2 Chronicles 32: 27 King Hezekiah had very great riches and honor…29 He likewise provided cities for himself, and flocks and herds in abundance; for God had given him very great possessions… Hezekiah prospered in all his works…
Hezekiah was a great king – the greatest perhaps since King Solomon. Hezekiah was great because he fully committed to following the ways of God. As our passage indicates, that faithfulness to God was rewarded with great wealth, military victory, and honor throughout his life.
Another appointed reading for today is from the book of Acts in which the apostle Paul, persecuted by the Jewish religious leaders of his day, was brought before King Agrippa..:
Acts 25: …24 And Festus said, “King Agrippa and all here present with us, you see this man about whom the whole Jewish community petitioned me, both in Jerusalem and here, shouting that he ought not to live any longer. 25 But I found that he had done nothing deserving death; and when he appealed to his Imperial Majesty, I decided to send him…”
It’s an interesting contrast isn’t it? Hezekiah was a faithful leader for the Lord and was blessed with great wealth and honor. Paul was also a faithful leader for the Lord – centuries later – but he was not blessed with great wealth. Nor honor. Far from it. But then, Jesus wasn’t blessed with great material wealth, nor honor among religious leaders, nor were his disciples.
It seems the nature of God’s blessings changed from Old Testament to New Testament.
There are churches that teach what might be referred to as “prosperity gospel” in which people are told they will be blessed with material abundance, health, safety and general prosperity if they will follow Jesus. Much of the biblical support for these ideas are in the Old Testament. Jesus himself certainly does not reflect this proposition.
Prosperity gospel sells well in a materialistic world, drawing great crowds, but I dare say it’s not the gospel of Jesus Christ. Why would I say this? Because Christian disciples are not called to be something Jesus himself was not. Think about it. Better yet, pray about it…