Most people may not actually think too hard upon the idea that our actions correlating to our relationship with the Word of God. It’s unfortunate, but it’s also absolutely true. How much we know, value or understand of the Bible determines our actions. I think it was wise for the wandering Israelites to literally bind the Law to themselves physically (forehead and arm–Deuteronomy 6:8), because it was a constant reminder of its importance in their lives. Houses even had scripture bound to the front door frame (mezuzah).
Today’s verses is Joshua 1:8
Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
Now I think it’s also important to know some context of this verse–Moses, the leader of the Israelites (today’s Jewish people), had died. God selected Joshua to be the new leader, especially to lead the people into the promised land of Israel (most of today’s Israel). However, before Joshua proceeds, God gives him some instruction in Chapter 1 that deals with the law, or scripture. So verse 8 is God’s words to Joshua.
Let’s examine the words–God wants him (most especially as leader) to keep the law on his lips. Now I’m pretty sure this isn’t literal because there is no evidence they bound scripture in this way, and tattooing was forbidden. So we must determine this means for Joshua to be constantly talking about scripture. But speaking scripture isn’t enough, Joshua must meditate on it always–be thinking about it, its meaning, its application. God relates that these two actions speaking and meditation relate to our actions. Apparently, one will not be careful to act upon scripture if one isn’t talking about it or thinking about it. Then God goes a bit further–for when we act according to scripture, there will be consequences (good ones!). The result is being prosperous and successful.
History of the Israelites or the Jews prove that as long as they were faithful to the scripture, they were prosperous and successful. Yet they weren’t always faithful, and this led to consequences–famine, death, captivity, slavery, and exile.
What does this mean for us today? Well, we as Christians still have scripture to lean on to, but what’s so great is that we have the law of the Old Testament and the grace of the New Testament. Jesus fulfilled the law of sacrifice, the law separating the gentile from the Jew. Application for us today can still apply, not only for leaders, but for all. What this means–we talk the talk and walk the walk. Cliché perhaps, but that’s a simple explanation.
What God meant for Joshua he means for us–to be speaking scripture, to be meditating on scripture. Then to be acting upon scripture. It’s a simple formula, really. It only requires obedience.
Let me clarify, though, that our culture’s view of prosperity and success verses God’s view. They are totally different. Our society determines that it must be synonymous with wealth, stuff, notoriety, and the American Dream. God’s view lacks the selfishness and self-glorification of the world. Success is bringing glory to God, found only in obedience to Him. Success does not equal thousands saved–because only God can do that. If we follow this Word–to speak, think, and act on scripture–then we are bringing glory to God. That alone is success.