“After the death of Moses the Lord’s servant, the Lord spoke to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ assistant. He said, 2 “Moses my servant is dead. Therefore, the time has come for you to lead these people, the Israelites, across the Jordan River into the land I am giving them. 3 I promise you what I promised Moses: ‘Wherever you set foot, you will be on land I have given you— 4 from the Negev wilderness in the south to the Lebanon mountains in the north, from the Euphrates River in the east to the Mediterranean Sea[a] in the west, including all the land of the Hittites.’ 5 No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you.6 “Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them. 7 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. 8 Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. 9 This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Not only is there a promise to pursue, power provided to pursue it and a presence we need to perceive but there is also a:
- Plan to pay attention to and participate in
Verse 7 says “Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left.” Joshua was called to walk according to the Word. If we want to experience success then we need study scripture and not be slipshod with it. Are you careful or calloused when it comes to God’s commands? When it came to the Word Joshua was called to:
- Proclaim the Word of God
Verse 8 says “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth.” We need to proclaim the Word of God because there is power in it. Jesus used the Word to shut Satan down and so should we. But you can’t share what you don’t know. That means that in order to proclaim the word just like Joshua we also need to:
- Ponder the Word of God.
Verse 8 tells us to “meditate on it day and night.” Studying scripture involves soaking in it not skimming over it. The call here is to study scripture in such a way that we saturate our lives with the Word. One of the most effective ways for me to meditate is to first memorize and the best way to memorize is to first meditate. Memorizing and meditating go hand-in-hand. It’s interesting to note that the Hebrew word for “meditate” is where we get the English word to “hum”. Scripture becomes our song not just something we stick in our heads but the “hum” of our heart. God’s Word becomes our way of life, as Psalm 119:97 says: “Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long.” Psalm 1:1-2 tells us that the man or woman who meditates is called “blessed”. If you want to live a blessed life then you need to be in the book. Mark 9 gives us some powerful insight into both prayer and fasting and teaches us several key truths when it comes to the Word of God. It’s here that Christ cast out a demon and His disciples who had previously tired and failed asked in amazement why they did not have success. Jesus told them that “this kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting”. What is significant is that Jesus did not have to leave to pray, or go fast for a while before casting out the demon. He did it because prayer and fasting were His way of life. Prayer was His practice, but for us so often we only search and study scripture when there is a problem. Here in lies our problem, scripture is our go to in a panic and not our practice. If we want to prosper we need to ponder and mediate on and in His Word, the Word must become our way of life. As we meditate God’s Word molds us and makes us more like the Master. But notice that it is not just the meditating that changes us, but what we are meditating on that transforms our way of life. Luke 9:44 tells us “Let these sayings sink down into your ears” Are you soaking or just skimming scripture? Not only do we need to ponder the Word but we also need to:
- Practice the Word of God.
This is not just walking in the word but we walking out the word. Verse 8 goes on to give us the purpose for our pondering: “So that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it.” The purpose for our pondering is not to fill our heads with knowledge but to put God’s Word into practice. You can always tell who believes the Word of God and who does not by what they do. The person who practices the Word of God is the person who believes God’s promises, but the person who reads His Word and does not respond does not. In Luke 14:21 Jesus said “Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.” It’s not enough just to observe His Word we need to obey it. Studying scripture is more than just reading the word, its heeding the Word. What about you, are you making obedience optional? Disobedience in a small thing is never a small matter. Remember Moses was not allowed to cross the Jordan and enter the Promised Land because of partial obedience. Instead of speaking to the rock he smacked it and ended up barred from the land of bounty and blessing. Moses disobeyed a direct command from God, look obedience is not optional it’s obligatory. God is not looking for assent but rather consent. Disobedience disqualifies, but obedience brings blessing. Do you want blessing or bondage? Are you following God’s direction or living in disobedience? As my kids were growing up I had the privilege of putting together and assembling all of the presents that came in pieces. This can take men a little longer than it should because we tend to pride ourselves in our ability to figure things out on our own, even though they came with directions. How many men have ended up with a partially completed product that looks nothing like the picture on the box and with many parts left over because they never studied the instructions or chose to forgo following them. How much time did I waste because I ignored the directions? The same is true in our lives, often we end up with problems simply because we don’t pay attention to God’s instructions. We waste our lives because we are not in the Word, not just our time but our talent and treasure. Just like the nation of Israel we often ignore God’s Word until need drives us to our knees. We end up living in the grief because we don’t obey God. Do you find yourself making excuses for your sins? Do you justify cutting corners and taking the detour of disobedience, because from your perspective the sin seems small? Psalm 119:60 says: “I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands.” What is it in His Word that you need to stop putting off and start practicing? As we meditate on God’s word not only do our heads understand His precepts, but our hearts long to pursue them. God told Joshua that as long as he put God’s Word into practice he would:
- Prosper in the Word of God.
Verse 8 reveals the results of an obedient life: “Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do” Success starts with studying scripture and allowing it to mold us and then move us. Scripture ought to be our regular focus not just something we reach for when we have a problem. That means that nothing should be attempted, nothing spoken or decided until it is first filtered through the Word of God. We should be in the Word not to find passages that line up with and agree with our wants, but to seek His Will. Today we have tied prosperity to people power and popularity but it’s really about pondering, proclaiming and putting God’s Word into practice. We are called not only to live in the Word but live out the Word, because what fills you will fuel you. Today take time to fill up on the fuel of His Word.