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Judges 17. The first appendix: What is God's prosperity?

JUDGES-17-171027
length: 66:26 - taught on Oct, 27 2017
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Title: Judges 17. The first appendix: What is God's prosperity?

 

Satan has many schemes by which he attempts to get us to lay down the weapons of our spiritual warfare. As we see in this first appendix, syncretism is one such scheme in which we alter the plan of God by combining it with our own plans.

 

The only fatal thing is to sit down content with anything less than perfection in God's plan.

 

There is another great trap that Satan has laid for us all. In the areas of the plan of God that you do not like there is likely some vice or bad habit that you do like that is getting in the way. As one who loves God, you would rather it be out of the way. Satan may help you get it out of the way, so long as you accept something far worse, and that worse things is pride.

 

A person can be convinced to beat down a simpler vice by the use of pride, which is the chief of all sins. He cures his cold by getting cancer.

 

We often appeal to a person's pride when asking them to behave decently. Many men have overcome cowardice, lust, anger, etc., by thinking they are beneath his dignity. This is why the Pharisees were so evil, yet exhibited great self-control. Self-control is a good thing as long as it is done for the right reason. The devil laughs. We patted ourselves on the back for giving up a bad vice, and maybe others have also congratulated us, but secretly we have picked up a big helping of pride. Satan helped you overcome your cold and he gave you cancer.

 

In humility, knowing we are nothing before God, we accept His grace and depend fully on Him to execute the power and wisdom that He has graciously given us. We are His vessels with His treasure within.

 

This is really important, for pride is a spiritual cancer. It eats up every possibility of love, life, and happiness. This why it is so important to depend fully on God the Holy Spirit and why there is no feeling of Him when you do so, for that would only inflame pride. By trusting Him and not even being able to feel or experience how He works through us puts us right on the ground floor of humility. We set out to do what we are called to do, knowing only the power of God will accomplish it, and that if I do see the fruit of divine power and glory come from myself, I know that I am still a nothing and God is everything. This eliminates the cancer of pride.

 

When we come to be in touch with God through salvation and we get to know Him by walking in His plan, you will in fact be humble, and delightedly humble, feeling the infinite relief of having for once got rid of all the silly nonsense about your own dignity which has made you restless and unhappy all your life. Genuine humility enables us to enjoy life easily, no matter what comes our way. That, my friends, is prosperity of soul!

 

A question arises which becomes one of the challenges shown to us in this narrative: to what do you attribute prosperity?

 

PSA 25:12 Who is the man who fears the Lord?

He will instruct him in the way he should choose.

 

PSA 25:13 His soul will abide in prosperity,

 

"should choose" - there is a way that we ought to go, which in the church is Christ and cannot be altered. Our love of the Lord mixes with our fear/respect of the Lord and we choose what we ought and our souls prosper.

 

We are not working for prosperity. We have already been blessed with all things before the foundation of the earth. We are using those things so that in time we enjoy them and prosper in our souls.

 

God uses several analogies for this so that we will understand that it is of grace and not of works, but that doesn't mean we do nothing. Works would refer to making the gift or earning it. Grace means that we receive it for no reason. Grace also means that we use the gift since all of God's gifts have purpose.

 

For instance: The armor of God is given to us. We do not construct it or fashion it. However, if we do not put it on, then we will not prosper in battle.

 

The vine is given to us and we are made into branches that fit the vine perfectly. Fruit is the production of those who abide in the vine, in Christ. If a believer lacks love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control his soul will not prosper, but it will not be for the reason that he had to work for them, but failed to. He failed to abide in the vine, which is to have a lifestyle of fellowship with Christ. Fellowship with Christ is a life in which he thinks like Christ, values what Christ values, and acts like Christ as if he is indeed walking with Christ.

 

You know when a person says "walk with me a while" in a tone that means more than just walking from point A to point B. It means to go with me and talk with me and understand me. In this way we walk by means of the Spirit and we follow Christ. It is a journey to a certain place, but it is not a silent walk. To walk with Him you must understand His mind and understand what He loves, for if you don't come to that understanding, you will not understand where you are going.

 

Understanding and loving the beauty of where we are going is the whole point in Jesus showing it to you.  

 

At first his fellowship with Christ is quite simple and relies mostly on trust and obedience, and by the way, a lot of failure and proper discipline. He has a fellowship as a young child might to a parent. But as the believer grows to the full knowledge of Christ, his fellowship with Him is more complex, in that he thinks like Christ on a much deeper level.

 

1CO 2:9 "Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard,

And which have not entered the heart of man,

All that God has prepared for those who love Him."

 

1CO 2:10 For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths [deep things] of God.

 

It is like the fellowship of a grown or adult child to a parent. For such a fellowship to exist they must agree on key issues.

 

Again:

PSA 25:12 Who is the man who fears the Lord?

He will instruct him in the way he should choose.

 

PSA 25:13 His soul will abide in prosperity,

 

A prosperous soul will enjoy material prosperity as well, in the material that God has chosen to bless them with; a little or a lot.

 

There is a prosperity of the wicked, that to the untrained eye may look like the prosperity of the righteous.

 

PSA 73:1 Surely God is good to Israel,

To those who are pure in heart!

 

"Pure in heart" is a phrase that has been used enough that its true meaning is often not thought of.

 

Pure is the word for clean, and it refers to a heart that seeks after the things of God by receiving His grace and loving His way.

 

Israel had sought after idols and false gods for so long that Jeremiah describes them as pure gold, which is what they should have been with God as their King, that has become changed to a dark substance.

 

LAM 4:1 How dark the gold has become,

How the pure gold has changed!

The sacred stones are poured out

At the corner of every street.

 

LAM 4:2 The precious sons of Zion,

Weighed against fine gold,

How they are regarded as earthen jars,

 

PSA 73:1 Surely God is good to Israel,

To those who are pure in heart!

 

PSA 73:2 But as for me, my feet came close to stumbling;

My steps had almost slipped.

 

PSA 73:3 For I was envious of the arrogant,

As I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

 

PSA 73:16 When I pondered to understand this,

It was troublesome in my sight

 

PSA 73:17 Until I came into the sanctuary of God;

Then I perceived their end.

 

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