to the rich in this world: “Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life” (1 Timothy 6:17-19 New King James Version).
Beware of prosperity. Don’ let it make your love for God cold or make you abandon Him. Choose whom you will serve: God or money (mammon). You cannot serve God and money (prosperity) (Mathew 6:24; Luke 16:13). But you can serve God and still enjoy the prosperity God has given you if you put Him first in your life and acknowledge that He is the source of your prosperity and it is not by your power.
Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers (3 John 2). More importantly, I pray that in your prosperity, you will not lose God.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, thank You for the prosperity You have given me. I shall not allow Your gift to replace You in my life in Jesus’ name. I shall serve you and not money. In my prosperity, I shall not disobey or abandon You. Holy Spirit, help me to humble myself; let my prosperity not go to my head.
(For about 600 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
WhatsApp No: +2349081295947