“If ever there was a biblical chapter that prosperity theology teachers should avoid, this is it! The heroines and heroes of faith hardly ‘named it and claimed it…'” – from the study notes on Hebrews 11, The Gospel Transformation Bible
The prosperity gospel tells us that God always wants us wealthy and healthy, and that when these conditions are not present, the depleted state is evidence of our own lack of faith. It is a pernicious lie, and responsible for deep pain and misunderstanding among many of God’s precious saints. And you understand why – how do you suppose someone feels who is sick or poor and yet has tried to “exercise faith” to make these conditions go away? Answer: lousy…like a loser Christian who has come up short in the godliness department. Indeed, I know the story of a woman who died from a disease “believing God” for a miracle, and then I heard of a saint who afterward said that the death needn’t have happened – the woman had just needed more faith.
But if “God doesn’t want you sick”, and “sickness is always from Satan”, then what hope do I have to pray for healing? Apparently God stands powerless to help, except, I guess, if I speak “words of faith” or “animate His power by MY belief”???? Prepare two fingers and open mouth. So you see, illness may not always come from Satan, but the prosperity gospel always does.
The truth is that God is ultimately sovereign, and in His sovereignty and goodness, sometimes He decrees suffering. Romans 8 contains a section explaining just that, and the purpose is always to conform us to the image of Christ (Romans 8:28).
After all, what, pray tell, do the health and wealth-ers do with this…
They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated–of whom the world was not worthy– wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, Hebrews 11:37-39 (ESV)
Heck of a life for a “child of the King”, right? It surely must surprise many that a child of the King was sawn in two. And yet royalty is a good description, for we read that of them, the world was not worthy. And as to wealth, a great theologian once said, “money ain’t everything,” and it seems that Moses agreed, for he obeyed God’s calling, eschewing riches for a greater reward:
He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. Hebrews 11:26 (ESV)
So you see, there is a reward to look forward to. It is beyond this life, though; God calls us to live for the Kingdom…which is to come.
Health and wealth…indeed!
For tomorrow, Thursday, October 1st: Hebrews 12