Wednesday, August 31, 2011


When I look closely at the 40 years the Israelites spent in the wilderness, I realize what a great example that is for my own life. Now that I’m conscious of it, I see that time mentioned over and over in other places in the scripture. In this passage, I see a mini-sermon about success.

Success isn’t something I can achieve by working hard or being motivated. It doesn’t come from education or talent. It comes from God.

It seems that God has a prescribed path to success. There are steps I have to take, or stages I have to go through.

  1. I have to pass through a great and terrifying wilderness, filled with things like poisonous snakes and scorpions. But God leads me through it, and blesses me while I’m there. He gives me Living Water when I’m thirsty and feeds me on the Bread of Life.
  2. While I walk in the wilderness He humbles me and tests me for my own good. In other words, He refines me through trials.
  3. But then He leads me into a land flowing with milk and honey. The trials don’t last and when they’re over the blessings are abundant.
  4. When the blessings come, I have to be thankful for them. When I’ve eaten my fill, I must be sure to praise God for the goodness He’s given me.
  5. This is a critical time, because when I’m fat and happy it’s easy to forget the source of the blessings. I have to not forget God – or His commands - in my plenty.
  6. And I absolutely must never say to myself, I did this; I’ve done this with my own strength.
  7. If I remember He is the One who gives me power to succeed, I will.
The success God gives me is a fulfillment of His covenant. In this passage He was talking about the old covenant with Israel, but I’m part of the new covenant, which is sealed with Jesus’ blood (Luke 22:20). It’s of the Spirit, not a matter of written laws (2 Cor. 3:6). So maybe the success God gives me is to live a life pleasing to Him. The only real success I achieve is what I do within the Kingdom of God. 

Success is a result of God’s blessing.
Success comes when He thinks I’m ready (after I’ve been humbled).
Success is a fulfillment of His covenant.
Success comes from the Holy Spirit which is the seal of my salvation.
Success is what I accomplish for His Kingdom.

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