Robert D. Pace

1 Chronicles 14:8‑17

“Pathsperity” is a play on words. I’ve combined the words path and prosperity to illustrate what God offers to those that conform to His ways. Pathsperity involves positioning yourself in the path of God’s blessing. That path isn’t always widest or necessarily the smoothest, but it’s always the right way.

(Definition) Let’s begin by hearing what the Bible says about prosperity. Let’s interpret it from Scripture’s most famous prosperity passage—3 John 2. “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” John didn’t want anything left outside the parameters of God’s blessing. That’s why he said: “I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health.” John wanted prosperity for the body, soul, and spirit. And that’s in agreement with everything the Bible teaches about our welfare. Christ’s death at Calvary affects every dimension of life; not just our soul. But it’s amazing what we can manufacture from this passage. Some people would insist that it says:

    “Beloved, I pray that you may become wealthy.”

    “Beloved, I pray that you may obtain all your dreams and aspirations.

    “Beloved, I pray that you become world-renowned.”

    “Beloved, I pray that you may never get sick.”

There is no question that it is God’s will for men to abide under God’s blessing; but everyone won’t become wealthy or world-renowned or free from all pain. The word prosperity means: “to succeed in reaching a goal.” The apostle John defined it as a continual, on-going lifestyle of victory with Christ.

    He wants us continually pushing forward and conquering in life.

    He wants us conquering sin and breaking away from Satan’s traps.

    He wants us claiming all the grace that is ordained for us.

(Transition) And how is that accomplished? That’s what I want to discuss—how we can claim the pathsperity that God has ordained for us. The first point I want to make is this: seeking God about all things brings pathsperity.

I.    Seeking God Brings Pathsperity

There is no better person in the Old Testament than King David that teaches us this. David faithfully sought God’s will. I know David failed God, but for the most part he faithfully pursued the will of God. If I were to give David a nickname, I would call him, The National Enquirer. I’m serious. Some of you may be thinking of that weekly tabloid, but I’m not using it in a negative way. As Israel’s national leader he often inquired as to how God would have him respond to needs and crisis. He wanted to know exactly how God wanted situations handled. And David needed to know God’s will because he was always fighting the enemy. Can you relate to David?

    When he was a young shepherd he fought lions and bears.

    During his teens he withstood Goliath.

    As a young adult in the palace David dodged Saul’s spear.

    And as King of Israel, David repeatedly repelled the Philistines.

I want us to look at the first two battles David faced after his coronation as King of Israel:

1.      The first battle was launched immediately after David assumed his kingship. This was a quick-strike attack the Philistines launched to overthrow David. They hardly gave him time to appoint Joab as his Secretary of Defense. This is exactly what Jesus said Satan does. In John 10:10 Jesus said Satan comes to “steal, kill and destroy.” And Satan doesn’t always wait until he acts. Jesus said in Mark 4:15 that when the Word is sown into our lives, Satan comes immediately to “take away the word.

That’s why we need to emulate David’s masterful counter-response to an attack. As hastily as the Philistines mustered an invasion David quickly turned his heart heavenward and “enquired of God” (10) as to what his response should be. He didn’t first consult his military advisors; he “enquired of God.” And his prayerful strategy brought an incredible victory!bWhen David sought God, the Lord sent an answer, and the Bible says the Philistines were utterly routed! It was such a decisive victory that David renamed the battlefield Baal Perizim, which meant: “as waters break out, God has broken out against my enemies” (11).

This is a great word picture that David gives us when he calls the battlefield, Baal Perizim. David pictured God as a mighty torrent of water that swept away the Philistines as Israel’s army advanced against them. Their victory resembled a deluge of floodwaters that leveled everything in its path. Have you ever needed God to give you a Baal Perizim victory—a decisive overwhelming victory against the enemy of your soul? David is not the only one that said God gives us this type of victory. The prophet Isaiah said in Isaiah 59:19 that the Holy Spirit “will come like a pent up flood that the Lord’s breath drives along.” And the enemy is no match for that! If that’s what you need, then start praying that God will give you a Baal Perizim victory against the enemy.

2.      But just a short time later, the Philistines launched a second attack against Israel (1CH 14:13‑17). This is precisely how Satan operates. Just because you defeat him in one battle doesn’t mean he rolls over and dies. He’s relentless!

Jesus endured 3 successive temptations during His forty day fast in the wilderness. Persecution and hardships followed Paul everywhere. The prophets were constantly assaulted. This second attack against David and Israel was typical of Satan’s agenda. And when the Philistines repeated their invasion David duplicated his course of action—He sought God’s face.

Fortunately, David didn’t hastily reason: “Well, we whipped them the first time; Joab round up the troops, we’ll pulverize them again.” David realized his successes weren’t in his military genius or because Israel’s troops outnumbered their enemy’s troops; he related his successes directly to the Lord! And God had an altogether different battle-plan this time. Look at 1 Chronicles 14:13-15: Once more the Philistines raided the valley; so David inquired of God again, and God answered him, “Do not go straight up, but circle around them and attack them in front of the balsam trees. As soon as you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees, move out to battle, because that will mean God has gone out in front of you to strike the Philistine army.”

When David inquired and obeyed, the Bible says the Philistines were routed from “Gibeon to Gezer.” That was a distance of about 33 miles! Folks, God always has the strategy to defeat the devil. That’s why it’s imperative to seek Him. And remember, the plan God uses the first time may not be suggested the next time. Never presume God wants to repeat a particular battle plan. Always consult!

Do you want to be like David—a man that is described as being “after God’s heart”? Then seek him in all things. Let me tell you the difference between King David and King Saul. God said He was grieved that He enthroned Saul as King of Israel. Here is why: God said: ‘Saul doesn’t listen to Me. He chooses his own course.’ What a commentary! But if you want to pattern your life after David and enjoy his pathsperity, then listen closely to God.

(Transition) Second, let’s mention that trusting God brings pathsperity. Turn to Genesis 13:8-12 and let’s read:

II. Trusting God Brings Pathsperity

Read: Genesis 13:8‑12

Whenever you study the life of Abraham it’s easy to see that excelled in faith and obedience, but something else brought him pathsperity. Abraham knew how to trust God with whatever hand was dealt to him. Look what he told Lot in verse 9: “Is not the whole land before you? Let’s part company. If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left.” That’s trusting God! God had told Abraham to search for the Promised Land, and he hadn’t located it to this point. But Abraham was perfectly confident that whichever land Lot chose, it wouldn’t be the land God destined to be the Promised Land.

(Application) Have you ever become envious of someone because they got all the “breaks,” promotions, or privileges? Did you ever have to fight off feelings of jealousy because the other guy always seemed to get all the attention or because he/she had things you wanted? When we do this, it reveals that we haven’t learned to trust God’s grace for our lives.

(Illustration) I’m sure most people in this city remember when NASA invited, for the first time (1985), a civilian to fly in the Space Shuttle. Hundreds of applications poured into NASA and the finalists were narrowed down to six school teachers and from the six only one would be chosen to make the flight. The nightly news televised the drama with the teachers standing poised to hear their name. Maybe you’ve seen the footage of that event and how Kristie McAuliffe was chosen for the trip. Have you ever wondered how the five un-chosen teachers might have felt that moment she stepped forward to accept her nomination? They had to be disappointed; that’s a natural reaction. Some of those five teachers might have even been jealous or quite resentful, especially when she got all that media attention during her months of training. But not one of those five un-chosen teachers had even an ounce of resentment toward Kristie McAuliffe two minutes after takeoff when they witnessed that terrible explosion. In fact, they might have never been more thankful about anything in their lives than for not being chosen for that trip.

God’s dealings with others, their promotions and their privileges, and their good “breaks” do not mean God has slighted you! God simply has a different plan for your life.

Notice what God said to Abraham after Lot made his choice in Genesis 13: “Lift up your eyes from where you are and look north and south, east and west. (15) All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. (16) I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. (17) Go, walk through the length and breadth o f the land, for I am giving it to you.”

Do you see what the Lord is showing us from this passage? He’s showing us that even when other people make decisions that affect our lives—when the decisions are totally out of our hands and others call the shots—God is still in control! If you have committed your life to God and you are walking in faith and obedience, then you can know, for certain, that it is impossible for anyone to intrude upon God’s sovereign plan for your life. That is what Psalm 37:5 means when it says: “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: (6) He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.”

(Transition) When you and I trust God, it brings pathsperity. But third, working with God brings pathsperity.

III.  Working With God Brings Pathsperity

I hope this point sounds familiar to you. That is, “We must make ourselves available to God and work with Him if we want our labors blessed.”

I want to illustrate this from the widow of 2 Kings 4. Her husband, who was probably 35 – 40, died leaving her with a sizeable debt. The prophet Elisha had mentored this man in the School of the Prophets, but Elisha’s prophetic teaching did not include an economics class. The man died broke! So when this middle-aged man died, the creditor crouched at this widow’s doorstep with threats to seize her two sons. Moses’ Law stated that unpaid creditors could conscript the borrower’s family into slavery in order to collect their debt. (That puts teeth into balancing the budget!) After losing her husband, this woman couldn’t bear the thought of losing her sons as slaves. But under a flash of inspiration, she remembered that the prophet Elisha had been promised a double-portion of God’s power. So she made her case to him.

Here is what Elisha instructed her to do in 2 Kings 4:3: “what do you have in the house?” And she said, “Your maidservant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil.” (3) Then he said, “Go, borrow vessels at large for yourself from all your neighbors, {even} empty vessels; do not get a few. (4) “And you shall go in and shut the door behind you and your sons, and pour out into all these vessels, and you shall set aside what is full.” (5) So she went from him and shut the door behind her and her sons; they were bringing {the vessels} to her and she poured. (6) When the vessels were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another vessel.” And he said to her, “There is not one vessel more.” And the oil stopped. (7) Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debt, and you {and} your sons can live on the rest.”

That’s quite a miracle. And you know, it’s possible that the Lord has never repeated that exact strategy to pay off somebody’s indebtedness. So how do we apply this miracle to our lives? I believe God wants us to understand that there are times He wants us working hand-in-hand with Him in order to claim a miracle. He doesn’t want us sitting on the sidelines, He wants us believing and participating with Him. If this woman and her sons had not followed the command to borrow empty vessels from their neighbors, this miracle would have never occurred. And I know this was a strange, even weird, request that God gave this woman, but she understood that God’s ways, odd as they are, prevail!


(Example) This past week I received an email from a pastor asking me to evaluate a statement. It read: “If something is not practical, it is not spiritual.” So I responded by saying I disagreed with the statement. There are many propositions from God’s Word that are impractical, yet deeply spiritual.

    Was it practical for the Shunamite widow to give her last meal to Elijah? No, but it was spiritual. It even led to her family’s physical preservation during a protracted famine.

    Was it practical for one man, Moses, to assume he could deliver the entire unarmed nation of Israel from Egypt—the mightiest monarchy on earth? No, but God’s power through Moses’ Rod was greater than all the military might of Egypt.

    Was it practical for the 3 Hebrews to defy the king’s command to bow to the statue and risk being hurled into the fiery furnace?

    When bills are tight, is it practical to give away a tenth of your income and expect your entire welfare to be enriched?

Proverbs 11:24 says: “There is one who scatters, and {yet} increases all the more, and there is one who withholds what is justly due, and yet it results only in want. (25) The generous man will be prosperous, And he who waters will himself be watered.” If it is impractical to live by the principles of God’s Word, then impractical is the highest level of living!