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The Road to Success – Hatzalacha

Narrow roadway overlooking Makhtesh Ramon Crater in the Negev Desert, Israel.

“Solomon had finished the temple of the Lord and the royal palace, and had succeeded in carrying out all he had in mind to do.”  (2 Chronicles 7:11)

Throughout the Tanakh (Old Testament) God wants us to prosper and have much success!

The verb hatzalacha — הצלחה in the Hebrew text of the Bible is most often translated as to prosper.

Sometimes it is translated as to rush, to come forth mightily, or to succeed.

Today, in Israel, the word is used to encourage someone by saying, “Best wishes for you!”B’hatzlecha! (literally, with success).

Reading the Torah (5 books of Moses) near the Wailing (Western) Wall.

But hatzalacha in the Bible goes much deeper than being successful or prosperous, as we understand it today.

Hatzalacha in Bible terms means to advance forward in position, possession, or action.

It appears in the Tanakh (Old Testament) 65 times, and it most often relates to advancing toward a God-given mission.

Looking at hatzalacha in Scripture helps us understand our responsibility in God’s plans for our lives and how He helps us get there.

Overlooking Jerusalem from the southeast neighborhood of Armon HaNatsiv

Succeeding on the Way

Hatzalacha is first written in the Bible when Abraham’s servant journeys to Abraham’s hometown of Nahor to find a wife for Isaac.

_Upon arriving in Nahor, the servant says to God, “Please grant me success today, and show loving kindness to my master Abraham.”  (Genesis 23:12)

Before he finishes praying to God, the servant sees Rebekah who is going to draw water for her father’s household.  He “watched Rebekah closely to learn whether or not the Lord had made his journey successful (hatzalacha).”  (Genesis 24:21)

Indeed, Rebekah met the description and qualifications set up by Abraham to become Isaac’s wife.

The servant’s journey to Abraham’s homeland was successful.  It advanced him forward properly to achieve his goal, and the Lord helped by sending an angel.

Rebekah and Eliezer (1883), by Alexander Cabanel, depicts Abraham’s servant meeting Rebekah.

Before the servant left on his journey to find a wife for Isaac, he asked Abraham, “If I find the woman, what if she does not want to leave?”

Abraham confidently replied, “The Lord, before whom I have walked, will send His angel with you to make your journey successful and you will take a wife for my son from my relatives and from my father’s house”  (Genesis 24:39–40).

When you pray to the Holy One, sometimes He might dispatch angels to help you advance successfully.

Though we are not to pray to angels directly, God does send angels as a response to the prayers and needs of His children, and asking Him for that kind of help is very Biblical!  (Exodus 23:20; Numbers 20:16, Daniel 3:28, 6:22; Acts 12:7).

And when the Lord leads us to a successful completion, let us worship Him as Abraham’s servant did (Genesis 24:26).

God Grants His Favor to Help Us Advance

When we keep moving forward on God’s path despite any setbacks, God not only sends angels, He helps us gain favor with certain people who assist us to continue advancing.

Whether Joseph was living in a pit (Genesis 37) or as the overseer of Pharaoh’s house (Genesis 39:23) or when he was put in jail (Genesis 40:37), God granted Him success in almost everything he did so that he could advance toward fulfilling the dream God had given him.

“When [Joseph’s] master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant”  (Genesis 39:3–4).

When Joseph reached the palace, even the pagan Pharaoh noticed the presence of God was in him (Genesis 40:37).

When we see God’s favor in our lives, we need to seek discernment from Him as to where He may be leading us with that favor.  What dreams have we forgotten about? What plans for our lives might God be preparing us for?

The Nahal Tsin Canyons of Ein Avdat National Park in the Negev Desert

The Nahal Tsin Canyons of Ein Avdat National Park in the Negev Desert of Israel. (Flickr: Israel Tourism, CC BY-SA 2.0)

God Gives Us His Spirit to Help Us Advance

Hatzalacha is also used to describe how the Spirit of God “came mightily” upon Samson with physical power (Judges 14:19, also 14:6, 15:14) and onto Saul and David with spiritual power (1 Samuel 10:6, 9, 16:13).

So, as we can see, when God has a plan for us to fulfill, He doesn’t leave us to do it alone!

Even so, we do have a responsibility in fulfilling that plan.

God Gives Us His Word to Advance on the Narrow Path

There is one foundational principle that the young King Uzziah of Judah did to achieve success:

“As long as he sought the Lord, God gave him success”  (2 Chronicles 26:5).

In many Bible passages, we read about the consequences of those who consulted the Lord (to their benefit) and those who did not (to their detriment), such as in Genesis 25:22; Joshua 9:14; 1 Samuel 23:2; 1 Chronicles 10:14; and Acts 1:24.

From these passages, we see that God loves us so much that He wants to be involved in our decision making and help us stay on the narrow path of righteousness (Psalm 23:3).

Orthodox Jewish men walk through the Old City of Jerusalem.

That narrow path is the key to successfully advancing toward our God-given missions.

King Solomon in his godly wisdom, wrote:  “Whoever covers his sins shall not succeed”  (Proverbs 28:13).

God loves us so much, however, that He allows us to uncover our sins before Him and assures us that “the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy”  (Proverbs 28:13b; 1 John 1:7).

These are the first steps to get back on the narrow path where we can walk in hatzlacha (success), which is the theme of King David’s very first psalm.

“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in Torah (the law of the Lord), and in His Torah he meditates day and night.

“In whatever he does, he prospers [literally, succeeds]”  (Psalm 1:1–3).

For us to succeed, we have to make God’s Word our delight. It’s about spending time feeding ourselves spiritually, not just with a light reading but really chewing on the Word of God.

A Rabbi is reading from a Torah parchment.

God Gives Us Rewards for Advancing Victoriously

In the Book of Revelation, as the full plan of God comes to a close for all mankind, we see how much God longs for us to successfully stay on the narrow path toward Him because the consequences for not doing so are eternal:

“Do not fret because of him who prospers [hatzalacha] his way, because of the man who carries out wicked schemes. . .  For evildoers will be cut off”  (Psalm 37:7–9; Revelation 21:8).

However, the rewards for successfully staying on course are abundant and forever!

For the one who is victorious, the Lord says,

He will give them “the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God”  (Revelation 2:7).

“I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels”  (3:5).

“I will give the right to sit with Me on My throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne”  (3:21).

And so much more (Genesis 2:11, 2:17, 2:26, 3:12, 21:6–7).

May you keep advancing forward toward God and all that He has put in your heart so that you will emerge with hatzalacha and receive your rewards!

You can help us reach the Jewish People with this Good News so they, too, may experience a successful journey into the eternal arms of God.

“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’”  (Isaiah 52:7)


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