BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO
“Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers” (3 John 2 NKJV).
The Bible talks about two kinds of prosperity: the prosperity of the righteous and the prosperity of the wicked. Someone can prosper the righteous way and another can prosper the sinful way. God can make someone prosper and the devil can also prosper those who follow him.
The King James Version Dictionary defines prosper as to be successful; to succeed. It also defines prospered as having success; favoured. In other words, to prosper is to be successful or to succeed, and to be prospered by God is to have success through God or to be favoured by Him.
Everybody wants to prosper in life but not everyone depends on God to prosper him/her. Some depend on Satan for success or favour. They engage in sinful practices and wicked ventures, including occult practices, murder, armed robbery, and cheating to succeed in life.
The prosperity of the wicked
The wicked or sinner may prosper but their prosperity cannot be compared to that of the righteous, children of God. The prosperity of the wicked is for a short time. David said, “Do not fret because of evildoers, nor be envious of the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb” (Psalm 37:1-2 New King James Version).
David said further, “For evildoers shall be cut off; but those who wait on the LORD, they shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more; indeed, you will look carefully for his place, but it shall be no more. But the meek shall inherit the earth, and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace” (verses 9-11 New King James Version).
Also, the writer of Psalm 73:3 said that he was envious of the boastful when he saw the prosperity of the wicked. He tried to understand why the wicked prosper but it was difficult until he went into the sanctuary of God and understood their end (verses 16-17). “Surely You set them in slippery places; you cast them down to destruction. Oh, how they are brought to desolation, as in a moment! They are utterly consumed with terrors” (verses 18-19 New King James Version). Job, in the Bible, also talked about the prosperity of the wicked (Job 21:7-16).
But our focus in this message is being prospered by God. There is no reason for any child of God to be envious of the prosperity of the wicked because God does prosper His children. God can prosper you and will if you follow Him. But you must not compare yourself with non-believers. God has a plan for everybody. He has a plan for your life. He knows the thoughts that He thinks toward you – thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11). God will favour you; He will cause you to be successful. But this doesn’t mean successful as defined by the world.
Examples of those whom God prospered
1. Joseph. The Lord prospered Joseph. Genesis 39:2 says, “The LORD was with Joseph, and he was a successful man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian” (NKJV). As a servant, Joseph prospered. His Egyptian master saw that the LORD was with him and that He made everything that he did to prosper (verse 3). Joseph found favour in his sight and he made him overseer of his house. He put everything he had under his authority.
Consequently, the LORD blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; the blessing of the LORD was on all that he had. Noticing this, his master left all that he had in Joseph’s hand. He did not know what he had except for the bread which he ate (verses 4-6). God prospered Joseph. Even later, when he was in prison, he was favoured. He was successful because God was with him (verses 20-23).
2. Samuel. As a prophet of God, Samuel was very successful because the LORD was with him. Although the word prosper or successful is not used to describe his ministry, the Bible says, “So Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground” (1 Samuel 3:19 NKJV). In other words, God caused all his prophesies to be fulfilled. How else could one describe a successful prophetic ministry?
3. David. 1 Samuel 18:14 says, “And David prospered in all his ways; and Jehovah was with him” (Darby’s Translation). That was under King Saul who continued to look for ways to kill him. The New Living Translation renders the verse thus: “David continued to succeed in everything he did, for the LORD was with him.” The New King James Version says it like this: “And David behaved wisely in all his ways, and the LORD was with him.” David’s prosperity or success was not independent of God. God was with him.
4. Solomon. God prospered Solomon. “Then Solomon sat on the throne of the LORD as king instead of David his father, and prospered; and all Israel obeyed him” (1 Chronicles 29:23 NKJV). Verses 24-25 say, “All the leaders and the mighty men, and also all the sons of King David, submitted themselves to King Solomon. So the LORD exalted Solomon exceedingly in the sight of all Israel, and bestowed on him such royal majesty as had not been on any king before him in Israel” (NKJV). God prospered Solomon.
5. Hezekiah. He was one of the kings of Judah who did what was right in the eyes of God (2 Kings 18:3). God prospered him. 2 Chronicles 32:30 says Hezekiah prospered in all his works.
6. Nehemiah. He was the Governor of Jerusalem who helped to rebuild the wall of the city. God prospered him in the project amid opposition. When Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official, and Geshem the Arab laughed at the Jews after hearing that they were going to rebuild the wall, they despised them (Nehemiah 2:19). But Nehemiah answered them, “The God of heaven Himself will prosper us; therefore we His servants will arise and build, but you have no heritage or right or memorial in Jerusalem” (verse 20 NKJV). God prospered them. They finished the wall in 52 days (Nehemiah 6:15).
7. Daniel. He was one of the Hebrew captives in Babylon. God prospered him such that he enjoyed favour and served more than one king without compromising his relationship with the living God. Daniel 6:28 says, “So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian” (NKJV). You don’t have to compromise your faith in God to prosper like non-believers. Be committed to God as Daniel was and He will prosper you. King Darius’ governors and satraps (chief rulers and the captains) conspired against Daniel because of His devotion to God and he was cast into the den of lions. But God delivered him; he came out unhurt. Daniel’s accusers and their children and wives were cast into the den of lions and the hungry lions quickly devoured them (Daniel 6:1-23).
This is not a complete list of those God prospered in the Bible. Your name can be added to the list. You can prosper or succeed with the power of God. You don’t have to copy the methods of the world. Do not be conformed to this world (Romans 12:2a).
God wants you to prosper. He has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant (Psalm 35:27). The apostle John says, “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers” (3 John 2 NKJV). This refers to all-round prosperity, including spiritual, financial, and physical.
How to be prospered by God
1. Give your life to Jesus and seek first the kingdom of God. Your salvation is more important than anything. What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his soul? (Mark 8:36). You must be born again (John 3:3). You must seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all other things shall be added to you (Matthew 6:33). This means you should be concerned, above everything else, with the Kingdom of God and with what He requires of you. Then, God will provide you with other things you need.
2. Study the Word of God, meditate on it, and obey. Psalm 1:1-2 says, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night” (NKJV).
Verse 3 tells us what this man will experience. “He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper” (NKJV). If you want God to prosper you, study His Word, meditate on it, and obey. “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success” (Joshua 1:8 NKJV).
Obedience to God’s Word leads to prosperity in all you do. David told Solomon, his son, this (1 Kings 2:3; 1 Chronicles 22:13). Obey God. If you sin, repent and confess it. Don’t cover your sin. He who covers his sins will not prosper but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy (Proverbs 28:13). Obey God out of love for Him. Jesus says if you love Him, you will keep His commandments (John 14:15). For God to prosper you, as we have seen in the examples of Joseph, Samuel, and David, you need Him to be with you. Disobedience will affect your fellowship with Him.
3. Pursue God’s will or His assignment. God will prosper you when you’re doing His will or on His assignment. The LORD says of Cyrus, “I, even I, have spoken; Yes, I have called him, I have brought him, and his way will prosper” (Isaiah 48:15 NKJV). Cyrus was a pagan king but God chose Him and used him later to free the Jews from captivity in Babylon (Isaiah 41:2; 45:1-2; 2 Chronicles 36:22-23; Ezra 1:1-4).
Also, talking about the Messiah and His suffering for the sin of humanity, the Bible says the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand (Isaiah 53:10). In other words, the will or plan of the LORD will prosper in His hand.
Pursue what God has blessed, not what He has cursed. Do God’s will, which is already blessed, and you will prosper, not what He has forbidden. “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: ‘May they prosper who love you’” (Psalm 122:6 NKJV).
4. Don’t trust in yourself but God. If you want God to prosper you, don’t trust in yourself. Be diligent and perform all your responsibilities but don’t depend on yourself. Don’t behave as if everything depends on you alone. Beware of self-sufficiency. Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths (Proverbs 3:5-6). Paul says, “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God” (2 Corinthians 3:5 NKJV).
5. Be careful in your prosperity. Don’t be proud. Don’t let your prosperity go to your head. Don’t begin to behave arrogantly because of your prosperity. God said to Judah, “I spoke to you in your prosperity, but you said, ‘I will not hear.’ This has been your manner from your youth” (Jeremiah 22:21 NKJV). Listen to God.
God made King Uzziah of Judah prosper. 2 Chronicles 26:5 says, “He sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God; and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him prosper” (NKJV). Verse 15 says God marvelously helped him. He was successful. But his prosperity went to his head. He lifted his heart to his destruction. He intruded into the office of the priest. Therefore, God struck him with leprosy. He died a leper (verses 16-23).
Don’t be deceived or seduced by your prosperity. David said, “Now in my prosperity I said, ‘I shall never be moved’” (Psalm 30:6 NKJV). Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God so that He may continue to prosper you.
Conclusion: God wants to prosper you. Eliezer, the oldest servant of Abraham, said “Do not hinder me, since the LORD has prospered my way” (Genesis 24:56a NKJV). The Lord will prosper you. Walk with Him and never allow your prosperity to become your idol. Don’t let it separate you from Him. The more He prospers you; the closer you should get to Him.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that 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 God raised Him on 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.
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
WhatsApp No: +2349081295947