Do you want to prosper? OK, so now what are you willing to do to make that happen? I know a man who moved his family thousands of miles away from his home in Togo, Africa - just so that they could have a chance for a more prosperous life here.
That's commitment. That's a risk. But we can relate, can't we? Maybe we don't take that drastic a measure, but we do sacrifice plenty of time, effort and energy for things we feel will help our lives, don't we? That's why we go to school, isn't it? Or work? Isn't that why we put money away for retirement or save up for a vacation?
Plain and simple, we are willing to sacrifice for those things we find valuable.
We want to prosper. And since God is creator of all, owner of all, controller of all - it would probably be a good idea to listen when he tells us how to prosper. That's what we have in this text.
God tells us to prosper. The first part of the text is a listing of all the different ways we'll prosper - really the ancient equivalent to success at work, trophy kids, nice cars, investments paying off, and just great stuff. Then, in verse 10, he says how - "if you obey the Lord your God and keep his commands and decrees that are written in this Book of the Law and turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul."
That's a big "if." "If" we obey God, "if" we keep all his commands, "if" we follow the Lord heart and soul, then we'll prosper. Count me out. Sure we all try to follow God, but we can't do it perfectly. That's part of being human. God's own word says, "All who rely on observing the law are under a curse," because we can't do it. We can't earn prosperity.
Yet God says in today's text: "Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach ... 14 No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it."
We couldn't give that perfect obedience, but Jesus did. That's the beauty of God's Word. When he tells us to do something, he gives us the power to do it, or he does it for us. That's what is so great about this word being very near us. He did it for us.
He knew we would sin. He told us so. But, when we do, instead of saying, "I told you so," like I might've, he says, "I love you." He says that by bringing the Word near. John chapter 1, speaking about Jesus, says, "the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us for a while." Jesus took flesh so that he could love and obey God's Word perfectly in our place.
The word took flesh to pay the price we couldn't afford - an innocent death for our sins. The word came near, so that now God can come near to us through his word (the Bible). Every time we are in his word, he tells us - not "I told you so," but "I love you."
Be in that word. Have it in your heart and on your lips so that, as Moses says, you may obey it, so that you will prosper. You'll prosper in peace and hope and joy and love. So are you willing to do what it takes to have that prosperity?
Get in the word. Join us for church on Sunday morning. Sign up for the new Bible Information Class starting next week. Get you and your family enrolled in Sunday School. Put the word in your life, so that it is in your hearts, and mouths, and lives. Then, you'll prosper.