“This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth; you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to act in accordance with all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall be successful.” Joshua 1:8 NRSV
It is likely, you have gotten where you are today because you listened to some good advice. It may have come from a parent, friend, or mentor, someone who cares for you and wants you to succeed. For me, it was career advice from my Grandpa Sam, who when I was 17 years old, said, “Timmy, if I were a young man today, I’d go into computers.” In 1979, the computer industry was still in its infancy, but Grandpa could see their potential. In heeding his advice, I have had a fulfilling career and steady employment for over 30 years.
In Joshua 1, Moses had just died, and Joshua had taken the realm as leader of Israel. God tells Joshua that it is time for them to claim the promised land. God guarantees their success, but he also gives them advice on how they are to behave, “Be strong and very courageous, being careful to act in accordance with all the law that my servant Moses commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, so that you may be successful wherever you go. (v. 7).” They are to keep the law in their hearts, meditate on its meaning always, and adhere to the law. God loved these specially chosen people, and he desired what is best for them. Yet time after time in the Old Testament, we find they rejected God’s advice, doing what they wanted and ending in disastrous results.
The Bible is timeless; the same advice God gave to Joshua for Israel in the wilderness all those years ago is still applicable. God wants us to enter the promised land; he wants us to have eternal life. To do that, like Israel, we must keep God in our hearts, study his Word, and follow the example of Jesus Christ in the way we lead our lives.
God, we give thanks for your love. You provide us with advice on how to be successful and prosperous, but often we do not listen and obey. We come to you humbly today, asking forgiveness for our wilfulness. As we study, your scriptures help us understand their meaning, hold it dearly in our hearts, and willingly yield to your law. In the name of your son Jesus, we pray. Amen.