PSALM 118.24-25... (KJV) "This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. Save now, I beseech thee, O LORD: O LORD, I beseech thee, send now prosperity."
King David had just come through a time of distress... He was in a first class distress this time. The word distress refers to "a tight spot"... also "distress such as having a pebble in your shoe" Nations had surrounded him in battle and things weren't going too well. In v-1-4 David was confessing that God's mercy endureth forever. In v-5 he calls upon the Lord in the time of his distress and the Lord answered him with deliverance. Then David testifies how the Lord stands by those who put their trust in Him. He tells how the enemy pressed hard against him and how he sang songs of deliverance and confessing that he was not going to die in battle but he was going to live and declare the works of the Lord. After the battle David says, "This is the day the Lord hath made, we will rejoice and be glad in it" David then says, "Save now, I beseech thee, O Lord, send now prosperity" I want to talk to you about prosperity...
The word prosperity means... success, abundance, favor, to be profitable, to finish well, to be raised to promotion and honor... King David was asking for success... Our prayers for prosperity should include, "Lord, send success into my life... into our home... into our church"... Success means being in a position in life that defeats poverty, sickness and the devil. We never pray, "Lord, I want to fail"... or... "Lord, we want our church to fail"... We pray instead, "Send us success." God has promised His people success, prosperity, abundance. Success is having enough and to spare... Enough to live on and enough to give... Enough to use for our needs and enough to share with others. God wants to build successful lives and successful churches. Success influences the community. Eddie Cantor the great comedian who died in 1964 said that it took him twenty years to be an overnight success. He worked hard for twenty years and failed many times but he kept going and learned that failure is often the first stepping stone to success. A man by the name of William Menninger said that there are six essential qualities to success... faithfulness, integrity, humility, industry, wisdom and love.
Genesis 39:2-3, 23... Joseph... "KJV) "And the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. And his master saw that the LORD was with him, and that the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand." Later... v-23 "The keeper of the prison looked not to any thing that was under his hand; because the LORD was with him, and that which he did, the LORD made it to prosper." Joseph prospered because the Lord was with Him. The word prosperous as used here refers to God pushing Joseph forward and gave him success and prosperity. If we want success in our life we must be sure that God is with us.
Joshua 1:8... Joshua... "KJV) "Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success." God promised Joshua good success and prosperity if he lived by the word that God gave him. If we want success in our life and in the church we must live by the word of God.
2 Chronicles 26:5... Uzziah... (KJV) "And he sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God: and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him to prosper." Uzziah prospered because he sought God under the guidance of a prophet. As long as he did this, God made him to prosper. The word sought implies that Uzziah searched frequently for answers from the Lord, he sought, he asked and he questioned diligently. Often we want success without asking and seeking diligently. If we ignore seeking God we will struggle in reaching for success.
3 John v-2... John was writing to Gaius... "KJV) "Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth." The proper priorities in prospering is that you must prosper in your soul first. John said, "That you may prosper and be in health"... not... "that you may prosper and be healed"... God's plan for physical prosperity is that you don't get sick at all. His plan is that we live in a state of health. That includes eating well and exercising. Preventative measures agrees with God. Gaius owned an inn... and he would take in the persecuted Christians who were on the run from the persecutors and this drained Gaius financially. (preachers who seek after prosperity never look into the history of Gaius to see why this admonition was given) The word prosper as used here means, "to help on the road, to succeed in reaching, to succeed in business affairs."
Romans 1:10... Paul..."KJV) "Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you. For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established." Notice the words, by the will of God... He was praying that God would help Paul come to Rome in a successful manner. Let's go to Acts 27 and see how this request turned out. God's idea of a successful journey might be quite a bit different than ours. Notice... what was in Paul's successful journey...
Acts 27... Paul's successful journey... Prosperity and success doesn't always come out the way we planned but in the end we have good success.
Acts 27:1-2... (KJV) "And when it was determined that we should sail into Italy, they delivered Paul and certain other prisoners unto one named Julius, a centurion of Augustus' band. And entering into a ship of Adramyttium, we launched, meaning to sail by the coasts of Asia; one Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, being with us." Paul says, we launched... ie... pushed away... we released the ship from its moorings. Launching is an exciting moment... If you want prosperity and success you must let go of that which has tied you up you must take that step of faith. You are not going anywhere anchored to the dock.
Acts 27:3-4... "KJV) "And the next day we touched at Sidon. And Julius courteously entreated Paul, and gave him liberty to go unto his friends to refresh himself. And when we had launched from thence, we sailed under Cyprus, because the winds were contrary." Notice... Paul refreshed himself... I'm sure "in the Lord" as well as having a bath and fresh clothes. After a refreshing you can be sure that the devil will try to get you off course. The winds were contrary and the ship was pushed off course. We have an idea that to get from point A to point B is always a straight line...But we forget about the wind factor. Winds can push you off course. Contrary winds are often needed to bring us into success and prosperity. Paul says that they finally got to a port and transferred to another ship that was going to Italy. (v-5-6)
Acts 27:8... "KJV) "And when we had sailed slowly many days, and scarce were come over against Cnidus, the wind not suffering us, we sailed under Crete, over against Salmone." Paul says "for many days we beat slowly ahead... the winds were so bad." We have an idea sometimes that "by the will of God" means that there is no opposition... everything is clear sailing. Isaiah 40:31 says, (NIV) "But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." When an eagle lands in a storm it just soars... it doesn't fight the wind... it has learned how to use the winds to its advantage. If you are going through contrary winds on your way to success and prosperity... don't fight it... flow with the wind... God may be in it. Psalm 92 talks of the palm tree... The palm trees flow with the wind... and they are never uprooted because of their root systems. Are you deeply rooted and grounded in the love of God? In the journey towards success there will be days of slow pushing forward.
Acts 27:8... (KJV) "And, hardly passing it, came unto a place which is called The fair havens; nigh whereunto was the city of Lasea." They came to a resting place... a breath of fresh air from the winds and storm. But "fair havens" was not the destination... Dangerous sailing was still ahead of them (v-9) Paul admonishes the captain (by the will of God) that much hurt and damage is going to come upon them if they sail now. (v-10-11) Paul wasn't believed... after all he is just a preacher... what do preacher's know about ships and sailing. The "fair haven" was not good for wintering in... so they set sail again.
Acts 27:12-13... (KJV) "And because the haven was not commodious to winter in, the more part advised to depart thence also, if by any means they might attain to Phenice, and there to winter; which is an haven of Crete, and lieth toward the south west and north west. And when the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained their purpose, loosing thence, they sailed close by Crete." When the south wind blew softly they supposed they had reached their purpose. The south wind was a sign of blessing and they thought that their objective (success) was in reach. They thought that now with a blessing everything was going to be favorable. Often when we are blessed we build up false hopes. The southwinds push you towards the north. v-14... "But not long after there arose against it a tempestuous wind called Euroclydon." (a hurricane) That soft wind led you to a hurricane... This is called journey to success. V-14-17... This wind was so strong that they could not steer the ship so they let it drift and were beached in shallow water and they could not budge. Another decision had to be made... Paul may have been laughing on the inside and saying to himself, Are we having fun yet?
Acts 27:18-19... (KJV) "And we being exceedingly tossed with a tempest, the next day they lightened the ship; And the third day we cast out with our own hands the tackling of the ship." On our journey to success we often have to get rid of things that do not matter. Its a good thing to put overboard things that hinder. It often takes a hurricane to force us to get rid of extra baggage. To much unnecessary baggage can slow you down.
Acts 27:20 (KJV) "And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away." On our journey towards success there comes days of darkness, no vision of the sun. (Jesus) Without light and revelation we lose hope... Without hope we are finished. God is the author of our faith. Faith brings hope and the fulfillment of the vision. Many times before success and prosperity comes everything seems dark... Without a revelation (light) people perish. People never quit when everything is going well... its when it is dark that people have a tendency to quit their journey towards success.
Acts 27:21-38... (KJV) "But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss. And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man's life among you, but of the ship. For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee. Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me. Howbeit we must be cast upon a certain island." Paul's contact with the angel of the Lord saves the journey. The message is, "stay in the ship"... God will save everyone of us. Paul had hope because he had a word from God. God is always ready to do the miraculous. "Be of good cheer" "Fear not" are good words. Paul, tell them we will be cast on an island. For fourteen days they stayed on the drifting ship. Number fourteen is the number of deliverance. Paul knew the significance of numbers and this gave him confidence. The sailors were afraid of the rocks and were ready to jump off. Desperation sometimes leads us to do foolish things. Paul reminded them again... "stay in the ship"... He recommended that they eat some food for their health's sake. Paul blessed the food... they ate... and they were cheered up. Whenever we eat blessed bread you can be sure cheer will come.
Acts 27:39-44... (KJV) "And falling into a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground; and the forepart stuck fast, and remained unmoveable, but the hinder part was broken with the violence of the waves. And the soldiers' counsel was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should swim out, and escape. But the centurion, willing to save Paul, kept them from their purpose; and commanded that they which could swim should cast themselves first into the sea, and get to land: And the rest, some on boards, and some on broken pieces of the ship. And so it came to pass, that they escaped all safe to land." Shipwreck... Often God has to destroy everything people cling to. This does not mean failure. Paul is on a journey to Rome and he had asked God for a prosperous trip. So far nothing seemed very prosperous. God's will was in it.
Acts 28:1-6... (KJV) "And when they were escaped, then they knew that the island was called Melita. And the barbarous people showed us no little kindness: for they kindled a fire, and received us every one, because of the present rain, and because of the cold. And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand. And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live. And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm. Howbeit they looked when he should have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly: but after they had looked a great while, and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god." The island Melita... is present day Malta. The devil strikes at Paul through the snake bite... but the people began to judge Paul as to why the snake bit him. "What great sin did he do to cause this judgment on him?" Often when the heats on the vipers come. Success must be getting closer.
Acts 28:7-13... Paul and the company with him stayed three days... Number three is the number of the resurrection and of Divine completeness. It also means God is in it. All the people on the island were healed of their diseases under the hand of Paul... It took three months before another ship came and this gave Paul time to teach and preach the gospel. Paul was greatly honored but he was still not in Rome. They set sail and in three days stopped off at Syracuse.
Acts 28:14-15... (KJV) "And from thence we fetched a compass, and came to Rhegium: and after one day the south wind blew, and we came the next day to Puteoli: Where we found brethren, and were desired to tarry with them seven days: and so we went toward Rome." We found brethren... what great words... they stayed seven days and saw the brethren from Rome coming to meet him. He thanked God and he took courage... Finding brethren was in the will of God.
Acts 28:16-32... Paul goes to jail... The centurion delivered Paul to the Roman jail... They kept Paul in isolation...after three days Paul called the Jewish leaders and testified why he had to come to Rome. The leaders had heard about the troublesome trip and the miracles and the conversion of hundreds of people and they asked Paul in v-22... (KJV) "But we desire to hear of thee what thou thinkest: for as concerning this sect, we know that every where it is spoken against." In other words... "Paul...we want to pick your mind... to see how you put your thoughts together... we want to know your frame of mind." V-23... (KJV) "And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening." V-30-31... (KJV) "And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him." The journey was prosperous... Paul was successful and prosperous... From jail Paul wrote many of his Epistles that benefit the church to this day. God was in it all.
Psalm 118:25... "O Lord, I beseech thee, send now prosperity" (success) Paul was successful because the Lord was with him. Paul was successful because he kept the word of the Lord. Paul was successful because he sought the Lord diligently and received the prophetic encouragement from it. Paul prospered in his soul before he prospered in all other things. Paul asked the Lord for a prosperous journey in getting to Rome. Success was seen in every step of the way... Not a life was lost... All were converted... God wants to prosper the saints... Put success into His hands... and stay in the ship.