This Book of the Law (God’s Word) shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in 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.
NKJV Joshua 1:8
God is giving us the secret to success in this verse. He wants us to succeed at whatever we do. Notice, this principle works for anyone, not just preachers.
Psalm 1 says of the person who delights in the Word and meditates in it day and night,
And whatever he does shall prosper (Psalm 1:3).
This will work for a person no matter what they do. According to the Bible, your success as a Christian is directly related to your relationship with God’s Word. Will power alone is not enough to cause you to live the Christian life. Sheer determination will only get you so far. You need the power of God’s Word working in your life.
Thinking of God’s Word as spiritual food has helped me better understand the crucial role the Word plays in our lives. I believe that many of the problems we face today in the church are caused by spiritual malnutrition and could be solved as we give the Word its’ proper place in our lives.
The nutrients that the Word of God supplies are essential for your success. As you feed on the Word of God, it gets in you and when it does, healing, strength, wisdom and life comes out of the Word and goes into you.
The Word of God is full of God. Jesus is called the Word made flesh, so the Bible would be God in words. When you read the Word you are feasting on spiritual food. Jesus said, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. (Matt 4:4)
Peter said we should desire God’s Word so we can grow:
1 Peter 2:2 as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby.
If the Word is food, then meditating on the Word is eating the Word.
Jeremiah 15:16 Your words were found, and I ate them, And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart;
Jeremiah found great joy in finding and eating God’s Words and so can we. In Joshua and the Psalms we are told that meditating on the Word day and night is the key to success.
Maybe you’ve seen those promises before and felt like you couldn’t qualify because you have a job and a family and you don’t have time to meditate on anything day and night. Maybe you thought this was only for people that didn’t have much to do. God wrote these promises to all of us and we can all meditate on the Word day and night and still have a life, a family and a job.
God doesn’t expect us to quit our jobs and join a monastery in order to meditate the Word day and night. He wrote His Word to normal people, busy people and it is possible for us to follow His directions in Psalm 1 and Joshua 1 and have good success. Once again the key to understanding this principle is to see the Word as spiritual food.
God didn’t say we had to meditate the Word every minute of the day and every minute of the night to succeed. He said “day and night”, when the sun is up and when the sun is down. That’s the way most people eat. They eat when it is dark and they eat when it is light, they eat day and night, not all day and all night, if they did that they wouldn’t have time to do anything else. People eat day and night and still have a life and you can feed on God’s Word day and night and still have a life.
No matter how busy we are, we still manage to work food into our schedule. Do the same with God’s Word. Feeding on the Word once or twice a week is not enough. We would never try to live on one or two meals a week. For the Word to do it’s work in your life, you need a consistent diet every day. He is telling us to work it into our lives. Don’t compartmentalize the Word and limit it just to church or one brief daily devotional time. To be successful we need a day and night pattern to develop.
Like food, the Word works when you put it in. You don’t have to tell it what to do. Just put it in your spirit and it goes to work in you. You don’t have to understand every word you read or become a greek scholar. Just read it slowly and think about it. Write down a verse or two to take with you during the day and read it from time to time.
The bible is not a daily horoscope. It doesn’t give specifics about what is going to happen today at work or school. We don’t read it for its’ poetic style or its’ literary value. It’s not a novel or just a history book. It wasn’t written to stimulate the mind, but to feed the spirit. That’s why unsaved people can’t appreciate the true value of the Word. When we as Christians feed on the Word as it was intended the results are powerful, it produces success
Enjoy your daily bible study time and don’t have unrealistic expectations. You don’t have to have some new revelation every time you read the Word. You don’t have to feel goose bumps or have some glorious, life changing experience every time you read the bible.
When you sit down to eat a meal, it doesn’t have to be the best meal that you’ve ever experienced to be effective. You may enjoy some meals more than others, but the purpose is to get some fuel in your stomach. It’s the same with God’s Word, there may be some devotional times that you enjoy more than others, but the goal is to get God’s Word in your spirit and that happens every time you read it. Relax and enjoy it and let the Word do the work.
Don’t try to overdo it. Maybe you feel you’re behind in your bible reading and this is just what you need. Don’t think you can get ahead by reading the whole bible today. It’s much like food for the body, no matter how much you eat today, you still need to eat tomorrow. In the same way, no matter how much you’ve had in the past, you still need your daily allowance today. Some people think they don’t need to spend much time in the Word because they’ve heard it or they love it or they agree with the pastor when he preaches it or they’ve heard so many sermons over the years. That’s like saying, “I don’t need any food, I’ve had so much over the years and God knows I love food and besides I know all about it.”
To be strong today, you need to eat today. It’s the Word you meditate day and night (right now) that will cause you to have good success. Most people just aren’t giving enough attention to the Word to get the full benefits that God has promised. One writer wrote, “Some Christians feed their bodies three hot meals a day and feed their spirits two cold snacks a week and wonder why they’re weak in faith.”
If there was a bottle of liquid in a health food store that could bring life and health to the body, peace to the mind and success in life, people would stand in line and pay millions of dollars and take it religiously. The vitamin and food supplement business is a multibillion dollar industry in the United States and it only promises health for the body. The Word of God will do much more and it’s free, but it has to be taken regularly and consistently.
God is very practical and gives us practical advice on how to get the Word in our hearts in the book of Deuteronomy:
“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.7 You shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. Deuteronomy 6:6
God knew we would be busy and have a limited amount of time to spend on spiritual things. So He’s telling us how to work the Word into our busy lives. Teach the Word to your children. When you’re having family time, spend some time in the Word.
When you sit in your house, you’re on your own time, take some time to talk about God’s Word. When you walk by the way or nowadays, drive down the street, talk about God’s Word. Take some scriptures with you throughout the day and be ready to mention them to another believer or whisper them to yourself, meditate them.
When you lie down at night remember God’s Word, when you get up in the morning feed on the scriptures. It doesn’t take any extra time out of your day to do this. These are times when you are talking or thinking about something anyway, just make a point to include God’s Word. This is how you meditate it day and night.
Get some good CD’s with the Word on them and put them in your car and home stereo. Get an iPod and listen to some good Word-filled sermons when you walk or work out or relax. You can even put the bible on many cell phones and have something to read when you’re standing in line or sitting in a waiting room.
There are many creative ways to get your daily recommended allowance of God’s Word without taking up any more time. The person who meditates on God’s Word day and night will make their way prosperous and have good success. This means the results are well worth the effort!