Triumphalism, pt 2

So is “experiencing the power of the Holy Spirit,” or numerical growth, or prosperity a sure sign that God is pleased?

I think not.  God is not an algebra equation.  You can’t just plug in values, x + y = z, and solve for blessings.  God’s favor is more complicated than that.  And God’s purposes are inscrutable; we almost never have a complete picture of what God is doing and why.

A biblical example that shows this: after Rehoboam, Israel split into two kingdoms, the north (still called Israel most of the time) and Judah.

Which of the two kingdoms was most prosperous?

Which of the two kingdoms was more faithful to Yahweh?

The north was FAR more prosperous. It had the roads (and controlled the trade routes), the arable land, the natural resources.  Judah was rocky and hilly, good for nothing but sheep.

Israel was also better-ruled; the kings of Israel were better politicians, alliance-makers, than the kings of Judah.

But (from the perspective of 2 Kings) the kings of the north were uniformly wicked.  They ALL worshipped other gods.  They never practiced pure worship of Yahweh.

This was–again, the perspective of 2 Kings–because the Temple was in Jerusalem, in Judah, and the kings of the north didn’t want their people worshipping Yahweh in another kingdom, under the authority of another king.

Some of the kings of Judah were devout and faithful; some were extremely devout, like Hezekiah.  But they never prospered like the kings of the north did.

Did God’s favor on the northern kingdom–their prosperity, the fact that they were well-ruled politically–mean that God was on their side, favoring them?  That God was pleased with everything they were doing?  Of course not.

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