The prosperity gospel. No doubt most, if not all, of those reading this devotional have heard of that term. But what exactly does it mean? Wikipedia has the following definition, “belief that financial blessing and physical well-being are always the will of God for believers, and that faith, positive speech, and donations to religious causes will increase one’s material wealth.” In other words, the idea behind this teaching is that God does not ever want His people to encounter problems or trials. If we do, it’s become of sin, lack of faith, demonic forces or something along those lines. God always wants us to be wealthy and healthy!
Obviously this teaching/philosophy is not something we hold to, despite it’s popularity both here and around the world. One of the passages that flies in the face if the prosperity gospel is in our reading today. Psalm 66:10-13 reads, “For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried us, as silver is tried. Thou broughtest us into the net; thou laidst affliction upon our loins. Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place.” Take special note to verse 12 which states that God Himself brought them (His people) into the net and laid affliction on their backs.
Is it possible that God often allows hard times in the life of a believer? Absolutely! We only have to look at verse 10 to see the reason: refining. The idea behind refining is to remove the impurities or unwanted elements from a substance, such as silver. This is the core reason why God often will allow difficult trials in the lives of His children. Most often we do not grow much spiritually when life is a bed of roses. Oh I’m sure most of us don’t stop our devotions or stop coming to church. But more than likely, if you are like me, our walk with the Lord lacks the zeal and fervency it frequently has when we are facing trials. God’s desire for us through these difficult times is for us to come through the trial more like our Savior than we were before. In other words, he desires to refine us in order to get rid of the various sins and stumbling blocks in our lives. Ron Hamilton says it best in the first verse of his song, “Rejoice in the Lord.” He writes, “God never moves without purpose or plan when trying his servant and molding a man. Give thanks to the Lord, though your testing be long. In darkness He giveth a song.”