Old Testament Prototypes of Prosperity Blessings from God
Let’s take a look at the story of Jacob, the father of Israel. Jacob cheated and stole not only the birthright but also the blessings from his twin brother Esau, so much so that Esau was angry with him and wanted to kill him. His parents had to send him away, which means, the thing that he was striving for was taken away from him and seemed absolutely lost in this exile.
When Jacob fled from home, through the wilderness, to his relatives whom he had never met, he was dismayed, weary, and enjoyed no certainty of the future and no hope of “prosperity.” God revealed Himself to Jacob in a dream while he slept with his head on a stone. He then prospered Jacob in everything he set his hands to in the following almost two decades of his service unto his father-in-law/uncle. Then God revealed himself again and called him back home. Before he was to meet Esau, his enemy, Jacob prayed to God.
9Jacob said, “O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, O Lord, who said to me, ‘Return to your country and to your relatives, and I will prosper you,’
10I am unworthy of all the loving kindness and of all the faithfulness which You have shown to Your servant; for with my staff only I crossed this Jordan, and now I have become two companies.
11″Deliver me, I pray, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau; for I fear him, that he will come and attack me and the mothers with the children.
12″For You said, ‘I will surely prosper you and make your descendants as the sand of the sea, which is too great to be numbered.’ ” (Genesis 32:9-12 NASB)
Then the angel of the Lord wrestled with him and Jacob prevailed and his name was changed to Israel. He woke up to meet Esau the very morning and they reconciled. Both were actually very prosperous materially, but Esau’s seems to have been an easier road. For all of Jacob’s early striving, he accomplished nothing. Later, although he faced great hardship, he was blessed by God and received both material and God’s spiritual blessing.
This is more than a personal story. Jacob’s life serves as an example for the people of Israel in the natural (the nation of Israel), as well in the spiritual (the Church) as the people of God. The promise of prosperity is part of our promise in God when we choose to be followers of Christ, for in Christ Jesus every promise of God is yes. (2 Corinthians 1:20)
We should also note that Jacob’s blessing came:
- not the way he wanted it or strived (of his own power) for it
- But instead as a blessing straight from God
- After much heartache, disappointment, and through tribulation
- alongside hard work of his own (in other words, God blessed, but he had to work diligently to manifest God’s blessings)
The Greatest blessing came totally outside anything of his control or even imagination. He worked diligently, and even though he screwed up mightily, he did seek God and was blessed and a mighty nation to save all of Mankind sprang from him.
Do you see any of this story in your own life? Does it impact the way you look at the future?
Photo credit: Rene Ehrhardt