Obey… Bless! Disobey… Curse!

Read 2 Chronicles 17:1-11 – It seems that God has consistently provided a very simple formula for being wealthy. Obey me and I will bless you. Disobey me and I will curse you. Be faithful with little, and I will entrust you with much. God has no intention of running this world without wealth. Had He chosen not to use wealth, He would not have created so much of it.
It seems simple to conclude that since God has voluntarily chosen to partner with human beings to execute His will, He needs faithful men and women to be good stewards of His wealth. God needs people who understand that it is He who gives power to make wealth, in fulfilment of His covenant (Deuteronomy 8:18). One of those persons could be me, and another could be you, if and when in God’s opinion, we satisfy His requirements, and if that is His plan for our lives. But first… how much wealth are we really talking about?

The 24/7 Wall Street website in a 2012 report listed the top ten world’s most resource-rich countries as owing a combined wealth of US$310,000,000,000,000.00 (US310 Trillion). Allowing for a conservative estimate of US$200 Trillion as the combined resources value of the remaining 186 countries, the world’s resources wealth would be approximately US$510 Trillion. Of course this is recognizable wealth. Nobody has yet priced the value of a single star, and there is a conservative estimated number of approximately 100 octilllion stars (1 with 29 ‘0’s behind it)
Our sun is a star, and is estimated to be over 300 times more massive than the earth, although just over 100 times wider. The most massive star recognized to date is known as Peony Nebula Star. This star is 175 times more massive than the sun or 57,750 times more massive than the earth. However the largest star recognized to date is approximately 2000 times the size of our sun. If we agree that everything that God creates is valuable; and if you agree that mankind is SLOWLY learning about some of what God has already created, and even slower learning how to benefit from its value, then the approximate value of the wealth of the universe could be at least a centillion times that of earth’s incomplete valuation of US$500 Trillion in discovered identifiable natural resources. Pardon my sense of humor, but “The 4% Universe” is one of the books in my library, written by Richard Panek. He postulates that all of the universe that scientists now know about is no more than 4% of the actual size of the universe.

It is against this conservative hazy guestimate of the wealth of the universe that my God, your God, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ would have us understand and remember that He created it all, controls it all, and by any reasonable definition owns it all. Enjoy John 1:3; Psalm 24:1-2; Haggai 2:8; Psalm 50:12; 1 Chronicles 29:11; 1 Chronicles 29:14.

Let us now take a look at the profile of a man to whom God entrusted significant amounts of wealth. 2 Chronicles 17:1-11 relates a significant amount of information about Jehoshaphat, King of Judah. Verses 5 & 6 say, “The LORD established the kingdom under his control; and all Judah brought gifts to Jehoshaphat, so that he had great wealth and honor. His heart was devoted to the ways of the LORD; “
Verse 11 tells us that even the Phillistines and Arabs brought him gifts and added to his wealth.” But perhaps most important of all, verse 10 says, “The fear of the LORD fell on all the kingdoms of the lands surrounding Judah, so that they did not go to war against Jehoshaphat.” Peace ought to be more valuable than any war that you could win.
And what did Jehoshaphat do in exchange for the wealth that God gave him? Verses 3 & 4 say, “he followed the ways of his father David before him. He did not consult the Baals but sought the God of his father and followed his commands rather than the practices of Israel.” On the pro-active side, he ensured that the people were systematically taught the Word of God. But there is more.

However, like the best of us, Jehoshaphat made some mistakes. Chapter 18 opens with the statement, “Now Jehoshaphat had great wealth and honor…”. Ahab, King of Israel reasoned, “Don’t you know that Ramoth-gilead is ours, but we have failed to take it from the hand of the king of Aram?” So he asked Jehoshaphat, “Will you go with me to fight Ramoth-gilead?” (1 Kings 22:3-4)
Jehoshaphat agrees in principle, but states that he must first consult God. Ahab asked the opinion of 400 prophets in Israel who all said, “Go to war.” Jehoshaphat discerned that they were lying, and insists that there must be at least one reliable Prophet left in Israel. King Ahab identifies Micaiah, who confirms Jehoshaphat’s suspicions, and under oath said, inter alia, “Do not go to war.” However, Jehoshaphat ignores the prophet of God and goes to war with Ahab. Ahab tries some human trickery to circumvent God’s pronounced judgement of his death in battle, but is miraculously killed any way. Now listen to what God tells Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 19:1-3.

“When Jehoshaphat king of Judah returned safely to his palace in Jerusalem, Jehu the seer, the son of Hanani, went out to meet him and said to the king, “Should you help the wicked and love[a]those who hate the LORD? Because of this, the wrath of the LORD is on you. There is, however, some good in you, for you have rid the land of the Asherah poles and have set your heart on seeking God.”
Despite his disobedience to God, God not only preserves Jehoshaphat in battle, but gives him credit for the good he had done for setting his heart on seeking God. By chapter 20, God ends the period of peace that He had given to Jehoshaphat, but miraculously destroys the three armies that came against him. All this in exchange for obedience and faithfulness to God.

Jehoshaphat was not alone. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, David, Solomon, Hezekiah, and Joseph of Arimathaea are all examples of men to whom God granted sustained wealth. In each case, obedience and faithful devotion to God was a hallmark of their life. Of interest, none of these men were perfect, and clearly, that is not a requirement of God for wealth. However, they all had a Godly perspective of wealth. They all understood that it belonged to God and that it was to be used for His honor and glory, and for the establishment of His Kingdom on earth.

“A good man leaves an inheritance to his grandchildren, but the sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous.” (Proverbs 13:22)
“For to the man who is pleasing in His sight, He gives wisdom, knowledge, and joy, but to the sinner He gives the task of gathering and accumulating in order to give to the one who is pleasing in God’s sight. This too is futile and a pursuit of the wind. (Ecclesiastes 2:26)
God’s unlimited wealth is available to be stewarded. The only question is, by who? Could it be you?

Remember to visit RBC’s Our Daily Bread Devotional today at www.ODB.org

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