Being a Leader (Joshua 1:8)

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This week we are going to continue to look at a verse about the Word of God.

Joshua 1:8 (NASB)
This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.

This week’s verse may seem to be too long and cumbersome for memorizing. The book of the law was probably the core of our book of Deuteronomy, but may have included the first five books of our Old Testament.

Book of Instruction may be translated as “instruction” than “law” (as in many English versions). Certainly, the foundations of Israel’s law codes are included, but it is much more than that. God’s nature and character are revealed in God’s Torah, coupled with God’s unveiling of himself to those who desire to have an intimate relationship with him.

The verse contains three commands:

  1. This book of the law must not depart from your mouth. We must keep speaking it, reading it, repeating it, hearing it.
  2. We are to meditate on God’s Word day and night. The original Hebrew word came from a verb meaning “to mutter,” as if muttering to yourself. We’re to let verses of Scripture roll around in our minds all the time. We meditate on something by memorizing, visualizing, and personalizing it. We mutter it around in our minds by day and go to sleep at night letting its words sink into our subconscious.
  3. Having read and meditated on God’s Word, we put it into practice and obey it.

Joshua 1:8 ends with two promises:

  1. If we read, meditate, and obey God’s law, we will prosper; and
  2. We will succeed in whatever we do. As we meditate on God’s Word, our minds are improved. They are God conditioned. We begin thinking more as He thinks, looking at life from His point of view. As we’re transformed by the renewing of our thoughts, we become successful in those things God appoints for us to do.

Take time to read Psalm 1 (see below) with Joshua 1:8 in mind. Maybe you’ll agree with me that King David took Joshua 1:8 and did what it said, meditating on it, visualizing it, and personalizing it, using the image of trees planted by rivers of water. From that meditation, he wrote Psalm 1. In other words, David showed us how to do it! Psalm 1 is his meditation about meditating on Joshua 1:8.

Meditation is the skeleton key that unlocks the greatest storeroom in the house of God’s provision for the Christian. It is holding the Word of God in your heart until it has affected every phase of your life. Beware of getting alone with your own thoughts. Get alone with God’s thoughts. There is danger in rummaging through waste and barren desert-thoughts that can be labeled—daydreaming or worse. Don’t meditate upon yourself but dwell upon God. Make this a built-in habit of daily living.

We must be strong and courageous in obeying God. We must never turn away from His Holy Word; rather, we must meditate on it day and night. If we obey God, living in His Word, we will prosper and be successful in whatever we do. Whatever we put our hands to will be blessed by God. God will give us purpose, achievement, and fulfillment throughout life. But note: this promise is given to those who obey God by meditating in His Word day and night, only to those who do exactly what He says.

Psalm 1 (NASB)

How 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 the law of the LORD,

And in His law he meditates day and night.

He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,

Which yields its fruit in its season

And its leaf does not wither;

And in whatever he does, he prospers.

The wicked are not so,

But they are like chaff which the wind drives away.

Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,

Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

For the LORD knows the way of the righteous,

But the way of the wicked will perish.