Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Don’t Trust in Prosperity

Sing praise to the LORD, you saints of His,
    And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.
For His anger is but for a moment,
    His favor is for life;
Weeping may endure for a night,
    But joy comes in the morning.
Now in my prosperity I said,
    “I shall never be moved.”
LORD, by Your favor You have made my mountain stand strong;
    You hid Your face, and I was troubled.
(Psalm 30:4-7)
Prosperity is wonderful. God wants us to prosper. In another psalm, David says this: “Let them shout for joy and be glad, who favor my righteous cause; and let them say continually, ‘Let the LORD be magnified, who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant’” (Psalm 35:27). In 2 Corinthians 9:8, Paul gives us a good description of prosperity when he says, “God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.” This is the abundance of grace He desires to extend to you and me. I’m all for it.

And yet, prosperity can quickly become a big problem for us. David recognizes it in Psalm 30. He experienced prosperity and felt very secure: “I shall never be moved,” he declared. He understood exactly where it came from and he praised God for it: “LORD, by Your favor You have made my mountain stand strong.”

Everything was great. But then something happened and David looked for God — and could not find Him. He panicked. “You hid your face, and I was troubled,” he said. Somewhere along the way, David had begun looking to his prosperity, instead of to God, for his security.

It can be very easy for our focus to drift away from the Lord because of our circumstances. They often seem so tangible and immediate, when often God does not. And it does not matter whether circumstances are favorable or desperate, they can distract us either way. Remember how Peter walked on water with the Lord Jesus, until he looked around and realized how rough were the wind and the waves, and he began to sink. But then he cried out to the Lord — who had been there all along — and was rescued. Jesus lifted Peter out and returned him to the boat.

But in the scene David recalls for us in Psalm 30, it was not desperate circumstances but the false security of prosperity that shifted his trust away from the Lord. Then when something happened that caused that security, if not his prosperity, to vanish, David was troubled and wondered where God was. Like Peter, he had lost sight of Him. God was still there, even though His face was hidden. Then, realizing once again that it was God Himself, and not the prosperity he had received from God, that made him secure, David cried out to the Lord and was rescued. Reoriented now in his faith, he rejoiced in the Lord:
You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
    You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,
To the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent.
    O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever.
(Psalm 30:11-12)
God wants to bless and prosper every one of us, but He wants us to trust in Him and not in the blessing or the prosperity. The “good times” may come and go, but it is the Lord Himself who will keep us safe and make us whole. When our trust is in the Lord, though there may be weeping in the night, there will be joy in the morning, for He is always there for us — even in the dark — and His favor endures forever.