The world says to succeed we have to follow our natural instincts and appetites. We need to work at convincing ourselves that what we want is okay. Greed, ambition, looking out for number one, having a good time, being rich, and winners are the mantras for the world’s way to success.
The dictionary defines success as the “degree or measure of attaining one’s desired end.”
In Joshua chapter 1 we find God’s charge for success (verse 6), conditions for success (verse 7 and 8), and His guarantee for success (verse 9).
“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, 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. Every place on which the soul of your foot treads, I have given it to you, just as I spoke to Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon, even as far as the great river, the River Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, as far as the Great Sea toward the setting of the sun will be your territory. 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. Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. 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 of the left, so that you may have success wherever you go. This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall to meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all it’s written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and you will have success. 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” (Joshua 1:1-9).
Joshua was given the task of leading the Israelites into their promised inheritance. Inheritance is used in the New Testament to refer to our spiritual heritage in Christ Jesus. The book of Ephesians calls believers heirs of heavenly riches through Jesus Christ. We enjoy them only as we obey God’s Word.
God does not measure success by numbers. The Lord’s charge to us is similar to the command He gave to Joshua: “Be strong, be courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land I swore to their fathers to give them.”
The Lord’s command to Joshua was to “Be strong.” God knew Joshua was going to feel weak and inadequate. God told Joshua to “Be courageous,” because He knew that Joshua was going to be fearful and worried. He understood how Joshua was feeling and repeated this encouragement three times (verses 6,7 and 9). God assures him of His presence and strength to enable obedience. Just as the Lord said to Joshua in verse 5, “I will not leave or forsake you.”
God gives His conditions for success that form a circle of blessing be strong, courageous, meditate, and obey. In Joshua 1:7, 8 there are five commands that can be summarized in devotion to God’s Word in meditating on God’s Word and being obedient to it.
Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you;
Do not turn from it to the left or the right;
Do not let this book of the law depart from your mouth;
Meditate on it day and night;
Be careful to do according to all that is written in it;
Joshua was to meditate on God’s Word and be obedient to it, with the result of this devotion, he would be prosperous and successful. Joshua was to meditate on God’s Word mulling it over, in his mind day and night. Psalm 1:2 gives the same instruction, “but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.” This is not just a study of God’s Word but allowing it to vitalize our lives. It means we are to strive to think with the mind of Christ, filled constantly with thoughts of God’s Word and His will.
As we do this the Word is always on our minds and communicated with our mouth, “Do not let this book of the law depart from your mouth” (verse 8). The communication of our hearts will be coming out of our mouths as they are fueled with the assurances of God. This will become a demonstration of obedience as we do not turn to the left or the right but walk a diligent and careful straight path.
God’s conditions for the blessing of success is steadfast obedience as we think about, talk about, and practice continual obedience.
Joshua 1:9 repeats the charge to succeed: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be dismayed.” God follows with the encouragement and promise, “for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” What a comfort to Joshua and to us. Success is the guarantee because the person and character of Lord is with us. We cannot fail.
Will you take claim of this promise for yourself? God ‘s continual presence comforts and assures you of your eventual success.