Deuteronomy 28 is a chapter that at first glance seems to endorse this formula:
Obey God = Wealth and health
Fully obey God = Great wealth and great health
Disobey God = Poverty and disease
Disobey God even after poverty = Great Poverty and disease
One of the things Bible school students are taught is to look for “correlation.” Does what the Bible say in one part of Scriptures correlate with all the other parts of Scriptures? A teacher or professor will use the word “analyze” to compare or contrast the findings in the same subject area. So, let us analyze.
If we look at other chapters in Deuteronomy, we immediately see that the formula described above is not what Moses is saying elsewhere. In Deuteronomy 8:18, 9:4-6, and 9:25-29, we see that God acted on behalf of Israel because He chose to do so – God’s gift of the land and withholding destruction had nothing to do with the behavior of the people.
If we move outside the book and look at other areas of the Bible, we again see that the above formula on obedience and wealth is incorrect. Job is one of the popular examples in the Bible for the invalidity of this formula. Job was singled out to suffer because he was “blameless and upright” and he “feared God and turned away from evil” (Job 1:1, 1:8). The most incredible deviation from the above formula is Jesus Christ, our LORD. He was fully obedient, fully righteous, and fully holy. Yet, Jesus suffered the most horrific death.
What we can conclude from this is
Obey God ≠ Wealth and health always
Fully obey God ≠ Great wealth and health always
Disobey God ≠ Poverty and disease always
Disobey God even after poverty ≠ Great poverty and disease always
That is, a person’s circumstances are not necessarily the result of his or her obedience to God. Sometimes we will never understand why God allows us to suffer financially or physically. Job never understood why he suffered. Similarly, the blind man whom Jesus healed never knew why he was blind (John 9:2, 3).
But when we analyze the Bible there is another formula that we see:
All circumstance = God is with those who follow Him
With his truth, we can conclude that while obedience does not guarantee wealth and health, we can trust that God is with us in all our circumstances, just as He was with the Israelites during their journey to the Promised land, and He will be with us until the end of our life on earth (Matthew 28:20).