At first blush this appears to be an amazing, astounding – almost unbelievable – promise. What a grand incentive for a good man to be, well…good. Think of it. Who wouldn’t want the good, godly man to be prosperous? Who wouldn’t want such a man to see whatever he touched turn to gold? Who wouldn’t think it a good thing for one like the Psalmist describes in the beginning chapter of his hymnbook to be blessed materially, financially, personally?
But wait a minute, is this really true? Do we see such a reality lived out around us? Doesn’t it seem that the good suffer more than those who are not good? Doesn’t the man of God oftentimes endure great burden and affliction, working harder and longer than others around him?
However, have we read the Psalmist’s promise correctly? Does it really mean what we initially think it to mean? Does this verse really teach that the good man will prosper in everything that he does? I don’t think so. I think that the truth taught here has more to do with the work than with the man for the verse reads, “…whatever he does will prosper.”
You see, the promise contained in this verse isn’t the earthly promise of individual triumph. No. It is the promise that the truth that the individual proclaims will ultimately be victorious. The man may actually die before his work is finished. Moses may sit down by the side of the road and just another Joshua take his place, but his work will not die. It will be found again after not so many days. It believe this is the truth intended by the promise, “whatever he does will prosper.”
Stop to consider this for a moment – do you think that this is a lessening of the power of this promise? It won’t be if you truly are a man of God. To such a man there is nothing so important and imperative as the work of God. There is no promise more encouraging than the promise of the prosperity of his holy work. It is even sweeter than the promise of his own prosperity.
Do you care more about yourself than your work? If so, you’re not really read to be a worker. If you were told to stand on top of Mount Nebo, to see afar off the Promised Land, to be told that you will never reach the place than your work had brough so near, would you then cry at the thought that Joshua will enter in? If that be true, then it will never be said of you, “his eye was not dim nor his natural vigor diminshed.”
But, if the Lord’s Spirit be yours, if you will immerse yourself in your Lord’s work, if you will but lose yourself in the glory of your Master’s mission, then it is your vision that will not be dimmed. You will see your soul’s work and be satisfied completely. You will be satisfied because others will reap in joy where you have sown in tears. Your most sure word of prophecy will be your greatest source of blessing – “whatever you do will prosper.”