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  • William T. Howe Ph.D.

June 11, 2024

Rēad to Read …Again


Daily Reading: Job 35-37

 

Job 36:11

If they obey and serve him, they shall spend their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasures.

 

According to those who study such things, we are told that Job is perhaps the oldest book of the Bible. If so that means that Elihu could have been the first prosperity preacher the world ever knew. Notice that he promises prosperity and pleasures to those that obey and serve the Lord.  Succinctly put, prosperity and pleasure throughout life is the foundation of the prosperity gospel being so widely promoted today.

 

But is it true that those who serve and obey God will spend their days in prosperity and pleasures? The Bible indicates otherwise. Are afflictions prosperous and pleasurable? No, they are not. Yet, Psalm 34:19 is clear; Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all. This means that for the righteous there are many afflictions and many deliverances. The fact that they are delivered does not mean that during their afflictions there is prosperity and pleasure. But Elihu says …they shall spend their days… all their days evidently.

 

The Apostle Paul told Timothy: Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. (II Timothy 3:12) Consider all that have attempted to live a godly life in Christ yet have suffered undue persecution and heartache. One just has to read The Book of Martyrs to know that Paul’s words are true. The stories in that book will break the heart and bring tears to the eyes. The lives and memories of those in the “dark ages” who suffered martyrdom are dishonored to say that all those who live godly in Christ Jesus will enjoy pleasure and prosperity in their days.

 

Consider Paul. He lived a godly life after coming to know, believe in, and serve the Lord Jesus. Yet, his life was far from pleasure and prosperity. How about Stephen? One of the first seven deacons who was stoned to death for speaking the truth about God and His Christ. His days were not all prosperous and pleasurable. Ask any pastor. “Are you prosperous?”  Some may be, but a greater percentage are so poor that they must have a cosigner to spend cash. They work odd jobs or second jobs to provide for their families. They struggle with great financial hardships. As far as their days being pleasurable, just follow them around for a month, hear the heartbreaking stories they hear, see them carry the weight of the spiritual welfare of the flock on their hearts and minds, hear their continual prayers of intercessions, suffer with them the hurt of their sheep biting them, or leaving them for greener pastures. Again, Paul wrote in Romans 9:2 …I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. That is not pleasurable.

 

Are there blessings for those who love, serve, and obey the Lord God? Yes, a thousand times yes, but to say that all who do will live in prosperity and pleasure throughout the days of their lives, that is not reality. After all, it does rain on the just and the unjust (Matthew 5:45) on this truth Jesus was right and on his own words Elihu was wrong.

 

Dr. William T. Howe

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