Prosperity

Joshua 1:8 This book of the Torah shall not leave your mouth; you shall meditate therein day and night, in order that you observe to do all that is written in it, for then will you succeed in all your ways and then will you prosper.

These days we place a great deal of value on prosperity.  We worry about it.  We have sleepless nights.  We work long hours only to find we still don’t feel prosperous.  Our houses aren’t big enough. Our furniture isn’t as good as our neighbor’s.  The money we make never seems to be enough to get the things we want.  We obsess over what we have and don’t have. Prosperity, or the desire for it, is becoming the thread that binds us together as a society.  As with all the other areas of our lives, we have but to look to the Bible to find the answers.  

In the first nine verses of Joshua, HaShem is speaking with Joshua. He informs Joshua that Moses has died and that He will be with Joshua as He was with Moses.  But Joshua must do something: Just be strong and very courageous to observe and do in accordance with all of the Torah that Moses My servant has commanded you.  He had to observe the Torah of Moses.  If he did this he would succeed in all his ways and then prosper. 

I find it interesting that it says he would succeed and then prosper.  So prosperity comes after success. That seems simple enough.  This simple concept is what is plaguing society today.  We all have little successes in our lives.  Each one of them comes with a small degree of prosperity.  But successes like this only lead us to want more success.  For many people, success is an addiction. There is a rush one gets in that instant when success is realized. There is a problem with these little successes.  Having a success here and there is not having success in all your ways.  It is having success in some of your ways. Partial success can also be considered partial failure.  Failure cannot lead to prosperity.  This is where our society has broken down.  We expect prosperity from failure. We can only find prosperity when we succeed in all our ways.  So, if you want to succeed in all your ways, you should do as Joshua, observe to do all that is written in the Torah.  

Another big problem is the way in which we define prosperity and success.  Prosperity is defined as the state of being successful usually by making a lot of money*   Success is defined as favorable or desired outcome; also : the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence.**   Both definitions have to do with making a lot of money.  While being successful in business will bring you money, this is only one kind of success. There are others which must be considered.  These include family success, personal success, spiritual success, charitable success and numerous others.  Remember what the Bible says, “then will you succeed in all your ways and then will you prosper.”  You can see that being successful in one way might make you rich, but it won’t make you prosperous.  Our definition of prosperity must be flawed. 

True prosperity can only come by connecting to HaShem.  We connect to Him by keeping His commandments and doing mitzvot.  Mitzvot is the plural form of the Hebrew word mitzvah.  The simple meaning for doing a mitzvah is the act of keeping a commandment. For example, we are commanded to give charity.  When we actually give charity or help a poor person in some way, we are performing a mitzvah.  There are countless acts that can be considered a mitzvah.  But, you can only be credited with performing a mitzvah when your intent is to keep the commandment.  For example, we are commanded not to murder. People all over the world don’t commit murder every day.  If you refrain from committing murder because it is illegal and you might go to jail, you have not performed the mitzvah because your purpose was not to keep the commandment, but that of personal safety.

Prosperity is so much more than riches.  It is finding favor is the sight of G-d.  It is the lengthening of your days.  It is living in peace.  It is pleasantness, understanding, security, and charity. Take a moment and read Proverbs 3 for the Biblical understanding of prosperity.  

Joshua 1:8 This book of the Torah shall not leave your mouth; you shall meditate therein day and night, in order that you observe to do all that is written in it, for then will you succeed in all your ways and then will you prosper.      

Copyright 2016 by:

William Bouker

* “Prosperity.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 4 May 2016.
** “Success.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 5 May 2016.
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