Psalms 4: Torah Obsession = Prosperity? (Psalm 1:3)

The person that delights in God’s Torah is like a tree planted by streams of water.  Remember that Israel was a more arid land than much of the US (unless you live in Nevada), that was often prone to periods of drought and famine (Gen. 12:10; 43:1; Jer. 14:1).

So, if you wondered why someone would be obsessed by Torah (v. 2), verse 3 answers the question.  Torah-obsession directly leads to prosperity, just like a leafy tree by the stream.  Everything that this person does prospers.

The thing I love about this psalm is the motivation, that blessings will come to those who focus their lives on God’s word, but it almost sounds too good to be true.

It sounds like a promise of prosperity, almost prosperity-gospel.    So, what type of prosperity do you think the psalmist is referring to?  What danger is there to making such an open-ended promise of prosperity?

 

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4 comments

  1. Interesting question, Dave! My first instinct when reading this psalm is to think, “The psalmist is spouting prosperity-gospel! What bad theology he has!” And if he was saying that if you follow all the rules correctly, you be healthy, wealthy, and wise, I guess it would be bad theology. (Though if it’s part of holy scripture, is that even possible?!)

    Anyway, I think we’re saved from that paradoxical line of thought because the psalmist isn’t saying that. I’m thinking he’s talking about shalom, peace, well-being rather than the accumulation of fabulous wealth and adoration. As in “the person who loves, and lives in the center of, God’s intention for life will be at peace, content.”

    Anyway, just a thought. Anyone else care to weigh in?

  2. Evan, I like your perception. Shalom. The prosperity must somehow be connected to the person’s delight in and meditation on God’s law, so peace, well-being and connection to God would make sense.

  3. Ezurumem
    Shalom, certainly at the centre of GOD is at the centre of all things. We are His personal Aspect. The will of GOD is in the word of GOD and this is HIS will ” I wish above all things that you prosper and be in health as your soul prospers”.
    David. You can see two types of prosperity: accumulation of wealth and accumulation of spiritual understanding, for understanding is all that you need o control and manage wealth and those who lack it, the wealth manages them.

    Thanks

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