Joshua 1:8 – 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.
Joshua was not a young man… when these words were spoken… and his life experiences were varied and many.
  • He is obviously one of those who leaves the captivity of Egypt
  • He had fought against  Amalek and was successful as long as Moses’ hands were lifted (Ex 17:9)
  • God had Moses write this event down as a memorial to rehearse in the ears of Joshua (Ex 17:14)
  • Joshua became a minister unto Moses (Ex 24:13) and went to the mountain top with him to receive the three tablets of stone
  • Joshua stayed in the tabernacle after Moses had a face to face conversation with God (Ex 33:11)
  • Joshua (along with Caleb) was one of the 12 spies that ventured into Canaan (Nu 14) and they both survived while the 10 died of plagues
  • Joshua becomes the shepherd to Israel by God’s command  (Nu 27)
  • Joshua/Caleb – the only 2 men over 20 who survived the wilderness (Nu 32)
Here I am looking at retirement in the nearer future, but Joshua was probably over 60 when it came time to lead…
  • Deut 31: 7-8 7 And Moses called unto Joshua, and said unto him in the sight of all Israel, Be strong and of a good courage: for thou must go with this people unto the land which the LORD hath sworn unto their fathers to give them; and thou shalt cause them to inherit it.   8 And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.
What a weight must be upon his shoulders? Is it any wonder that Joshua depends upon the Word?Joshua wrote that as you mediate, you become “careful to do everything written in [the book of the Law].” This is so important. When we mediate, we look to the Word to make sure that we are doing everything written on those precious pages.
I ask myself this question, then, what was the book of the Law?
During his leadership, Moses kept a written record of God’s words and acts and committed this record to the care of the priests (Deut. 31:9).
  • He wrote in it a reminder to Joshua to wipe out the Amalekites (Ex. 17:14).
Among other things, the “Book of the Law” included:
  • The Book of the Covenant” (24:4, 7), a record of the journeys of the people from Egypt to Canaan (Num. 33:2), special regulations dealing with inheritance (36:13), and the song that Moses taught the people (Deut. 31:19).
  • Moses kept adding material to this record until it included everything God wanted in it (v. 24).
  • Probably the entire five Books of Moses (Genesis through Deuteronomy) comprised “the Book of the Law,” the greatest legacy Moses could leave to his successor.

God affirms the validity of this recorded word and calls it the “Book of the Law.” Joshua is commanded to meditate on it day and night, observe to do all this is recorded within this legacy, and then a prosperous way and good success will be his result.

So, how does one mediate?

Much later in time, the psalmist will give us things to mediate upon, mentioning it sixteen times, and urged us to reflect on aspects of God’s character :

  • His unfailing love, Ps. 48:9
  • His works (77:2; 143:5; 145:5),
  • His precepts and ways (119:15)

In fact, the psalmist book begins with the concept that a man’s delight is the Law of the Lord and he mediates in it day and night! (Ps 1:2) This action sustains a man much like a tree planted beside “rivers” of water and he will bring forth fruit at the proper time, he will prosper, and he will not wither!

One writer describes meditation as something best done with all the faculties of one’s being, namely the senses. We taste and see that the Lord is good, we hear his voice, we touch him with the feelings of our infirmities, our worship is a sweet smelling savor and we yearn for the time that we will see Him face to face.

If our five senses are to be used, then when we ponder a scripture we should put ourselves into the realm of the scripture and use our senses to observe and meditate. Furthermore, I enjoy looking at scripture from multiple view points. Consider the Rich Young Ruler in Mark 10: 7-22…

Use your five senses as you ponder the scripture from the standpoint of the Rich Young Ruler.
  • In verse 21, Jesus “looked at him and loved him,” then immediately challenged him to give up what he apparently loved best: his wealth.
  • See yourself as Jesus sees you
  • Listen to your voice patterns
  • Touch that wealth that you hold in your hands
  • Smell the surroundings
  • Taste the words of Jesus as He commands your actions
Now, imagine yourself as a bystander hearing the words of Jesus to this man
  • How did the young man approach Jesus? Full of self-assurance or Timid?
  • How were his words spoken to Jesus? Full of pride or subservient?
  • How did Jesus look at this man? Haughtily or with compassion?
  • What did you hear from the voice of Jesus? Condemnation or Love?
  • How did the young man react to the word of Jesus? Angry or thoughtful?
  • What were his immediate thoughts connected to? Sacrifice of wealth?
  • How did the young man walk away from Jesus?

Finally, imagine yourself in the shoes of Jesus…. Oh that we could see ourselves as He sees us!

In my years of yearning for biblical knowledge, I have used Bible Study to dissect the scripture looking for its root of meaning and depth of application. Meditation, on the other hand, gives me the savor of the Word without looking for all the technical data that in depth study supplies.

  • Bible Study is like digging into fresh BBQ hot off the grill
  • Meditation is enjoying the BBQ smell and all the future joy that the smell promises!

Let the meditation of scripture be a driving force of our time in the Word – what prosperous and successful beings we will become!