The commands of the Lord are not difficult or tedious to those that trust in the Word of the Lord. The instructions from God are not impossible or unrealistic to those that are called by His name. But we first have to KNOW them! “This Book of the Law 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.” (Josh 1:8)
The first question we must consider concerns the meaning of meditation and what meditation involves. This is particularly important to the Christian because of the great and growing emphasis on meditation in eastern religions, such as transcendental meditation, which is not biblical meditation. Transcendental meditation is dangerous and actually opens up one’s mind for Satanic attack as it is found in New Age thinking. So that’s not what the Lord is suggesting in today’s passage.
Biblical meditation means “the act of focusing one’s thoughts: to ponder, think on, muse”. Meditation consists of reflective thinking or contemplation, usually on a specific subject to discern its meaning or significance or a plan of action. Some synonyms would be contemplation, reflection, rumination, deep thinking, or remembering in the sense of keeping or calling something to mind for the purpose of consideration, reflection, or meditation.
The Lord is calling us to KNOW His Word, so that we can know how to act in any situation to reflect God’s glory. “But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.” (Ps 1:2) And just a couple of psalms over, we are shown how meditating on God’s Word shows us how God wants us to behave: “Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still. Selah” (Ps 4:4)
God created us with our emotions, but here He tells us that we can be angry, and yet not sin. Instead, we should think about what God’s Word says, meditate on His Word, be still and we take an intermission (Selah) and meditate on how God wants us to handle our emotions. Which tells us that following God’s path give us success as He defines it: “For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success” (Josh 1:8b).
Joshua was given this promise after Moses the servant of the Lord had died. He was about to lead the people of Israel into the promised land. But Joshua was to be careful to heed all the instructions given to Israel through Moses – he was told to draw his strength from the Lord God and not to be dependent on his own brawn or brains. “This Book of the Law 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. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Josh 1:8-9)
Joshua was to saturate himself in the Word of God; to meditate on the promises of God; to trust in the truth of God’s Word and follow the demands of God that had been given to Israel – in the knowledge that God was with Him and the Lord was his strength. We too are to immerse ourselves in the Word of God; to meditate on the promises of God; to trust in the truth of God’s Word – to follow the demands of God, that have been given to the Church – in the knowledge that Christ is with us and His strength is made perfect in our weakness (2 Cor 12:9).
The promise that the all-powerful God is our only strength and stay, is no less true today than it was in the days of Joshua. God has promised to be with us in every difficulty we face and every problem that comes our way, just as He was Joshua, when He commanded him: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” (Josh 1:9)
Joshua simply had to trust the Word of the Lord and act upon it. And we too are to know the truth of God’s Word and to meditate on the promises of God; to trust in the truth of God’s Word and to follow the instructions that have been laid out in Scripture – we are to trust the Lord; believe on His word and stand firm in the faith that was once given to the saints – so that we too can be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power…for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go – and His grace IS sufficient.