Most would always choose the latter given the opportunity, but is that what God has for His people?
The book of Joshua offers insight into what it really means to be prosperous or successful.
Joshua 1:8 says, This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.
Joshua 1 is God’s extremely powerful charge to Joshua to take the land. In this pep talk, God encourages Joshua to be strong and courageous. He tells Israel’s leader to obey the law. He exhorts him to speak His word and inspires him to meditate on His law day and night.
These directives are full sermons in their own right, however God finishes by saying, Then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. With reference to God’s point of view, what does it mean to be prosperous and successful?
The word prosper in verse eight means to be made successful which, with reference to the next word sounds like the verse is taking the reader in a circle.
But this term almost never means financial gain in the Old Testament. This type of success or reward truly means holiness, obedience and relationship with God.
Success in this verse is better defined as, understanding, wisdom, insight and comprehension. God’s type of success has nothing to do with financial gain – but a better understanding of who He is and the life He has for His people.
In a world where everyone is chasing after the newest thing, God is encouraging His people to be successful in Him. God wants His people to be holy – which means set apart. He desires obedience and relationship – the greatest and most lasting reward.
King Solomon is considered to be one of the smartest men to live on the earth. When he was given his choice of God’s blessing, he didn’t choose riches or power. He chose wisdom.
And this is the heart God wants for His people, and why Solomon’s wisdom is still talked about today.
The next time you feel like everyone is climbing the ladder of life at a quicker pace than you, or wonder why you can’t afford the next shiny gadget, look to your relationship with God.
If you have understanding in God’s Word and a personal walk with Him, you are truly successful. The world may define success as power and position. God sees it as relationship and obedience. And seeing things through God’s eyes is always the best way to go. Don’t you agree?