Deuteronomy 30:15–20, Acts 4:5–22
If someone were to give us a speech about being given the way to life or death, there would likely be an automatic naysayer response. This is the case when the “way” is exercise, healthy eating (including the latest fads), life philosophy. In the Christian context, we understand the Jesus is that “way”. To many of us who have heard and believed, this is obvious.
Yet, there are many in the church and the world that when they hear something along the lines of, “See, today I have set before you life and prosperity, death and adversity,” they turn off. You, too, might have that exact same response. It’s an understandable response because we see the human saying it, and we know humans. They don’t really understand the “way”. How can they, they’re only human.
The way of life and prosperity is empowered by the faithful attention to the Holy Spirit. Man cannot do it alone. Man needs to be in humble partnership with God, letting God lead. The importance of humility cannot be overstated. If we were to take, for example. prosperity to its extreme, we all understand that it is an issue. Really, the promise that was given was that Israel would have enough.
Yet, to have even enough, they would have to walk in harmony with God. That is often the hard part. The leaders of the Jews were so strongly focused on the right checkboxes that they could no longer see the way. With the disciples, we also see a transformation of the promise. The prosperity was not of this world (except, one hopes, in framily).
The other darker transformation of the promise is that the way often leads to adversity and death. The disciples experienced both, as do many Christians around the world today.
1) What do you think about the promise changing? Do you agree, or disagree? Why?
2) Financial prosperity has often been used to judge God’s blessing and a person’s faithfulness. What is your take on that?