There is one verse that I’ve probably gone to more than any other regarding money, Deuteronomy 8:18. This verse is a perfect example of how God’s word is living and powerful. As I’ve read it over the years my understanding of it has grown.
And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day. Deut 8:18 NKJV
When I first read this scripture it told me that God does not have a problem with wealth. Of course the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil, but the money itself is only a tool with no inherent morality. This verse plainly says that God is the source of the wealth of His people.
Over time, my focus shifted and I saw that God doesn’t give wealth. Rather, He gives the power to get it. In other words, He gives us the capacity to earn a living and gain wealth. He doesn’t just dump wealth into our laps, He expects our involvement and effort in the process of gaining wealth. Even when He feed His people with manna, He expected them to go out and collect it. This understanding of the verse doesn’t contradict my initial understanding, it builds on it.
From there, my focus shifted again and I saw the relationship between wealth and God’s covenant. When I first looked at this aspect of the verse, I started with the mental picture of God’s covenant which He swore to Abraham as the reason why He gave Abraham’s descendants the power to gain wealth. In other words, my initial impression was the covenant was the cause and the wealth was the effect. Fortunately this impression lasted only a few minutes.
As I dug into it, I found out I had things backwards. The truth is found in God’s covenant with Abraham spelled out in Genesis 12:2-3.
I will make you a great nation;
I will bless you
And make your name great;
And you shall be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.
Keep in mind, Paul tells us in Galatians 3 that those of us who are in Christ are heirs of this promise. The covenant God is establishing with Abraham and us has three pieces. First God promised to make a great nation out of Abraham. Second, God promised to bless him and make his name great. Genesis tells us why God was going to bless Abraham and why He wants to bless us. It is so we can be a blessing. Third, God promised to treat others based on their treatment of His people and through His people, the entire earth could be blessed.
The problem I had when I first looked at wealth and covenant was this, I saw the establishment of the covenant as the cause of the wealth. In other words, God had promised the power to gain wealth to Abraham and now He was fulfilling that promise. After reading the covenant I noticed God had not obligated Himself to give them the power to gain wealth. The covenant isn’t the cause of the wealth. Instead, just as He expects us to take an active role in gaining the wealth, He also expects us to take an active role in establishing His covenant. Wealth isn’t the end game of Deuteronomy 8:18, the establishment of His covenant is. The wealth is intended to be the cause and the blessing of the entire earth is to be the effect.
That mindset completely changes the perspective on wealth. Suddenly gaining wealth seems like a Godly thing to do because with the correct mindset, wealth is only a tool for bringing about His blessing on the earth. Ask yourself, is your wealth establishing your happiness or is it establishing His purpose of blessing others?