In the book of Deuteronomy, we find a theological that is termed as the "Deuteronomic Theology". This concept explained by Hamilton as, “those who follow the Lord may anticipate blessing”. (Hamilton p. 446)
This theme seems to hold through most of the Old Testament. We see those that follow the Lord rewarded with blessings, and those that disobey find themselves under judgment. We can see this concept played out though many of the narratives in scripture, one of the clearest of these being in the book of Malachi. God speaks to the children of Israel, explaining to them that their disobedience has caused them to be under a curse of sorts. (Malachi 3:8)
In this same portion of scripture, we can see the promise of blessing for their obedience. (Malachi 3:10-11)
So, is it then assumed that those of us who live today can be wealth, healthy, and wise by following Jesus? Not at all! It may have been termed best by C.H. Spurgeon when he said that the, “promise of the old Covenant was prosperity, but the promise of the new Covenant is adversity”. (Spurgeon’s Sermons. Vol. 11, p. 337)
While this was the promise given to the children of the promise under the old covenant, we must be careful that, as Hamilton instructs, “any conclusions that we may want to draw need to be tempered by a study of all Scripture”. (Hamilton p. 448)
Spurgeon was in fact echoing the words of Christ in John 16:33, when he promised those that follow him would in this world have tribulation. As the children of faith (Galatians 3:26), we are promised that we will suffer adversity. We can in no wise think that we are promised the riches of this world because Christ has brought with Him the fulfillment of the promise.
The early church believed that if Christ then it was a great privilege to have “fellowship in His suffering”. (Philippians 3:10)
While we can look in one direction and see the wicked prosper and look the other direction and see those in Christ in difficulty, we must keep our focus upward. Christ died so that we could be given all spiritual blessings in heavenly places. (Ephesians 1)
If we understand the scriptures correctly, we will see that we have prospered more than any other people on the face of the earth, because we have found all in Christ!