Will God Make Me Rich?
By myself I have sworn, declares the LORD, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. Genesis 22:16-17
As I was losing everything in the disaster of my addiction, I asked God what I must do to find recovery. He told me to daily abandon myself and follow him. I had some idea of how much that would turn my life upside down and I wanted some guarantee that I’d get my life back. So, I told God that I’d follow him if he restored my family and career. He said no. That wasn’t part of the deal. I needed to follow God because that was the only path to salvation. God knew that if I changed my life to get my family and career back, then I wouldn’t really be following him, I’d simply be making a god of my family and paycheck. In the end, I got my family back and my career was restored. Those things were never guaranteed though and only happened after I followed God.
So, does God promise success to those who follow him? That depends on our definition of success. There are certainly plenty of passages in the Bible that promise a better life if we obey God. Today’s passage is one of those. In the story, God tested Abraham, commanding him to give up his son, Isaac. Abraham passed the test and because of his obedience, God promised that Isaac would become a great nation. This is a specific promise, not applicable to us all, but it reveals a characteristic of God – that he rewards obedience. Walk in all the way that I command you, that it may be well with you (Jeremiah 7:23).
But we’re saved by grace! Since Jesus died for our sins, our works don’t matter! This is a trap that many Christians have fallen into. No, we don’t save ourselves with our actions, but our behavior has consequences. God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life (Galatians 6:7-8).
Will God make me rich if I follow him? No, I’m not promised material success if I obey God. Many have been persecuted or even killed for following Christ. I am promised though, that my life will be infinitely better for following God. In following me, my life was a disaster. In following God, I found life, joy, and peace – and I was able to put my life back together.