"You Help Yourself, And I Will Help You"
Updated: Apr 9
"Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful". Joshua 1:8
Let us remember that God said this to Joshua, a young man who led God's people into the promised land. After God decided to take Moses to his presence and not let him in (after leading his people through the desert for more than 40 years). But why does God do this? this was precisely so that they understood and also us, that the power is not in the man of God, but in God himself and in his word.
Now I ask myself, what is success? The real academy of the language defines it as: "The happy result of a business, performance, etc. The good acceptance that someone or something has. The end or termination of a business or matter."
So it is a relative term, which has to do with the subject.
For the Israeli people, in the context of this verse, it was to possess the land that God had promised them since their departure from Egypt. And God led them to achieve it. Several hundred years later, they asked for a king to rule over them, just as the other nations of the earth had, and God also granted it. As you should already know, David, the man after God's own heart, gloriously reigned over the people of God for many years; then his son Solomon succeeded him on the throne.
King Solomon (after his father paved the way for him to enjoy peace from his enemies) managed to fully reign over the kingdom of Israel, with political, economic and social success.
This same king, who seemed to achieve everything, said the following:
"I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me. In all this my wisdom stayed with me. I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my labor, and this was the reward for all my toil. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun." Ecclesiastes 2: 9-11
Does it surprise you? we live every day eager to achieve success, but here is a man who achieved it, and took the trouble to write his findings in a book to let us know that in the end he did not find fulfillment in it.
So why do we keep doing it? Jesus explained that this is due to the "deceitfulness of riches" (Mark 4:19). And before you stop reading here, let me tell you that I am very much in favor of riches, the Bible is full of promises from God regarding his material and emotional blessing on our lives, and he continues to do so today.
He created the earth out of chaos and left us to manage it (Gen 1:26). In other words, your job and mine is to avoid the chaos to which this land tends by nature. The question is what chaos do you want to help him control? What problems do you want to help solve?
If you ask me, I prefer to be one of those who give, generating value returns in returns, instead receiving without giving, generates interest. If you want a good you must pay interest to the bank, on the other hand, if you give a good and generate value, that returns income to you. Also, our Lord Jesus said that this would give us more happiness.
"In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’" Acts 20:35
The American Constitution, originally based on Protestant norms, makes it clear that as individuals, we have the right to pursue our own happiness.
So what will we conclude, that success is the achievement of happiness? Social networks are full of people who claim to have it and seek to share it in photos. Billion dollar companies these days make a living off of this. The TV, and in general the advertising and communication media, what they sell us is happiness. Amazon does not sell products, it sells happiness, here is its logo. Pepsi in studies they have done say it tastes better, but people buy Coca-Cola, which also advertises happiness. BMW and Mercedes Benz sell prestige and status, self-worth, not cars. Starbucks doesn't sell coffee, it sells wellness. In short, they have become "successful" because they understood that the true need of people is much deeper than goods and services.
So what is your purpose? Why do you want to help yourself so that God helps you and why? Although this phrase has been attributed to God, it does not appear anywhere in the Bible. However, I understand the purpose of it, and it is true that God asks us not to leave everything to Him, because He is looking for friends and partners to collaborate with Him on this earth, now.
My conclusion, and if you want to listen to it, follow this reading for a few more minutes. But if not, I still consider myself well served just by asking you the question.
True success is obeying God. Not in a religious way, but in a way that shows fidelity and love. Truly get to please your heart. There is real success there, and not only for this age but for the one to come. Jesus said In John 14:15 "If you love me, you will obey my commandments."
Returning to King Solomon, who also sought to leave a legacy to his son and successor. Without knowing then that his son and successor are all of us, as part of the promise made to Abraham, he concluded the following:
"Not only was the Teacher wise, but he also imparted knowledge to the people. He pondered and searched out and set in order many proverbs. The Teacher searched to find just the right words, and what he wrote was upright and true. The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails—given by one shepherd. Be warned, my son, of anything in addition to them. Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body. Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil." Ecclesiastes 12:9-14 (emphasys added)
It is not a popular path, and it will not be applauded on social networks; but it will be applauded by the Almighty God, who promises to reward publicly, what you do for Him in secret. (Matthew 6:4,6,18)