The book of Joshua captivates the heart and mind with its record of action and aggressiveness. It is the moving historical account of a nation on the march. The book abounds with the clash of arms, the tramp of millions of marching feet, the din and smoke of battle, the songs of victors and the sighs of the vanquished—a drama of thrilling sights and sounds. Its opening verses give to us the secret of success or God’s divine formula for prosperity. Notice verse 8:
“This book of the Law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”
At once we are made to realize the primacy of the Word of God. Joshua was to be guided and governed by the written Word of God. No man before Joshua had received orders from God to regulate his conduct by the words of a book. True, Abraham and his household obeyed God’s voice (Genesis 26:5). Moses had also acted on the word of the Lord, but each had received his instructions from the mouth of the Lord. But Joshua, and all who succeeded him, must be governed by “this book of the Law”. The Book from its very first appearance occupies a position of unqualified supremacy. Here is the first title given to the Bible in its earliest form. It contains more than good advice or salutary counsel—it is a Law, binding upon us, a Law clothed with Divine authority, a Rule to walk by.
This Book of the Law comprised the entire Pentateuch, the first five books of the Old Testament. It is not, “These books of the Law,” for all through the Old Testament those five books are regarded as a unit. At the time of our text the Bible was small, today it is a much larger revelation of 66 books. It is to be: 1. Possessed, 2. Pondered, 3. Practised, and then we shall know its 4. Purpose. No man, however dignified his position, is above the Law of God. Joshua, though exalted to be commander-in-chief over Israel, and thereby given great authority and power, must be in subjection to the Divine Law. He was to invent no new laws or ordinances, but be regulated solely by what was written. If Joshua was to complete the work which Moses began, then he must maintain the Law which Moses had established. “To the Law and to the Testimony” he was to be held accountable, and if he spoke not according to the Testimony, then there was no light in him (Isaiah 8:20), and those under him would be left in spiritual darkness. Just so far as he executed this commandment would the smile of God be upon him and prosperity attend his efforts.
“But thou shalt meditate therein.” Meditation upon the Word of God is one of the most important means of growth and development spiritually. In fact there can be no true progress in vital and practical godliness without it. Meditation on divine things is not optional but obligatory. Note: (Deuteronomy 32:46; Proverbs 4:26; Luke 9:44). “Let these sayings sink down in your ears,” which they cannot do, unless they be frequently turned over in your minds (see Philippians 4:8). To say we are too busy is wrong. Think of the busy life Joshua lived. “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:21), and that which occupies our heart will most engage the mind, for our thoughts always follow our affections. For then, and only then can we be guaranteed true success. We must comply with the required conditions. Walking in the path of God’s commandments alone ensures our success in the spiritual warfare. It is upon obedient children the smile of God rests in approbation. If we would succeed as Joshua did, then we must act as he did. The road to success is never closed, it is never overcrowded. It is paved with action, not hope. There is a toll price. The road gets slippery, but grit and sand will take you through. Why not travel this road? God is able to supply the needed strength, and the Scriptures can be your unfailing guide (Psalm 119:105).