An Answer for Prosperity Preachers (1 Kings 3:11-14)

1 Kings 3:11-14 – And God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you. I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that no other king shall compare with you, all your days. And if you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.”
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What would you do if God gave you a blank check? What would you ask for if God told you you could have any one thing? Would you ask for money, fame, fortune, fun, or health? Would your request be noble or selfish?

When God came to Solomon in chapter 3 of 1 Kings, he offered Solomon one request. Solomon had the chance to ask for anything his heart desired, and he asked God for a wise heart so that he could faithfully govern the people. God’s response, which we read above, shows that God was pleased by the young king’s thinking. God was especially pleased with the way that Solomon thought in contrast with the way that many would think, greedily seeking earthly comforts.

In our day, there are no lack of preachers out there who declare that God wants his children to have everything they desire. These proclaimers of health, wealth, and prosperity declare all followers of Christ to be adopted children in the family of the King of kings—a true statement. They then reason that, since we are King’s kids, we are wealthy and should live as wealthy as royalty. They instruct their followers to simply name whatever they desire (nice car, fancy clothes, large house, etc.), and God, the King, will happily give such things to his adopted progeny.

I wonder if the preachers of prosperity gospels ever pay attention to how God responded to Solomon. Yes, I am sure they notice that Solomon got wealth and prosperity; but I wonder if they recognize that he did not ask for it. Health, wealth, and prosperity teachers preach the exact opposite of what God commends in Solomon’s request. God was pleased by the fact that Solomon did not ask him for money, power, or fame. God gave such things to Solomon for the express reason that Solomon was not seeking them. Solomon wanted to please God by ruling his people well, and God rewarded Solomon by granting his request for wisdom and adding in the fame, money, and power for the fun of it.

If you want happiness and joy from God, the way to receive them is not to seek possessions or comforts in this life from him. To seek the things that God has made before seeking God is idolatry, and God will not tolerate it. The way to have a joyful and full life is not to seek earthly treasure, but to seek God. Ask for the Creator, not is creation, and he will give you what you need. But recognize that you can not scheme a reward by tricking God. If your heart is set on earthly wealth, God is not going to be fooled by your worship, full of pretense. Your heart has to change, and your desire has to be the glory and majesty of God above all. The prosperity you seek needs to be eternal prosperity in his name.

Though many preach to us that we need simply name and claim our desires, they fail to preach to us the true gospel. God does not tell you to “name it and claim it.” He instead tells us to change our earthly, fleshly, sinful desires. He tells us to stop seeking earthly treasure, and seek his Kingdom and righteousness in its place (Matthew 6:33). So it is time for the people of God to let the false preachers of prosperity gospel know that what we really want is God’s will, preachers to preach the true gospel.

Lord, I pray that you will make me aware of any way in which my life is enslaved to a desire for earthly comforts or things. I want to seek you and your kingdom and righteousness. I want to please you by asking for wisdom, discernment, righteousness, and a faithful heart. I want to have you grant me the ability to follow you with everything that I have. I want to be able to serve you on this earth until my dying breath. I want the passion to share the true gospel with the lost, and to see the lost come to know you through Christ. I also pray that you will free your people from the false preachers of a man-centered, flesh-exalting prosperity gospel. Change the hearts of your people to hearts that seek you above any of the things you created. Do this, I pray, that your name might be exalted above all things.

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