(This 4-part study is Study #4 from the series, Studies From the Book of Job. You can access the other studies by clicking here.)
A snow storm was predicted for the other day. It was the first of the season, and it promised to be ugly. Sure enough, the drive to work was dangerous at best. Thousands of accidents were reported on the roads that day, and I was more than happy to finally pull in to the parking lot of my workplace.
I called my son at that point. He had only had his driver’s license for a few weeks, and he had not had any practice driving in the snow. I knew that this same son would want to take the car to youth that evening. “If the roads don’t improve,” I informed him, “I’mgoing to drive with you to youth.”
Needless to say, that didn’t go over well. Once you have a driver’s license in hand, it’s an affront to have to have your mother accompany you to youth. I was immediately labeled “mean,” “unloving,” “uncaring,” etc., and I was accused of not trusting him.
“Immature,” you say. Or perhaps, “What do you expect from a kid!” But aren’t we the same way with God? We expect Him to do certain things for us, and when He doesn’t, we’re sure that He’s being mean or that He doesn’t care. After all, didn’t He promise us abundant life (John 10:10)? And if this is His definition of “abundance,” I don’t want any part of it!
When we look to the book of Job, we find a few excellent examples of the dangers of the prosperity doctrine. Let’s take a look:
1. It makes us lose prospective on our “reason-to-be“:
The first danger of the prosperity doctrine is found in Job 3, when we see that as a result of his disillusionment with God, Job wanted to die: “Why did I not die at birth? Why did I not perish when I came from the womb?…Or why was I not hidden like a stillborn child, Like infants who never saw light?” (Job 3:11-16)
We are all here for a reason. Sometimes that reason isn’t overly apparent to us, due to the troubles we are experiencing, but if we lose our grasp on our “reason-to-be,” we become disillusioned and depressed. When we subscribe to the prosperity doctrine and then God doesn’t come through for us in the way we want Him too, we very easily fall into the clutches of this danger.
2. It makes us believe false things about God:
There are many examples from the book of Job, but no space in this devotional to list them. Here is one example: Job believed God was against Him: “The arrows of the Almighty are in me, my spirit drinks in their poison; God’s terrors are marshaled against me.” (Job 6:4). Yet God isn’t against Job. We know this, because God re-establishes him at the end of the book.
Also see Job 3:24-25, Job 9:16, Job 19:6, Job 13:27, Job 29:2, etc for more examples, yet each of these things that Job came to believe is not in line with God’s Character! Friends, when we subscribe to the doctrine that God rewards us for our good behavior, and then we see bad things happening to us, we are deceived into believing things about God that are not in line with His character!
3. It makes us seem righteous in our own eyes, it makes us our own judge:
“I have become a laughingstock to my friends…though righteous and blameless!” (Job 12:4)
But we are not righteous: “There is none who does good, No, not one.” (Ps 14:3 NKJV); “But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags;” (Isa 64:6 NKJV)
4. It makes us judgmental:
“You, however, smear me with lies! You are worthless physicians, all of you!” (Job 13:4)
When we subscribe to the prosperity doctrine, it makes it awfully easy to point the finger at others! Yet we are admonished time and again to not judge: “Judge not, that you be not judged.” (Matt 7:1-2 NKJV)
5. It makes us want to separate ourselves from God:
“So look away from him and let him alone, till he has put in his time like a hired man.” (Job 14:6)
But without God we are nothing! The Bible equates being without God as being without hope! Friends, in our times of trouble, the last thing we need to do is push God away! “…having no hope and without God in the world.” (Eph 2:12-13 NKJV)
These are just a few of the examples of the dangers of the prosperity doctrine. When we believe God rewards us for our goodness, we forget that of ourselves we are anything but good: “But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags;” (Isa 64:6 NKJV); “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” (Rom 3:23 NKJV) Each blessing of God is not our “due,” but rather, a free gift of a loving God, poured out upon a very beloved people.
But wait. We’ve just spent three devotionals talking about how the prosperity doctrine is so bad. But this doctrine does have its roots in scripture. Jesus Himself said that He came to give us life more abundantly (See John 10:10)!
Join us next week for a look at how the book of Job can help us understand what true prosperity really is. Oh, and find out what really happened with my son and his driving in the snow…The Prosperity Doctrine Exposed, Part 4: Prosperity unveiled!
In His love,
Lyn Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two teens, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries.
(To access other lessons in The Prosperity Doctrine mini-series, please click here.)