Obedience, courage and prosperity
While the world is not a vending machine, and there are people like Job in the world. The Bible does not shy away from giving us the basic principle of the Good Life. Prosperity is the result of following the Law of God. The Lord says to Joshua, “Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart form your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous.”
But how can Joshua (a sinner) obey? Shouldn’t this make him terrified? Actually, the next verse says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage.” The result of being told to obey is strength and courage. The exhortation to obey is followed up with, “so be strong and brave.” Not, “but of course you can’t do it because you’re a lousy sinner.” Protestants often get their hackles up at the first sound of law and obedience. But that betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of grace, salvation and even the way the world works. Of course no one was ever saved by climbing up to the back door of heaven. Of course no one will arrive in heaven having actually preserved any slightest smidge of automous righteousness. But this is simply the way the world works. God is sovereign over all things, and even if there was some guy who *thought* he was working his way to grace (whatever that would mean…), everything about him, including his self-dillusions of autonomous granduer were given to him by the Ancient of Days.
But the point is simply this: exhortations to obedience are calls to courageous faith. All of our obedience is given to us, and therefore we must trust the God who works in us to will and to do according to his good pleasure those works which he prepared for us beforehand to walk in them. And doing so, you will prosper.