Have you ever had mixed feelings about money? To be honest, listening to sermons about giving used to be tiresome. I wanted to give but often had limited resources.
Churches routinely offered Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University as a Bible study option. I guess I wasn’t alone.
Money, however, is still the elephant in the room. Many people believe in faithful stewardship, but not in making money. How can you steward money if you don’t make money?
God’s plan for prosperity is not corrupt. God has given us the promise to thrive.
FROM SEEDLING TO TREE
Similes are one of my favorite literary methods used in the Bible. A simile is a figure of speech that compares two things to make a point easier to understand.
In Psalm 1:2-3, God compares believers to trees firmly planted by a stream. I can imagine God carefully planting His seedlings, and with great delight, watching them become towering trees.
But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers.
Psalm 1:2-3 New American Standard Bible
The comparison switches back from tree to man. God reminds us that within His divine order believers prosper. Are you starting to raise an eyebrow?
Perhaps we are stuck with the word prosper. We may equate properity with being rich. Although, God can increase your resources, in this particular verse, the Hebrew meaning of the word prosper is “to push forward.”
In the Logos Bible Exegetical Guide, it interprets “he prospers” as “to make steady favorable progress or succeed.” The same interpretation describes the success of these well-known spiritual leaders.
Joseph – Gen 39:2
David – 1 Sam 18:5
Solomon – 1 Chron 29:23
Daniel – Dan 6:28
To understand prosperity in the context of Psalm 1:2-3, let’s divide this verse into three progressive stages: Meditate, Grow, and Thrive!
MEDITATE DAY AND NIGHT
We are to delight in the long-term pursuit, and contemplation, of God’s Word.
Delight evokes an affection that consumes our thoughts like when we first fell in love. God’s Word becomes a collection of compelling love letters that captivates our hearts. Day and night, we think about the one we love, and live in step with Him. We become a tree planted by a stream.
GROW FROM THE INSIDE OUT
It may be hard to see a connection between meditation and the steady favorable progress of financial success, but the spiritual realm affects the physical realm.
We can’t see the roots of a maturing tree, but that doesn’t mean there’s no progress. The roots stabilize the tree to sustain its growth so it can bear fruit.
God’s grace continues to work in our lives as we meditate on His Word. We begin to grow our stabilizing roots. The Holy Spirit begins to change us inwardly, and we start to bear spiritual fruit.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5:22 NASB
When facing financial challenges, the Fruit of the Holy Spirit is power unleashed. We have the self-control and patience to manage what we have, and peace, that helps us not to wither with despair.
THE PROMISE TO THRIVE
If we follow God’s divine order, the fruit we bear goes beyond spiritual. In Psalm 1:2-3, fruit means offspring, descendants, or tangible blessings. Do we dare think money?
I believe money is God’s crop that we can harvest. It provides resources to sustain us, but a successful crop also leaves seeds–seeds we can invest to further God’s Kingdom.
Do you believe God can help you with the steady favorable progress of financial success? If so, then push forward, and ask God to help you grow and prosper.
New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
Strong, J. (1996). The New Strong’s Dictionary of Hebrew and Greek Words. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.