True Success Is Found In A Relationship With God
So we will be in Proverbs chapter three this morning during our sermon, Proverbs chapter three, we have been working through a six part series known as echoes of regret. You’ll remember. And all of these six sermons are connected back to the Genesis three, six moment where Eve fell. She transgressed the covenant that God had given her and that goes like this. So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was a delight to the eyes and that the tree was does to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate and she also gave some to her husband who was with her and he eight. So what we have found as we’ve studied the scriptures is that later stories are built on this story.
Later, stories actually use the same exact words and later authors are trying to get us to compare this moment. Genesis three six when he falls into sin to later moments. The first one we looked at was when Israel wanted a King and they saw Saul, let’s try saying that 10 times fast. I’ve had to work on that. They saw Saul and they saw him as good. In fact, whole first section of first Samuel is about seeing and how we see things and evaluate it. The next story we looked at was the story of David and Bathsheba, which is again pattern after the same language. David sees that Bathsheba was beautiful. The same word is our word good. In Genesis three six told Cesar is beautiful and then the end of that chapter, actually God, it says that God saw that as raw or bad or evil, which is the same word and in Genesis three of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
And so there’s this idea of it’s not just that we missed see things, it’s that we actually see a bad thing and call it good and a good thing and call it bad. Then the next sermon, last week we learned about Aiken and if you read that story in Joshua chapter seven, it’s fully based off of that design fall narrative where Aiken sees a beautiful cloak again. The word Tov sees it and he takes it and then he hides it. Each one of these add a different color, a different understanding, a different shade of meaning to help us understand our life today cause we’re not just looking at echoes in the word of God. We’re looking at echoes in our life. We have a tendency to see things that looked good to us. Even though they’re bad. We have a tendency to take things that are not ours to take.
We have a tendency to desire things passionately that burning and Ferno inside of us that we should not desire. So each step of the way. We’ve been looking at that, and this is our fifth week. I’m planning to do one more week, maybe two. I haven’t decided yet. One more week in this this week here today is focused on the word wise in Genesis three six that that when she saw the tree she saw that it was desirable. That’s that word for covet, desirable, covet, covet, passion inside of you to make one wise. Now have you ever stopped to ask the question, why did Eve want to be wise?
That’s an important part of the fall narrative. The word for wise there is the word sock call, probably butchering that, but whatever.K is a word that is not accidentally used. It’s a, it’s a word that refers to prudence or street smarts or general know how [inaudible]. It’s something where because of knowledge you have, you’re able to be a be successful in what you’re doing. That’s the word. In fact, I’ve mentioned the narrative of David and Saul earlier on. You’ll remember. So as, as that narrative develops, Israel sees Saul and says he’s good or handsome is how a lot of our translations have it, but it’s the same word. Tau, he’s good. And what is the basis for him being good? Do you remember? He’s taller than everyone else because he’s taller. He must be the one that will be able to make us successful as we fight our enemies, the Philistines.
And do you remember how that kinda develops? He ends up falling away. He ends up God denies him to be King. And then we reached this critical moment in the story in chapter 16 where were God? Tell Samuel to go find a new King. And Samuel is still evaluating what would be good for Israel on the same wrong criteria. And God says that famous phrase, listen, don’t may, it looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart in chapter 17, that famous David and Goliath story and many of you know about David and Goliath. Good. Okay. Some of you don’t know if David and Goliath. All right, that’s right. So David and Goliath, I mean, most of us understand it’s the separate bore. You ends up slaying this Philistine giant. Remember, being tall is a big part of our stories so far because Saul was tall.
He must mean he’s successful. Well, guess who’s taller than Saul? Goliath, he’s way up there. K, he’s way taller. And so they look at him and they say, well, he’s going to make the Philistines successful in everything. And the seventh chapter 17 narrative is saying, no, you don’t understand. You will be successful based off of your loyalty to the covenant and to my name, not on the basis of your height. And then chapter 18 happens and chapter 18 is the most densely packed chapter with our word sakal in the entire Bible. Chapter 18 says four different times that David was. So Carl, in everything he did, here are some of them. Okay. For Samuel 18 verse five David went out and was successful wherever saw sentence so that Saul sent him over the man of war. And this was good. In the sight of all the people and also in the sight of Saul’s servants.
Verse 14 and David had success in all his undertakings for the Lord was with him, and when Saul saw that he had great success, he stood in fearful, all of him. Then the commanders of the Philistines came out to battle and as often as they came out, David had more success than all the servants of Saul so that his name was highly esteemed, densely packed. What’s he trying to say? You want to be successful in what you do? It’s not going to be on the basis of what you evaluate. We’ll be good. We’ll help you succeed. It will be on something else, on the basis of something else. That’s the whole point there.
So do you want to be successful? Do you want to be successful in what you do? Do you want to have the knowledge that it takes to prosper? Do you want to have the wisdom to live a blessed life? That’s the question that’s laid before you today. I don’t know a single person out there that says, no, that’s not me. I don’t want that. Okay, so we’re going to look at Proverbs three and see what problems three has to say about success. All right, so first point from verses one through four, let’s read one through four. My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments for length of days and years of life and peace. They will add to you. Let not steadfast love and faithfulness. Forsake you. Bind them around your neck. Write them on the tablet of your heart so you will find favor and good success in the sight of God. And man, that’s our word. It’s a, it’s a form of our word. That’s our word. First point in verses one through four, success is found in a relationship with God.
Success is found in a relationship with, gotcha. Do you see the covenantal language that’s here? The relational language. Don’t forsake the teaching that’s been passed on. Keep the commandments of the covenant. Do not let steadfast love and faithfulness for sake you. That’s covenant loyalty. It’s saying, I will be loyal to God. He’s mine. I’m here. Yes. And if you do those things, he says, you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man, do you see the echoes from Genesis? They’re going to be all over this passage. Okay? You’re going to have to pay attention to the echoes, the echos from Genesis chapter three especially in verse four. You will find favor and good toe success cycle in the site seeing of God and man, do you see all of those? He’s introducing them. He’s, he’s referencing them. He wants you to go back and, and think about the garden narrative.
See, Adam and Eve, we’re going to have success in the garden, but it wasn’t a be, if they tried to do it their own way, it was going to be in a relationship with God. God had given him what command to be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, subdue it. How many of you are ready to literally subdue the whole earth today? That’s kind of a big task. [inaudible] That was a big task. And so Eve in a moment of of sinful transgression chose to try to find success on her own instead of in the context of a relationship with God. Do you remember after they fall where God is, he’s, he’s often walking with them in the cool of the evening.
Is this a pre incarnate Jesus? Is that what that is? Is there walking with them in the evening? They’re just children in their understanding. They might be grownups, but they’re just children and their understanding of the world. There might be brilliant minds and amazing people, but they don’t understand how the world works yet. And God was going to walk with them in the garden day, in the evening, at day after day after day, and he was going to teach them the wisdom they needed to be to be successful in their task. And what did they do? He said, nah, we’ll, we’ll do it on our own. We’ll do it on our own. You want success? It’s first found in a relationship with God. Can I, can I just say I don’t, I don’t want any life that doesn’t involve God at the center. I don’t want that.
I, you know, there’s, there’s some of our famous famous hymns that talk about, you know, you could give me houses or lands, you could give me riches. Untold. You could give me fame. You could give, give me anything. My heart desires that suddenly I grew to seven foot two and could dunk a basketball like millions of dollars, write books, whatever it is, my passion, whatever that involves. You could give me all that stuff and it would not be success. Cause I know how I would feel. I know where I would be without God. I know where I would lean. Oh right. Success. Good success is found in a covenant relationship with God. Loyalty team. And let me just say, it’s not just loyalty too. I believe in God. Notice the words. Do not forget my teaching. Let your heart keep my commandments. It’s a loyalty in action and in word to the God of the Bible. That’s where I find success.
I want to keep moving here. We’re going to talk more about that in a moment. Verses five through 12 this is the second point. Your second point. Don’t trust yourself. Trust God. Let’s read verses five through 12 trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding in all your ways. Acknowledge him and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes. Fear the Lord and turn from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones. I’m going to stop you right there. Actually verses five through eight some of the maybe more popular verses in the entire Bible, trust in the Lord with all your heart. How many of you had that on a plaque hanging up on your wall somehow? No one. Okay. How many of you have it on a bookmark in your Bible right now? Curious. No one. All right. How many of you are familiar with the verse I just read? Okay. All right. How many of you that are familiar with the verse I just read? No. The story of David and Goliath. No, I’m just kidding. All right.
He says, first trusts in the Lord with all your heart. I, I, every time with all your heart is used in the Bible every time it’s about covenant loyalty. Deuteronomy six verse six talks about loving the Lord your God with all your heart. The language that’s used here is of a covenant loyalty too. Y’all way the covenant loyal one, he says, do not lean on your own understanding. Do not lean on yourself. You’re not self-reliant. You’re not saying, I’ve got this figured out. That’s what he was doing. If I just took this, then I could be like a God. I would have it all figured out. I don’t need to trust God. I don’t need to go back to him.
This means you don’t trust your heart. This means you don’t trust your internal promptings. This means you don’t trust some feeling you have about something. It means you may feel a way about something, but if you can’t honestly find support for that decision in the Bible, you’re leaning on your own understanding. I’ve seen so many people say, well God I think is leading me to do this. It’s like, okay, show me how that’s biblical. Okay, show me how. Because if, if, if you’re not going to support it with the Bible, with a good biblical, biblically founded reason, then all you’re doing is leaning on your own understanding and saying it’s God and that is blessed for me. That is probably the heart of what it means to take the Lord’s name in vain, to put the Lord’s name as a rubber stamp on what you do, the Lord’s leading. You’d better make sure you better make sure it is. You better make sure this is what God would want by searching out his word. It’s a dangerous place to be. And not only that, not only would it be blasts from me, but just in your own self interest. It’s self deception. Aren’t you afraid of being deceived? Aren’t you afraid of of not seeing things the right way and of going down a path and 10 years later being like, how did I, Oh, that was when I, I got off the pack.
Can’t trust yourself and your leanings in your under understanding. No. Instead, you need to acknowledge him in all your ways. That word for acknowledged there, it means to know him in all your ways and all your paths. You’ll see that often that phrase path or our way or our, the direction you’re going in your life, you’re knowing him, you’re growing in your knowledge of him, you’re loving him, and if you do those things, he will make your path straight. Your path will be straight and level. This is not about guidance by the way. This is more about the promise like in everywhere else in this verse that if you trust God, then our life you’ll find true prosperity. There’s not going to be those those rocks that you can roll your ankle on. I got into hiking a while ago. I wore regular hiking boots.
My, my high ankle area is very weak, which meant like a couple times a trip I would roll my ankle and I’d sprain it and it made it miserable to walk on and I really wanted to be hiking. So what I found is that I could get instead really low top and if my ankle does start to go over it doesn’t put as much pressure on the area of my ankle. That’s weak. This is saying that your path will not be up and down. It’s not going to be windy. It’s not going to have a bunch of rocks that obstruct it, that you can get hurt on. No, it’ll be straight. Your, your life will make sense is what it’s saying and it goes on. Do not be wise in your own eyes. Fear the Lord. Turn away from raw. Don’t be wise in your, remember the site. I remember seeing that it was good. Remember that Genesis three here, it’s do not be wise in your own eyes. Instead turn away from that rock here. It’s don’t determine for yourself what is right and wrong. Turn away from the raw based off of the word of God. Follow what it says.
There’s a passage in Hebrews three that’s really important for this. We have a tendency to get hearted and the deceitfulness of our sin. And in response to that, the writer of Hebrews tells us, you need to encourage one another today. You got to keep track of one another today so that none of you is becoming wise in their own eyes so that none of you is becoming hardened in the deceitfulness of sin. You have to be in each other’s life, which means number one, like I mentioned earlier, when you’re trying to make a decision, you go to the word of God and you see what biblical principles would be supported by the direction you think you should go. And you do so honestly and genuinely not trying to force the Bible to say something, it doesn’t. And then you go to biblical counsel, you go to your pastor, you go to your deacons, you go to your friends and you ask them and you see what they say. And if they are not taking you back to the word of God, it might not be wise counsel.
See what they say. Listen to their wise counsel. Don’t be wise in your own eyes. Don’t make decisions by yourself. So point number one was that success is found in a relationship with God. Point number two is don’t trust yourself. Trust God. And point number three [inaudible] is, and this might help redefined success. So I saw some of you stiffen up when I said, don’t you want to know how to be successful? And you thought, well, is he preaching you know, self-help sermon today? And the answer is no, I’m not. I’m using the biblical language. David was successful in all he did. You’re going to find good success in all you do if you trust God. But let’s let him define what success is. Let’s let him define it. Look at verse eight. I’m going to actually work through this. So I’m not going to read it all here at the beginning. Actually. I do not want you here to lower your standards. Some people that that’s what that means. We say redefined success. It’s like, well, lower your standards.
Redefine what success looks like in your life. Well, you don’t have to get a that kind of a job or you don’t have to fulfill this kind of a role. You don’t have to do these things, lower your standards. That’s not what I mean. I, in fact, I want you to set impossibly high standards instead of your success. Looking like more money or status or comfort. What if success was true? Soul rest, impossible to find. Everybody’s looking for it. What if it was real joy? Impossible to find. Everyone’s looking for it. What if it was lasting daily piece possible to find everybody’s looking for it.
So what is the definition of success in the Webster dish dictionary? Is it wealth? Is it happiness? While here you go, here are a few of them. First and foremost, the fact of getting or achieving wealth, respect or fame. How many of you, when you hear your success, that’s what you think? Well, well, fame, respect. I don’t think that’s what he means here. The second to correct it, our desired result of an attempt that’s closer. The third is utterly unhelpful for our conversation. Someone or something that is successful. I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to use the word in the definition. Thank you, Webster.
Verse eight says, it will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones. What does success look like? First, he starts in the inner man. Now he says flesh and bones here, but what he’s getting about is to the core of who you are, down into the depth of who you are. You find success and blessing in that right relationship with God, healing to your bones. It’s not just success in everything you want. It’s success in what matters. It’s success in your soul. Verse nine says, honor the Lord with your wealth and with all the first fruits of your produce. Then your barns will be filled with plenty and your vats will be bursting with wine, so he starts with inner blessing. In verse eight here, he moves to circumstantial blessing. Now we have to recognize the Bible talks about that. Okay? It doesn’t do us any good to just ignore that circumstantial blessing is if you are tithing to the Lord. God says, as a general rule here, there’s going to be success that comes in your life. That’s not promise. So it’s a life rule, but there are all ways in which life rules are broken. It’s not a promise, but generally, especially with the Israelites in this period of time, if they were faithful to their covenant with God, then God would bless their land. That was the promise to them.
I want you to see some of the echoes here of Eden. The word fruitfulness full is idea of satisfaction. All of these echo back to Genesis one 28 to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it. They’re all echoing back there and the promises that if you are [inaudible] honoring God and a relationship with him, then you will do what humanity was meant to do here on earth and live how they were meant to live in a semi Edenic state until that day, one day when it will be a full heavenly experience. It’s not yet.
Verse 13 I’m gonna skip a couple of verses, not because they’re not important, but because we all want to keep moving. Plus it is the one who finds wisdom and the one who gets understanding for the gain for her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold. She is more precious than jewels and nothing you desire can compare with her [inaudible]. It goes in this passage. If you haven’t seen them, some of your translations say bless it as the man. That’s good because the word for man in the Bible, it’s Adam, a Dom, okay? That’s why the first man was named a Dom. That’s what the Hebrew word is. So literally it’s blessed is a Dom is the Adam, the man, the echoes from the Genesis three account. Don’t end there though. It actually says better, which is that word, to-be and desire, which is not the same word, but as very similar to the same thought bucket you desire.
You long for wisdom, you long for success, but I want to show you something better. And here I want you to see that progression. Verse eight you start with inner blessing. Verse nine he moves to circumstantial blessing and then as soon as he gets done talking about circumstantial blessing, he moves to how our relationship with God is better than a circumstantial blessing. Do you see that? You want gold? Guess what’s better than gold? You want jewels? Guess what’s better than jewels? Better than the blessings of a full barn and that’s that are full with wine. You know what’s better than that or relationship with God. He’s the one that gives you true blessing and you want to know more about that. That’s what he ends with. He ends with true lasting life, so he moves first from internal blessing to circumstantial blessing to better than circumstantial blessing to what is it?
It’s true. Lasting life versus 16 through 18 long life is in wisdoms, right hand in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness and all her paths are Shalom. They’re Eden, their heaven. She is the tree of life. Okay? If at this point in the sermon you’re like, ah, I don’t, I don’t see those connections to the Genesis account. He makes it as clear as he can. She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her to those who hold her fast or those who hold her fast are called less. You see all those pleasantness and and shall know him and and blessing and everything. Where is that found? It’s because she gives life. I’m curious, I just want to make a note here. Verse 18 doesn’t say the word take. You remember the word she, she saw that the fruit was good and so she took it.
Remember that? And do you remember akin, he saw the beautiful cloak from last week and so he took it. That’s a different, this is a different word here and I think it’s a beautiful replacement of the word. We would expect the word at this point. That’s not the word that’s used. It’s more of a word about embrace, about a hug and it pictures, wisdom, lady wisdom. As someone you should embrace with your arms. True wisdom is to know God, to fear him. It’s in a relationship with him that you find that he is better than anything. Long life blessing, honor the tree of life, which in revelation 21 I think it is, we have the hope of eternal life. It’s through Jesus Christ. Do you know that song? Some of you grew up in youth group 20 to 30 years ago will recognize that Lord, you are more precious than silver.
Wait, that sounds familiar. Lord, you are more costly than go, Lord, you are more beautiful than diamonds and nothing I desire compares with you. You know that. That’s a wonderful application and that’s exactly where we’re going. Verse 15 14 and 15 wisdom that that author, that song writer says, you know what? Wisdom is wisdom in the Proverbs. You know what that ultimately is? It’s Jesus. And if you need more, second Corinthians one, I think it’s the first 29 he himself is our wisdom. Jesus is our, he’s how we know God. He’s how we get life. He’s how we live. We have blessings, we have blessings in heavenly places. He is how we have joy. He’s how we have peace. Here’s how we have the hope of eternal life in Shalom and peace. It’s through him that we have all of those things. Listen, the promises in this are not that you will, you’ll get that a raise that you’re always hoping for.
It’s not that you’ll finally get the job you want, and if you, if you think success is defined that way, you have way too small a view of what? Successes. True. Good lasting success sets your heart. Sit your eyes higher. Set your mind on the heavenly places where Jesus says, because it’s in a relationship with him that we find success. We know how to live the right way. We have the wisdom to turn away from evil, from raw, from bad, and to turn to good and righteousness. It’s through him that we have forgiveness with God so that we can sit at the table with God and be his child. That’s blessing. If your eyes are set constantly on the success of little puny, stupid things, you’re going to miss out on the true success that God has for you.
True success is taking hold of the tree of life. Jesus Christ. He says, I am the way, the truth and the life I am the resurrection and the life. That’s what he says and he invites us, invites you today and this is a challenge for each of you. I want you to hear me. Please listen, kids, teams, adults. I want you to think, have you like have you taken hold of of God? Do you embrace Jesus? Have you trusted that Jesus died on the cross to forgive you for your sins? Have you trusted that Jesus can make you a child of God? Have you trusted in in the new life that’s found in Jesus Christ? Have you turned to that because that’s yours today. Today there are two fruits hanging out there for you. One is I’m going to take what I want and I want to leave my life the way I want and that’s what led Adam and Eve to death and exile and the other one is taking the tree of life, Jesus Christ, the wisdom from God, our relationship with God through forgiveness on the cross you take that you can find true success and blessing that offer is to you today.
If you are not a believer and if you are a believer that offers before you and all of us, every single moment that offers before all of us, every single moment. That’s why we say echoes of regret because this story, that Genesis three moment where she desired success in the wrong way and the wrong place. That moment we live out every single day. There are every single one of us want to be successful. Our problem is we define success the wrong way. Every single one of us want that and every S every single moment of each day, whenever we’re attempted, we are tempted to take hold of something that’s not ours to take and we’re invited instead to take hold of Jesus Christ. Every moment echos forward into your life today.
That Eden narrative, that fall narrative that echo carries on. I was challenged this morning in Tim’s Sunday school lesson and I really appreciated this and it’s very applicable here in this moment because I will honestly say that I am a struggling to wait on the Lord, particularly in regard to our church building. What I’m waiting on, what I longed for and Tim’s Sunday school lesson was I’m longing for ah, God to give me something, the gift that God to give us a facility facility that we could expand in and do more ministries and that’s what I’m longing for. I’ve made it an idol in my heart.
I confess that and I want to repent of that instead. I want to in this moment as we wait to see what God does, wait on the Lord and trust the Lord and not lean on my own understanding and not being wise in my own eyes, but instead reach out and take the tree of life to know my God more so I want to challenge you. I don’t. It might be a different area in your life. What does it for you? What are you waiting on? Where’s that echo in your life? Is it in your relationship with your spouse? Is it in your schooling? Is it in a, as you kids try to be good kids for, for your parents? Where is that choice for you? Is it in your work? Is it in your money? Is it in a big life decision you have or what direction you want to go with your life? Where is that for you? And I encourage you, I’m begging you today, reach out and take the tree of life. Not that tree of self autonomy, not that tree of I’m going to decide for myself what’s right.
That’s a perfect father. I thank you for the way these people listen today. They’re hard. Their openness to your word. I pray that you would engage with them on the decision to take the tree of life, the turn from their sin to trust in Jesus Christ for their salvation. It’s the core of our problems. The core of the problem of humanity is that we are constantly reaching out and taking anything but you. Well, do we need more of you for that? You would save someone here today. I pray that you would have allow this blessing to be a [inaudible]. Alright. This message should be a blessing to someone today challenged their heart so that they would not continue to rely on themselves, did not continue to live in sin, but would trust in you. Father, I pray in STDs, things [inaudible] precious name. Amen. Would you stand with me please? Isaiah 26 verses three through four, right after he just got done saying that he would swallow up death forever one day. This is what he says. You keep him in perfect peace. Whose mind is stayed on you because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever for the Lord. God is an everlasting rock. Thank you so much for being here this morning. You are dismissed.