Many appear to be living a blessed life because they have the material prosperity to prove it. However, are they truly blessed? As we scrutinize the life of those who claim to be blessed, the blessing that they claim to have is not the true blessing that comes from God. In Scriptures we are told, “The blessing of the LORD makes a person rich, and he adds no sorrow with it” (Prov. 10:22). God will not let problems or sorrows accompany the blessings that he gives to his people. Rather, he lets them enjoy it fully. However, the reality is that there are people who claim to be rich in material possessions but they are living miserable lives. Not only are they deprived of the enjoyment of their wealth because of their misplaced priorities but have even caused division in their family.
When one receives a supposed material blessing and yet troubles come with it, there is a need to check how this material blessing came about. It is in the manner that these wealth are gathered that determines whether it is a blessing coming from God or not. There are wealth that are ill-gotten, hence, are not from the Lord. In fact we are told that “Ill-gotten treasures are of no value” (Prov. 10:2). Certainly, God will not sanction wickedness and let the culprit go scot-free. There are consequences that come when one gathers his wealth in a manner that is not right before God. One of the most obvious consequences is the fact that the one who gathers the wealth in an illicit manner will not enjoy it. Instead, the wealth will eventually cause trouble to himself or his family. The worst that can happen to those who amasses wealth in a wicked manner is fully described in the Book of Proverbs: “These men lie in wait for their own blood; they ambush only themselves! Such are the paths of all who go after ill-gotten gain; it takes away the life of those who get it” (Prov. 1:18-19).
The consequence of obtaining wealth in an evil or dishonest manner can go beyond the person that perpetrated it. This is well illustrated in the story of Achan in the Bible. When Israel conquered Jericho, one of the instructions Joshua gave to all the Israelites was for them to devote the city and everything in it to the Lord. No one is to take for himself anything, but everything will go to the treasury of the Lord. Notwithstanding this instruction, Achan took some of the articles. Because of this the Lord’s anger burned against Israel. When confronted, Achan confessed, “When I saw in the plunder a beautiful robe from Babylonia, two hundred shekels of silver and a bar of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them. They are hidden in the ground inside my tent, with the silver underneath.” (Joshua 7:21). As a consequence, Achan together with his family were stoned to death.
The proper way to prosper and receive true blessing from the Lord is to “Honour the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine” (Prov. 3:9-10). Indeed, if we know how to honour the Lord with our wealth, there is an overflow of blessings. The Lord himself will ensure that we are well rewarded for our faithfulness. On the other hand, if we withhold that which is due to the Lord, there will be devourers that will deny us the enjoyment of our wealth. Foremost, let us not lie to the Lord concerning our giving. Let us not be like Ananias and Sapphira who lied to the Lord when they brought the proceeds of the house they sold. While they only brought a portion of the selling price of their house, they claimed that it was the full proceeds of the sale. Peter rebuked Ananias strongly and said, “How is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God” (Acts 5:3-4). Both Ananias and Sapphira died as a consequence of their lying. They were not able to enjoy the portion of the proceeds that they tried to keep for themselves.
For us to fully enjoy God’s blessings, we need to do right before the Lord because “No harm overtakes the righteous, but the wicked have their fill of trouble” (Prov. 12:21). Let us purpose it in our hearts to do what is right before the Lord and not to covet the devoted things of God. Let us give to him what is due unto him that we may fully enjoy the blessings that come from him. Let us remember that ill-gotten wealth has no value. Therefore, let us give glory to God for the God-given blessings we have. Hallelujah!