The prosperity gospel has created a distorted view of what the Bible teaches about money, resulting in many church goers being misled to believe that God wants His people to be financially wealthy.
Instead, the Bible presents a balanced view: Times of abundance and times of scarcity both come from God. This principle is shown in Genesis 41, as God gives Pharaoh, the leader of Egypt, a prophetic dream, revealing the land would have seven years of abundance followed by seven years of famine.
This balance is clearly taught in Ecclesiastes 7:14 which says, “In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him.”
God desires our faithfulness rather than financial success. These difficult times test our faith so that it may grow.
The Bible also teaches that sometimes people will “sow, but not reap.” In Micah chapter 6, God is upset with criminals committing fraud and condemns the merchants using dishonest scales. When dishonesty is used for financial gain, God will refuse to bless the evildoer.
Micah 6:15 says, “You shall sow, but not reap; you shall tread olives, but not anoint yourselves with oil; you shall tread grapes, but not drink wine.”
When people pray with selfish motives, God will reject their prayers as James 4:3 shows, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”
Another relatively unknown Bible verse that challenges the prosperity gospel is found in Proverbs 22:16. “One who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth and one who gives gifts to the rich—both come to poverty.”
Numerous churchgoers and viewers of religious television have sacrificially given to preachers misusing donations for personal gain. If Christians would stop financially supporting rich televangelists and pastors living extravagantly, there would be less poverty and Christianity would have more credibility in a broken world.
NOTE: These verses come from multiple translations (ESV and NIV)