Proverbs 16:20 and 25, NIV
“Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord . . . there is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.”
We received many Christmas cards in the run up to the 25th December and not a few of them also wished us a happy and prosperous New Year. It is not wrong to want to prosper – there are many verses in the Bible, which promise prosperity – but the general understanding in the world of the word prosperity and of how to get it, is significantly different from what the Bible teaches!
As is clear from this verse, one of the keys to becoming prosperous in God’s way is not only to listen to the instruction which comes right to our spirit from Him and the Word of God, but to take heed to what the instruction is saying. This means apply the teaching in your life and keep walking forward in obedience.
In the years before Ellel started I was a publisher, running my own companies. I desperately wanted them to be successful. One day a proposal came to me in the post through which I thought I could make a lot of money – and become prosperous. The only problem was that God spoke to me in my heart and told me not to have anything to do with the man who was writing the book in question! Because I wanted to be prosperous (in my way!) I deliberately closed my heart to the instruction of the Lord, thinking that I new better than God! That was the biggest mistake I ever made in my business career. It very nearly cost me everything I had and at one stage I was hovering between bankruptcy and losing my very life.
Through that experience, I learnt the most important lesson of my life – that God’s instructions matter, and that when he speaks it’s our responsibility to obey. On other occasions, when I did obey the Lord and allowed Him to direct my steps and the way I ran the business, I had some remarkable and very blessed business experiences.
And so the message the Lord has laid on my heart for this first day of the New Year, is simply to encourage you to trust God and His Word and to listen for His instruction every day of the year. He has promised to show you the way to go and I pray that you will indeed enjoy a prosperous New Year, enjoying the blessing of God’s presence with you as you choose to resist the temptations of the evil one and walk in God’s ways.
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, that You have given us vital keys in your Word to help us live for You and to enjoy the sort of prosperity you have planned for us. Forgive me, Lord, for the times when I’ve chosen to ignore your gentle voice of instruction and help me to always to have the courage to obey You and Your Word. In the name of Jesus, Amen.