God is a perfect parent. He has a heart to prosper His children. Jesus says in Matt 7:11, “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him.”
The Heavenly Father’s Heart
God repeatedly let Israel know that He was giving them instruction with the goal of prospering them. Consider these excerpts strictly from the book of Deuteronomy:
- so that you and your children after you may prosper and so that you may live long (Deut 4:40)
- so that you may live long and so that you may prosper (Deut 5:16)
- so that they and their children would prosper forever (Deut 5:29)
- so that you may live, prosper and have a long life (Deut 5:33)
- so that you may prosper and multiply greatly (Deut 6:3)
- so that you may prosper (Deut 6:18)
- He will love you, bless you and multiply you (Deut 7:13)
- so that you may live and increase (Deut 8:1)
In five chapters God reiterates His desire to prosper His children over and over. And yet, He doesn’t give us all the “prosperity” we desire. Why?
Humility Before Prosperity
God tells us in Deut 8:16, “He fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers had not known, in order to humble and test you, so that in the end He might cause you to prosper.” God knows the human soul in its natural state is not able to handle prosperity.
Prosperity without humility results in deadly idolatry and pride. God warns His people regarding His blessing in Deut 8:17, “You may say to yourself, ‘My power and my own ability have gained this wealth for me,’ but remember that the Lord your God gives you the power to gain wealth.”
In order to be able to handle prospering, our souls must first be humbled and tested. James says it a bit differently in James 4:10, “Humble yourself before the Lord, and He will exalt you.” Humility precedes prospering/exalting, precisely because a soul growing in true humility is the only soul that can handle being prospered. Peter repeats this idea in 1 Peter 5:6, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you at the proper time.” One with true humility, a mark of Christian maturity, understands that all he has is a gift of grace from the Giver of all good gifts. His maturity frees him to enjoy God’s blessing without mistaking God’s good gifts as an entitlement. His soul is ready to be prospered. God knows the proper time when prospering will not harm us.
The Earthly Parents’ Heart
As parents, we desire to see our kids happy, healthy and wise. Well, most of the time. Of course sometimes, we selfishly just desire to be respected, left alone, obeyed, or a myriad of other things! But, in general, we want to see our children prosper. And if we truly want them to be productive citizens as adults, we realize we can’t give them everything they want as a child. If we want them to be happy, why don’t we give them every toy they ask for? Why don’t we take them everywhere they want to go, when they want to go there, as many times as they want?! Because we know their soul can’t handle it. We know that we won’t be encouraging a happy child, but a spoiled brat who is MOST discontent! We are very imperfect parents, but we know this.
As our children mature, we gain the joyful privilege of being able to give them more. They realize they don’t deserve it, they are more grateful for what they are given, and they can actually enjoy the blessing without harming their own souls. So it is with all of us. May we humble ourselves before the Lord and trust that the testing He allows is truly for our good and in the end He will prosper us, too. When our souls can handle it!