It is safe to say that the two most sought after blessings in the Bible that most people are seeking on this earth are health and success… and with good reason. Without health, nothing else really matters; even if you are the richest man alive without health you cannot enjoy it. Also success follows closely with it because if you are not successful, you will not be able to help many people in this life. The poor can not give to the poor much at all.
So today we are going to be examining the secret principles of health and success in the Bible. They are called “secrets” but they have been in the Bible all along, right there just waiting for people to find them. For those who have heard messages along this line before and are expecting this to just be more of the same – like a five step program – this is not what we will be doing; but instead we are going to meditate on and dig deep into the scriptures and receive the answers straight from God’s Word, as we always do.
Our main scripture text for today is going to be a block of verses from Proverbs chapter 3. Now really the entire chapter is dealing with attitudes and behaviors which will bring health and success, and I would highly encourage you to read the entire chapter in your personal Bible reading time. For now though we will focus on the first part of the chapter. Let’s read Proverbs 3:1-12:
“My son, forget not my law; but let your heart keep my commandments:
For length of days, and long life, and peace, will they add to you.
Let not mercy and truth forsake you: bind them about your neck; write them upon the table of your heart:
So will you find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not to your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths.
Be not wise in your own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.
It will be health to your navel, and marrow to your bones.
Honour the LORD with your substance, and with the firstfruits of all your increase:
So will your barns be filled with plenty, and your presses will burst out with new wine.
My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction:
For whom the LORD loves he corrects; even as a father the son in whom he delights.”
Now many times when people read verses such as this, they do not associate them with health and success, but we must remember that in many cases the Bible is a book of word pictures.
Please don’t misunderstand me here, I am not saying that the Bible is all metaphorical, nor am I saying that it is not plain and simple. What I am saying is that the Bible often uses words to paint a picture which we can apply today in our modern life. So let’s start at the first verse and dig into these verses one at a time.
Verse one is an opener; we know that in the natural, Solomon is writing… but in truth it is the Holy Spirit of God addressing all of His children, including us as believers today. It is always important to remember that we must always read the Bible in the light of the finished work of Jesus Christ. Whenever we see the word “law” in the Bible, it is not referring to the Old Testament law for us today, it is referring to Jesus Christ as the complete fulfillment of the law on our behalf. So when we read verse one in the light of Christ, we understand that we are being instructed to always keep in our minds and hearts the truth that Jesus Christ has redeemed us from every curse of the law and imparted upon us every blessing in Him. This being the first verse also shows that it is the foundation upon which the following verses are built. Jesus Christ is always the foundation of every truth and every good thing.
Verse two continues from verse one to tell us what this remembering of Christ will do for us; by constantly keeping His redemption and salvation in our minds and hearts it gives us length of days, long life and peace. That’s a good thing my friends. But why is this so? If you have been coming here for a while, you have probably heard me mention this before, that healing and salvation are actually one single work, not two separate works. This is because as far as God is concerned, to be saved is to be healed. Jesus made no distinction at all between healing and salvation, in-fact He said quite plainly that they are one and the same when He healed the lame man in Mark chapter 2. So the lesson here is that by constantly remembering and refreshing the finished work of Christ in our minds and hearts, it lengthens our life, and gives us peace, because we are sure that our sins are forgiven and our conscience is at rest, which often will also greatly reduce our stress level as well.
Verse three is very interesting. It is both a continuation on verses one and two, as well as a special instruction. The mercy and truth spoken of here is the mercy and truth of God in Christ Jesus, but there is an added benefit here. When you are constantly living in the mercy and truth of God, it will change you; you will become merciful towards others as well. You may have noticed that people who believe that God is always angry and upset with them, tend to be angry and upset with those around them also. However when you are living in the mercy and truth of God, it frees you to be truly merciful and true with those around you.
Now the instruction here deserves special attention, it states that we should “bind mercy and truth around our neck, and write them on the tablet our hearts”. This is something that Jesus alone can do, but the implication here is that when something is tied to your neck, it affects what you see and where you go, because your neck controls where you look and what you see; do you understand? Your neck controls and turns your head. In other words, the mercy and truth of God should change your behavior and the way that you look at things. The results and benefit of this in verse four being that you will have favor and good understanding with both God and man. This is success.
Now verses five, six and seven contain a deep truth and wisdom which many people acknowledge emptily without actually heeding it. The lesson in these verses tells us to do something that most people do not actually want to do in their hearts. We are to trust in the LORD [The Covenant Keeping God] completely without relying or trusting in our own understanding of how things work or what seems to be. Not exalting our own thoughts or wisdom, but simply revering and worshiping the LORD. The dual benefits of doing these things being that God will direct our paths (this brings both health and success, obviously) and we will depart from evil, notice that departing from evil is a product of worshiping and revering the LORD. Many people are trying to depart from evil by their own efforts and they are failing and being beaten-down. The only true way to depart from evil is the way mentioned here, to revere and worship the LORD.
Verse eight tells us that by adhering to verses five, six and seven we obtain the benefit of health to our navel and marrow to our bones. Literally these are important things health-wise, figuratively they are general health blessings for our entire body.
Verse nine involves another area that many do no yet understand, the area of the tithe and first-fruits offerings. We are instructed here to honor the LORD with our substance [everything that we have] and also to honor Him with the first-fruits of all our increase [profit or gain]. Now the “first-fruits” is always considered to be the first and best of a thing – different from tithing, but both are important. Under law, both tithes and first-fruits were mandatory, and not gifts. Today Jesus Christ is the end of all tithes and He is the final first-fruits offering for all of us who believe on Him. So today we bring our tithe (Jesus) and we honor Him as our first-fruits by giving freely with a true spirit of thanksgiving, without being under any law or obligation of any kind.
In truth, many people have not been taught properly about tithing, and so they have not understood it. The reality of it is that God does not want your money, and tithing is also not about proving your loyalty to God either. I have heard both of those things preached by some well known pastors, and honestly they are both wrong. While many people believe that tithing can demonstrate our trust in God, that is not the purpose of it, and tithing today actually demonstrates our own ignorance of what Christ Jesus has done for us. My friends, God does not want us under any part of the Old Covenant laws, it actually harms us to touch the law.
Finally my friends, verses eleven and twelve, these deal mainly with our thinking and attitude. Most people become nervous when they see the word “chastening”in the Bible. It is almost always thought of as harsh punishment. However that is not the true meaning of the word. The word chasten actually means to lift-up, or train like a child.
So how does God chasten us? How does God train us like a child and lift us up? For many of you it is happening right now as you are hearing the word of God being preached or are reading the article. You are learning more about God and His ways, you are being enlightened and taught and you are becoming stronger in Christ. This is the gentle way in which God teaches and lifts-up.
We are instructed in these verses to “not despise the training of the LORD, nor to get tired of His correction”. Now the reason for this is mentioned in verse twelve, for when He is training you, you can be sure that He loves you, delights in you, and also that you are His child.
My friends there is no greater surety of health and success in every area than knowing that you are a child of the richest, most powerful, most healthy being in all of the universe. If you have been listening to this message today or reading the article and you have been receiving instruction, know that it is not from me, but from the LORD, He is instructing you, He is investing in you personally, and you are His child.
Give Jesus the glory and praise for His finished work, and for all the benefits that are ours today because of Him!