If we consider prosperity from a Covenantal point of view we discover that prosperity was certainly a part of God’s Covenant with His people. We must learn to think in line with the Covenant if we are to believe for all that it provides. Many Christians today have no problem believing for the spiritual prosperity part of the Covenant (or at least some of the spiritual benefits). It is generally accepted that Christ bore our sins on the cross, and through Him we are forgiven and put into right standing (righteousness) with God. A few less grasp that healing was also apprehended through the cross for everyone who believes. He carried our sins and our sicknesses, and by His stripes we are healed (1 Pet 2:24; Isa 53). That is physical prosperity, and generally people may also include mental prosperity, peace of mind, in the Covenant package.
Things get a bit more complicated in people’s thinking concerning material prosperity. Fleshly abuses which have often discredited greedy ministers in the eyes of the world and the church on one side, and ‘hyper-spiritual’ separation of the physical and the spiritual aspects of life whereby some believers have taught that everything of this world is inherently evil, especially money, have led to very murky waters. We believe that like the bitter waters of Marah (Ex 15:22-27), application of the tree (the cross) can sweeten the waters and bring us to a place of Abundant provision (Elim).
If we were to interview many of the Covenantal patriarchs what answer would we receive from them?
Adam, is God a God of abundance or scarcity?
Did you lack anything at all when you and Eve were in the garden of Eden prior to the fall?
What would Adam say? Genesis 1:26-31; 2:8-15
Abraham, does your Covenant with Almighty God include material prosperity?
Genesis 12:1-3; 13:2,6,14-17; 16:17-23; 22:14; 24:1; 25:5-8
What about you Isaac? Did your Covenant with God include material prosperity?
Genesis 26:1-5, 12-16,24-25
And you Jacob. Is it God’s will to bless and prosper His servants financially?
Genesis 28:10-22; 30:27-30,43; 31:1,38-42; 33:11
Our God is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. We have been given the blessing of Abraham (Gal 3:14), like Isaac, we are the children of Promise (Gal 4:28), and we are part of spiritual Israel (Gal 6:16).
What do you say? Is God a God who prospers His servants?
We could also ask Joseph, whom the Bible describes as a prosperous man even when he was thrown into prison (Genesis 39:2-5,23), and who eventually was elevated to become the second most powerful man in the known world at that time.
How about Moses, who recorded the Covenant for future generations, or King David? What about Solomon, undoubtedly one of the richest men ever to live? Would these men say that their Covenant with God included material prosperity as well as spiritual benefits?
We could look at many other Scriptures, which clearly indicate that God’s blessing upon the lives of His servants included victory in battle, protection, provision and prosperity in material things. For these saints there was no question about whether it was God’s will to prosper them or not. Certainly, the blessing was attached to Covenant responsibilities, but provision was made within the Covenant for abundance for all of God’s servants.
Moses was a man who forsook the riches of Egypt (a type of the world), choosing instead to bear the reproach of the children of God (Hebrews 11:24-26). He understood that there is a level of prosperity which cannot be measured in pounds and pence or dollars and cents. He lived to witness the spoiling of Egypt and liberation of Israel (Ex 12:35-36; Ps 105:27), the provision of God in the desert for over a million souls with manna, quail and even water from a rock. His lifestyle may not have included the comforts of an Egyptian boudoir, yet it would be impossible for Him to say that God is not a Provider and a Rewarder of those who choose to follow Him.
Very briefly we will we will look at some of the Covenant promises recorded by Moses:
“But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.” (Deuteronomy 8:18 KJV)
“And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God. Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep. Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store. Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out. The LORD shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways. The LORD shall command the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses, and in all that thou settest thine hand unto; and he shall bless thee in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. The LORD shall establish thee an holy people unto himself, as he hath sworn unto thee, if thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, and walk in his ways. And all people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the LORD; and they shall be afraid of thee. And the LORD shall make thee plenteous in goods, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy ground, in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers to give thee. The LORD shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow. And the LORD shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the LORD thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them: And thou shalt not go aside from any of the words which I command thee this day, to the right hand, or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.” (Deuteronomy 28:1-14 KJV)
Is prosperity part of the New Covenant? Was prosperity provided as part of the atonement?
Regarding prosperity the Bible says that we have been given a Covenant of Peace (Ezek 37:26). This word as we said before is the Hebrew word ‘shalom’ and includes provision and protection on every level. The New Testament Greek word for salvation or saved is ‘sozo’ which carries a similar meaning. It does not narrowly refer to being saved from hell, but to a comprehensive redemption of our entire being both inwardly and outwardly; nothing lacking, nothing missing. If this ‘so great’ salvation fails to address our material well-being it could not be described as ‘sozo’ in the fullest sense. Equally, the New Testament describes this New Covenant as a better Covenant built on better promises (Hebrews 8:6). If material provision and prosperity were part of the Old Covenant, the New Testament could hardly be described as better if this clause were removed and replaced with a promise of lack!
The New Testament Scriptures say, in the context of Covenant and money:
“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.” (2Corinthians 8:9 NKJV)
This is the language of atonement, substitution and Covenant. He was made sin with our sin that we might be made righteous (2 Cor 5:21). He was made sick with our sicknesses that we might be made well (1 Pet 2:24; Isa 53:4-5,10). He bore the chastisement of our ‘shalom’ and became poor, that we might be made… _________________ (fill in the blank) (Isa 53:5; 2Cor 8:9).
Some may say that this Scripture refers to spiritual riches, yet the context of the verse clearly concerns material provision and giving of finances to the work of the God (2 Cor ch 8-9).
In addition to this, or better said, at the root of this, is the fact that the New Covenant does not grow out from the law, but from the Abrahamic Covenant and blessing found in Genesis 12. We, as New Covenant believers, are blessed with faithful Abraham (Gal 3:9).
Covenant always has two sides however, and just as the Old Testament promise came with conditions of obedience, so the New Covenant provision materially and financially has conditions and principles which activate the promised blessing. We will be looking at some of these principles in these lessons.