In my own experience, churches often attribute God’s favor with financial stability. If a church is able to, for example, build a new gym or sanctuary, that means that they have God’s favor. While I am not under the impression that God does not and cannot show his favor in that manner, it is dangerous to assume that financial stability is equivalent with God’s favor. Initially, Job, King Josiah, and Jesus come to mind. Yet, these are all good leaders who did not experience God’s favor via finances. Often, a major person that shows this is King Ahab, who the historian calls the most wicked king. Unfortunately, he is often forgotten.
While I was in Israel at Tel-Dan, I realized two things.
1) King Ahab controlled the springs at Dan and Lake Galilee, meaning that he had a firm grip on the most important resources in the Ancient Near East, water.
2) King Ahab lived in an era of immense wealth.
While touring in Israel, Dr. Marc Turnage, to paraphrase, said that King Ahab and Omri marked the golden age of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Scripture attests to this. Unfortunately, we often skip over it. The historian describes King Ahab as having had reinforced Megiddo and built and altar at Samaria. He also, apparently, had a military force strong enough to repel the Assyrians.
“The forces of Israel retained enough strength to contribute the second-largest contingent of soldiers (and the largest force of chariots) to the combined armies that, under the leadership of Ben-hadad I of Damascus, checked the westward movement of Shalmaneser III of Assyria at Karkar.” – Encyclopedia Britannica, “Ahab”.
The Northern Kingdom, in other words, was more than financially stable. Yet, the historian deems Ahab to have been the most wicked king. Why so? Perhaps it is because God’s favor is not always found the material. Time and time again nations have become rich. Yet, it never means they are obedient to the Father. So, what I am trying to say?
According to Scripture, “blessing” is not always favor. If there is not obedience to God, justice for the poor and disfranchised, it may not be blessing. In fact, it may be the complete absence of God.