Prosperity with A Purpose

I've been reading through the book of Jeremiah again. In it Jeremiah is sharing his experience as a prophet to Israel and Judah about God's judgment against them because of their stubborn disobedience of the LORD.

Jeremiah is told by God to tell the people that they are going to be taken captive by their northern neighbors for their disobedience. But the people do not only have Jeremiah to listen to, there are other prophets who are giving a different message to the people. These false prophets are putting the people at ease and suggesting that Jeremiah is really the false prophet. It is a difficult calling that Jeremiah has.

But what has interested me most while reading this book again is that Jeremiah's message is that the LORD really wants to bless His people (Jeremiah 2:7). But those blessings are conditional. That is to say, God wanted His children to inherit the promised land flowing with milk and honey, but He wasn't going to bless them to continue to enjoy it if they refused to obey Him.

What God wants is to redeem the world back to Himself. And His desire was to use the people of Israel and Judah. They were to be "His chosen people," His "anointed." They were the instruments of His reconciliation. So, it is key that any people who bear the name of the LORD rightly represent Him. When His people refused to obey Him, it became necessary for Him to discipline them (Jeremiah 2:17).

Some folk mistakenly believe that God was rough in the Old Testament. He was not. He was as a loving parent who disciplined His disobedient children. While He would threaten judgment, He would make it clear that if they would do His will He would bring them back into the land He had promised for them (Jeremiah 3:14-15,22, 4:1-2).

I see that God deals with us the same way. He desperately wants to bless us and give us good things (Psalm 84:11). He wants to prosper us and not harm us. But some of us want to disconnect the blessings of the LORD from obedience to the LORD.

I heard Pastor Taliaferro preach a message some years ago entitled "There's a Purpose for the Pain." I'm thinking there's room for a message now entitled "There's a Purpose for Your Prosperity." It is not (for the Christian) just to be prosperous. If you are God's child, He wants to use you for His glory.

When you forget that as His child, when you begin to believe that you deserve the blessings of the LORD or begin to misappropriate His blessings, then He MUST discipline you. I'm reading a book entitled Broken In the Right Place: How God Tames the Soul by Alan E. Nelson. Nelson says:
...the world has little use for the wild, broken soul. An unbroken soul is primarily a consumer . It occupies space and carries on many of the functions of a broken soul; but it performs little good. Its activities are not very useful in the eternal view of things. Like the horse, an unbroken soul can have natural beauty, but it tends to be one of latent potential and not pragmatic beauty.

And that seems to be the powerful point in Jeremiah 18. God says that if he announces that He had plans to build up and plant a certain nation and make it strong and great, but that nation refuses to obey Him, He won't bless that nation as He had said He would (Jeremiah 18:9-10).

When we forget that there's a purpose for our blessings, we become consumers .


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