by Lavern Gingerich
Moses the servant of the Lord has died and Joshua has taken his place in leading the nation of Israel. The long-awaited day is finally nearing for Israel to cross over Jordan and inherit the land God had promised to them.
Think of Joshua and his awesome responsibilities. Leading a group of 2½ million people is not an easy task, and Joshua desperately needed something more than he had to accomplish what God had called him to do.
But the Lord is always faithful to give us the necessary provisions in every calling He gives us. In Joshua 1:2-9, the Lord spoke a comforting message to Joshua. He said in verse 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."
God gave Joshua responsibility and with that, God showed him the path to success-"Meditate on my words day and night." True prosperity comes when we are completely in the will of God. And to avoid a distorted view of God's will, we must go to His words, meditating on them day and night.
What does it mean to meditate on Scripture? It's more than simply reading the Bible. It means to take what you read and think about it, rolling it around in your mind; to ponder what God's message is to you; to have a deep love and affection for God's words. This devotion is manifested by a constant attention to His words. We need times of quiet when we can muse and reflect on what God is saying, and we should also learn to meditate during the daily activities of life.
Jesus said, "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh" (Luke 6:45). You may not be what you think you are, but what you think-you are. It's impossible for you to hide your thought patterns from people who know you well. Every thought you choose to dwell on plays an important role in molding your character. And your character, good or evil, is on display for those around you to see.
Psalm 1 describes the blessedness of a man who is walking with God and meditating on His words:
"Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish."
This man does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly, stand in the way of sinners, or sit in the seat of the scornful. He takes delight and pleasure in the Scriptures. They are His treasure, and he just can't get them off his mind for long. He reads the Bible, and then he ponders what he has read, rolling it around in his mind. He stands in awe as he beholds the beauty of the gems he has discovered. His heart thrills to think that God Almighty is speaking personally to him.
This man puts down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and takes every thought captive to the lordship of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). Thoughts of lust, hate, selfishness, or any other kind of sin are not allowed to live in even one small corner of his heart. Yes! His affection is turned from sinful desires to God's message for him in the Bible, and he meditates in the law of His God all the day long! (Psalm 119:97).
What is the result of this man's godliness? He lives a fruitful life. He is like a tree firmly rooted in a place where there is plenty of water. He bears fruit in his season. His leaves never wither. And everything he does prospers!
But the ungodly man is not so. He is like worthless chaff, floating along in the wind. There is no fruit for God. His life is barren. His leaves are brown. And his future is dark, for God says his way shall perish. Proverbs 24:1, 2 says, "Be not thou envious against evil men, neither desire to be with them. For their heart studieth [meditates] destruction, and their lips talk of mischief."
Jesus said, in His parable of the seed and the soils, "He that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty" (Matthew 13:23). This man is like the fruitful man in Psalm 1. He hears the word of God and understands it. And what comes out of his life? Much fruit adorns his tree.
Jesus also said, "When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side" (verse 19).
God longs for each of us to hear the word and to understand it. It is not enough to be a hearer. The word understand in this parable means to comprehend the word and to apply it to one's life. We must not only read the Bible, but also learn to meditate on the words until we comprehend what God is saying to us personally, and then act on what we comprehend.
The seed of the word is being sown today, and it's being scattered on the soil of your heart. What kind of soil do you have? Is it wayside soil? Is it thorny or rocky soil? Or is it that beautiful soil that is of value to God? The only way to have that good ground is by hearing the word and understanding it.
Your degree of fruitfulness depends on how much you hear and understand the word. Seek with all of your heart to hear and understand the word. Jesus said some bear thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred. Are you content to bear thirtyfold? Sixty? Let's fix our eyes on an hundredfold! It's available for those who will hear and understand.
Do you have questions without answers? Go to God. Many times, He gives answers to His children through His written word, the Bible. Are you hungry? Is your soul starving for lack of nourishment? Go to the Bible and meditate on God's words. I long for the Bible to be your treasure, your answer book, and your food day and night.
In a letter to Timothy, Paul wrote, "Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all" (1 Timothy 4:15). Here is a promise for you! As you meditate on the words of Scripture and apply them to your life, you will grow in your walk with Jesus, and everyone around you will be able to see your progress. And you will be like a tree firmly rooted by the rivers of water, and you will bear fruit for God. The things you do will prosper because you will be building the Kingdom of Jesus Christ!
"O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day." Psalm 119:97
Used with permission from PursuingLife.com.
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