If you are after only the temporal blessings and happiness, you are short sighted in life. This is one of the most common problems of humanity because that’s how the world’s wired us. Not so with God; he has wired us for eternity.
He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. Ecc 3:11
The goal set before the Jews by God in the Old Testament was not the carnal prosperity & happiness. (Calvin, Institute of Christian Religion)
But this is precisely the thing that we all aspire to have in our modern day New Testament era. If you look at the culture we live in today, many times Christians don’t look very different from non-believers. How? Because of our craving for happiness, material comfort, victories and triumphs. Why is that a problem? Because that produces shallow Christianity & that’s not the God we worship. This breeds a materialistic worldview in our lives in the midst of a very materialistic and sensory driven society we live in today. Looking to God for happiness, should be replaced with looking for joy. Happiness is external and transient but joy is within us that makes us rejoice in the Lord and not in circumstances only. That is one example of deeper walk with God. Culturally we live in a “I want” culture, greed driven culture, and without proper teaching Christians will be very lost in this world. And especially with the largely what I want from the Lord mindset, and what I can get from God, this is tremendously damaging to true Christianity. With the advent of the great move of Pentecostal growth, we praise God for miracles healing but it’s the asking God for all the blessings and not willing or able to grow in deeper understanding of Gods call in our lives is a precarious situation. That may just be like the golden calf, idolatry.
The goal set before the Jews by God in the Old Testament is actually their adoption into the hope of immortality; and assurance of this adoption was certified to them by oracles, laws, and the prophets. (John Calvin).
That’s a tremendous insight by Calvin. All these times, I am of the impression that if Israel obeys God, God will just bless them, prosper them. And the covenant with the Lord was supported, not by their own merits, but solely by the mercy of God who called them.
So in other words, all the blessings God gave the Jews in the OT, were not for their own consumption per se, and that’s exactly the same for us today. So its not for carnal prosperity or happiness. Why? Because it produces more carnality, which is of the flesh, opposite to godliness. That’s a really important understanding. God doesn’t want us to be carnal. So what does God want? He wants to bring blessings to the Jews in the OT so as to bring them into the adoption into the hope of immortality. What’s immortality? That’s eternal life. You see, this is clear that God is not interested to make you happy for a short period of time, He wants to give you immortality, eternal life to be with him forever and ever, through adoption into his family in Jesus. That’s even in the OT. I know the adoption happens in the NT:
Eph 1 “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.”
But even before the creation of the world, God already predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ! God’s prosperity blessing upon us is all about adoption as sonship through Jesus. In other words, God’s blessings, discipline, and warnings of Israel are all wrapped up in the eventual goal of adoption of them into the immortal family of God. A really important concept to understand is that the covenant God is making with Israel was not by their merits, but solely by the mercy of God who called them. All the blessings God given them arose solely out of God’s goodness and kindness.
John 8: Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.
Jesus said Abraham, in the OT, even before the time of Moses, rejoiced at the thought of seeing Jesus’ day, and he saw it and was glad. What does that mean? That means even in the OT, Prophets in the OT , like Abraham, rejoiced to see Jesus’s day! This is like thousands of years before Jesus incarnated into this world! Abraham rejoiced at the thought of Jesus coming! He didn’t rejoice seeing Jesus, but just the thought of seeing Jesus bringing salvation to the world! We actually have Jesus now. Jesus is the Mediator, for our adoption into God’s family even in the OT times.
Conclusion is we can’t just want God’s blessings and prosperity when we know all these blessings from God is in the idea of the eventual goal of adoption into the immortality in God’s family. Unless we see the bigger picture of immortality or eternity, we will actually become carnal in receiving the prospering blessings of God. Only when we see our blessings of God is meant for God’s immortality real blessings, we may become blessed in a real way.