There are a few instances in the bible, when prophets were offered money and gifts from wealthy men where they did not accept. The first was Abraham who pursued an army and rescued his nephew Lot. Abraham also took back the possession of Sodom and Gomorrah and restored these to their King. The King offered the goods to Abraham but he declined. Abraham’s response was that he would not allow the King the opportunity to say that he made him rich.
Another instance was with Elisha who told the captain of the Syrian army to wash seven times in the Jordan River. When the captain did what Elisha said and was healed, he tried to give him a present and Elisha also declined. “But he said, “As the Lord lives, before whom I stand, I will receive none.” And he urged him to take it, but he refused” (2 Kings 5:16).
The last example that we will look at is Daniel who interpreted the writing on the wall of king Belshazzar. The king promised Daniel clothes and jewellery if he could interpret his dream. Daniel also declined this offer from the king. “Then Daniel answered and said before the king, “Let your gifts be for yourself, and give your rewards to another. Nevertheless, I will read the writing to the king and make known to him the interpretation” (Daniel 5:17).
In Daniel’s case there were other instances when he interpreted dreams for king Nebuchadnezzar. In the first instance Daniel is promoted and honoured with gifts which he accepted. I suppose Daniel did not want to set a precedent that his understanding of God and visions was so that he could gain wealth.
In Abraham’s case, he seemed to have confidence that God would make him rich and did not want the king to take credit for this. Elisha was not in need either as he had servants who tended to him and I imagine that he had the money to pay them. I suppose the crux of the matter is that these men had confidence that God would meet their needs. They did not want their good to be evil spoken of and used wisdom in determining when to accept a gift and knowing when to decline.
“You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day” (Deuteronomy 8:18).