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figure of man climbing up arrow March 15 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading (NIV) or alternate versions (use your browser arrow to return): Deuteronomy 4, 5

How to Succeed

Many organizations offer formulas for success in life or in business:

  • have a good plan
  • project a positive image for yourself or your business
  • promote yourself or your organization
  • make key contacts with others who are successful
  • learn all you can in your field of interest
  • find a market or need and meet it
  • manage your personal life and your business (including your resources) carefully
  • surround yourself with good, successful people and empower them to succeed.
These are some formulas for worldly success. Israel, too, was offered a formula for success in the Promised Land, but this formula was given by God. Following it will also help us lead a more successful spiritual life.

Why do they need a method for success? They need it because Moses is soon to die and has passed the torch to Joshua, the chosen leader to succeed him. Joshua and the second generation of Israelites out of Egypt need reminders of how to obtain success; God wants them to thrive in the Promised Land.

First, to succeed, Moses warns the people to give their allegiance to God alone (part of the Suzerain Treaty, see more… ) and be careful not to give themselves to worthless idols and sexual immorality. This is what got their parents and grandparents in trouble and kept them from entering the land. Have there been some things that have gotten us or our predecessors into trouble? Let us remember to give our allegiance to God alone and be careful not to repeat their mistakes. To forget this could be disastrous.

Second, Moses reminds the Israelites how their God delivered them from slavery in Egypt, made them a nation of their own, provided for them in the wilderness for forty years, and gave them great military victories. If we wish to succeed, we should also remember the good hand of the LORD in our lives and encourage ourselves in right behavior so that God's favor will continue upon us.

Third, Moses reminds the Israelites of the stipulations of the law that they are to keep to be successful (part of which are the ten commandments given at Mt. Sinai). This, too, follows the pattern of a Suzerain treaty. Deuteronomy 4:5-9 says,

See, I have taught you decrees and laws as the LORD my God commanded me, so that you may follow them in the land you are entering to take possession of it. Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, 'Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.' What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the LORD our God is near us whenever we pray to him? And what other nation is so great as to have such righteous decrees and laws as this body of laws I am setting before you today? Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them. (NIV)

We cannot operate an organization or our personal life in a slipshod manner and expect to be successful. We must be careful to do things right according to a standard, which for Christians is the Bible. Christians also need to share their testimony of God's goodness with the next generation. If we do things right according to His standards, it leaves a positive testimony to our community and glorifies the LORD. It will also cause others (even our own family members) to be drawn to our faith in the personal, prayer answering God who favors us.

Lessons to live by:

  • We may have many troubles in this life, but God wants His people to experience a vital relationship with Him, to succeed, and to have peace (more...). He will help us if we rely on Him.
  • Let us remember our allegiance to God and be careful not to repeat the mistakes of our predecessors. To forget could be disastrous for us.
  • The LORD is a compassionate and gracious God. He wishes His people to succeed, but they must obey Him or God will have to exercise His justice and punish them.
  • If we wish to succeed, we should also remember the good hand of the LORD in our lives and encourage ourselves in right behavior (according to the Bible) so that God's favor will continue upon us.
  • Operating our business or family according to God's standards and sharing His goodness provides a positive testimony to our world and draws people to faith in our God.
  • If we want the following generations to be successful, we must teach them to love the LORD and keep His commands. We must not fail or they may fail.

Today's Bible memory verse:

Deuteronomy 4:9 (NIV)

Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.

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