THE PROMISED LAND
OF THE LAND
2.5 Tribes = East of Jordan
9.5 Tribes = West of Jordan River
of the Land
in the Land
Click for a more detailed overview from Paul Bucknell
AUTHOR: Probably Joshua (Joshua 24:26) (But not a consensus)
KEY VERSE: Joshua 1:8
KEY THOUGHT: Possession of God's Promises
KEY WORDS: Possess (possessed,
possession) - 27x in 21v in NAS - Josh 1:6 11 15 8:7 12:1 6
7 13:1 17:12 18:3 19:47 21:12 41 43 22:4 7 9 19 23:5 24:4 8
TYPE OF LITERATURE: History ( Pentateuch - 5 books )
History - 12 books  Poetry, Ethics  Prophecy)
THREE MAJOR "TYPES": (See
Caveats in Discussion of Biblical Types)
(1) Joshua ("Jehovah is Salvation)
= type of Christ (cp Rest - Josh 11:23, 21:44 with Jesus - He 4:8
10 11 Inheritance - Josh 11:16, 14:13 Jesus - Ep 1:1, Ro 8:17)
(Cp Ro 8:37; 2Co 1:10 2Co 2:14) (See Robert Morgan's
Glimpses of Jesus in Joshua)
(2) Crossing Jordan = type of
Christian’s death with Christ (Ro 6:6-11; Ep 2:5 6; Col 3:1-3)
(3) Israel’s conquest of Canaan =
picture of Christian Victory over
THE PROMISED LAND OF CANAAN
Promises of & journey to the
Entry into & living in,
the land &
Taken from the land to
William Orr writes that...
Joshua is a book of progress,
conquest, possession, and systematic division of the land. With a new
leader, there were new experiences, new victories, new attainments and
new problems. But God's guidance, God's power, and God's encouragement
were the same. Joshua is the chief personage.
Joshua is a book of action and
corresponds to the challenges, victories and thrills of the Christian
life. These events in Joshua demonstrate great principles: the rite of
circumcision at Gilgal (Joshua 5), the necessity for separation; the
memorials (Joshua 4), a sign of remembrance of GOD's miracles. Joshua's
dependence upon the books of Moses was demonstrated: Compare Josh14:1-4
with Nu 34:13,14; Josh 13:11 with Nu 32:37; Josh 21 with Numbers 35.
GOD's man, Moses, was gone, but GOD's work went on under GOD's new
leader, Joshua. Here is a commander, Joshua, who was evidently reared in
the brick factories, or iron foundries of Egypt.
OUTSTANDING TEACHINGS: The
fact that GOD goes before His people is demonstrated in the fear He had
put into the hearts of the Canaanites preparatory to the conquest (Josh
2:10, 11). The unbelievable grace of GOD is shown in the inclusion of
Rahab, a harlot, into the Messianic line of CHRIST (Mt 1:5). While the
land had been already "given" to Israel (Ge 15:18 19 20 21), still it
was necessary that they go in and possess it. As they did GOD gave the
victory. The slaughter of the Canaanites (Josh 6:21 10:28) was by GOD's
direct command. This was absolutely necessary to cleanse the land for
the occupation of GOD's chosen people, and entirely justifiable, for GOD
had given 400 extra years for their repentance. (Ge 15:16). Victory at
Jericho was by complete observance of GOD's directions, defeat at Ai due
to disobedience, and that of one man. The Tabernacle was set up at
Shiloh for the gathering place of the Tribes to worship the LORD. Later,
David made Jerusalem the religious center of the people. The vindication
of the minority report of the spies (Nu 14:6 7 8 9 10) was amply
demonstrated in the complete conquest of the land. The distribution "by
lot" (Nu 33:54) evidently allowed GOD's hand to be present and
recognized in the tribal divisions. The miracle of the sun standing
still, and of the great hailstones in the battle of Gibeon was entirely
in keeping with the events which had been happening since Israel left
INTERESTING FEATURES: Three
campaigns result in seven nations with 31 kings defeated by Israel and
Joshua (Joshua 12). Joshua's name appears in the Tel-el-Amarna tablets
found in Egypt. JESUS was baptized 1400 years later, probably near where
Joshua crossed the Jordan.
KEY TO UNDERSTANDING: GOD's
people made great advances under the leadership of a man named Joshua.
GOD's people today may do the same under our Joshua (Jesus). Take this
book literally, but do not fail to apply its spiritual lessons to your
own life. (Keys
Sidlow Baxter summarizes the
key thought of Joshua...
Entering, overcoming, occupying! - if
these are the three movements recorded in Joshua, then there can be no
doubt as to what is its key thought, or central message. Clearly, it is
the victory of faith. In this, the Book of Joshua stands in sharp
contrast to the Book of Numbers where we see the failure of unbelief -
failure to enter (Nu 14:2 3 4), failure to overcome (Nu 14:44,45),
failure to occupy (Nu 14:28-34). Spiritually interpreted, the exploits
of Israel under Joshua proclaim the great New Testament truth - "This is
the victory that overcomes the world, our faith" (1Jn 5:4). Each of the
victories in the program of conquest was ordered so as to exhibit that
victory was due to faith in God, not to the arm of man. To quailing
unbelief, the overthrow of giants and great cities was an impasse, but
to the eye of faith it was a fait accompli. (J. Sidlow Baxter. Explore
Related Resources: Primer On Biblical Meditation
Mediation - Application of Inductive Bible Study.
OF THE TEXT
First let's establish the
by reading Joshua
Joshua 1:1 Now it came about after
the death of Moses the servant of the LORD that the LORD spoke to Joshua
the son of Nun, Moses' servant, saying,
Comment: God's work is not
affected by the death of His servants. Here we see God Himself verbally
passing the leadership baton to Joshua who had been prepared for this
good work (Nu 27:15-23 Dt 3:28; 31:1-8). Only at the end of his life was
Joshua honored with the title "servant of the Lord" (Josh 24:29).
Our Daily Bread Devotional -
On Shoulders Of Giants - A good example
is someone who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.
Joshua 1:2 "Moses My servant is dead; now therefore arise, cross this Jordan, you
and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them, to the sons
of Israel. (See
Map of Land Promised to
Comment: Even as
Israel's crossing the Red Sea had marked their departure from Egypt, now
their crossing of the Jordan marked their entrance to the Promised Land
God's pattern for using a man: God
chooses a man who he has made plans for even before he was born (Jn15:16
Eph 2:10). God issues a call to the man, an invitation to join Him in
touching a people in need. God prepares and fashions the man into the
vessel that can best accomplish His will. God uses the man. Through the
man's faithfulness, God entrusts greater responsibilities. We are not
called to a task or ministry but we are called to a relationship with
God. God is looking for men of integrity who will stand in the gap so
God will not have to destroy the land (Ezek 22:30). God is looking for
men like Joshua who will serve Him "fully" (cp Da 1:8). Will you take
your relationship seriously enough to purify your heart and renew you
commitment to serve Him w/o reservation? (2Chr 16:9) will then apply to
your life. Each time the man God uses is obedient to his encounter with
God it prepares him for the next task. God often builds on previous
tasks, increasing responsibility & importance.
F B Meyer applies the truth of
this passage to the NT believer's blessed life: Victory assured: —
There is no foe to your growth in grace, no enemy in your Christian
work, no dreaded form of evil dominating and cursing the souls of men,
which was not included in your Saviour’s conquests. You need not be
afraid of them. When you touch them, they will flee before you. God has
promised to deliver them up before you. There shall no man of them be
able to stand before you. Neither Anakim nor fenced cities need daunt
you. You are one of the conquering legion. Claim (Ed: Not just
with your voice but by Spirit enabled obedience!) your share in the
Sermon by C H Spurgeon -
Joshua 1:2,3 Taking Possession of
Our Inheritance -
"First, let us take a survey of the
inheritance; secondly, let us glance at the title deeds; and thirdly,
let us make a move towards taking immediate possession. For all this may
the Holy Spirit. make us sufficient!"
Our Daily Bread Devotional -
The Apprentice - A person who is
not willing to follow is not prepared to lead.
People who become great leaders
Sometimes need to learn
How to serve and follow others—
Then they’ll get their turn.
William Newell applies this text
to NT believer's life comment: In the therefore
of Joshua 1:2, we see that legality or our own efforts (represented by
Moses) must die in us ere we can possess the inheritance that is ours
The reason why many Christians do not get into the fulness of their
is because, in some way or other, they are still looking to Moses,
that is, to their own fair doings to get them in. But Moses could not
even enter Canaan himself, to say nothing of bringing in anyone else.
And Israel had to wait till Moses was out of the way, ere they could
enter the land, under their new leader. Moses stands to us for the law,
Joshua for Christ, when we consider this matter of entering upon our
promised possession. It may be that we are still trusting to our good
resolves or to our consecration, to get us into the enjoyment of what we
see some Christians experience—if so, Moses is yet alive with us: we
cannot "go over Jordan". It may be that we are still thinking of our
prayers, our earnestness, our Bible study, our faith, our zeal—it is all
Moses, Moses, with us yet. Let us mark well these opening verses of this
great book which is to bring the people into Canaan: "Now it came to
pass after the death of Moses, the servant of the Lord that the Lord
spoke to Joshua the son of Nun. saying Moses My servant is dead; now
Therefore, arise, go over this Jordan. thou ad all this people." Now
this is the first great lesson we must learn, that Joshua, not Moses,
leads the the people into the land. Joshua's name means, Salvation of
Jehovah or "Jehovah Salvation" and its New Testament form is Jesus (Mt
1:21). Oh, that all Christians would simply trust their faithful Joshua
leaning only upon Him, following only Him! How quickly would He lead
them all into the full realization in experience of what He has so
vvondrously purchased for us by His cross! May Moses die now with each
of us that we may know none else hereafter as our Leader but Joshua
from Joshua - The Book of Possession)
Joshua 1:3 "Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to
you, just as I spoke to Moses.
Comment: This verse emphasizes
the importance of Man's Responsibility in laying hold ("claiming") God's
Sovereign Promises. God in His omnipotence and goodness and grace has
already given them the land, but it is their responsibility now to put
one foot in front of the other and begin possessing their possessions
(See Pastor Chuck Smith -
Possessing Our Possessions
stepping out in faith (and obedience) and claiming what is theirs by
divine order. When Abraham first came into the land, the same dynamic
was called for. See God's word to him in (Ge 13:14 15, 17). There is an
important lesson for us today in all of this and it is that God has
blessed us with "every spiritual blessing" in Christ Jesus (Ep 1:3-note),
and yet we like the tribes of Israel must step out by faith (and
obedience) to lay hold of God's precious and magnificent promises (2Pe
1:4). The Lord has set before each of us an open door that no one can
shut (Rev 3:7). We are called to walk through that door by faith, to
claim our possessions for the glory of the Lord and for ourselves,
possessions that are ours because of Christ's victory on the Cross!
Perhaps it's in a tough family situation that you have to claim new
territory. Maybe it's in the workplace---an especially difficult
relationship that you need to face or a challenge that you've been given
that you don't feel capable of meeting. Maybe it's something at school,
if you're a student, etc, etc.
God gives, but man still must "lay
hold of" what God gives. How do we lay hold of God's promises? By faith
(Col 2:6, 2Co 5:7). It's the idea of "possessing in reality the
possessions that are already yours because Christ's victory at Calvary".
So on one hand we are "filled with the fruit of righteousness" (Php
1:11) yet we still must "work our our salvation in fear & trembling"
A LAND IN THE OT
A LIFE IN THE NT
An abundant land was given to
the people of Israel, just as an abundant life in Christ is made
available to believers (Jn 10:10b), not based on any merit but on God's
sovereign gracious pleasure. And just as the land that had been given
needed to be possessed, so too believers today must lay hold of God's
precious and magnificent promises by faith. This is not simply "name it,
claim it" but specifically is a faith that shows itself genuine by
obedience, for faith without works (of obedience) is dead (non-working)
faith. The title deed to the Land and to the Life (every
spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ - Eph 1:3) is the
gracious bountiful gift of God, while the possession of His promises is
the result of our obedient walk (albeit a walk empowered by His Spirit
and His strengthening, grace 2Ti 2:1 1Co 15:10).
The idea is that you can possess all
that you will take. You can have every aspect of the spiritual life in
Christ that you desire. God however will not give you more than you are
ready to take. So if you are not satisfied with the degree of your real
experience of victory, it is because you haven't really wanted more or
you have fallen short of in the area of obedience (e.g., unconfessed
sin, etc). We can have all that we want because God says to all NT
believers in essence "Every place where the sole of your foot will
tread upon I have given to you."
Joshua 1:4 "From the wilderness and this Lebanon, even as far as the great river,
the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and as far as the
Great Sea toward the setting of the sun, will be your territory.
Comment: Joshua 1:3-5 are
almost identical to the wording is found in Deut 11:24 25a.
Joshua 1:5 "No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life.
Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you
or forsake you.
I’ll go where You want me to go, dear
O’er mountain or plain or sea;
I’ll say what You want me to say, dear Lord,
I’ll be what You want me to be.
Jensen comments: A lifetime of
continuous victory over all enemies was assured Joshua (and therefore
the people) through faith and courage on the basis of the unfailing
presence and miraculous help of God (Jensen, I. L. Joshua: Rest-Land
Won. Chicago, IL: Moody Press)
Sermon by C H Spurgeon -
Joshua 1:5 Strengthening Medicine for God's
- Here are a few excerpts from this sermon on
"what this promise (Josh 1:5) does not preclude"...
This promise does not exclude
effort...Neither does this promise preclude occasional disaster....Nor,
again, does this promise preclude frequent tribulations and testings of
faith....this promise does not preclude our suffering very greatly."
Our Daily Bread Devotional -
His Part; Our Part - Where God guides,
Dr Thomas Constable (Joshua
Notes) points out the chiastic structure of Jehovah's charge
A. I will be with you (Josh
B Be strong and courageous
(Josh 1:6, 7).
C That you may have success
D This book of the law (Josh
C’ Then you will have success
B’ Be strong and courageous
A’ The Lord your God is with
you (Josh 1:9).
Joshua 1:6 "Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession
of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them.
Comment: "Be strong and
courageous" is a "double command" which is mentioned 3 times in this
brief introductory chapter (Josh 1:6 7 9) and is thus a
key phrase. And remember
that what God commands, He always enables.
Joshua 1:7 "Only
be strong and very
courageous; be careful to do according to all
the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the
right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go.
Plumptre: Only when thine arm
In sense of weakness reaches forth to God, Wilt thou be strong to suffer
and to do.
Sermon by C H Spurgeon -
Joshua 1:7 Joshua's Obedience
Joshua 1:8 "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.
Comment: The key to spiritual
success is eating His Word and doing His Word.
Keathley remarks: The victory and possession of the land which follows is a direct result
of the Word of God and of man, in this case Joshua, hearing and
responding to His Word. This should illustrate for us that there is
absolutely no victory or chance for us to experience the blessings of
our new life in Christ apart from the Word of God. Whenever any believer
begins to turn away from the Word through indifference or apathy for
whatever reason, he is turning away from the Lord and into defeat. (The
Commissioning of Joshua Joshua 1:1-18)
Joshua 1:9 "Have I not commanded you?
Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or
be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."
Though I know not what awaits me—
What the future has in store,
Yet I know that God is faithful,
For I've proved Him oft before.
Comment: The Lord promises
Joshua a provision, His protection, and His presence.
Our Daily Bread devotional -
Equipped For The Task - God’s call to a
task includes His strength to complete it
The Lord will give you help and
For work He bids You do:
To serve Him from a heart of love
Is all He asks of you.
Paul Apple has some good
words of warning regarding the reading and interpretation of Joshua...
2 TRAPS TO AVOID in Studying the Book
Trap #1 – Confusion about
identification of Joshua – Joshua is not a type of Pastor John
MacArthur (or name any radio personality you listen to). The people of
God today want a human Joshua to follow rather than the invisible Lord
Jesus Himself who is the Captain of our Salvation (Josh 5:14, 15). That
is why we must have a plurality of under shepherds…no one leader can
bring to the table all that we need; Joshua is not a type of some super
single pastor model of leadership…but spiritual leaders do need to
pattern themselves after Joshua in many important respects (so there are
many leadership lessons…and lessons as well for those who are called to
submit to our spiritual leaders)
Joshua (means “Yahweh is salvation”)
is a type of Christ who leads us to spiritual victory and into His rest
– not in heaven – but on earth as we submit fully to Him, trust in His
power and come to experience the abundant life He desires for us.
Trap #2 – Confusion about
Identification of Canaan – Thinking that crossing the Jordan
represents a transition from this life through death into the joys of
heaven is a mistaken interpretation/application. Canaan was a place of
conflict and conquest! God’s people must take responsibility to be
strong and courageous and fight the good fight of faith (1Ti 6:12).
Don’t wait for victory in heaven for God wants us to experience victory
now in the midst of our enemies today (world, flesh and devil). (Joshua)
THIS BOOK OF THE LAW SHALL NOT
DEPART FROM YOUR MOUTH: (Book: Dt 6:6 7 8 9 11:18,19
17:18,19 30:14 31:11 Ps 37:30,31 40:10 Ps 119:42,43 Isa 59:21 Mt 12:35
In Joshua 1:8 Observe: Who is speaking to
interrogation of the text with the 5W'S & H)?
Why? When? What has transpired? What is Jehovah's command? What is the
land like into which Joshua is to lead the people? What is Joshua's
mindset to be (note what is repeated three times!). If you have time you
can do a simple observation with the class asking these type of
God Himself is addressing Joshua
because Israel's leader Moses has died and the mantle of leadership is
being passed to this new leader. Joshua is to lead Israel into the
"promised land" filled with adversaries and pagan idolatry. Temptation
and Warfare will occur. So what does God tell Joshua he must do? Does He
tell him to make sure the soldiers have their weapons and are in good
shape? No. God tells Joshua to make sure that the "Sword of the Word of
God" is to be his focus and will provide all that he needs in order to
A number of commentaries refer to
Joshua 1:8 as the key or theme verse in the entire book of
Joshua, so it certainly behooves the serious student of the Scriptures
to meditate on this verse referring to meditation on God's Word!
Below is Joshua 1:8 "structured"
to help you see the pattern...
This book of
the Law shall not depart from your mouth,
meditate on it day and night,
so that (See
terms of conclusion)
you may be careful to do
according to all that is written in
terms of conclusion)
then (When?) you will make your way
then (When?) you will have success.
the "key word" of Joshua 1:8? Book of the law = "it" = "it"
the key actions? Meditate and Do
Book of the law (19x in the
NAS = Deut 29:21; 30:10; 31:26; Josh 1:8; 8:31, 34; 23:6; 24:26;
2Ki 14:6; 22:8, 11; 2Chr 17:9; 34:14, 15; Neh 8:1, 3, 18; 9:3; Gal 3:10) A reference to Scripture,
specifically Genesis through Deuteronomy (Pentateuch from penta = five),
written by Moses.
Deuteronomy 31 talks about Moses' completing
the book and committing it to the care of the priests...
Moses commanded the Levites who
carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD, saying, "Take this book
of the law and place it beside the ark of the covenant of the LORD
your God, that it may remain there as a witness against you."
(Deuteronomy 31:25 26)
Note that it was not enough that
the priests carried and protected the book of the Law. Nor would it be
adequate for Joshua to protect it but not let it "protect" him! No,
Joshua had to read it and heed it daily, making the Book part of his
innermost being by meditating on it.
Mrs. H. E. Brown, 1868.
Music: Howard Doane
My Bible, precious treasure!
Worth more than gems or gold;
Be it my choicest treasure
Thy covers to unfold.
Thy fair illumined pages
With God’s own glory shine;
Down through the long, long ages,
It gleams in ev’ry line.
My precious Bible! ’tis a book divine,
Where heavenly truth and mercy shine,
And wisdom speaks in ev’ry line,
Speaks to me, speaks to me,
Speaks good news to me.
Gill writes that Joshua
often to read it, frequently repeat
it, and speak of it, to refresh his own memory with it, and the memory
of those about him. (Joshua
1: 8 - The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible)
(cepher) refers to writing (as of a document) and then to
evidence, letter, register, scroll, book; document; writing.
(torah) derives from a word that means to shoot an arrow, for a
teacher aims to hit the target and achieve specific goals in the lives
of the students.
Shall not depart from your
mouth - Joshua fulfilled Jehovah's instructions to not let
the Word depart from his mouth. How do we know? Because God blessed his
leadership with prosperity and success.
The NET Bible renders it
"This law scroll must not leave your lips!" noting that...
The ancient practice of reading aloud
to oneself as an aid to memorization is in view here.
Dwight Pentecost writes
Jehovah's instructions to Joshua meant...
that the Law should never depart from
Joshua as the dominant influence in everything that came from his mouth.
God was not just instructing him to live by it, but to administer it so
that the entire nation would be brought under its control, that the Law
might do its intended work. This was a large part of Joshua’s work as
the theocratic administrator.
With one half of Israel before
Mount Gerizim and the other half before Mount Ebal Joshua...
read all the words of the
law (How many of the words?), the blessing and the curse, according to all that is written in the
book of the law. There was not a word of all that Moses had
commanded which Joshua did not read before all the assembly of Israel
(Note the repetition which serves to emphasize the vital importance of
with the women and the little ones and the strangers who were living
among them. (Joshua 8:34 35)
Joshua remained faithful to
carry out this practice even unto his dying day. Knowing that he would soon
fall asleep (die) he instructs the people of Israel...
Be very firm, then, to keep
and do all that is written in the book of the law of
Moses, (Why?) so that you may not turn aside from it to the right hand
or to the left, (Why?) in order that you may not associate with these
nations (Ed: Referring to the Gentiles with their defiling pagan
practices to evil to even mention!), these which remain among you, or
mention the name of their gods, or make anyone swear by them, or serve
them, or bow down to them. But you are to cling to the LORD your God, as
you have done to this day. (Joshua 23:6 7 8)
The last mention of the book of the law is in Joshua 24 just before Joshua
passes off the scene...
And Joshua wrote these words in
the book of the law of God; and he took a large stone and set it up
there under the oak that was by the sanctuary of the LORD. And Joshua said to all the people, "Behold, this stone shall be for a
witness against us, for it has heard all the words of the LORD which He
spoke to us; thus it shall be for a witness against you, lest you deny
your God." Then Joshua dismissed the people, each to his inheritance. And it came about after these things that Joshua the son of Nun, the
servant of the LORD, died, being one hundred and ten years old. (Joshua
24:26 27 28 29)
Shall not depart from your
mouth means that this book of the law should be the constant
topic of your conversation. Why? "Because you shall meditate on it day
and night." Now whatever you're thinking about all day and thinking
about all night will show up in your conversation. So Jehovah (the
Author of this Word) is saying Joshua should saturate himself with the
Word of God. It was to be the dominant thing in him life. He meditates
on it, talks about it and naturally (better supernaturally) begins to
live it out.
By way of application NT believers
will make their way spiritually prosperous and have spiritual success if
they do according to all that is written in it. There are many believers
who can not do according to all that is written in it because they do
not understand all that is written. And so it is incumbent upon
believers to diligently study the Scripture so that they can understand
it so that they can obey it so that they can be blessed and prosperous
and have good success! The idea is that the law of God (the Word of God)
so saturates a person, that it exerts a controlling influence on one's
thoughts and one's actions.
(mush) means to be taken away, removed. Joshua did not depart
from tabernacle while Moses went into camp (Ex 33:11) When Israel
attempted to enter Canaan presumptuously, after having accepted the
unbelieving majority report of the spies, the ark of the covenant of the
Lord did not depart from the camp (Nu 14:44). Men who trust in the
Lord will be like trees planted by a river; they will not cease yielding
fruit (Jer 17:8).
Mush - 20x in 19v in NAS
- Ex 13:22; 33:11; Nu 14:44; Josh 1:8; Jdg 6:18; Job 23:12; Ps 55:11; Pr
17:13; Isa 22:25; 46:7; 54:10; 59:21; Jer 17:8; 31:36; Mic 2:3 4; Nah
3:1; Zech 3:9; 14:4. NAS = cease(1), depart(6), departed(1),
departs(2), give way(1), left(1), move(2), remove(2), removed(2),
removes(1), take away(1).
Andrew Murray has a word on
the place of "good books" as related to the "Good Book" (the Best
Andrew Murray has reminded us in one
of his books that milk represents food which has already passed through
digestive processes before it is taken by us. And so we may say that all
the little books of devotion, the helps to holiness, the series of
manuals of thought and teaching, however valuable, represent food that
has passed through the spiritual digestion of others before it comes to
us, and it has to be used as such. Do we then decry all these? Far from
it; yea, we establish them, but only in their place and for their
purpose. If they are put first, to the exclusion of the Bible alone, and
the Bible day by day, they become dangerous and disastrous, crutches
that prevent vigorous exercise, and lead to spiritual senility. If they
are put second, they become delightful and valuable, inspirations to
further thought and pathways to deeper blessings. When we have had our
own meditation of the Word we are the better able to enjoy what God
teaches us through others of His children, and especially those whom God
honours with special gifts of teaching. So it must be first, foremost
and constantly, "MY meditation of HIM." (W. H. Griffith Thomas, Methods
of Bible Study)
Any work of God that isn’t built on
the Word of God will never prosper. Moses’ success as the leader of
Israel came from his faith in and obedience to God’s Word (Deut. 4:10).
Joshua’s success in conquering the enemy in Canaan was based on his
devotion to the Word of God (Josh. 1:8). When we obey God’s Word, we can
expect “great reward” (Ps. 19:11). If we want to know the power of God,
we must also know the Word of God (Matt. 22:29)....
God’s heroes spend time
fellowshipping with God and meditating on His Word (Josh. 1:8; Ps.
1:1–3). They can face any enemy because they know and trust the promises
of God. (Wiersbe, W. W. Be heroic)
From your mouth - The picture
is that of vocalizing the Words of God which is related to the idea of
meditating on it (see below). In addition, as leader Joshua had to speak
to Israel and if the Bible filled his mouth and heart, that is what
would come forth.
Someone once quipped...
If you don’t talk to your Bible,
your Bible isn’t likely to talk to you!
BUT YOU SHALL MEDITATE ON IT DAY
AND NIGHT: (You shall: Ps 1:2,3 19:14 119:11,15,97,99
Pr 2:1 Pr 2:2 3 4 5 3:1 Col 3:16 1Ti 4:14 15 16)
Primer On Biblical Meditation
Mediation - Application of Inductive Bible Study
Thomas Watson's Treatise on Meditation
The Duty of Meditation
- John Angell James
- Recommended Sermon on meditation by C H Spurgeon in which he says...
You must, by
the feet of meditation,
tread the clusters of truth,
would you get the
wine of consolation there from.
Although the NT does not use the
word meditate, clearly the principle is taught in passages such
as Colossians 3:16 and 1Timothy 4:15...
the word of Christ richly
= calls for this to be our habitual
practice) within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one
another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with
thankfulness in your hearts to God. (Col 3:16-note)
Comment: Observe how the effects
or "fruit" of "meditating" in Colossians are virtually
identical to the effects/fruit seen in one who is filled with the Spirit in
Eph 5:18, 19, 20-note!
Surely one of the benefits of meditating on the Word is to be filled
with/controlled by the Spirit!
How can we not seriously
consider instituting the daily practice of meditating on His life giving
Do not neglect
= with negative = stop doing this!)
the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed upon you through
prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery.
= do this as your lifestyle, your
habitual practice) with these
absorbed in them, so that your progress may be evident to all.
close attention (present
= habitual practice) to yourself and
to your teaching; persevere in these things; for as you do this you will
insure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you. (1Ti
4:14, 15, 16)
verb take pains
in 1Ti 4:15 is meletao
which is used in the Septuagint to translate meditate
in Joshua 1:8, Ps 1:2, Ps 63:6 Ps 77:12 Ps 119:148 (elsewhere in Ps 119
meletao translates "delight" which would seem to include the nuance of
meditation upon, for that which we delight in is not usually far removed
from our mind!), Ps 143:5; Isa 33:18. In Ps 77:5 "consider"
in context conveys the sense of meditate.
Meletao (from melete =
care, practice, meditation) means to care for, to attend carefully, to
give careful thought to, to meditate on, think about. The only other NT
use is used in a negative sense meaning to premeditate, to
contrive, to devise [plan to bring about] = Acts 4:25 ("devise").
Hesychius defines meletao as “exercise oneself in”.
The NET Bible translates
meditate on it as
"You must memorize it" and notes that the Hebrew
means to “read it in
undertones” or “recite it quietly."
But (See discussion of
observing and interrogating
contrasts) - Always stop
and ask "What is being contrasted?" and even this simple maneuver
will begin to help you "meditate" on the Scriptures. In our fast paced
society, the temptation is to speed read the Scripture, but that is
Joshua 1:8 advises against! Meditation is not magic and does not
happen in a moment but takes time, time to engage our minds so that we
are reading the text actively rather than passively, consciously making
the effort to interact with the living Word which causes us to interact with the Living Lord, which is the
ultimate goal of all Bible study -- To Know God = Jn 17:3 and To Grow in
Christlikeness = 2Pe
You shall meditate on it day
and night - It's one thing to say to a leader,
"Be strong and courageous." It's quite something else to enable him or
her to do it. Joshua's strength and courage was to come from meditating on
the Word of God, from believing the promises in it, and from living in
obedience to its precepts. Moses gave very similar counsel to the entire
nation in Deuteronomy 11 (cp Dt 11:18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24), but now
God is speaking this principle
specifically to Israel's new leader, Joshua.
To be sure, meditation requires
the personal investment of some time and mental energy. However, even as God feeds the birds, He
doesn't throw the food into their nests. The birds are still required to
go forth and bring in the food God provides. In the same way, the Bible is
like a table filled with food necessary for daily living (Mt 4:4, Lk
4:4). And God
invites all to "Come and eat!" But too often believers fail to
heed His gracious invitation. Instead, we depend
on substitutes (devotionals, Christian music, fellowship groups, etc.
Compare "Mary's secret" of devotion to "one thing necessary" - Lk 10:38 39 40 41 42).
And yet we still wonder why our faith is feeble (Ro 10:17)!
conveys the basic meaning of a low
sound and so as used in the OT means to groan, to sigh or to mutter.
Figuratively hagah refers to inward utterance, the words a man
speaks to himself. And so hagah means to meditate (give
serious thought and consideration to selected information implying a
definite focusing of one’s thoughts on something so as to understand it
deeply), to ponder (to carefully weigh in the mind, to
appraise), to ruminate (literally to chew repeatedly for an
extended period and figuratively to go over in the mind repeatedly and
often casually or slowly).
also refer to giving and open and loud expression to one's thoughts.
When hagah is used in the sense of “to mourn,” (Jer 48:31) it
apparently emphasizes the sorrowful sounds of mourning.
Vine comments that hagah
seems to be an onomatopoetic term
(word whose sound suggests the sense), reflecting the sighing and low
sounds one may make while musing, at least as the ancients practiced
it." This meaning is seen in its first occurrence in the text (Josh
1:8)... When the word is used in the sense of “to mourn,” it apparently
emphasizes the sorrowful sounds of mourning....The idea that mental
exercise, planning, often is accompanied by low talking seems to be
reflected by Pr 24:1 2. (Vine,
W E: Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament
Words. 1996. Nelson)
Be not envious of evil men, And
desire not to be with them. For destruction doth their heart meditate
(hagah), and perverseness do their lips speak."
(Pr 24:1-2 Young's
Hagah can refer to the
mutterings of mediums and wizards
(Isa 8:19), the moans of grief (Isa
16:7), the growl of a lion (Isa 31:4) or the coos of a dove (Isa 38:14).
In the biblical
world hagah conveys a somewhat different picture than does the
English word “meditation,” which conveys the idea of a silent mental
exercise only. In contrast, in Hebrew thought, to meditate upon
the Scriptures was not necessarily a silent practice but meant to
quietly repeat them in a soft, droning sound, while utterly abandoning
outside distractions. From this tradition comes a specialized type of
Jewish prayer called “davening,” that is, reciting texts, praying
intense prayers, or getting lost in communion with God while bowing or
rocking back and forth. Evidently this dynamic form of
meditation-prayer goes back to David’s time.
is the act of focusing one’s thoughts, of pondering, of reflecting, and
of reviewing various thoughts by mulling them over in the mind and
heart. The picture is one of "chewing" upon a thought,
deliberately and thoroughly, providing a vital link between theory and
action. Meditation consists of reflective thinking, rumination or
contemplation, usually on a specific subject with the purpose of
discerning its meaning or significance or a plan of action. What
metabolism is to the physical body of the cow, meditation is to a
saint's mental and spiritual life.
Hagah - 24x in 24v - NAS
translates hagah - declare(1), devise(2), devising(1), growls(1),
make a sound(1), meditate(5), meditates(1), moan(3), moan sadly(1),
mutter(2), mutters(1), ponders(1), utter(2), uttering(1), utters(1).
"This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall
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.
Job 27:4 My lips certainly will not speak unjustly, Nor will my tongue
depth note But his
delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he
day and night.
C H Spurgeon
writes that the godly man's delight: Is the the law of the Lord. He
is not under the law as a curse and condemnation, but he is in it, and
he delights to be in it as his rule of life; he delights, moreover, to
meditate in it, to read it by day and think upon it by night. He takes a
text and carries it with him all day long; and in the night-watches,
when sleep forsakes his eyelids, he muses upon the Word of God. In the
day of his prosperity he sings psalms out of the Word of God, and in the
night of his affliction he comforts himself with promises out of the
same book. The law of the Lord is the daily bread of the true believer.
And yet, in David’s day, how small was the volume of inspiration, for
they had scarcely anything save the first five books of Moses! How much
more, then, should we prize the whole written Word which it is our
privilege to have in all our houses! But, alas, what ill-treatment is
given to this angel from heaven! We are not all Berean searchers of the
Scriptures. How few among
us can lay claim to the benediction of the text! Perhaps some of you can
claim a sort of negative purity, because you do not walk in the way of
the ungodly; but let me ask you—Is your delight in the law of God? Do
you study God’s Word? Do you make it the man of your right hand—your
best companion and hourly guide? If not, this blessing does not belong
Psalm 2:1 Why are the nations in an uproar And the peoples devising
a vain thing?
Psalm 35:28 And my tongue shall declare Your righteousness And
Your praise all day long.
Psalm 37:30 The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, And his
tongue speaks justice.
Psalm 38:12 Those who seek my life lay snares for me; And those who seek
to injure me have threatened destruction, And they devise
treachery all day long.
Psalm 63:6 When I
You on my bed, I
on You in the night watches,
Notice that meditation is
intimately associated with remembering. (See this association also
in Ps 77:6 and Ps 143:5)
David's day the night was divided into three watch periods and his use
of the plural ("night watches") suggests that in his intense devotion,
he meditated upon Jehovah all through the night. If we (enabled by grace
not law) were to practice this discipline, how might it affect our
communion with the Living God? In
next verse (Ps 63:7) David explains why he remembers and
meditates ("for" or "because" introduces an
explanation - see
terms of explanation)
writing "for Thou hast been my Help..." where "Help" is the Hebrew 'ezra
(one who assists, supplies or serves another with what is needed)
Spurgeon comments (Note):
When I remember thee upon my bed. Lying awake, the good man
betook himself to meditation, and then began to sing. He had a feast in
the night, and a song in the night. He turned his bedchamber into an
oratory, he consecrated his pillow, his praise anticipated the place of
which it is written, "There is no night there." Perhaps the wilderness
helped to keep him awake, and if so, all the ages are debtors to it for
this delightful hymn. If day's cares tempt us to forget God, it is well
that night's quiet should lead us to remember him. We see best in the
dark if we there see God best.
And meditate on thee in the night watches. Keeping up sacred
worship in my heart as the priests and Levites celebrated it in the
sanctuary. Perhaps David had formerly united with those "who by night
stand in the house of the Lord," and now as he could not be with them in
person, he remembers the hours as they pass, and unites with the
choristers in spirit, blessing Jehovah as they did. It may be, moreover,
that the king heard the voices of the sentries as they relieved guard,
and each time he returned with renewed solemnity to his meditations upon
his God. Night is congenial, in its silence and darkness, to a soul
which would forget the world, and rise into a higher sphere. Absorption
in the most hallowed of all themes makes watches, which else would be
weary, glide away all too rapidly; it causes the lonely and hard couch
to yield the most delightful repose -- repose more restful than even
sleep itself. We read of beds of ivory, but beds of piety are better
far. Some revel in the night, but they are not a tithe so happy as those
who meditate in God
J Vernon McGee in his inimitable style writes that: David thought
about God—meditated upon Him—during the night when he couldn’t
sleep. My friend, meditating upon God’s goodness is a lot better than
J V: Thru the Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson
My tongue also will utter Your righteousness all day long; For
they are ashamed, for they are humiliated who seek my hurt.
Psalm 77:12 I will
on all Your work And muse (siach) on Your deeds.
This Hebrew verb siach is translated meditate in 8 of the 20 uses
in the NAS - Jdg 5:10; 1 Chr 16:9; Job 7:11; 12:8; Ps 55:17; 69:12;
77:3, Ps 77:6 (meditate), Ps 77:12 (meditate); Ps 105:2;
Ps 119:15, 23, 27, 48, 78, 148 (All the uses in Ps 119 are translated
meditate); Ps 143:5 (muse); 145:5; Pr 6:22; Isa 53:8
They have hands, but they cannot feel; They have feet, but they cannot
walk; They cannot make a sound with their throat.
Psalm 143:5 I remember
the days of old; I
on all Your doings; I muse (siach) on the work of Your hands.
Spurgeon comments (Note):
I remember the days of old. When we see nothing new which can cheer us,
let us think upon old things. We once had merry days, days of
deliverance, and joy and thanksgiving; why not again? Jehovah rescued
his people in the ages which lie back, centuries ago; wily should he not
do the like again? We ourselves have a rich past to look back upon; we
have sunny memories, sacred memories, satisfactory memories, and these
are as flowers for the bees of faith to visit, from whence they may make
honey for present use. I meditate on all thy works. When my own works
reproach me, thy works refresh me. If at the first view the deeds of the
Lord do not encourage us, let us think them over again, ruminating and
considering the histories of divine providence. We ought to take a wide
and large view of all God's works; for as a whole they work together for
good, and in each part they are worthy of reverent study. I muse on the
work of thy hands. This he had done in former days, even in his most
trying hours. Creation had been the book in which he read of the wisdom
and goodness of the Lord. He repeats his perusal of the page of nature,
and counts it a balm for his wounds, a cordial for his cares, to see
what the Lord has made by his skilful hands. When the work of our own
hand grieves us, let us look to the work of God's hands.
Memory, meditation, and musing
are here set together as the three graces, ministering grace to a mind
depressed and likely to be diseased. As David with his harp played away
the evil spirit from Saul, so does he hero chase away gloom from his own
soul by holy communion with God.
See related topics:
Memorizing His Word;
Memory Verses by Topic
William Gurnall adds -
Meditation is prayer's handmaid to wait on it, both before and after the
performance of supplication. It is as the plough before the sower, to
prepare the heart for the duty of prayer; and as the harrow after the
sower, to cover the seed when 'tis sown. As the hopper feeds the mill
with grist, so does meditation supply the heart with matter for prayer.
He gathered materials; facts and evidence concerning God: "I remember."
He thought out his subject and arranged his matter: "I meditate."
He discoursed thereon, and was brought nearer to God: "I muse" --
Let us close by viewing all this as an example for preachers and others.
W B H.
"For my mouth will utter truth; And wickedness is an abomination
to my lips.
Proverbs 15:28 The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer,
But the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.
Proverbs 24:2 For their minds devise violence, And their lips
talk of trouble.
Isaiah 8:19 When they say to you, "Consult the mediums and the
spiritists who whisper and mutter," should not a people consult
their God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living?
Isaiah 16:7 Therefore Moab will wail; everyone of Moab will wail. You
will moan for the raisin cakes of Kir-hareseth As those who are
Isaiah 31:4 For thus says the LORD to me, "As the lion or the young lion
growls over his prey, Against which a band of shepherds is called
out, And he will not be terrified at their voice nor disturbed at their
noise, So will the LORD of hosts come down to wage war on Mount Zion and
on its hill."
Isaiah 33:18 Your heart will
on terror: "Where is he who counts? Where is he who weighs? Where is he
who counts the towers?"
Isaiah 38:14 "Like a swallow, like a crane, so I twitter; I moan
like a dove; My eyes look wistfully to the heights; O Lord, I am
oppressed, be my security.
Isaiah 59:3 For your hands are defiled with blood And your fingers with
iniquity; Your lips have spoken falsehood, Your tongue mutters
Isaiah 59:11 All of us growl like bears, And moan sadly like
doves; We hope for justice, but there is none, For salvation, but it is
far from us.
Isaiah 59:13 Transgressing and denying the LORD, And turning away from
our God, Speaking oppression and revolt, Conceiving in and uttering
from the heart lying words.
Jeremiah 48:31 "Therefore I will wail for Moab, Even for all Moab will I
cry out; I will moan for the men of Kir-heres.
Webster says that meditate
means to focus one’s thoughts on, to reflect on, to muse, to mull over or to
ponder over and calls for a definite focusing of one’s thoughts on something
so as to understand it deeply. It means to to engage in contemplation
or reflection, focusing one's thoughts on some truth, reflecting and
pondering that truth.
Eastern meditation calls for the subject to "empty" the mind, whereas
Biblical meditation calls for the filling of one's mind with God's Word of
truth and life.
Meditation is the picture of a cow masticating or ruminating – bringing up
previously digested food for renewed grinding and preparation for
Andrew Harper notes that
This habit of meditation on the law
which Joshua was instructed to practice (Ed: I agree - Meditation does
take "practice") was of great value to one who was to lead a busy life.
No mere cursory perusal of the book of the Law can secure the ends for
which it is given (Ed: So much for the "One Minute Bible"!) The
memory is treacherous, the heart is careless and the power of worldly
objects to withdraw attention (from the eternal) is proverbial. We must
be continually in contact with the Book of God (Ed: And even more
importantly with the God of the Book!)...There can be no spiritual
prosperity and progress without daily meditation on the Word of
God...And wherever an eminent degree of piety has been attained, we will
find that an eminently close study of the Word has been practiced. Where
the habit is perfunctory, the tendency is to omit the meditation and to
be content with the reading. Even in pious families there is a risk that
the reading of the Scriptures morning and evening may push the duty of
meditation aside, though even then we are not to despise the benefit
that arises from the familiarity gained with their contents. (The
Expositor's Bible - Commentary on Joshua)
illustrated Biblical meditation by comparing the way cows get the
cud on which they chew...
A cow eats grass as it grazes early
in the morning. When the sun gets hot (Ed: Compare to times when
we are tempted, when we experience unexpected trials, etc), it will lie
in the shade of a tree, and through the use of a unique elevator system
it will bring up the grass from one stomach (Ed: The verses we
have memorized. The passages we read that morning. The Scriptures in the
sermon we heard on Sunday, etc.) and thoroughly masticate it (Ed:
We "chew the cud" of the Scriptures the Spirit brings to our mind). When
this is finished, it will put it into another stomach, having gotten
from it everything possible in the way of nutrients.
Nelson's New Christian
Dictionary has a picturesque definition of meditation as
time spent in contemplating the Word of God and in fumigating (Ed:
fumigate = to apply smoke, vapor, or gas to especially for the purpose of
disinfecting or of destroying pests) the mind of the toxic thoughts and
ideas that infiltrate it every day.
New Christian Dictionary or
Unger says that
A private devotional act, consisting in deliberate
reflection upon some spiritual truth or mystery, accompanied by mental
prayer and by acts of the affection and of the will, especially formation of
resolutions as to future conduct...Meditation is a duty that ought to
be attended to by all who wish well to their spiritual interests. It should
be deliberate, close, and continuous.
M. F., Harrison, R. K., Vos, H. F., Barber, C. J., & Unger, M. F. The New
Unger's Bible Dictionary. Chicago: Moody Press)
Illustrated Bible Dictionary says meditation is concept found
primarily in the Old Testament and is "
the practice of reflection
or contemplation. The word “meditation” or its verb form, “to meditate,” is
found mainly in the Old Testament. The Hebrew words behind this concept mean
“to murmur,” “a murmuring,” “sighing,” or “moaning"...Meditation is a
lost art for many Christians, but the practice needs to be cultivated again."
R. F., Bruce, F. F., Harrison, R. K., & Thomas Nelson Publishers. Nelson's
New Illustrated Bible Dictionary)
You may be saying "But I don't know how to meditate." I
beg to differ because...
know how to worry,
then you know how to meditate.
Worry is when you take a negative
idea and continue to think on it over and over, and it will usually
start to affect you negatively. When you take a Truth from Scripture and
think on it over and over, we call that meditation. There is nothing
mystical or magical about meditation. Meditation just means you focus
your attention over and over on the Word of God. When one continually
mutters God’s Word to himself, he is constantly thinking about it. The
benefits will be a blessing. God promises in Psalm 1 (Ps 1:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6-see
notes) that all who
delight in and meditate on His Law will prosper like a flourishing
fruit tree and their fruit will appear at the proper time, and their general spiritual health, represented
by the leaves, will be good.
gives an interesting word picture of meditation writing
that if you want to be filled with
the Spirit of passion and exultation over the great things of God, you
must fill your mind day and night with the Word of God. Pour over it.
Memorize it. Chew it. Put it like a lozenge under the tongue of your
soul and let it flavor your affections day and night. (Trinity Journal
Volume 16. Page 44)
Memorizing and reading slowly with pen in hand are ways of making
meditation possible. And meditation is crucial in the fight for joy. God
commanded Joshua that a leader must be ever musing on the Word of God:
“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall
meditate on it day and night” (Josh 1:8). The scroll was rare and
precious. Joshua did not have a “pocket scroll” to carry around. This
means that God made memory and meditation part of what it took to lead
his people. The same is true today....
So meditating on the Word of God day and night means to speak to
yourself the Word of God day and night and to speak to yourself about
it—to mull it over, to ask questions about it and answer them from the
Scripture itself, to ask yourself how this might apply to you and
others, and to ponder its implications for life and church and culture
HOW TO MUSE OVER
One simple way to do this is to memorize a verse or two and then say
them to yourself once, emphasizing the first word. Then say them to
yourself again, emphasizing the second word. Then say them a third time,
emphasizing the third word. And so on, over and over again, until you
have meditated on the reason why each word is there. Then you can start
asking relational questions. If this word is used, why is that word
used? The possibilities of musing and pondering and meditating are
endless. And always we pray as we ponder, asking for God’s help and
124 from Piper's book - When I Don't Desire God How to Fight for Joy -
Online and free to Download)
Matthew Henry wrote that...
If we willingly banish
holy meditations in our solitary hours, Satan will soon occupy our minds
with sinful imaginations
Madvig notes that
does not mean theoretical speculation
about the law, such as the Pharisees indulged in, but a practical study
of the law, for the purpose of observing it in thought and action, or
carrying it out with the heart, the mouth, and the hand. Such a mode of
employing it would be sure to be followed by blessings.
Marston writes of the Book of
was to be the subject of his diligent
study, his mind must dwell upon its provisions. He must see in it, not
simply the production of the great mind of Moses, but the inspired code
which Jehovah, the King of Israel, had given for the government of His
people. For himself, in all his private life and public duties; for the
people, in all that might concern their individual and social welfare,
here was the rule, the standard, the directory. Joshua, therefore, was
to meditate day and night on the revealed will of God; that his heart
being full of it, his life might proclaim it, and out of the abundance
of his heart his mouth might speak. So with ourselves. No one can truly
value the Word of God who does not study it and meditate upon it; none
can be prepared to defend it who have not experienced its preciousness.
If we would really be courageous as regards the Bible, and its teachings
and requirements, we must have learned how all-sufficient it is under
the operations of the Holy Spirit to direct and animate the soul. (Marston)
Spurgeon wrote that...
The man who reads but one book, and
that book his Bible, and then muses (meditates, ponders) much upon it,
will be a better scholar in Christ’s school than he who merely reads
hundreds of books, and muses not at all. (from his sermon
Howard Hendricks commenting
on Joshua 1:8 writes...
That verse shows that there is a
close connection between meditating on God’s Word and acting on it.
That’s going to be key when we get to Step Three (Ed: In
inductive Bible study),
By The Book by Howard Hendricks, William Hendricks
W B Sprague writes
Of pious MEDITATION, considered as a means of growth in grace, it may be
remarked that it is not merely a speculative—but practical exercise: the
object of it is, not merely to discover truth—but when discovered, to
turn it to some practical advantage. If, for instance, the mind dwells
on the infinite greatness and majesty of God—the heart kindles with a
sentiment of holy admiration. If the mind contemplates the unparalleled
love and mercy of God—the heart glows with a spirit of devout gratitude.
If the mind contemplates the depravity and ruin of man, and particularly
if it turns its eye inward on personal guilt—the bosom heaves with
emotions of godly sorrow. And so in respect to every other subject to
which the thoughts may be directed—the mind contemplates them not as
subjects of abstract speculation—but of personal interest. (Excerpt
[click for full discussion] from
Lectures to Young People)
J. Vernon McGee has sage
advice regarding Biblical meditation writing that
Meditate is a very figurative
word. It pictures a cow chewing her cud. I’m told that the cow has
several compartments in her tummy. She can go out in the morning, graze
on the grass when the dew is on it in the cool of the day. Then when it
gets hot in the middle of the day, she lies down under a tree and begins
to chew the cud. She moves the grass she had in the morning back up and
now she masticates it, she goes over it again. That is what we do when
we meditate. We go over what we have read. Way back in 1688
Bartholomew Ashwood said, “Meditation chews the cud.” My, how
that is needed today in the lives of believers. Remember that James
spoke of the man who beholds his natural face in a mirror, then “…
immediately forgotten what kind of person he was.” (Jas 1:24-note).
We are to meditate on the Word of God (which is God’s mirror that
shows us what we really are). We are to allow the Word to shape our
lives. My friend, God has no plan or program by which you are to grow
and develop as a believer apart from His Word. You can become as busy as
a termite in your church (and possibly with the same effect as a
termite), but you won’t grow by means of activity. You will grow by
meditating upon the Word of God—that is, by going over it again and
again in your thinking until it becomes a part of your life. This is the
practice of the happy (blessed) man (Psalm
Reading the Bible without
meditating on it
is like eating without chewing.
Meditation is to the inner man what
digestion is to the outer man. If you did not digest your food, you
would sicken and die.
David Jeremiah - "Most of us read the Bible casually and
carelessly. We read the Word of God and it has no effect on us. That’s
why the Word of God has become so insipid in our lives; it has no power
over us. The greatest thing we can do in reading God’s Word is to
understand that the Lord has given the book to us as our marching
orders. We are to read it, study it, and then do it. Our prayer before
reading the Bible should be, “Lord, show me in Your Word today what You
want me to do! Show me the things in my life that are not in conformity
with Your will, for I commit myself as I open this book that whatever
You say to me here, I’ll do it.” With Jesus with us we can go
anywhere—into Canaan with its walled cities and giants everywhere, and
into the days of the year ahead, where every day poses a mystery and a
challenge. We all will face giants in our futures, but know this: If He
is with us, we are sufficient to win in the power of our Lord and
Savior, Jesus Christ." (Sanctuary: finding moments of refuge in the
presence of God)
To meditate means to “turn over” God’s Word in
the mind and heart, to examine it, to compare Scripture with Scripture,
to “feed on” its wonderful truths. In this day of noise and confusion,
such meditation is rare but so needful. Meditation is facilitated by
memorization (See related topics:
Memorizing His Word;
Memory Verses by Topic),
for when we memorize His Word, we are able to open the page" to that
verse any time of the night or day and allow the Lord to speak to us as
we ponder the passage! Reading the Bible without meditating on it is
like eating without chewing!
We must read
Scripture every day
And meditate on what God said
To fight temptation from the world
And live a life that's Spirit led.
Warren Wiersbe - The
believer’s mind should become like a “spiritual computer.” It should be
so saturated with Scripture that when he faces a decision or a
temptation, he automatically remembers the Scriptures that relate to
that particular situation. It is the ministry of the Holy Spirit to
bring God’s Word to our minds when we need it. (Jn 14:26) But the Spirit
of God cannot remind you of something that you have not learned! You
must first let him teach you the Word. You must memorize the Scripture
that he opens up to you. Then the Spirit of God will be able to remind
you of what you have learned, and you can use that truth to battle
Satan. Please keep in mind that Satan knows the Bible far better than we
do! And he is able to quote it! (The Strategy of Satan : How to Detect
and Defeat Him)
A W Tozer on "The Devotional Mood" - "Maintenance of the
devotional mood is indispensable to success in the Christian life.
Holiness and power are not qualities that can be once received and
thereafter forgotten as one might wind a clock or take a vitamin pill.
The world is too much with us, not to mention the flesh and the devil,
and every advance in the spiritual life must be made against the
determined resistance of this trinity of evil. Gains made must be
consolidated and held with a resolution equal to that of an army in the
field. To establish our hearts in the devotional mood we must abide in
Christ, walk in the Spirit, pray without ceasing and meditate on the
Word of God day and night. Of course this implies separation from the
world, renunciation of the flesh and obedience to the will of God as we
are able to understand it. And what is the devotional mood? It is
nothing else than constant awareness of God’s enfolding presence, the
holding of inward conversations with Christ and private worship of God
in spirit and in truth. Lord, keep me constantly aware of Your presence
as I meditate on Your Word. I abide in You today. Amen." (Tozer on the
Almighty God : A 366-day devotional)
I Will Meditate on Thy Precepts - Devotional from C H
Spurgeon's Morning and Evening...
There are times when solitude is
better than society, and silence is wiser than speech. We should be better
Christians if we were more alone, waiting upon God, and gathering through
meditation on his Word spiritual strength for labour in his service. We
ought to muse (to consider or examine attentively or deliberately by
becoming absorbed in thought; especially turning something over in one's
mind meditatively) upon the things of God, because we thus get the real nutriment
out of them.
Truth is something like the cluster of the vine: if we would
have wine from it, we must bruise it; we must press and squeeze it many
times. The bruiser’s feet must come down joyfully upon the bunches, or else
the juice will not flow; and they must well tread the grapes, or else much
of the precious liquid will be wasted.
So we must, by meditation, tread the
clusters of truth, if we would get the wine of consolation there from. Our
bodies are not supported by merely taking food into the mouth, but the
process which really supplies the muscle, and the nerve, and the sinew, and
the bone, is the process of digestion. It is by digestion that the outward
food becomes assimilated with the inner life.
Our souls are not
nourished merely by listening awhile to this, and then to that, and then to
the other part of divine truth. Hearing, reading, marking, and learning, all
require inwardly digesting to complete their usefulness, and the inward
digesting of the truth lies for the most part in meditating upon it.
Why is it that some
Christians, although they hear many sermons, make but slow advances in the
divine life? Because they neglect their closets, and do not thoughtfully
meditate on God’s Word. They love the wheat, but they do not grind
it; they would have the corn, but they will not go forth into the fields to
gather it; the fruit hangs upon the tree, but they will not pluck it; the
water flows at their feet, but they will not stoop to drink it.
From such folly
deliver us, O Lord, and be this our resolve this morning, “I will meditate
in Thy precepts.”
Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah
Musing** on my habitation,
Musing on my heav’nly home,
Fills my soul with holy longings:
Come, my Jesus, quickly come;
Vanity is all I see;
Lord, I long to be with Thee!
Lord, I long to be with Thee!
**Muse is from the Greek verb
muzo which signifies to press, or utter sound with the lips
compressed. The idea of muse is to ponder, to think deeply or closely,
to study in silence. The idea is to become absorbed in thought
especially turn something over one's mind meditatively. What greater
thought to be absorbed in then the goodness and greatness of God as
revealed in His Word!
For the Christian soldier, then,
God’s law is his marching orders. The written word, and especially the
Incarnate Word, are our law of conduct. The whole science of our warfare
and plan of campaign are there. We have not to take our orders from
men’s lips, but we must often disregard them, that we may listen to the
‘Captain of our salvation.’ The soldier stands where his officer has
posted him, and does what he was bid, no matter what may happen. Only
one voice can relieve him. Though a thousand should bid him flee, and
his heart should echo their advices, he is recreant if he deserts his
post at the command of any but him who set him there. Obedience to
others is mutiny. Nor does the Christian need another law to supplement
that which Christ has given him in His pattern and teaching. Men have
appended huge comments to it, and have softened some of its plain
precepts which bear hard on popular sins. But the Lawgiver’s law is one
thing, and the lawyers’ explanations which explain it away or darken
what was clear enough, however unwelcome, are quite another. Christ has
given us Himself, and therein has given a sufficient directory for
conduct and conflict which fits close to all our needs, and will prove
definite and practical enough if we honestly try to apply it.
The application of Christ’s law to
daily life takes some courage, and is the proper field for the exercise
of Christian strength. ‘Be very courageous that thou mayest observe.’ If
you are not a bold Christian you will very soon get frightened out of
obedience to your Master’s commandments. Courage, springing from the
realization of God’s helping strength, is indispensable to make any man,
in any age, live out thoroughly and consistently the principles of the
law of Jesus Christ. No
man in this generation will work out a punctual obedience to what he
knows to be the will of God, without finding out that all the
‘Canaanites’ are not dead yet; but that there are enough of them left to
make a very thorny life for the persistent follower of Jesus Christ.
And not only is there courage needed
for the application of the principles of conduct which God has given us,
but you will never have them handy for swift application unless, in many
a quiet hour of silent, solitary, patient
you have become familiar with them. The recruit that has to learn on
the battle-field how to use his rifle has a good chance of being dead
before he has mastered the mysteries of firing. And Christian people
that have their Christian principles to dig out of the Bible when the
necessity comes, will likely find that the necessity is past before they
have completed the excavation. The actual battle-field is no place to
learn drill. If a soldier does not know how his sword hangs, and cannot
get at it in a moment, he will probably draw it too late.
A DYING ART
I am afraid that the practice of such
meditation as is meant here has come to be, like the art of making
ecclesiastical stained glass, almost extinct in modern times. You have
so many newspapers and magazines to read that the Bible has a chance of
being shoved out of sight, except on Sundays and in chapels.
The ‘meditating’ that is
enjoined in my text is no mere intellectual study of Scripture, either
from an antiquarian or a literary or a theological point of view, but it
is the mastering of the principles of conduct as laid down there, and
the appropriating of all the power for guidance and for sustaining which
that word of the Lord gives.
Meditation, the familiarizing
ourselves with the ethics of Scripture, and with the hopes and powers
that are treasured in Jesus
so that our minds are made up upon a great many thorny questions as to
what we ought to do, and that when crises or dangers come, as they have
a knack of coming, very suddenly, and are sprung upon us unexpectedly,
we shall be able, without much difficulty, or much time spent in
perplexed searching, to fall back upon the principles that decide our
conduct—that is essential to all successful and victorious Christian
THE SECRET OF
THE BLESSED LIFE
And it is the secret of all blessed
For there is a lovely echo of these vigorous words of command to Joshua
in a very much more peaceful form in the 1st Psalm: ‘Blessed is the man
that walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, . . . but his delight is
in the law of the Lord, and in His law doth he meditate day and night’
(Ps 1:1, 2)—the very words that are employed in the text to describe the
duty of the soldier—therefore ‘all that he doeth shall prosper.’
III. That leads to the last
thought here—the sure victory of such bold obedience.
‘Thou mayest prosper whithersoever
thou goest’; ‘Thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then shalt thou
have good success,’ or, as the last word might be rendered, ‘then shalt
thou act wisely ’
You may not get victory from an
earthly point of view, for many a man that lives strong and courageous
and joyfully obeying God’s law, as far as he knows it and because he
loves the Lawgiver, goes through life, and finds that, as far as the
world’s estimate is concerned, there
is nothing but failure as his portion. Ah I but the world’s way is
not the true way of estimating victory.
‘Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world,’ said Jesus Christ when
within arm’s-length of the Cross (Jn 16:33). And His way is the way in
which we must conquer the world, if we conquer it at all (Gal 6:14).
The success which my text means is the carrying out of conscientious
convictions of God’s will into practice. That is the only success that
is worth talking about or looking for. The man that succeeds in obeying
and translating God’s will into conduct is the victor, whatever be the
outward fruits of his life. He may go out of the field beaten, according
to the estimate of men that can see no higher than their own height, and
little further than their own finger tips can reach; he may himself feel
that the world has gone past him, and that he has not made much of it;
he may have to lie down at last unknown, poor, with all his bright hopes
that danced before him in childhood gone, and sore beaten by the
enemies; but if he is able to say in the strength that Christ gives, ‘I
have finished my course; I have kept the faith,’ (2Ti 4:8) his ‘way has
prospered,’ and he has had’ good success.’ ‘We are more than conquerors
through Him that loved us.’ (Maclaren
F B Meyer writes...
THE INDWELLING OF THE WORD OF GOD.
Coal contains within its texture the strength absorbed from the sun in
bygone ages; so words will pass on to men the heroic thoughts which
thrilled the souls of those who spake them first. There are words, as
there are strains of music, which cannot be uttered without nerving men
to dare and do, to attempt and achieve. A woman will be strong to wait
and suffer for long years in the strength of a sentence spoken by her
lover as he parted from her: An army has before now forgot sleepless
nights and hungry marches in the stirring harangue of its general. And
is not this what the prophet meant, when he said, “Thy words were found
and I did eat them, and Thy words were unto me a joy, and the rejoicing
of my heart”? (Jer 15:16) and what Jesus meant when He said, “The words
that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life “? (Jn 6:63)
We can do all things when Christ is in us in unthwarted power (Php
4:13). The only limit lies in our faith and capacity, or, in other
words, in our absolute submission to His indwelling. Little children can
overcome when there is within them a Stronger than their foes (cp Mt
17:20, Mk 9:24!). Weaklings may do exploits when the Mighty Conqueror
who travels in the greatness of His strength makes them the vehicle of
A good working Bible: — Rare
botanical specimens are found by diligent searching. It is by earnest
and prayerful study of the Bible theft we discover truths that we may
call our own. We have a brother who has been working in the gold mines
of California for many years. He has a watch-chain that he greatly
values because the gold in it is what he searched and dug out of the
mountain himself by hard labour and much sacrifice. Truths discovered
as the result of hard study are very precious to us. The Bible should be
an every-day book to us. A very handsome and expensive Bible on the
parlour stand, covered with a bric-a-brac, is of little value as
compared with a good working Bible. A well-known Sunday-school worker
tells of going into a house in North Wales. As he sat by a table talking
with a little girl, he picked up a Bible, when she instantly said,
“That’s my mother’s every-day Bible, sir; I’ll give you the Sunday Bible
if you want to read.” We all need an every-day Bible, one that can be
handled easily and conveniently — a Bible with every precious promise
and every verse that has been especially helpful to us marked. The Jews
were commanded to read the Scripture all the time, to write it upon the
door-posts; to have it as frontiers between their eyes; to talk of it by
the way, and teach it to their children and children’s children. (Home
F B Meyer in the second
The Divine Commission
Words pass on to men the heroic
thoughts which thrilled the souls of those who spake them first. There
are words, as there are strains of music, which cannot be uttered
without nerving men to dare and do, to attempt and achieve.
- A woman will be strong to wait and
suffer for long years in the strength of a sentence spoken by her lover
as he parted from her.
- An army has before now forgotten
sleepless nights and hungry marches in the stirring harangue of its
And is not this what the prophet
meant, when he said, “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy
word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart”: and what Jesus
meant when he said, “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit,
and they are life”?
We must meditate on the words of God,
because it is through the Word of God that the Spirit of God comes in
fullness to be the mighty occupant of our inner man. This, after all, is
the secret of strength to be possessed of the strong Son of God,
strengthened by his indwelling might, and filled by his Spirit.
We can do all things when Christ is
in us in unthwarted power.
The only limit lies in our faith and
capacity; or, in other words, in our absolute submission to his
indwelling. Little children can overcome when there is within them a
Stronger than their foes. Weaklings may do exploits when the Mighty
Conqueror who travels in the greatness of his strength makes them the
vehicle of his progress. Nobodies, nonentities, broken reeds, bleached
jaw-bones, quills plucked from the wild-fowl, and arrows that a babe
could snap, accomplish marvels, because they are the channels through
which the mysterious current of divine power and Godhead flows forth to
Our risen Lord is charged with power.
It is stored in him as in a cistern
for us. As the force of the brain is communicated to the members by the
energy of the vital current flashing along the nerves, so does the power
of Jesus come to us, his members, by the Holy Ghost. And if we would
have that blessed Spirit, we must seek him, not only in the fervid
meeting or in the great convocation, but through the Word, wherein his
force is stored. Meditate on it day and night, till it yield to thee
strength and good courage, drawn from the nature of the glorified
Redeemer. Thy God hath commanded thy strength: claim it from Jesus,
through faith, by his Spirit, and in his Word. Be strong in your
weakness through the strengthening might of Christ. Take weakness,
weariness, faint-heartedness, and difficulty, into his presence; they
will melt as hoar-frost in sunbeams. Give yourself wholly up to him, to
do or die, as he shall choose. Then anoint your head, and wash your
face. You shall have your inheritance in Timnath-heres (the portion of
the sun); you shall make your way prosperous, and have good success; and
you shall lead a nation to inherit the Land of Promise. (Joshua
and the Land of Promise)
In regard to this "book of the
law" A W Tozer said...
Read it much, read it often, brood
over it, think over it, meditate over it—meditate on the Word of God day
and night. When you are awake at night, think of a helpful verse. When
you get up in the morning, no matter how you feel, think of a verse and
make the Word of God the important element in your day. The Holy Ghost
wrote the Word, and if you make much of the Word, He will make much of
you. It is through the Word that He reveals Himself. Between those
covers is a living Book. God wrote it and it is still vital and
effective and alive. God is in this Book, the Holy Ghost is in this
Book, and if you want to find Him, go into this Book.
Dr. Denis Burkitt achieved
fame for discovering the cause and cure of a disease named after him--
Burkitt's lymphoma. He also received widespread acclaim for
demonstrating the benefits of a fiber-rich diet, which earned him the
amusing nickname "Fiber Man."
What many people don't know, however, is that Dr. Burkitt was not merely
a great medical pioneer; he was a dedicated servant of God who daily
spent much time in prayer and meditation on God's Word. He observed,
I am convinced that a downgrading in
priority of...prayer and biblical meditation is a major cause of
weakness in many Christian communities... Bible study demands pondering
deeply on a short passage, like a cow chewing her cud. It is better to
read a little and ponder a lot than to read a lot and ponder a little.
Dr. Burkitt didn't leave just a great
legacy of healing; he left an example of personal holiness and closeness
with the Lord. The secret was his lifelong habit of setting aside a
specific time for prayer and reflection on God's Word. Few of us will
ever enjoy accomplishments like his, but by following the prescription
of Psalm 1:2-note
we can attain the same spiritual health that he did.
In the stillness of
Before a busy day of care,
How sweet to be alone with God
Through His holy Word and prayer! --Anderson
God speaks to those who take the time to listen.
Prayer is talking with God.
Meditation is listening to God.
If you have an
hour set aside to read the Scriptures, try reading the first half hour
and then using the second half hour to reflect or meditate on what you
read. Applying the guidelines for careful
can objectively aid your
efforts to meditate on the Word. Watch the difference it makes. You’re
reading too much if you have no time to genuinely meditate on what you
read. If you keep a devotional notebook, jot down your thoughts inspired
by observing, interpreting and meditating on the passage.
on the Person and works of God can bring refreshment and invigoration to
any believer (cp "rest for your souls" -
Mt 11:28, 29, 30).
on God fills a basic need in the heart of every person, as basic a need
as food and drink (Mt 4:4). It not only satisfies the believer but
overflows in praise making him or her a blessing to others.
DAY AND NIGHT: (Ps
63:6, Ps 119:148 Ps 139:17 18 Lam 2:19 Lk 6:12)
Day and night - A Hebraism or Hebraic way of
saying continually. Meditation was to be Joshua's continual
practice. Why? Because sustenance from the living Word was his constant
need! Beloved, we are no different. Do not try to fight the good fight
today without first "easting" the "breakfast of champions", the living
and active Word, taking time to "chew" your food (Little children
continually need to be told "Now, Johnny, chew your food!"). Even as the
children of Israel depended on the daily deliverance of manna in the
wilderness, Joshua and you and I also need to go out each morning and
gather the manna of God's Word.
Howard Hendricks writes...
want to point out the frequency with which biblical truth should
percolate through your mind: “day and night.” That leads me to
ask, What portion of Scripture was I thinking about this morning as I
started my day? While I was at work? As I made my way home? For that
matter, when was the last time I consciously reflected on biblical
truths and principles? (Living
By The Book by Howard Hendricks, William Hendricks
Wordsearch Bible Software)
SO THAT YOU MAY BE CAREFUL TO DO
ACCORDING TO ALL THAT IS WRITTEN IN IT: (Careful to do:
Dt 5:29,32,33 6:1-3 Mt 7:21,24 28:20 Lk 11:28 Jn 13:17 14:21 Jas 1:22 23
24 25 Rev 22:14)
Be careful to do - "can
carefully obey" (NET), "so that you will faithfully do everything
written in them" (GW) Lxx translates "be careful" with
which conveys the idea of
"understand" - understand that hearing without heeding is vain!
Joshua 1:8 lays down the immutable
principle which is the key to the "victorious Christian life"...
Obey God's Word
~ Victory & Blessing
Disobey God's Word ~ Defeat & Trial
Meditation must be
accompanied by doing! If meditation does not affect our behavior,
we are deluding ourselves. James in the New Testament counterpart
of Joshua 1:8 made this important principle
clear, cautioning his readers...
of contrast - always
pause to ponder what is being contrasted, why it is
being contrasted, etc? See James 1:21-note)
make this your habitual practice) yourselves doers
of the word, and not merely hearers
= continually delude)
themselves. (Why is adherence to this command so critical?) For
if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who
looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself
and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was.
But (What is the refreshing
contrast?) one who looks intently
= bend one's head forward to look into carefully) at the perfect law,
the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful
hearer but an effectual doer, this man shall be blessed
in what he does. (Jas
1:22, 23, 24-note;
Comment: The phrase "doer
of the Word" does not refer to the person who obeys periodically,
but the one who habitually and characteristically obeys. It's one ting
to run in a race; it's something else to be a runner. It's one thing to
teach a class; it's something else to be a teacher. Runners are know for
running; teachers are known for teaching--it's characteristic of their
lives. Similarly, doers of the Word are known for their obedience!"
(John MacArthur - Drawing Near).
The great Puritan writer Thomas
Manton said that...
Meditation is in order to practice;
and if it be right, it will beget a respect to the ways of God. We do
not meditate that we may rest in contemplation, but in order to
(shamar) is used 431x in the OT and means to watch, to keep, to preserve, to guard, to be
careful, to watch over, to watch carefully over, to be on one's guard.
Shamar is often translated in the Lxx with the verb
phulasso (see word study).
The first use of shamar
in Scripture gives us a good sense of the intended meaning of this
common Hebrew verb -- God instructed Adam to shamar or to
keep and watch over and care for the Garden of Eden (Ge 2:15). Since
Adam proved to be a hearer and not a doer of the Word of the clear
warning (Ge 2:16,17), God sent His angels to shamar "the
way to the tree of life!" (Ge 3:24) Abel asked God "Am I my brother's
keeper (shamar)?" (Ge 4:9)
Wiersbe rightly observes
that "the secret of Joshua’s victories was
not his skill with the sword but his submission to the Word of God (Josh
1:8) and to the God of the Word (Joshua 5:13, 14, 15)." (Wiersbe, W. W. .
Be Strong. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books)
('asah) is used over 2000x in the OT and means to do or make in a general sense. To
F B Meyer wrote that all
through the Scriptures...
We are taught, not for our pleasure
only, but that we may do. If we will turn each holy precept or
command into instant obedience, through the dear grace of Jesus
Christ our Lord, God will keep nothing back from us; He will open to us
His deepest and sweetest thoughts. But so long as we refuse obedience
to even the least command, we shall find that the light will fade from
the page of Scripture, and the zest will die down quickly in our own
Spurgeon comments that...
Yes, the Lord will be with us in our
holy war, but He demands of us that we strictly follow His rules.
1. Our victories will very much
depend upon our obeying Him with all our heart, throwing strength and
courage into the actions of our faith. If we are half-hearted, we cannot
expect more than half a blessing.
2. We must obey the Lord with care
3. We must obey with universal
readiness. We may not pick and choose, but must take all the Lord’s
commands as they come.
4. In all this we must go on with
exactness and constancy. Ours is to be a straightforward courage, which
bends neither to the right nor to the left.
All - Means just that - all
without exception. Thus everything written must be observed, because
partial obedience is really no
obedience. As someone has well said, when we study the Bible "hit or miss,"
we MISS more
than we HIT!
Moses records God's formula for
So keep (shamar) the
words of this covenant to do them, that you may prosper (sakal -
see below) in all that you
do. (Dt 29:9)
Compare similar statement in First
Kings and First Chronicles...
And keep (shamar) the charge of the LORD your
God, to walk (obey) in His ways, to keep (shamar;
phulasso) His statutes, His commandments, His
ordinances, and His testimonies, according to what is written in the law
of Moses, that you may succeed (sakal - see below) in all that you do and wherever you turn,
so that the LORD may carry out His promise which He spoke concerning me,
saying, 'If your sons are careful of their way, to walk before Me in
truth with all their heart and with all their soul, you shall not lack a
man on the throne of Israel.' (1Ki 2:3,4)
Then you shall prosper (tsalach =
same word translated prosperous in Josh 1:8; see below), if you are
careful (shamar; Lxx =
to observe the statutes and the ordinances which the LORD commanded
Moses concerning Israel.
(both commands), do not fear nor be dismayed. (1Chr 22:13)
William Newell - Concerning the possession of
Canaan, note the authority for it (God's command - Josh 1:2),
the attitude for it (arise - Josh1:2), the path to it (over
Jordan - Josh 1:2), the extent of it (all the land - Josh
1:4), the method of it (occupation - Josh 1:3), the
encouragement for it (invincibility - Josh 1:5), the incitement
to it (the promise of success - Joshua 1:6), the great 'double
secret' of it (constant use of and literal obedience to the Word of
God - Josh 1:7 8), the all inclusive pledge of possession (the
constant presence of God - Josh 1:9) Apply all these things to
yourself, in view of Ep 1:3.
from Joshua - The Book of Possession)
A W Tozer - Bible: neglect of; Meditation;
Distractions - The present neglect of the inspired Scriptures by
civilized man is a shame and a scandal; for those same Scriptures tell
him all he wants to know, or should want to know, about God, his own
soul and human destiny.…Whatever keeps me from the Bible is my enemy,
however harmless it may appear to be. Whatever engages my attention when
I should be meditating on God and things eternal does injury to my soul.
Let the cares of life crowd out the Scriptures from my mind and I have
suffered loss where I can least afford it. Let me accept anything else
instead of the Scriptures and I have been cheated and robbed to my
eternal confusion. (The Tozer Topical Reader 1:21. Camp Hill, PA)
FOR THEN YOU WILL MAKE YOUR WAY
PROSPEROUS, AND THEN YOU WILL HAVE SUCCESS:
Beware of misinterpretation of
Joshua 1:8 - This verse is not a promise of
material or financial success and should not be "used" as a proof text
to defend such false teaching. In the immediate context of the conquest
of Canaan by Israel, the promise to Joshua is for military success, not
financial success. In fact there is no mention of finances in the entire
first chapter of Joshua. This verse then serves as an excellent
illustration of the importance of never interpreting a single verse
outside of its context (See discussion of
Keeping Context King when
interpreting Scripture). And don't take a single verse and use it as a
proof text as some false teachers do.
For then - This is a
term of explanation.
Whenever you encounter one in Scripture, pause and ask what is being
concluded or explained (in so doing you will be in a sense "meditating"
on the passage!). When will Joshua make his way prosperous and have
success? When he meditates and heeds the Word. Obedience is the gateway
to material blessing for Joshua (who without doubt was also spiritual
blessed by meditation and obedience) and for spiritual blessing in the
case of NT believers.
For then you will make your
way prosperous - This generally expresses the idea of a successful
venture, as contrasted with failure. The source of such success is God:
"...as long as he sought the Lord, God made him to prosper" (2Chr 26:5).
The root means to accomplish satisfactorily what is intended. In our
lives as Christians, success and prosperity are not to be measured by
the physical, material standards of the world. The issue for us is
spiritual blessing; spiritual prosperity. We can choose to set out on
our own to become materially successful. In the words of our text, that
would be turning to the right hand or to the left. But the reality is
that we can achieve the goal and live to regret it. There are some
famous words by George MacDonald, the Scottish novelist and Christian
apologist: "In whatever a man does without God, he must fail miserably
or succeed more miserably." It is possible to know physical and material
success and yet be an absolute failure spiritually. Meditating on the
Scriptures will help us evaluate our motives in decision-making with
regard to success and prosperity. We will learn to ask ourselves the
right questions out of the word of God.
Warren Wiersbe - In the life of the Christian
believer, prosperity and success aren’t to be measured by the standards
of the world. These blessings are the by-products of a life devoted to
God and His Word. If you set out on your own to become prosperous and
successful, you may achieve your goal and live to regret it. “In
whatever man does without God,” wrote Scottish novelist George
MacDonald, “he must fail miserably, or succeed more miserably.” The
questions God’s people need to ask are: Did we obey the will of God?
Were we empowered by the Spirit of God? Did we serve to the glory of
God? If we can answer yes to these questions, then our ministry has been
successful in God’s eyes, no matter what people may think. (Wiersbe, W.
W. . Be Strong. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books)
means way, road, journey, manner, work. In this context it refers to
one's actions and/or behavior. Not someone else's way but "your
(own, personal) way," your life.
(tsalach/salah) conveys the root idea
of accomplishing satisfactorily what
is intended. This Hebrew word generally expresses idea of a successful venture,
as contrasted with failure.
Tsalach/salah is translated as
to succeed (or some variation) 20 times in the NAS. It is
translated as to prosper (or some variation) 27 times in the NAS.
(English definition) - successful;
flourishing; favorable; promising; thriving. 1828 Webster =
"Advancing in the pursuit of any thing desirable; making gain or
increase; thriving; successful; as a prosperous trade; a prosperous
voyage; a prosperous expedition or undertaking; a prosperous man, family
or nation; a prosperous war. The seed shall be prosperous; the vine
shall give her fruit. Zech. 8. 2. Favorable; favoring success; as a
prosperous wind. Denham."
(English definition) - resulting in
or having gained success (a favorable or desired outcome); one of the
synonyms for is prosperous. accomplishing an aim or purpose;
marked by a favorable outcome. 1828 Webster = Terminating in
accomplishing what is wished or intended; having the desired effect;
hence, in a good sense, prosperous; fortunate; happy; as a successful
application of medicine; a successful experiment in chemistry or in
agriculture; a successful enterprise.
tsalach/salah is most frequently translated by the verb euodoo
(or the cognate kateuodoo) which is a combination of eu = good +
hodos = way and which literally means to have a good journey with
the following nuances - (a) of removal of difficulties in the way (Ro
1:10) (b) of material prosperity in daily avocation (1Co 16:2) (c) of
physical health (3Jn 2) (d) of spiritual health. The exact sense in a
specific verse needs to be determined from the context. Here in Joshua 1
the source of such success is presence of God (Joshua 1:9) and the
purposeful intake of His Word (Joshua1:8) Clearly, in the overall
context of Joshua (military conquest of the promised land),
tsalach/salah has a material nuance (victory, possession of the land),
but one cannot separate the material from the spiritual. In other words,
if material prosperity is dangerous if it causes one to lose sight of
the Giver Who bestows the good gift. Does that make sense? To help gain
a sense of this association, take some time to study the uses of
tsalach/salah below. Notice, for example, in Genesis 39 the Hebrew verb
describes the success of Joseph. While Joseph's success was evident to
his master as "material" success, it was clearly not dissociated from
Joseph's spiritual growth. In other words, Joseph's material success did
not cause him to be spiritual failure, as it does far too often in many
NIDOTTE - Tsalach/salah
refers to successful activities in different areas of life, usually in
the sense of accomplishing effectively what is intended. Besides
describing a human or divine action, the verb is also used with various
subjects: a tree (thrives, Ezek 17:9), a weapon (prospers, Isa 54:17), a
journey (succeeds, Jdg 18:5), a waistcloth (is useful, Jer 13:7)....The
verb is often followed by דֶּרֶךְ , way (8×), to describe making
successful a journey or career. Theologically, tsalach/salah
emphasizes that God alone is the One Who gives success, an emphasis well
summarized in Neh 2:20. He gives success to those who obey his law (Josh
1:8; 1Chr 22:13; Ps 1:3) and promises that his word will not return
empty but what he desires will succeed (Isa 55:11). His will succeeds in
the hand of the Suffering Servant (Isa 53:10). Though the wicked may
also prosper (Ps 37:7; Jer 5:28; 12:1; Dan 11:27), their success is
temporary and will be destroyed in time. It is important to note that
success is often stated as merely God’s grace, e.g., the reason for
Joseph’s success was simply stated as “the Lord was with Joseph” (Ge
39:2–3). God grants success to those who seek him diligently (2Chr
26:5), to those who depend on his mercy and pray to him e.g., Abraham’s
servant (Ge 24:21, 40), Nehemiah (Neh 1:11), and the psalmist in Ps
Tsalach/salah- 54v in NAS
- NAS = advanced(1), give us success(1), made
his successful(1), make his successful(1), make your prosperous(1), make
your successful(1), prosper(16), prospered(7), prosperous(1),
prospers(2), send prosperity(1), succeed(10), succeeding(1),
successful(4), successfully completed(1), thrive(2), useful(1),
Genesis 24:21 Meanwhile, the man was
gazing at her in silence, to know whether the LORD had made his
journey successful or not....40 "He said to me, '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 24:42 "So I came today to the spring, and said, 'O LORD, the
God of my master Abraham, if now You will make my journey on
which I go successful;...56 He said to them, "Do not delay me,
since the LORD has prospered my way. Send me away that I
may go to my master."
Genesis 39:2 The LORD was with Joseph, so he became a
successful (Lxx epitugchano = to be successful in achieving or
gaining what one seeks, obtain, attain to, reach) man. And he was in the
house of his master, the Egyptian. 3 Now his master saw that the LORD
was with him and how the LORD caused all that he did to
prosper (Lxx = euodoo in the present tense = continually succeed or
prosper) in his hand.
Genesis 39:23 The chief jailer did not supervise anything under Joseph's
charge because the LORD was with him; and whatever he did, the LORD
made to prosper. (Lxx = euodoo i)
Numbers 14:41 But Moses said, "Why then are you transgressing the
commandment of the LORD, when it will not succeed?
Comment: Success in this
context would have been defeat of their enemies and conquering the
promised land. Clearly the meaning of success here is more in the
material than the spiritual realm.
Deuteronomy 28:29 and you will grope at noon, as the blind man gropes in
darkness, and you will not prosper in your ways; but you
shall only be oppressed and robbed continually, with none to save you.
Comment: In this context
prosperity is contrasted with oppression and robbery.
Joshua 1:8 "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.
Judges 18:5 They said to him, "Inquire of God, please, that we may know
whether our way on which we are going will be
Comment: This request for
prosperity bordered on "superstition" and ultimately was motivated by
selfish fleshly desires, not godly spiritual desires.
1 Kings 22:12 All the prophets were prophesying thus, saying, "Go up to
Ramoth-gilead and prosper, for the LORD will give it into the
hand of the king."
Comment: Prosper here
(and 1Ki 22:15) spoke of success or victory in battle, but again notice
the association with spirituality, in this case pseudo-spirituality
1 Kings 22:15 When he came to the king, the king said to him, "Micaiah,
shall we go to Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall we refrain?" And he
answered him, "Go up and succeed, and the LORD will give it into
the hand of the king."
1 Chronicles 22:11 "Now, my son, the LORD be with you that you may be
successful, and build the house of the LORD your God just as He has
spoken concerning you.
1 Chronicles 22:13 "Then (What precedes "then?" - see 1Chr
22:12b) you will prosper, if you are careful to observe
the statutes and the ordinances which the LORD commanded Moses
concerning Israel (Note repetition of obedience as the vital
condition for prospering). Be strong and courageous, do not fear nor be
1 Chronicles 29:23 Then Solomon sat on the throne of the LORD as king
instead of David his father; and he prospered, and all Israel
Comment: How did Solomon
prosper? Clearly material but at least for a time spiritually, for he
was the main author of the Proverbs. However his prosperity was not
coupled with obedience as he married many foreign wives who stole his
heart and caused him to worship idols.
2 Chronicles 7:11 Thus Solomon finished the house of the LORD and the
king's palace, and successfully completed all that he had planned
on doing in the house of the LORD and in his palace.
Comment: Speaks primarily of
material success, although even here it is difficult to divorce the
spiritual component given that that he had built the Temple where God
would be worshipped by himself and the nation of Israel.
2 Chronicles 13:12 "Now behold, God is with us at our head and His
priests with the signal trumpets to sound the alarm against you. O sons
of Israel, do not fight against the LORD God of your fathers, for you
will not succeed."
Comment: Fighting against good
never leads to success!
2 Chronicles 14:7 For he said to Judah, "Let us build these cities and
surround them with walls and towers, gates and bars. The land is still
ours because we have sought the LORD our God; we have sought Him, and He
has given us rest on every side." So they built and prospered.
2 Chronicles 18:11 All the prophets were prophesying thus, saying, "Go
up to Ramoth-gilead and succeed, for the LORD will give it into
the hand of the king."
14 When he came to the king, the king said to him, "Micaiah, shall we go
to Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall I refrain?" He said, "Go up and
succeed, for they will be given into your hand."
2 Chronicles 20:20 ¶ They rose early in the morning and went out to the
wilderness of Tekoa; and when they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said,
"Listen to me, O Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, put your trust in
the LORD your God and you will be established. Put your trust in His
prophets and succeed."
Comment: While the context is
military victory, the implication is clearly that of spiritual success,
especially in view of the fact that it was faith in God's Word ("His
prophets") which would bring that success. Faith is integrally coupled
with obedience. So if they trusted God's Word and obeyed God's Word,
they would experience success. This is similar to the principle in
Joshua 1:8, where Joshua's act of meditation implied a growing trust and
a humble obedience to God's Word.
2 Chronicles 24:20 Then the Spirit of God came on Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest; and he stood above the people and said to them,
"Thus God has said, 'Why do you transgress the commandments of the LORD
and do not prosper? Because you have forsaken the LORD, He
has also forsaken you.'"
Comment: Clear link between
knowing God's Word and doing God's Word and experiencing success.
2 Chronicles 26:5 He (King Uzziah) continued to seek God in the
days of Zechariah, who had understanding through the vision of God; and
as long as he sought the LORD, God prospered him.
Comment: Seeking God is
associated with success, in context primarily referring to material
success but also including spiritual success.
2 Chronicles 31:21 Every work which he (King Hezekiah) began in
the service of the house of God in law and in commandment, seeking his
God, he did with all his heart and prospered.
2 Chronicles 32:30 It was Hezekiah who stopped the upper outlet of the
waters of Gihon and directed them to the west side of the city of David.
And Hezekiah prospered in all that he did.
Nehemiah 1:11 "O Lord, I beseech You, may Your ear be attentive to the
prayer of Your servant and the prayer of Your servants who delight to
revere Your name, and make Your servant successful today
and grant him compassion before this man." Now I was the cupbearer to
Nehemiah 2:20 So I answered them and said to them, "The God of heaven
will give us success; therefore we His servants will arise
and build, but you have no portion, right or memorial in Jerusalem."
Psalm 1:3 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.
is used here to describe the man who meditates on the Law of the LORD in
Ps 1:2. The psalmist says that as a result of his continual mediation,
"he prospers (Lxx = kateuodoo = have a prosperous journey)."
While material prosperity cannot be excluded, it would seem that in the
context of all of Scripture, the more significant prospering or success
would be in the spiritual realm.
Psalm 37:7 Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret
because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who carries
out wicked schemes.
Comment: Here tsalach/salah
is used to describe what the child of God should not desire,
specifically the prosperity of the wicked. The implication here is that
their prosperity is more in the material realm and not the spiritual
Psalm 45:4 And in Your majesty ride on victoriously, For the cause of
truth and meekness and righteousness; Let Your right hand teach You
Psalm 118:25 O LORD, do save, we beseech You; O LORD, we beseech You, do
Proverbs 28:13 He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper,
But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.
Isaiah 48:15 "I, even I, have spoken; indeed I have called him, I have
brought him, and He will make his ways successful.
Isaiah 53:10 But the LORD was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to
grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His
offspring, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of the LORD
will prosper in His hand.
Isaiah 54:17 "No weapon that is formed against you will
prosper; And every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will
condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, And their
vindication is from Me," declares the LORD.
Isaiah 55:11 So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will
not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without
succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.
Jeremiah 2:37 "From this place also you will go out With your hands on
your head; For the LORD has rejected those in whom you trust, And you
will not prosper with them."
Jeremiah 5:28 'They are fat, they are sleek, They also excel in deeds of
wickedness; They do not plead the cause, The cause of the orphan, that
they may prosper; And they do not defend the rights of the
Jeremiah 12:1 Righteous are You, O LORD, that I would plead my case with
You; Indeed I would discuss matters of justice with You: Why has the way
of the wicked prospered? Why are all those who deal in treachery
Jeremiah 13:7 Then I went to the Euphrates and dug, and I took the
waistband from the place where I had hidden it; and lo, the waistband
was ruined, it was totally worthless. (not prosper)
10 'This wicked people, who refuse to listen to My words, who walk in
the stubbornness of their hearts and have gone after other gods to serve
them and to bow down to them, let them be just like this waistband which
is totally worthless. (not prosper)
Jeremiah 22:30 "Thus says the LORD, 'Write this man down childless, A
man who will not prosper in his days; For no man of his
descendants will prosper Sitting on the throne of David Or
ruling again in Judah.'"
Jeremiah 32:5 and he will take Zedekiah to Babylon, and he will be there
until I visit him," declares the LORD. "If you fight against the
Chaldeans, you will not succeed "'?"
Ezekiel 15:4 "If it has been put into the fire for fuel, and the fire
has consumed both of its ends and its middle part has been charred,
is it then useful for anything?
Ezekiel 16:13 "Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your
dress was of fine linen, silk and embroidered cloth. You ate fine flour,
honey and oil; so you were exceedingly beautiful and advanced to
royalty. (Literally - And dost go prosperously to the kingdom.)
Ezekiel 17:9 "Say, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "Will it thrive? Will
he not pull up its roots and cut off its fruit, so that it withers-- so
that all its sprouting leaves wither? And neither by great strength nor
by many people can it be raised from its roots again.
10 "Behold, though it is planted, will it thrive? Will it not
completely wither as soon as the east wind strikes it-- wither on the
beds where it grew?"'"
15 'But he rebelled against him by sending his envoys to Egypt that they
might give him horses and many troops. Will he succeed? Will he
who does such things escape? Can he indeed break the covenant and
Daniel 8:12 And on account of transgression the host will be given over
to the horn along with the regular sacrifice; and it will fling truth to
the ground and perform its will and prosper.
24 "His power will be mighty, but not by his own power, And he will
destroy to an extraordinary degree And prosper and perform his
will; He will destroy mighty men and the holy people.
25 "And through his shrewdness He will cause deceit to succeed by
his influence; And he will magnify himself in his heart, And he will
destroy many while they are at ease. He will even oppose the Prince of
princes, But he will be broken without human agency.
Daniel 11:27 "As for both kings,
their hearts will be intent on evil, and they will speak lies to each
other at the same table; but it will not succeed, for the
end is still to come at the appointed time (Why? Because God is
36 "Then the king (The Antichrist) will do as he pleases, and he
will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will speak monstrous
things against the God of gods; and he will prosper until
(marks time when his "prosperity" will cease!) the indignation is
finished, for that which is decreed will be done.
Make your way prosperous
(successful)...have success - While at first glance it looks as
if this is saying the same thing, the Hebrew verbs for
make...prosperous and have success are distinctly
different. Young's Literal is one of the few English translations
that maintains the distinction, rendering it
"then thou dost
cause thy way to prosper, and then thou dost act wisely."
Notice that Young's has "act
wisely" instead of "have success." The (expanded or
amplified) idea is "then (after you meditate and obey) you
will be more likely to prosper and to think wisely which in turn
will lead to success." Stated another
way, the Hebrew word (sakal/sākhal) translated "success" in most
versions more accurately means to act with insight and then by
Metonymy is translated "be
successful". In other words "success" is a metonymy, a figure of speech
for prudent living, because prudent living leads to "success."
primarily means to act with insight, to be prudent, to give insight, to
teach, to prosper, to consider, to ponder, to understand, to act
prudently, to act with devotion. The primary sense of
sakal/sākhal is to
be prudent, which means "marked by wisdom or judiciousness,
shrewd in the management of practical affairs, marked by
circumspection." One who manifests prudence is more likely to have
sakal/sākhal with Greek
[see word study]
meaning to understand, the idea being that one is able to "put together the pieces"
(so to speak)
and make sense out of a set of facts presented to one's mind. In simple
terms, suniemi conveys the idea of putting "2" and "2" together. In
other words, one has the ability to assess a situation and decide what practical
course of action is necessary. This is a quality which was
especially valuable for Joshua who was daily faced with decisions as he
led Israel into enemy territory where the nation might possess their
(divinely given) possessions.
Gregory Lint (editor) - The
noun from this root is used of "understanding," "wisdom," "insight,"
"good sense" and even "shrewdness." Thus, the basic idea of this verb
seems to be to have the know-how to succeed in an endeavor and to obtain
a desired result. Sākhal is an important wisdom word dealing with good
sense for living (cf. Dt. 32:29; Pr. 21:16). The opposite of this idea
is not only to be foolish, but to be shameful (Pr 10:5). Some contexts
emphasize wise action (e.g., Ps 36:3; Pr 19:14), while others emphasize
the product or good results of the wise action (Dt. 29:9; 1Sa. 18:30;
Pr. 17:8). Several times, sākhal refers to having understanding
on a subject, insight or discernment into events or the way a situation
should be handled (cf. 1Chr. 28:19, of God giving David the plans for
the Temple; Isa 41:20, realizing the Lord was doing his
judging/restoring work in what they were to see; Isa 44:18, not
understanding the foolishness of idolatry; Da 1:4, having ability to
understand and use all kinds of wisdom and knowledge; Da 9:25,
understanding what God was saying about the future troubles and
deliverance of his people). Sākhal can refer to having a certain
skill as the Levites showed (2Chr 30:22). In one place, the verb refers
to understanding the meaning of the Scriptures (Neh 8:13). The
participle is used to describe a wise person (cf. Job 22:2; Ps 2:10;
14:2, for references to those who really understand and behave
accordingly). Also, sākhal is used in the context of when Eve saw
that the fruit was desirable "to make [her] wise" (Ge 3:6). When a
person is the object of the verb, sākhal means "to cause to
understand," "to give insight," "to cause to succeed," "to instruct" the
person, often by God, (Neh 9:20, God's good Spirit instructed Israel in
the wilderness; Ps 32:8, God gives guidance in the way people should go;
Pr 16:23, the heart of the wise instructs his mouth so that what he says
is persuasive, accomplishing its goal; cf. also 1Chr. 28:19; Da 1:4,
17). When focused on a thing or situation, sākhal has the idea of
considering thoughtfully or giving attention to, often with the sense of
wisely valuing it enough to seek to understand it and respond
appropriately, aiding people to live more effectively (Job 34:27, to
God's ways; Ps. 64:9, to God's deeds; Ps 106:7, to God's miracles; Pr.
16:20, to a word or matter; Pr 21:12, to the life and outcome of the
wicked; Da 9:13, to God's truth). (The Complete Biblical Library)
Sakal (Note: Lxx
suniemi in the following 31 Scriptures
in bold) - 61v in NAS -
Gen 3:6; Deut 29:9; 32:29; Josh 1:7, 8; 1Sa 18:5, 1Sa
18:14, 15, 1Sa 18:30; 1Ki 2:3; 2Ki 18:7; 1Chr 28:19; 2Chr 30:22; Neh 8:13; 9:20; Job 22:2; 34:27, 35;
Ps 2:10; Ps 14:2; Ps 32:8; 36:3; Ps 41:1; Ps 53:2; Ps 64:9;
Ps 94:8; Ps 101:2; Ps 106:7; 119:99; Pr 1:3; 10:5, 19; 14:35; 15:24; 16:20, 23; 17:2, 8; 19:14;
Pr 21:11, 12, Pr 21:16;
Isa 41:20; 44:18; Isa 52:13; Jer 3:15; Jer 9:24; Jer 10:21; 20:11;
Jer 23:5; 50:9; Dan
1:4, 17; Da 9:13, Da 9:22, Da 9:25; Da 11:33, 35;
Da 12:3, 10; Amos 5:13.
NAS translates sakal = act
wisely(1), acts wisely(3), behaved himself wisely(1), comprehend(1),
consider(1), considers(2), discern(1), expert(1), failed*(1), gain
insight(2), give you insight(1), give heed(1), gives attention(1),
giving attention(1), had...regard(1), have insight(4), have success(2),
insight(1), instruct(2), instructed(1), instructs(1), intelligence(1),
prosper(2), prospered(3), prospering(2), prospers(1), prudent(2), show
discernment(1), showed(1), showing intelligence(1), succeed(1),
understand(4), understanding(2), understands(2), understood(1),
wisdom(1), wise(6), wise behavior(1).
In the context of this verse Joshua's "ability" to lead with
understanding was integrally related to his steady "diet" of the pure
milk of God's Word. Am I totally committed to the
Word of God and the will
of God in this action, this choice, this endeavor, etc? Am I relying
completely on the Spirit of God to empower me or am I trusting my own
resources? Am I doing so ultimately that I might display the glory of God? If I can answer
those questions with a yes, then my ministry, my activity, my
relationships will be successful in God's eyes, no matter what people
think and no matter what the physical, material outcome is.
Joshua 1:8 by way of application
is calling all believers to learn to think "Biblically",
saturating ourselves with the Word of God, so that we live "Biblically"
in all our thoughts, words and actions. This is surely the "abundant"
life to which Jesus referred (Jn 10:10b)!
The prosperity and success includes a
transformed increasingly Christlike character (cp the fruit of the
Spirit = Gal 5:22-note,
Wiersbe - Victorious Christians are people who
know the promises of God, because they spend time meditating on God’s
Word (Josh 1:8); they believe the promises of God, because the Word of
God generates faith in their hearts (Ro 10:17); and they reckon on these
promises and obey what God tells them to do. To “reckon” means to count
as true in your life what God says about you in His Word. (Ibid)
Hudson Taylor, founder of
China Inland Mission (Overseas Missionary Fellowship) made a similar
God’s work done in God’s way
will not lack God’s supply.
Not only are God’s presence and
power essential for success in His work, but we must also work according
to God’s revealed will. It is easy to fall into the trap of substituting
human wisdom and understanding for obedience to God’s Word.
Joshua 1:8 - This book of the law.
The law was, therefore, embodied in a written document when the Book of
Joshua was written; and as the antiquity of this Book may be regarded as
proved, we may quote thus an early authority for the genuineness of at
least some portions of the Pentateuch. There was a "book of the law" in
Joshua's time, according to this early testimony, and we may conclude
from verses 3-7 that Deuteronomy formed a part of it (see also
Deuteronomy 17:19 for a similar precept. And for the fact see
Deuteronomy 31:24-26). Meditate therein (cf. Psalms 1:2, Psalms 63:7,
Psalms 143:5, in the original. Also Deuteronomy 31:26). Observe to do.
Literally, keep to do, thus impressing on us the care necessary in
deciding on our actions. All that is written therein (cf. for the
expression Deuteronomy 28:58, Deuteronomy 28:61; Deuteronomy 29:19,
Deuteronomy 29:20, Deuteronomy 29:26; Deuteronomy 30:10). Shall have
good success. The word is the same as is translated "prosper" above, and
not the same as that rendered "prosperous" in this verse. "Men," says
Calvin, "never act skilfully, except in so far as they allow themselves
to be ruled by the Word of God." Have I not commanded thee? "An emphatic
inquiry is a stronger form of affirmation, and is generally employed by
those who wish to infuse into another courage and alacrity" (Michaelis).
Moreover repetition is a remarkable feature of Hebrew composition, as we
may observe from the second chapter of Genesis onward, and is designed
to give emphasis to what is commanded or related. Calvin would lay
stress on I: "Have not I commanded thee?" But this is not borne out by
the Hebrew. (Pulpit Commentary)
Alan Redpath - The Man God Uses
– A faithful past, a sound vocation, a filling with the Word of God
– what can we do to prove worthy of Him? Let us take our weakness, and
our trembling, and our fears before Him; let there be an absolute
submission to the indwelling power of His blessed Spirit. Let us ask
that all these qualities that were revealed in Christ be imparted to us,
that they may be real in your life and mine. There is a price to be
paid. Are you willing to pay it? Cancel every responsibility in your
life other than what you believe to be God’s will for you. Deliberately
refuse any engagement which will keep you from meditation on His Word.
We are living in an age which has lost the art of being silent with an
open Bible and waiting for God to speak.
GAYLORD KAMBARAMI worked for
the American Bible Society in Zimbabwe, distributing Bibles to the
locals. But one day he ran across a man who refused to take one. The man
was extremely hostile toward Christians. "I'll only roll the pages and
use them to make cigarettes," the man told him. But Kambarami was a
persistent man. "I understand that," he told the man, "but at least
promise to read the page of the New Testament before you smoke it." The
man agreed, somewhat confused, and the two parted ways. Fifteen years
passed, and Kambarami didn't think much more about the incident until by
coincidence he ran across the man again—this time at a Methodist
convention in Zimbabwe. The man was now a full-time evangelist and one
of the speakers at the gathering. During his speech the man gave his
personal testimony, recalling for the audience the day that Kambarami
gave him his first New Testament. He told the audience, "I smoked
Matthew and I smoked Mark and I smoked Luke, but when I got to John
3:16, I couldn't smoke anymore. My life was changed from that moment."
There is power in the Word of God far beyond what you and I can
comprehend. The mere words elicit a level of authority and muscle that
no other text can possess. Just reading what the Creator has written
brings supernatural insight and wisdom to the mind of the reader. The
Lord tells Joshua, "Study this Book of the Law continually. Meditate on
it day and night so you may be sure to obey all that is written in it.
Only then will you succeed" (Joshua 1:8). One key to following God is to
meditate on Scripture and then to let those words flow from your mouth
at every occasion. To let the promises of God seep into the pores of
your heart and mind. To drink of God's wisdom by devouring his Word.
Maybe our friend from Zimbabwe was on to something. Maybe you and I
should get into the practice of smoking God's Word—not literally, but
spiritually. We should first read it and then sit back and savor the
flavor, allowing the aroma to linger around us and within us. Let's do
more than read God's Word; let's inhale it. (LaHaye, Tim and Jenkins,
Jerry and Martin, Frank, Embracing Eternity)
F B Meyer - The
Sources of Joshua's Strength
I. A faithful past - The aloe blooms but once in a hundred years,
but every hour of all that century is needed to produce the delicate
texture and resplendent beauty of the flower. The deed of a Grace
Darling is not the sudden outburst of the moment that gives it birth,
but the result of long years of self-discipline, courage, and ministry
to others. And this summons of Joshua to the leader’s place in Israel
was the guerdon of more than eighty years of faithful service. None of
us can tell for what God is educating us. We fret and murmur at the
narrow round and daily task of ordinary life, not realizing that it is
only thus that we can be prepared for the high and holy office which
awaits us. We must descend before we can ascend. God’s will comes to
thee and me in daily circumstances, in little things equally as in
great; meet them bravely; be at your best always, though the occasion be
one of the very least; dignify the smallest summons by the greatness of
your response; so the call will come to you as to Joshua, the son of
Nun, Moses’ minister.
II. A distinct call - The supreme inquiry for each of us, when
summoned to a new work, is not whether we possess sufficient strength or
qualification for it, but if we have been called to it of God; and when
that is so there is no further cause for anxiety. If it is in His plan
that we should march through a river, or attack a walled town, or turn
to flight an army, we have simply to go forward. Rivers will dry up,
walls will fall down, armies shall be scattered as snow in summer. There
is no such thing as impossibility when God says, “Forward, soul, arise,
go over this Jordan!”
III. The sense of the presence of God. There have been generals
whose presence on the field of battle has been the presage and guarantee
of victory. Not only have they inspired the soldiers with a sense of
confidence in their leadership, but they have encouraged them by their
personal prowess and bravery. There is a marvelous sense of security and
courage when a Christiana, a Mr. Fearing, or a Miss Much-Afraid is
assured of the presence of a Greatheart, who has never turned his back
on a foe. And a lonely, trembling soul dares to step bravely across the
margin of life into the unknown beyond: to go down unabashed into the
chill waters of death, because it can sing, “Thou art with me; Thy rod
and Thy staff they comfort me.”
IV. The indwelling of the Word of God. Coal contains within its
texture the strength absorbed from the sun in bygone ages; so words will
pass on to men the heroic thoughts which thrilled the souls of those who
spake them first. There are words, as there are strains of music, which
cannot be uttered without nerving men to dare and do, to attempt and
achieve. A woman will be strong to wait and suffer for long years in the
strength of a sentence spoken by her lover as he parted from her: An
army has before now forgot sleepless nights and hungry marches in the
stirring harangue of its general. And is not this what the prophet
meant, when he said, “Thy words were found and I did eat them, and Thy
words were unto me a joy, and the rejoicing of my heart”? (Jer 15:16)
and what Jesus meant when He said, “The words that I speak unto you,
they are spirit, and they are life “? (Jn 6:63) We can do all things
when Christ is in us in unthwarted power. The only limit lies in our
faith and capacity, or, in other words, in our absolute submission to
His indwelling. Little children can overcome when there is within them a
Stronger than their foes. Weaklings may do exploits when the Mighty
Conqueror who travels in the greatness of His strength makes them the
vehicle of His progress.
William Newell has these encouraging introductory thoughts on the
Book of Joshua...
The Book of Possession - We
have before us now a book of great delight to the spiritual Christian.
All through the Christian centuries Joshua has yielded priceless
treasures to those saints who have been '' overcomers" (Rev. 2, 3). For
those who have been content merely to '' get to heaven," this book has
not, perhaps, presented any special attractions; but those who have been
warrior-saints, who were determined to " reign with Christ" at whatever
cost (Ro 8:17; 2Ti 2:12; Rev 2:26, Rev 2:27), have ever found a very
fortress of strength in this wonderful book. No book is more full of
encouragement, wisdom and invigoration for the spiritual soldier. This
land to be possessed, these deadly enemies the conditions of successful
occupation, the Jordan-crossing, the successive conflicts, the division
of the land—all these things are of intense interest to the instructed
Christian mind. New and deeper meanings are ever unfolded from these
simple stories to those who have learned their true position in the
risen Christ (Cp Related Resource =
what their own real conflict is and feel their need of instruction and
equipment for it. It is our humble hope that some may be led through
these lessons to recognize these spiritual treasures in the book of
Joshua, and to enter upon their appropriation...The key-word of
Deuteronomy is obedience. Its great object is to be the
preparation of the chosen, redeemed and disciplined people of God to
enter upon their inheritance, to conquer it and, through constant
faithfulness, to hold it perpetually as the head of the nations. (Dt
26:18 19 11:8 22 23 24 25; 28:1-14 32:46, 47)...The first five books see
the people chosen and established (Dt 29: 13, 13) as the people of God:
outwardly on the basis of the legal covenant, but really on the basis of
God's covenant of promise with Abraham. (Ge. 15:11 12 13 14 15 16 and Ge
17:7 8 9 10; cf. Dt 29:13, and Gal 3:15 16 17 18). Under the second
great division of the Bible, which includes the twelve books following
Deuteronomy, the trial of Israel in the land under the legal covenant is
given, with its result—utter failure....In Joshua we shall find the
nation on the whole obedient to God, though the seeds of the failure so
apparent in Judges will be discovered. Israel, as one has said, must be
shown to be not only ungodly, as in Ex. 32, but without strength (Ro
5:6); not only guilty, but helpless, unable to obey God's holy law in
their own power. Till man learns both these lessons, God cannot come to
him in grace.
BOOK OF JOSHUA
BOOK OF EPHESIANS
The book of Joshua will be found very
rich in spiritual and typical truth, because there is a realm of promise
granted to the Christian corresponding to the land of Canaan as given to
Israel. In the book of Ephesians, which sets forth the church's
inheritance, and corresponds to the book of Joshua, this realm is called
"the heavenly places." (Ep 1:20 2:5, 6) To be
is to be in this realm: that is, every real believer now is already in
"the heavenly places." In Ep 1:3 are seen our possessions there—that
which is already ours and is to be entered on by faith. Compare 2Pe 1:3,
4. and Josh 1:3. The law of possession is seen in Mt 9:29 —"According
to your faith be it unto you." The secret of getting these wonderful
things into our experience is to believe that they all are already ours
in fact, in the Lord Jesus Christ, in Whom, we are. When, as did Israel,
we fully believe that our Canaan really belongs to us— hath been
(past tense!) granted to us, not will be (future tense!) granted to us,
we are ready to march forward with victorious faith to take possession.
The knowledge and constant
realization in experience of this our standing in Christ, is absolutely
necessary, it we would have any real liberty or joy in the study of
these Old Testament Scriptures.. It is, alas, rather the exception than
the rule, in these days to find Christians whose lives fit the heavenly
places where God puts them, Ep 2:6. Not that their failure to realize
possessions, and privileges,
changes at all these blessed facts. Thank God, no! Christ has forever
secured all things for us by His own finished work. But it is to be
feared that Paul would class most of the Church today as Galatians and
say. "I am perplexed about you." (Gal 4:20). Whence all this
observing of "days, months, seasons, years" (Gal 4:10), in modern
Christendom, if this be not true, that they are desiring to be "again
under bondage"' (Gal. 4:9, 21)....It is to be gravely doubted if the
many of Christians today know experimentally what that word grace (charis)
means. And yet it is the
key-word of Church truth....
The separate and distinct callings of
Israel and the Church must be thoroughly apprehended, in order to our
right application of the different parts of Scripture (especially of the
Old Testament) and our definite grasping, by appropriating faith, of
those things given peculiarly to believers of the present dispensation.
In 1Co 10:11 is set forth a great
principle of Biblical interpretation, which, though ignored by many, and
even ridiculed by others, has, nevertheless, furnished untold riches to
those who have humbly and believingly approached, by its direction, the
examination of the material of the Old Testament. The passage is:
Now all these things happened unto
them for types [literal margin]; and they were written for our
To one who, enlightened by the Holy
Spirit, is willing to lay aside all prejudice on the one hand, and all
fantastic imaginings on the other, the study of the types of Scripture
yields unspeakable delight and profit. (See
Caveats in Discussion of Biblical Types)
Israel are the earthly people of God, and the Church of the present
dispensation His heavenly people. We might expect to find much in the
inheritance and history of the former typical of those of the latter.
Such is, without doubt, the case....Nothing, moreover. I believe, so
wakens and holds the interest of Christians in the Old Testament as the
personal discovery of the riches placed there for them in the form of
type and shadow.
As we have above stated, the Epistle to the Ephesians is to the Church
what the book of Joshua was to Israel. The Church, the body of Christ
(Ep 1:23, Ep 5:30), has been brought up out of its Egypt, the world (Ep
2:1 2 3), having been quickened in Christ, its Head (Ep 2:5) It has been
brought up through and out of its Jordan (the grave of Christ, Ro 6:3,
4) and has been raised up with Christ (Ep 2:6) into that realm of
spiritual life and power described five times in Ephesians as "the
heavenly places" (Ep 1:3 20 2:6 3:10 4:12). This is the Christian's
Canaan of inheritance; his proper sphere (Ep 2 6), where his Joshua or
Princely Leader is (Ep 1:20 21 22 23; He 12:2), where his present real
possessions are (Ep 1:3); where his desperate enemies are (Ep 6:12), and
in which sphere God has determined through His dealings with the Church
to make known His wisdom to those high ones of evil who are yet allowed
the freedom of the same realm, and the dominion in it under Satan its
prince and theirs, over all but the trusting saints. (Ep 2:1 6:12; Jn
14:30; Mt 12:24 25 26) How alone the saints are able to resist their
domination is seen in Ep 6:10-20. These hosts of darkness are the real
Canaanites to the Christian (Ed: I would add
and the worst [because it's inside the "castle gates" so to speak] the
flesh). But just as
faith conquers the world (1Jn 5:4), because it enters into the victory
Jesus gained for us (Jn 16:33), and looking on ahead sees the world
condemned in the judgment and punished: so also it is faith that gets
the victory over the legions of Satan (1Pe 5:8 9 Jas 4:7), that faith
which, without presuming to attempt personal battle simply enters into
the victory Christ has secured for us—first, through His wilderness
victory (Mt 4:1-11, etc.); then through His cross (He 2:14 15 Col.
2:15)—using Goliath's own sword to vanquish him (see 1Sa 17:51); and.
finally, through His ascension. His seating (Ep 1:21 22 and likely Ps
68:17, 18) and His watchful and effective intercession (He 7:25 cp Lk
22:31 32). Into all this faith triumphantly enters, and of course, gets
the victory everywhere and it keeps looking on expectantly to the final
complete overthrow of its enemies, and their expulsion from the heavenly
places, in the tribulation period to come (Rev 12:7 8 9 10; Is 24:22);
and to their binding in the abyss at the inauguration of the millennium
(Rev. 20 : 1-3; Isa. 24 :22): and on to their final and eternal
relegation to the place prepared for them (Re 20:10: Mt 25:41) (Click
for all Newell's Notes on Joshua -
Joshua - Lessons
from Union Bible Classes)
The Way To Success - During
the Chinese New Year it is customary for hongbaos (small red envelopes
containing money) to be given away. When parents give hongbaos to their
children, it is also to wish them prosperity and success. Knowing that
this sincere wish is insufficient, however, they also remind their
children to study hard. Chinese people generally believe that a good
education is the key to one’s success in life.
In Joshua 1, God told Joshua that his ways could prosper as he assumed
Moses’ leadership role. But he and the people needed to display courage
in the face of stiff opposition as they entered the Promised Land (Josh
1:6). God promised to give them success if they heeded His “Book of the
Law” (Josh 1:8).
Believers today also need to live according to God’s Word if we are to
enjoy success in our spiritual walk. The Bible contains not only the
do’s and don’ts for living but also records the life experiences of
those who pleased or displeased God.
We, like Joshua, have God’s promise that He will be with us always (Josh
1:9; Matt. 28:20). That should give us strength to face the challenges
and difficulties that inevitably arise as we seek to please Him.
Be strong! It matters not how deep
entrenched the wrong,
How hard the battle goes, the day how long;
Faint not—fight on!
Tomorrow comes the song.
When facing a crisis,
trust God and move forward.
Recipe For Success - Wrinkled
noses and puckered lips—sometimes this is my family’s reaction to my
cooking, especially when I’m trying something new in the kitchen.
Recently, I had a breakthrough with a unique version of macaroni and
cheese. I jotted down the ingredients and tucked the recipe away for
future reference. Without that set of instructions, I knew the next
batch would be a flop.
Without God’s instructions, Joshua would have failed at leading the
Israelites into the Promised Land. The first step was to “be strong and
of good courage” (Josh. 1:6). Next, he was to continually meditate on
the Book of the Law, and finally, he was to do everything it said. As
long as Joshua followed the directions, God promised him “good success”
God’s “recipe for success” can work for us too, but His idea of success
has little to do with money, popularity, or even good health. In the
original Hebrew, “then you will have good success” means “then you will
act wisely.” Just as God called Joshua to walk in wisdom, He wants us to
“walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise” (Eph. 5:15).
As we take courage in the Lord, feast on His Word, and obey Him, we have
a recipe for godly success that’s better than anything we could cook up
on our own.
You will surely find at the journey’s end,
Whatever the world may afford,
That things fade away, and success is seen
In the life that has served the Lord.
Obedience to God’s Word
is the recipe for spiritual success.
An old sailor repeatedly got lost at
sea, so his friends gave him a compass and urged him to use it. The next
time he went out in his boat, he followed their advice and took the
compass with him. But as usual he became hopelessly confused and was
unable to find his way back. Finally he was rescued by his friends.
Disgusted and impatient with him, they asked, “Why didn’t you use that
compass we gave you? You could have saved us a lot of trouble!”
The sailor responded, “I didn’t dare to! I wanted to go north, but as
hard as I tried to make the needle aim in that direction, it just kept
pointing southeast.” He was so certain he knew which way was north that
he stubbornly tried to force his own personal conviction on his compass.
After the death of Moses, God spoke to Joshua just before he led Israel
into the Promised Land. The Lord reminded Joshua of His law and told
him, “Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may
prosper wherever you go” (Josh. 1:7).
Those who follow God’s instructions and warnings are spared the waste of
foolish wandering and the heartache of shipwreck and ruin. We must ask
God to point the way. Then let’s trust the compass of His Word.
All the way my Savior leads me—
What have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His tender mercy,
Who through life has been my Guide?
To know God's will, trust His Word.
Woodrow Kroll has the
following devotional on Lessons on Living...
The Key to Good Success - My local
newspaper reported that a man and woman who tried to hop a Union Pacific
train from North Platte, Nebraska, to Omaha were being held in Dawson
County jail on trespass charges. But the couple wouldn't have gotten to
Omaha even if they hadn't been apprehended; the train was headed to
Many people who think they're on the train headed for success are really
going in the opposite direction. History is awash with examples of men
and women who found a form of success, but lived to regret it. It was
not what the Bible calls "good" success. Lord Byron, who achieved fame
both as a poet and a libertine, wrote at the age of 35:
My days are in the yellow leaf,
The flowers and fruits of love are gone;
The worm, the canker, and the grief
Are mine alone.
God's success is far different; it's
always headed in the right direction. Joshua was assured that if he
lived consistent with what was written in God's Word, he would achieve
success--but not just any success. God's promise to Joshua, as well as
to you and me, is that if we live by all that is written in the Bible,
we will achieve "good" success. The key to good success is obedience to
God's Word. If you conform your life to God's will, as it is revealed in
His Word, you'll experience the kind of success that will be a blessing
rather than a burden. Only a good God can give good success. (Back
to the Bible)