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Don’t worry! This is not going to be a post on prosperity. In fact, given the title, what I WILL talk about might surprise you! We are going to take a look at the Word, specifically at Deuteronomy 8, and see what this verse truly means and how, even though it does in fact say it is God who gives you the power to get wealth, it has been misused over time.
What is the Power to Get Wealth?
So let’s begin with what “wealth” here is referring to first and foremost.
Ironically, the Hebrew word for ‘wealth’ here is the the same word used in Proverbs 31 when it describes a woman of “virtue” and that word is ‘chayil’.
Chayil means strength, power (as in an army) and also wealth and riches.
So let’s look at how it is used in these verses from Torah to see HOW Moshe (Moses) uses it.
“You are to take care to do the whole mitzvah that I am commanding you today, so that you may live and multiply and go in and possess the land that Adonai swore to your fathers. You are to remember all the way that Adonai your God has led you these 40 years in the wilderness—in order to humble you, to test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His mitzvot or not.TLV
He afflicted you and let you hunger, then He fed you manna—which neither you nor your fathers had known—in order to make you understand that man does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of Adonai.
Neither did your clothing wear out on you, nor did your foot swell these 40 years. Now you know in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so Adonai your God disciplines you. So you are to keep the mitzvot of Adonai your God—to walk in His ways and to fear Him.”
So first we need to look at WHO Moshe is speaking to and we know from context that he is speaking to B’nei Israel or the Children of Israel.
He is instructing them regarding how they need to live once they enter into the Promised Land, since Moshe is not being allowed to cross over with them. So this is essentially his goodbye to the people along with a reminder to not mess this up as they had for 40 years!
Mitzvot are commands (mitzvah is an individual command or the singular of mitzvot). So he is telling them to obey all the commands Adonai has given them AND to remember!
To remember how He fed them manna and WHY He did so (to make them understand that sustenance is not all there is in life and that living by the Word of Adonai will ensure they are cared for).
He is reminding them how Adonai not only made sure their nutritional needs were met, but how their material needs were. Their clothing did not wear our and they even did not outgrow their shoes! But he is also letting them know that when they are disobedient, God does chasten and discipline (hence why they spent 40 years on this journey and why Moshe was not going to accompany them).
He then goes on in verses 7-10 to relay to them how Adonai will provide for them (and what He will provide for them) in the Promised Land.
Remembering Where The Power to Get Wealth Derives From
Now we move on to verses 11-18:
“Take care that you do not forget Adonai your God by not keeping His mitzvot, ordinances and statutes that I am commanding you today. Otherwise, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and lived in them, and when your herds and flocks multiply, and silver and gold multiplies for you and all that is yours multiplies, then your heart will be haughty and you will forget Adonai your God. He brought you out from the land of Egypt, from the house of slavery.TLV
He led you through the great and terrible wilderness—fiery serpents and scorpions, and thirsty ground where there was no water. He brought forth water for you from the flinty rock. He fed you in the wilderness with manna that your fathers did not know, in order to afflict you and test you, to do you good in the end.
You may say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand has made me this wealth.’
Rather you are to remember Adonai your God, for it is He who gives you power to make wealth, in order to establish His covenant that He swore to your fathers—as it is this day.
So we see here that Moshe begins by telling them that if they allow themselves to fall away from the Word and the commands of God that they will soon become haughty in their wealth and believe they themselves are responsible for what they have.
In verse 17 we see that the danger is that Israel will see all they have attained, all the wealth they now have, and forget the One who gave so freely from His own hand and they will believe it was by their own efforts. In verse 18 he tells them to remember Adonai because it is HIM ALONE that gives them the power to make wealth.
You see, you may be the smartest person on earth, you may be the most talented, the most gifted. You may have the best job and best education and yet, like Job, it can be taken away in an instant.
You have no power except what the Lord allows you to have and the minute you forget that, you begin to worship idols of your own making! Your power to get wealth lies in the hands of the creator!
When we lose sight of who is responsible for every blessing we have, we begin worshipping idols.
We worship the idols that we erect FOR and TO ourselves.
We are not immune to it just because we are believers in Yeshua (Jesus). The Israelites were not immune and they had God providing all their needs from day to day!
We see this in Exodus 32 and the golden calf!
When the people saw that Moshe was taking a long time to come down from the mountain, they gathered around Aharon and said to him, “Get busy; and make us gods to go ahead of us; because this Moshe, the man that brought us up from the land of Egypt — we don’t know what has become of him.”CJB
Aharon said to them, “Have your wives, sons and daughters strip off their gold earrings; and bring them to me.” The people stripped off their gold earrings and brought them to Aharon. He received what they gave him, melted it down, and made it into the shape of a calf.
They said, “Isra’el! Here is your god, who brought you up from the land of Egypt!”
When Moshe took too long, they had Aharon (Aaron) create a god for them and attributed to this golden calf the leading of the people out of Egypt!
Let me say that again because it really does drive home what we as people tend to do…they KNEW the God that freed them from slavery! He provided for them in the wilderness. Moshe, their leader, spoke directly with Him. They saw Him part the Sea, they saw Him bring forth water from a rock, they saw Him meet their every need! Yet just because Moshe didn’t come back fast enough, they created a god and assigned to it all the things the God of Israel had done!
We can do that too if we are not careful to make God the number one priority in our lives and obey Him, to hold Him in a place of awe!
Idolatry Examples Today
Some ways we can create idols for ourselves are:
This one is a given! Money can become an idol for us quite easily! The Bible doesn't tell us that money is the root of all evil, but that the LOVE of money is.
When we make earning money, and more of it, the focal point of our lives, it can take over and rule everything!
You have probably heard the saying "Absolute power corrupts absolutely." from John Dalberg-Acton and it is so true.
Power can become like a drug for people and the more they get of it, the more they want and need.
When we acknowledge that the only power we have is in what God gives us, we avoid that trapping.
We can make an idol out of a relationship! We can put our friends, our spouse, our children before God and essentially worship them as though they are the source of life for us.
Our source of life, of love, of joy is God! He brings those relationships TO us, not to replace Him but to show His love and care for us and to give our love and care to others.
We have all heard of "workaholics"; people who are addicted to their jobs. They eat, sleep and breathe work.
Now this one can go one of two ways! We can make an idol out of our work and feel that we owe our job everything!
Or it can actually be ourselves we are worshipping here! We may believe our employer, our co-workers, our customers cannot survive without us! We feel like we have to check in every second of our vacation because the world will fall apart if we don't.
This is having an over-inflated sense of ourselves when we feel almost god-like in our jobs and that it would all crumble without us!
Oh those celebrities! Many have us convinced that they are gods themselves!
I have been one of those fans before! Posters all over the walls, crying and screaming at concerts, needing to have all their merchandise!
We make them into these idols that we bow down to when in reality, they are no different from us except their jobs put them in the limelight and they have a lot more money (see number one!).
As a result, they feel as though they are in a position to tell the rest of us "little people" how to think, what to believe, what to feel, what to buy, what to like and dislike.
If you are not careful, you can end up emulating them instead of the Word of God.
They are people just like we are!
Yes, we can idolize comfort! We like to have all the latest and greatest gadgets and ways we can further simplify our lives.
If we lose power for a couple of hours we feel like the Israelis themselves wandering through the wilderness!
We have become a spoiled society who needs to "feel" a certain way or we are not happy!
Along with comfort comes technology!
I cannot tell you how many times I see someone walking down the street staring at a phone screen, or texting while they are driving on the highway!
I think this one goes hand in hand with the feeling of self-importance I mentioned under the "Work" category! We feel as though other people NEED a response from us right now! Like somehow the world will collapse if we have to wait 15 minutes to respond to that text!
We have whole families sitting at the dinner table not speaking but playing games, scrolling TikTok or texting friends.
Technology can be a blessing, as can money! But like any good thing, abusing it can turn it into a not-so-good thing anymore and soon, into an idol we worship.
Power to Create Wealth Comes From God Alone
God gives us the power to create wealth but maybe not in the way the world defines wealth.
God’s idea of wealth can look quite different than ours! But it should be His will and His ways we should be seeking, not our own.
Sometimes we can feel a lack of happiness and joy because we lack contentment in what God has blessed us with. If that is the case, we need to get back in alignment with his Word and value the things He values.
The world can easily send us down a slippery slope that lands smack dab into idolatry! In fact, some make no apologies for doing so! They relish in driving people away from faith in God and to see our successes as our own doing.
But God says something quite different and if we don’t want to keep ourselves from experiencing His promises (like many did in the wilderness) we will learn to see God as the author and finisher of our faith and that all blessings flow from Him.
What ways have you found keep you aligned with God’s Word when it might be easy for you to take the accolades all for yourself? How have you attributed the power to get wealth to God? Share in the comments!
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CJB – Taken from the Complete Jewish Bible by David H. Stern. Copyright © 1998. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Messianic Jewish Publishers, 6120 Day Long Lane, Clarksville, MD 21029. www.messianicjewish.net.
Tree of Life (TLV) – Scripture taken from the Holy Scriptures, Tree of Life Version*. Copyright © 2014,2016 by the Tree of Life Bible Society. Used by permission of the Tree of Life Bible Society.