Ecclesiastes 10:10; “If the ax is dull, And one does not sharpen the edge, Then he must use more strength; But wisdom brings success.” So we would need to give more strength to the effort making it much more difficult or impossible; but wisdom has the superiority in setting or doing what is right, straight. Sharpening the axe causes it to succeed, but what is Solomon talking about. Mysterious!
The Old Testament word for Success is kāšēr: A verb meaning to be successful, to cause to succeed. Sharpening our discernment between right and wrong causes us to succeed.
In Ecclesiastes 10:10, the word refers to success as the result of wisdom that enables one to go through difficult situations like a sharp ax through wood.
In Ecclesiastes 11:6, “Sow your seed in the morning and do not be idle in the evening, for you do not know whether morning or evening sowing will succeed, or whether both of them alike will be good.” This verse refers to the success of seeds in growing, a matter beyond complete human control. Success in dispite of us, our mistakes, blunders and humanness. A divine undertaking on behalf of His people.
In Esther 8:5, ” Then she said, “If it pleases the king and if I have found favor before him and the matter seems proper to the king and I am pleasing in his sight,” The word proper (success) is in Hebrew is a is used to confirm the king’s opinion of Esther’s proposal, whether in the kings view it would work or not, and because of Esther’s character the kings decided that her wisdom would be profitable. Her axe was sharp!
Here is a Quote attributed to Albert Einstein; “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Wisdom will move you towards success, a sharpening of the axe if you will, while doing the same thing over and over brings stagnation and then you begin to drift. The anchor of wisdom has not been dropped over the side of the ship.
God wants His people to be successful…But it His definition of success that we need to understand.
Now what about “dissatisfaction?”
We see throughout the Scriptures that God often stirs dissatisfaction in the hearts of his children. This “holy dissatisfaction” makes people willing to leave their comfort zones, make changes, take enormous risks, and perform exploits. In many cases, it prompts them to challenge evil, corruption, and complacency.
“Success seems largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go.” “Success … is to be connected to action. Successful people keep moving. They may make mistakes, but they don’t quit.” Remember: in the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins, not through strength, but by perseverance. We need to redefine our concept of what is Success really is and the motives which drive us to it.
How would you define success? A lot of the world considers power, prosperity, and prestige to be the highest of goals. God desires a different outlook in the lives of His children. True, He blesses some people with lofty positions or wealth. But from His standpoint, success means walking in His ways.
The Bible asks in Deuteronomy 10:12, “What does the Lord your God require from you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul . . . ?”
Is success a large church, a big bank account, large cars and houses? Is success measured by our material goods, fame, fortune, etc?
The world defines success in terms of achieving one’s goal, acquiring wealth, status, prestige and power. Successful people are those defined as people enjoying the good life. In short, dollars, power and status is the central definitions of success in the world today. Such definitions have many fatal flaws when we consider the lives of the rich and famous whose lives are wrecked by pain and tragedies.
If this describes how you view success…then get ready to have a change of heart and mind. God’s view and opinion is opposite of this description.
Success in God’s eyes begins with a holy dissatisfaction of our status within our relationship with God. We see our minuses instead of all the pluses. We see the holes in our souls for what they truly are, not the patchwork of facades that cover the landscapes of our lives.
Our souls long for more…a holy dissatisfaction with the way we are when compared to the richness of God’s glory that we know awaits us.
(more to come)