It’s easy to see from chapters like this where the prosperity gospel folks get the idea that God wants them to have a brand new private jet. God is generous in providing for His people and even urges us to test Him and see if He “will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”
Where the mark is often missed is in the prerequisite to that testing: “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house.”
God’s blessings are for God’s purposes and not our own.
God pours out blessings on those who are pouring those blessings back out according to God’s purposes. The test of God’s generosity is not intended for those who are storing up for themselves, devoting God’s gifts to their own designs, and spending all God gives them on attempts at self-fulfillment.
King Artaxerxes’ generosity in providing for the building of the temple was for the express purpose of enabling the people to worship God. It wasn’t so the priests could live in luxury or so the Levites could lounge around without working.
When we ask God to provide, is it “to spend it on our pleasures” (James 4:3)? Or are we asking God to provide to enable worship? Are we asking God to provide for the gospel to go out to those who haven’t heard? Are we asking God to provide so that we can proclaim His salvation to those who need to hear about His love and grace?