“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 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. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” -Joshua 1:7-9
At the end of Israel’s forty years of sojourning in the wilderness, Moses died, and God appointed Joshua as his successor. Joshua was one of the twelve spies that forty years earlier, upon their arrival at the Promised Land, Moses had sent into Canaan to report on the land. But the spies came back with a frightening report about the strength of walled cities and the giants that occupied the land. The majority of the spies warned the Israelites NOT to try to take the land. Only Joshua and Caleb gave a positive report about a land “flowing with milk and honey.” Only Joshua and Caleb encouraged the Israelites that, with God on their side, they could defeat the inhabitants and occupy the promised land. So of that original Exodus generation, God allowed only Joshua and Caleb to survive and enter the promised land after the forty years. With the original, rebellious, Israelites all having died in the desert, Joshua led the children of that generation into the promised land. God remembered Joshua’s faithfulness and, at Moses’ death, made him leader of Israel.
As Joshua began his leadership of Israel, God commanded and encouraged him. “Be strong and very courageous.” Joshua had always been spiritually strong and courageous in the Lord. Those were gifts of God. Now he would need those traits more than ever as leader of a notoriously rebellious and stubborn people.
“Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you.” This warning refers to the scriptural books of Moses, Genesis-Deuteronomy. These were the extent of the written scriptures in that day. Joshua was admonished to carefully obey and keep these words. “Do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.” This faithful adherence to the word of God through Moses would be the key to Joshua’s success.
“Keep this book of the law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night.” This word of God was to be a personal matter for Joshua. It was not to be merely a ritual carried out once a week in the set forms of public worship. It was to be in Joshua’s constant prayers and meditation. It was to fill his heart and his mind day by day in all that he had to do in leading the people.
How can a man go about keeping the law of God? The Lord told Joshua, “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.” A man cannot possibly keep and do everything in God’s word if it is not first on his heart and mind day and night. The one flows from the other. The ability to keep, treasure, and obey the word of God flows from the knowledge of and continual use of God’s Word.
God repeats his promise that this is the formula for prosperity and success: “Then you will be prosperous and successful.” A final promise of God to Joshua was that as God was constantly with Moses, so also he would be with Joshua: “ Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
God’s promise to Joshua also applies to you. You are a chosen child and heir of God. He called you into the Faith, and you are a member of his Kingdom. God is with you wherever you go. Be faithful to God’s Word and he will bless you with prosperity and success.
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” -1 Peter 2:9