“Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.” Psalm 37:3–6
Has God promises that he will prosper the righteous person? Yes, he has. But in what way has he promised to prosper him? God has promised to prosper his righteousness and justice.
It’s very tempting to expect that God will reward the righteous with financial prosperity in this life simply because they’re righteous. But here’s one of the problems with that expectation. Every single person in the world is a sinner. That means that, regardless of who you are, you have a heart that is in some way stimulated by, and attracted to, sin. There are sinful things that you’re just naturally attracted to doing.
Let’s say that one of your besetting sins is greed, extravagance, and over indulgence. God has, in his mercy to you over the years, limited the amount of wealth and resources available to you so that he would have the best chance at winning your heart and teaching you the path of righteousness, and you’ve responded to him and you’ve spiritually prospered under his care.
How should he reward your faithfulness? By blessing you with wealth and property? Perhaps, if you’ve truly overcome you tendencies toward greed and extravagance, God might safely bless you in this way. But what is God to do if he knows that you’re not ready for such an outpouring? What is he to do if he knows that to give you such a gift would be to spiritually curse you and destroy all the progress he’s already made in developing in you the heart of Christ?
I believe that a God of love would continue to bless you with few possessions and limited financial resources so that he could continue to grow in you the faith and trust that characterized the life of Jesus.
Psalm 37 is a psalm in which God promises to prosper the righteous person, but if you carefully read this psalm you see that David isn’t promising that God will prosper the righteous with wealth, rather, he’s promising that God will prosper him with more righteousness.
As for his physical needs, David assures that God will provide for them all. In verse twenty-five David says that in his long life he’s never seen the righteous forsaken by God, or his children begging for bread.
It’s easy to be envious of the possessions of the wealthy and imagine how much happier and better off you’d be if you were rich. But possessions don’t give joy. That’s a gift of the Holy Spirit and it’s available only to those that let him into their hearts. So let him take control of your heart. Let him shape you desires, and then watch as he fulfills them.