1 Kings 4:20 (ESV)

20 Judah and Israel were as many as the sand by the sea. They ate and drank and were happy.

The first phrase of 1 Kings 4:20 is a clear statement of the fulfilment of God’s promise to Abraham, in which God promised him that his descendants would be as numerous as the sand that is on the seashore (Genesis 22:17). The phrase that follows adds the idea of prosperity to that of numerical increase. This turn of events is somewhat reminiscent of the words of Moses as he addressed the people on the plains of Moab.

The contemporary heresy called the prosperity gospel has made many Bible-believing Christians shy away from any positive mention of prosperity. This tendency is something of an overreaction. The Old Testament frequently highlights a reasonable prosperity as one of the Lord’s blessings.

In addition to the present verse, Scripture often idealizes the life of a man that God has blessed as sitting under his vine and fig tree (see, for example, 1 Kings 4:25). If poverty were the ideal state, would God lay upon the hearts of his people to seek to come to the aid of the poor neighbour?

It is when riches are amassed at the expense of the poor and when they are so great as to cause the rich person to ignore the kingdom of God and his righteousness that they become a positive snare. It is not money per se but the love of money that is the root of all kinds of evil.