Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in his ways. You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours. Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your sons will be like olive shoots around your table.
Thus is the man blessed who fears the LORD. May the LORD bless you from Zion all the days of your life; may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem, and may you live to see your children’s children. Peace be upon Israel.
There are so many places where we’re told that walking in the ways of the Lord will bring peace and prosperity. Our enemies will live at peace with us, (Prov. 16:7) wealth will come to us absent the problems it can sometimes bring, (Prov. 10:22) and whatever we plan will end in success. (Prov. 16:3)
Contrast this with what we’ve seen and been taught, that the enemy lies in wait for us and as soon as we step out for the Lord he’ll attack, that money is the root of all evil, and that planning our lives is a symptom of self-determinism rather that submission to God.
When the Israelites were finally ready to enter the Promised Land, the Lord had them make provision for the poor. One of these was the cancellation of all debt every seven years. “However,” He said, “There should be no poor among you, for in the land I’m giving you I will richly bless you if you follow my commands.” Imagine that. A whole nation without any poor people.
He went on to say that they would lend to other nations but never borrow from anyone. They would rule over others but no one would rule over them. (Deut. 15:1-6) These promises came true for Israel and dignitaries traveled from the far corners of the known world just to see with their own eyes the blessings that God had showered down upon them.
These promises carried no expiration date and were not restricted to Israel alone. The USA has experienced similar blessings and it’s still true that even those who hate our country prefer to live here than anywhere else. Achieving and maintaining these blessings requires only that we walk in His ways.
And, as the psalm says and history has shown, God also blessed His people on an individual level, even when their country was being disobedient. But one of the problems with the age of grace is that we still expect Him to do all these things for us even though we no longer do our part for Him.
“I’m not going on some works trip,” we say. We don’t realize that a “works trip” is what someone does in an effort to earn their salvation. Walking in His ways is how we demonstrate our gratitude for having been given it.
God has promised to bless us with Eternal Life just for believing that Jesus paid for all our sins with His life. But he has also promised to bless us with peace and prosperity in the here and now for walking in his ways. It has always amazed me that we cling so tightly to the part of His promise that we can’t see and won’t be able to verify until it’s too late, and ignore the part that we could easily prove just by adopting the behavior He suggests.