Joshua 1:8 is the Romans 12:2 verse of the Old Testament. “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2).
Transformation and lasting success do not come from surrendering our hearts but from surrendering our beliefs. We certainly need to surrender our hearts, but it is believing something higher than what we are experiencing or feeling (renewing our mind) that brings transformation.
Joshua 1:8 says, “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.”
Let’s look at this transformational verse phrase by phrase.
This Book of the Law – Joshua was ready to lead God’s people into the Promised Land. Amongst other instructions, he is told to focus on the Book of the Law. God’s laws are not simply rules to be obeyed, but they are principles to be accessed to bring increase into our lives. Just as the law of gravity will work for us or against us, spiritual laws like honor, honesty, diligence, and generosity can create massive blessing and increase.
Shall not depart from your mouth – It is interesting that God does not focus on what Joshua is thinking, but on what he is saying. God instructs Joshua to talk to himself about the principles and spiritual realities discovered in the writing of Moses. “Faith comes by hearing” (Romans 10:17), and “Life is in the power of the tongue” (Proverbs 18:21). And it is a radical statement when it says “shall not depart from your mouth.”
But you shall meditate in it – “Think on these things” (Philippians 4:8). We are to decide what we are going to think about. Meditation is a deeper thinking which uses reflection and imagination to allows truths to go deeper in us. The word could also be translated “mutter” (which is one way to have it not depart from our mouths as we speak God’s truths and promises under our breath).
Day and night – This can mean we meditate continually, but some have concluded this means we are to have a special time in the morning and evening where we meditate on God’s word.
That you may observe to do according to all that is written in it – Once we get God’s truths and laws deep in us, we will find ourselves obeying it in increasing ways. God’s word does not just give information, but it also contains grace empowering us to obedience. Jesus said, “The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:630. The psalmist also knew the power of God’s truth. “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You” (Psalm 199:11).
For then – This is a connecting phrase. If we do the former, then the result described afterward will happen.
You will make your way prosperous – “You will make your way prosperous,” not God. This gives hope and empowers us to improve our lives. Hope is the belief that the future will be better than the present, and we have the power to help make it so. Psalm 1:2-3 reinforces this. “But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water . . . and whatever he does shall prosper.”
And then you will have good success – It certainly can be concluded that success is the will of God for us in our personal lives, our families, our careers, our emotions, and our physical bodies. Truly, growing success in our lives is one result of renewing our mind with truth instead of lies.
Wow, what a powerful, positive chain reaction started by speaking life. Jesus used His words to get out of the wilderness in Matthew 4, and Joshua used his words to experience the promises of God in the book of Joshua.
Today there is grace on you to access the great truths of Joshua 1:8.
ABOUT STEVE BACKLUND
Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.