“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” Joshua 1:8 (NKJV)
“And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night did not depart from before the people.” Exodus 13:21-22 (ESV)
The book of Joshua is certainly a well-loved book with its striking battle scenes, victories and quotable quotes. We all love to hear the retelling of the fall of Jericho, the crossing of the Jordan River, and the sun standing still. But how was Joshua so successful?
Let’s first take a closer look at Exodus 13. Here we see the very presence of the Lord with His people as they marched out of Egypt toward the Red Sea. God led the way not by the shortest route to the Promised Land, but on a pathway “no one knew was there” (Psalm 77). It was a pathway for His glory, so that the Egyptians would know that God is Lord! The very presence of the Lord brought darkness and confusion to the Egyptians, but he brought light and salvation to the Israelites. The Red Sea posed no problem for God as His presence did not depart from the Israelites, and they were victorious.
Now turn to Joshua. As the Israelite leader, he was given this command, “this book of the law shall not depart from your mouth,” so that his path would be successful and prosperous. Joshua was obedient to the call and did experience victory in conquering the land. In his farewell to the leaders, he recalled all the Lord had done for his people and reminded them it is the Lord who fought for them. This book of the law is God’s gracious revelation, it is His very presence. It is the God-breathed word. His word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path.
When God’s people ‘keep the Lord before them,’ the worldly worries, distractions, and desires cannot crowd out the word, and they will be victorious in this life. God promises that the person who meditates on the law of the Lord, will be “like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither- whatever they do prospers” (Psalm 1:2-3). Each believer who seeks to live continually in the presence of the Lord will be strong, courageous and victorious, and the Lord “will never leave them or forsake them” (Joshua 1:5).
Prayer: God, thank you for going before your people. Thank you for your promise to never leave us or forsake us. May we abide in Christ and never let the Word depart from our lives. In Jesus’ name, Amen.