“And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”
Of this blessed man in Psalm 1, we learn that “whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” Because of the gross doctrinal error that is found in the contemporary teaching of
“prosperity theology,” the very word “prosper” causes many to flinch. We might define “prosperity theology” as the relatively new doctrine that God wants everyone to be always wealthy and healthy, and the inheritance of Christians can be measured in material means. To these false teachers, gain is equated with godliness, and the Bible clearly tells us “from such withdraw thyself” (I Timothy 6:5).
Nonetheless, the word “prosper” is a Bible word. The problem lies in the way we define it. The world, including the false teachers or false prophets, defines prosperity in terms of material things, while the Word of God differs. For instance, we know that God was with Joseph and blessed Him greatly when he was in a prison in Egypt. The New Testament says God has “chosen the poor of this world rich in faith” (James 2:5).
As we find in our text, God wants to bless, or “prosper” the lives of His children. What does it mean for God to “prosper” the lives of His children? According to our text, He blesses us with stability, saying, “he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water.” Those who surround themselves with the right companions and saturate themselves with Truth will be “planted.” What a contrast this is to those who are ever vacillating and are blown about by every wind of doctrine.
The blessed man will also be near a place of refreshing, as he is positioned “by the rivers of water.” Times of spiritual refreshing are the blessing of God. This blessed man will likewise be productive, as he “bringeth forth his fruit in his season.” God will bless his life with spiritual productivity. All of us want to be fruitful, productive Christians.
The evidence of God’s blessing will be apparent, “his leaf also shall not wither.” This is the prosperous life, or the blessed life, promised to those who walk with God according to His Word. These blessings may not always be measured in how much we possess materially; they are spiritual blessings that reside in our hearts and are seen in our lives.