If one believes the proverb, “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise,” then I ought to be doing pretty well right now. Jet lag is luring me to bed way too early in the evening. (My husband had to keep waking me up as we watched a documentary last night about diamonds.) And in the morning I’m popping out of bed too early again. (That’s why I’m writing a blog in the morning!)
But as for being healthy, wealthy, and wise—my Scripture reading just now reminded me of the real secret of success in all those areas:
Trust in the LORD with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.
WISE: Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom.
Instead, fear the LORD and turn away from evil.
HEALTHY: Then you will have healing for your body
and strength for your bones.
WEALTHY: Honor the LORD with your wealth
and with the best part of everything you produce.
Then he will fill your barns with grain,
and your vats will overflow with good wine. (Proverbs 3:5-10)
So, Benjamin Franklin, move over. Here’s a better plan for success!
The story of Joseph in Genesis has a couple of themes that stand out: faithfulness and forgiveness. Forgiveness comes at the end, but faithfulness is woven throughout the story. Joseph’s life in Egypt takes place in three scenes, and each is summarized by almost identical words.
As a household servant, in Potiphar’s house. “The LORD was with Joseph so that he prospered” (39:2). His master noticed this so he trusted him implicitly and entrusted everything to him with two exceptions: his food (v. 6) and his wife! Joseph was faithful to that trust and refused to take advantage of his position, even though it cost him everything, landing him in the dungeon.
As a prisoner. “The LORD was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did” (39:23). The warden noticed this and put him in charge of all the other prisoners. Joseph was faithful to that trust, even through the disappointment of being forgotten by a fellow prisoner who promised to put in a good word for him when he was released.
As governor of all Egypt! After God showed Joseph the meaning of the king’s dreams (41:16) and suggested a wise solution to the coming famine, the king said, “You will be in charge of my court, and all my people will take orders from you. Only I…will have a rank higher than yours” (41:39-40).
No matter what situation Joseph found himself in–
–God was with him – glorifying Himself, making him a blessing to others and preparing Joseph for the next step.
–He was faithful to God and served others to the best of his ever-increasing ability.
What are my tasks today? I invite God to be with me, ask Him to make me faithful, and beg for His blessing.
Ezra …arrived at Jerusalem on August 4, for the gracious hand of his God was on him. This was because Ezra had determined to study and obey the Law of the LORD and to teach those decrees and regulations to the people of Israel. (Ezra 7:8-10 NLT)
This verse stood out to me recently. Ezra’s devotion to the Lord and his success are outstanding, and the secret is in these three things he focused on: to study, obey, and teach God’s Word.
I want to do that, too.
— I love to study it, but giving this priority is sometimes difficult when other things crowd my schedule.
–I want to obey it. Holy Spirit, please show me how it applies to me and prompt me to carry through when those moments come.
–I love to teach. I pray that not only my words, but my life will be a compelling example of a life like Ezra’s.