What is God’s prescription for prospering and being successful? Today we will be taking a look at Joshua and the instructions given to him: To meditate on God’s Word, confess it, and do what it says. Psalm 1 has similar instructions addressed to anyone who would seek God’s counsel. Meditate and do.
It’s good to be with you again.
In my talks this week, I’ve explained that God’s abundance comes to us only through God’s grace. We can never earn God’s grace, but we must fulfill the scriptural conditions to receive it. That’s a distinction that we need to emphasize. You cannot earn God’s grace on the one hand, but on the other hand you cannot expect to receive God’s grace unless you meet the conditions that God has laid down. So, in my two previous talks, I’ve been dealing with two specific, basic conditions, the first, faith is essential; the second, that giving of our substance is a way ordained by God to honor both God and man. And through what we do with our finance and our substance, the Word of God declares that we can honor four different kinds of persons; we can honor the Lord Himself, we can honor our parents, we can honor those who minister to us out of God’s grace, and we can honor those who oversee us in the church. And in each case, the Bible really leaves only two possibilities; either we honor those we ought to honor, or if we withhold our finance wrongly, then we dishonor. If we give honor, we will receive blessing. If we dishonor, we will come under the curse. You see, there really are only those two possibilities—the blessing or the curse. So those are the two first conditions: Number one, faith is essential. Number two, we must use our finance to honor those to whom we owe honor, both God and man.
Now, I’m going to speak about the place of God’s Word in enabling us to receive and to enjoy God’s abundance. I’m going to bring out a principle that runs all through the Bible—one of the great central themes of the Bible. I’m going to go for an example to Joshua in the Old Testament. This is just one out of many examples but the principles are brought out so clearly in the case of Joshua that they will be helpful and illuminating for us.
To Joshua was given the task of leading God’s people, Israel, into the Land of Canaan, the Promised Land. Moses had brought them to the border of the Promised Land, then Moses died and Joshua took over the leadership. And as Joshua faced this tremendous task of bringing probably three million people into this land, God gave him certain specific instructions and God told him, “If you follow these instructions, you’ll be totally successful.” And so, I want to pick out one verse which is one of my favorite verses in the Bible, I have to admit, in which God lays down the conditions for success to Joshua. It’s Joshua, chapter 1, verse 8. The Lord said this to Joshua:
“Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” (NIV)
I like those two words put together—prosperous and successful. That seems to me to cover every kind of situation. If you’re both prosperous and successful, there’s no room for lack; there’s no room for failure. God says, “If you will do certain things, then you will be prosperous and successful.” Now all the things that Joshua was required to do are related to the Book of the Law which was as much of the total Scriptures as was available in Joshua’s time; that is, what we call the Pentateuch, what the Jewish people call the Torah, the first five books of the Bible, the five books of Moses. That’s what Joshua had. Bear in mind that today, to you and me, is granted 66 books. If Joshua could do that well with five books, just consider how well you and I ought to be able to do with 66 books.
What are the conditions? Well, I’ll read them and then I’ll amplify a little. “This Book of the Law, this Word, must not depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night; be careful to do everything written in it.” I like to start with the condition of meditate. Meditating is something that we do in our mind. God says, “Meditate on the Word in your mind.” Then He says, “Don’t let the Book depart out of your mouth.” Keep speaking it, declaring it. Fill all your conversation with the truths of this Word. The scriptural word for that is confess. Confess—say the same with your mouth as God says in His Word. So the first requirement is in your mind. Meditate on the Word of God.
The second, confess it. Fill your mouth with it. Don’t talk a lot of empty trivial things. Don’t give expression to unbelief and fear and doubt, but express the truths of Scripture in your conversation.
And then third, be careful to do everything written in it; doing, acting. Once you’ve meditated; once you’ve spoken, then do it. Do whatever it says. Do it and apply it in every area of your life. On that basis, God said to Joshua, “You will be prosperous and successful.” The same principles work just the same for you and me. God has no favorites. He doesn’t love Joshua any more than He loves you and me. It’s a question of meeting His conditions. What are they? Let me repeat them for you. Meditate on the Word in your mind. Confess the Word with your mouth and act on the Word in your life; then you will be prosperous and successful.
That was God’s counsel to Joshua. Now I want to turn to a passage in the Scripture where the counsel is absolutely general. It’s addressed to whoever. It’s the first Psalm, the first three verses, Psalm 1, verses 1 through 3. This is what it says:
“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yeilds its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.” (NIV)
Let me read those last words to you again, “Whatever he does prospers.” Really, those words leave no room for failure, for frustration. That’s a certain kind of man who does certain things; the Bible says, whatever that man does, prospers. What are the things that he has to do? Well, there are five conditions for successful living. The first three are negative; the last two are positive. What are the negative conditions? Do not walk in the counsel of the wicked. Do not stand in the way of sinners. Do not sit in the seat of mockers. There has to be a separation from everything that’s wicked and ungodly and displeasing to God and it’s interesting that there’s a certain order in which the words are presented. They go this way: walk, stand, sit. That’s a kind of downward path; first of all you’re walking, then you slow up and you’re standing, then you stop standing and you’re sitting. You’re sitting in the seat of mockers. You’re rooted; you just can’t get out of it. You’ve come to rest in the wrong place because you started walking in the wrong way, then you stood in the wrong way, you ended sitting. Those are the three things that you must not do. You must not walk in the counsel of the wicked. You must not stand in the way of sinners. You must not sit in the seat of mockers.
Alright, but we go on from the negative to the positive. What are the positive things? What are the things that we are required to do? First of all, delight in the Law, in the Word of the Law. We have to find our pleasure in God’s Word. Does that sound difficult to you? I have to tell you that the Wordof the Lord is my delight. I enjoy it more than my daily food. I can remember times in my life when I was under tremendous pressure as a hospital attendant in the British Army in North Africa, when if I had to choose between breakfast and the Bible, I chose the Bible. I truly delighted in the Word of the Lord and I still do today. It’s my source of pleasure, of satisfaction, of strength, of peace.
And the second positive requirement, meditate on it day and night. Notice again the emphasis on meditation which was there with Joshua. It’s here in Psalm 1.
Let’s go over those conditions once more. The negative: Do not walk in the counsel of the wicked. Do not stand in the way of sinners. Do not sit in theseat of mockers. And then the positive: Delight in the Law of the Lord, in His Word. Meditate on it day and night. I find as I go through the Bible that the main root activity which is essential for prosperity is right meditation. Let me put it this way; you cannot think wrong and live right. You cannot think right and live wrong. The object of your meditation will determine the course of your life.
Well our time is up for today. I’ll be back with you again next week at this same time—Monday through Friday. I’ll be continuing with this theme of God’s Abundance. There’s so much more still to share!