The Danger of Everything Going Well

Posted on: January 26th, 2020

“Men are undoubtedly more in danger from prosperity than from adversity. For when matters go smoothly, they flatter themselves and are intoxicated by their success.” – A  Commentary on Isaiah

If there was ever a group of people in history that needed to heed this point it is Americans today: American Christians especially.

It is a point that God warned His people about early on. It is as if God knows that people will turn to Him when they are under duress. It is “when your cities are great and splendid,” “your houses are full of all good things,” when the “cisterns are hewn” and fresh water abounds, when “the vineyards and olive trees” are plump with their produce, “and you shall eat and be satisfied” – that is when “you must beware, lest you forget the LORD who brought you from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery” (Deut. 6:10-12; cf. Deut 8:11-14).

Isaiah the prophet drives home this very point in the 8th century B.C., warning the people (my paraphrase) “You are forgetting! Your prosperity is making you
foolish!” This prophecy is what prompts the commentator’s observation in the 16th century (more than 2,000 years later). And 500 years after that, here we are, forgetful and stupid once again.

Jesus states plainly, “You cannot serve both God and materialism” (Mt. 6:24). It really does seem like many American Christians believe that if you work it right, you can. How forgetful, how foolish we are.

What would God say about a country so prosperous, about a people so arrogant and proud, so comfortable and complacent? What would Isaiah say? What would Moses say? What would Jesus say? (I’m guessing the message would be similar and would be along the lines of: “Beware! You are forgetting, and your prosperity is making yourselves foolish!”)

Todd Mangum