“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
– Joshua 1:7-9
“God will give you every place you step your feet for the glory of His name if you let Him.”
– Beth Moore, Believing God
For all my faithful readers who know I am not a prosperity gospel peddler, do not think I just fell off the deep end.
First, in looking at the Scripture, God is giving Joshua and the Israelites a commission. Follow God’s commands to the letter, and He will give them every place they step. Wow! What a promise. But this is the reward for carrying out the commission for conquering the Promised Land. This is not a one size fits all promise in my estimation. We have the Great Commission. Our reward is that Jesus is with us to the end of the age.
Did the Israelites perform their end of the commission? No. They did not follow God’s commandments, and then they did not drive out everyone from the Promised Land. A few excuses dealt with iron chariots (Joshua 17), but then God proved the iron chariots were no match for Him, once the people believed (Judges 4). Deborah, the prophet, may have had her general, Barak, but Barak would not go against the iron chariots of Sisera until Deborah, a woman, agreed to go along. And people call the Bible male-centric. There were stories of some powerful women.
But the Judges would not have been necessary, if the people had followed God’s commands and driven all non-believers from the land in Joshua’s time. They had a promise from God to make everywhere they stepped theirs.
An impressionist during the Reagan years had a comedy sketch of Reagan doing a press conference. The reporter, off screen, asks why President Reagan looks down each time before he speaks. The impressionist stood at the podium, gripping each side, smiling just as Reagan was known for doing. He looked down, then up at the off-camera reporter and he said, “Well, … You would make a habit of often looking down if you spent as much time in the stables as I do.”
What happens when I step, just anywhere? First, I must look where I am stepping. I might have to wash my shoes otherwise.
But what of Beth Moore’s quote? For one, I have read enough of her writings to get the idea that she is not on the prosperity gospel gravy train either. She makes a few distinctions in a short sentence. First, “every place you step your feet for the glory of His name”. God will bless us when we are within His will, and that blessing will also be within His will, not necessarily what we may want and the blessing may not be material in nature. I cannot remember who tweeted this the other day (one thing I do not like about twitter – it disappears so easily.), but someone said that God never fails to give us what we need in doing His will. So, if this statement is correct and you don’t have it, you either don’t need it or you are going a different direction than what God wanted.
The second thing in Beth Moore’s quote is “if you let Him.”
Maybe tomorrow: I have a headache.
Maybe tomorrow: I have a doctor’s appointment and then I need to do some grocery shopping.
Maybe tomorrow: I need to call the grandkids and make sure they are okay.
The prosperity gospel fails, because we don’t really want it that bad; we want it without the required effort; and we want it with or without God’s will getting done or even considered.
But then, it fails on at least one foundational point. If we are only in it for what we get out of it, why would God, or any rational person, want to have a relationship with someone of that nature? It’s like when your friend warns you about someone you are about to meet. Your friend says, “When you shake this guy’s hand, don’t be obvious about it, but count your fingers afterward.” Do you really want to become friends with someone like that? Okay, then why would God want a relationship with someone who only pretends to like Him and would rob Him blind of all His gold once His back is turned? Okay, not all, just the amount of gold God won’t miss.
Jesus died for us while we were yet sinners. He only requires that we accept God’s program in return. We need to repent of our sin (which includes that coveting of our neighbor’s gold supply), and we need to love God with every fiber in our bodies (in other words, believe and trust in Him without reservation) and love our neighbors as much as we love ourselves.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.