God wants us to be successful.

Wow, that’s a statement that should provoke a response!

Many late-night TV evangelists have taken that statement and really run with it. And they fly to Hawaii on their Lear jet. But the question remains – is it true? Does God really want us to be successful? Of course, the answer lies in the definition of what we mean by success.

What is success? Was the rich young man in Luke 12 successful? Because he only had wealth, but didn’t have a rich soul, he was found in God’s eyes to be foolish and poor.

It is interesting to note how frequently God instructs Israel about wealth and success. Remember, Israel was coming out of Egypt after centuries of slavery and had nothing. The prospect of literally walking into Canaan and simply choosing which home to live in and eating food from the already planted gardens would have been tantalizing to say the least (hence the warnings in Deut. 6 and 8).

So as not to think that wealth came from the Canaanites gods, God tells Moses “You shall remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth (Duet. 8:18).

God promises Joshua that if he is careful to do all that is written in the book of the Law then he, and Israel who follows him, will be prosperous and have good success” (Josh. 1:8).

In our materialistic culture we are frequently confused by success and its antithesis, suffering. Success is not the sign of spiritual health nor its absence the mark of apostasy. Likewise, suffering is not the sign of spiritual sickness nor its presence the mark of sainthood.

We all search for success – in our faith, families and finances – we all want to be successful, but we need to remember that success nudges us towards a posture of independence, and independence always carries consequences.

That’s what Joshua learned after his success at Jericho, when he failed to depend on God at Ai (ch. 7). And that’s what he learned after his success at Ai (ch. 8) when he failed to depend on God and independently made a covenant with the Gibeonites (the enemy that lived just down the road).

God’s plan for Israel was to remember that wealth came from Him, not the Canaanite gods, not the Canaanite cities, and not the Canaanite culture.

We would do well to likewise remember that wealth, security and significance come from Him.

How can you thank God for the success you are experiencing today?

Pastor John

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