A Tale of Holy Love, Unfaithfulness, Justice, Mercy, and Grace
Sometimes danger comes with large, flashing neon warning signs that grab our attention and effectively get their message across: danger ahead. But other times danger can creep upon us subtly and imperceptibly to the point where we don’t realize that we’re in a treacherous place until it’s almost too late. This is the subtle danger of prosperity.
During the days of Hosea, Israel was enjoying a season of prosperity. Business was booming, money was flowing, and it was a time of plenty. However, while personal wealth and the national economy were at an all-time high, the spiritual condition of the people was on the other end of the charts. It was at an all-time low.
But why? You’d think that with their many blessings, Israel would be praising God and worshiping Him for all that He’d given them. So how and why are they at their spiritual lowest while enjoying the most economical success? The LORD points out the reason in Hosea 13:5-6.
“It was I who knew you in the wilderness, in the land of drought; but when they had grazed, they became full, they were filled, and their heart was lifted up; therefore they forgot me.”
In the land of scarcity and barrenness Israel knew the LORD. However, once they entered prosperity, they quickly forgot their Provider and Helper. When life became easy they no longer felt the need for help. They became confident in their own success and ability and no longer relied upon God. Their heart became puffed up with pride and the season of plenty had lulled them into a false sense of security. However, God was about to shake them up big time!
We also live in a place of plenty and prosperity. Our lives are filled with things that we don’t really need and luxuries that are unheard of in other parts of the world. We don’t have to worry about where our next meal will come from or if we’ll be able to survive the winter. We do not live in a land stricken with drought or famine. So we must be extra careful and vigilant against the subtle danger of prosperity. We must guard against the feelings of security, self-reliance, and independence that prosperity can invoke. We must be cautious not to forget the LORD.
Though we live in American luxury compared to the rest of the world, we all may walk through seasons of scarcity and drought—whether physical or spiritual. We might lose that perfect job, suffer the tragedy of losing a loved one way too soon, or experience other times of affliction and trials. It is during these times that the LORD’s presence seems much more real in our lives. When our world is spinning out of control and feelings of security fly out the window, God is there, providing for us and leading us through the darkest nights.
And the same God who knew Israel in the wilderness and is near to us in our seasons of darkness and drought is still with us in the seasons of plenty. He is still the One providing for us and helping us. So we must not forget Him during times of prosperity. We must still rely upon Him daily and not slide into pride and feelings of self-sufficiency. May we never forget that God is the One still in control and may we not let the subtle danger of prosperity rob us of our faith and trust in Him.
“But I am the LORD your God from the land of Egypt;
you know no God but me, and besides me there is no savior.”