Success can be a dangerous word for a follower of Jesus. If we’re chasing fame, wealth, or power, we’re running in the wrong direction.
But if by success we mean pleasing God, we’re on the right path. God alone makes a truly satisfying life possible. Here’s how.
He holds success in store…
Not the word store, as in shopping—walk in with a list, walk out with bags of stuff.
Here, store means keeping things safe. A place where God “hides away” (AMP) what matters most, where He “reserves” (CEB) the things we truly need, where He “layeth up” (ASV) treasures for us, and will “keep” (DRA) them for our use.
What’s He holding in store for us? To be honest, “success”doesn’t fully capture the depth of the Hebrew word, tushiyyah. What God offers us is “sound and godly Wisdom” (AMP) and the gift of “common sense” (CJB). He also provides “help and protection” (GNT) by way of His “effective counsel” (NET).
If we experience any real success, it’s only because of God’s “priceless” (GW) and “perfect wisdom” (NLV), safely stored for us in His Word.
Beloved, I have no doubt that I wear you out with my word-by-word approach to Bible study. Some weeks I can almost hear you saying, “All right, I get it! Next verse, please!”
Here’s the thing: 2 Timothy 2:15 tell us, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”
That’s why I’m trying to handle each word with care, hoping we all discover the Big Picture that God is painting for us—a breathtaking masterpiece!
…for the upright,…
Who qualifies as upright? People who are walking in the right direction. It’s “everyone who obeys him” (CEV). Not folk who are simply “honest” (ERV) or “decent” (GW). We’re talking about those who are “in right standing with Him” (AMP).
My father was a good person, a man of high principles and deep integrity. But he was not a man who worshiped God or read the Bible or prayed for his family. Much as it breaks my heart, after 89 years on this earth, he didn’t choose to be counted among “the godly” (TLB).
You can be sure, if my father gave his heart to Christ in the twilight hours after his stroke, I will be the first to leap with joy when I see him in heaven! Until that day, my passion is to share the truth of God’s love with anyone willing to listen. (So grateful you’re one of them!)
…he is a shield… Proverbs 2:7
What a visual! God is our defender, our “bodyguard” (MSG), our “safe-covering” (NLV). We’re surrounded by His love, guarded by His strength, and wrapped in His grace. As David wrote, “You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me” (Psalm 139:5). Such a comfort, to picture God shielding us front and back, to sense His mighty hand resting on our shoulder.
In Hebrew, magen means a literal “shield.” What we call the six-pointed Star of David is better known as the Magen David, or Shield of David. (The Yiddish phrase, Mogen David, is also the name of a cheap wine I guzzled back in my college days, but let’s not go there…)
One translation tells us God’s wisdom is “a buckler” (JUB), a small, round shield, which a warrior grips in his hand or wears on his arm. Like the old hymn says…
A trusty weapon is Thy Word,
Thy Church’s buckler, shield and sword.
Oh, let us in its power confide
That we may seek no other guide!
I’m singing a three-fold “Amen” to that, sister.
…to those whose walk is blameless…Proverbs 2:7
We’re reminded again that divine protection is for “those who walk blamelessly” (NRSV). Wait. Blameless? Us?
You bet. The Bible clearly tells us how perfection is possible: “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:23). Once again, it’s all God.
We can “walk uprightly” (GNV) only because He bent down to carry a cross.
…for he guards the course of the just… Proverbs 2:8
Verses 7 and 8 flow together, so we gotta press on, knowing “God sees” (CEV) us right where we are. He “keeps his eye” (MSG) on us every hour of the day and night, and continually “protects” (GNT) us from the enemy’s attacks.
Can our temporal bodies become injured or weakened with illness? Yes. They will also be healed—in this world or the next—by the Lord Himself, who sees us safely home.
God sees. God guards. God wins.
Here’s my favorite take on the course of the just—“the paths of rightwiseness” (WYC). What may look like a crazy, curvy road to us looks like a rightwise path to God—straight, true, and according to plan.
…and protects the way of his faithful ones. Proverbs 2:8
In case we missed it, God reminds us that “he watches over” (CEV) His own, and “pays special attention to” (MSG) “those who belong to Him” (NLV).
Who are those blessed people again?
His “saints” (ASV). His “loyal followers” (ERV). His “committed ones” (MSG).
By His grace, we can be counted among them.
Remarkable, isn’t it? Just. Wow.
Now it’s your turn
- How might you take these many words and sum them up in one word (or two or three)? A single, simple truth that says it all.
Can’t wait to see what you come up with! Thanks for taking a moment to Post a Comment below.
Next week, a much shorter verse, I promise. And a refreshing one!
Your sister, Liz