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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Prosperity and Genesis 12:14-17

A prosperity gospel? Does God really bless those who live righteously with great wealth? So long as you live according to God’s principles, will God give you great riches?

"When you give your first fruits offering, it prepares you for the harvest, and it releases God to do the blessing. To reap the best in 2007, you must give God your best! Put first things first by giving your first fruits to the Lord this first month of the year and get ready for overflowing blessings in 2007!"
Paula White

I struggle to see how that is the case having read Genesis 12 and having just completed Job. For Job was a righteous man with great wealth whose money was taken away from him by God for no apparent reason, other than a whimsical bet with Satan.

Abram in contrast, is supposed to be the father of the covenant between God and humanity. Yet Abram’s wealth is first accredited to Sarai’s beauty and relationship to the Pharoah. Abram gets his money, sheep and animals, because he was a pimp—he lied about Sarai being his sister (really she is his wife) in order to gain esteem in Egypt.

So the idea that one is prosperous/wealthy, because of one's righteous following of God seems too simple. If Job’s wealth is taken from him, though he did no wrong, and Abram gains wealth, though he pimped his wife out, then perhaps the relation between prosperity and godliness is not as easy as we would like to believe. The prosperity gospel is truly a karma and capitalist view of life, where we get what we earn.

God, instead, says in spite of your failings; in spite of all things you have done wrong, I will still bless you. Even though you have given your wife over to another man because you feared for your own personal safety, God will still use this self-absorbed man to become Father Abraham, who had many sons...Though, as we also see in Job’s story, blessing does not have to be money, family, or even health, it could be something as simple as a relational God who speaks to us from a whirlwind.

That is the redemptive story of Christ.

1 comment:

Don said...

Great post Wes, we just had a huge conversation on our way up to Big Bear 2 days ago with Bridgette's parents talking about some of this same stuff. It's amazing how the evangelical churches have taken the gospel of Jesus and so combined it with the "protestant work ethic" and Capitalism to make it nearly indistinguishable from our current context. When you speak out about it, people think you have two heads.

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