Renewing Our Lives and Ministries Through God's Word

Deepening Our Reflections

Oxpet meditation

– Joshua 1:6-9 –

Paul J. Bucknell

In session #1, we took a look at how every reading of God’s Word should be alive and meaningful. The more special our times with Him, the more excited we will be to meet Him. The opposite is true too, of course. If we are just having devotions because we should and do not sense God’s presence, then we should react. “Hey! Why am I doing this?” We need to be dissatisfied with the form of religion. We must desire the heart. This is the life that Jesus speaks of.

Bible Meditation

The depth of our times with the Lord is largely dependent on how we make every encounter with the Lord in His Word special through properly meditating on His Word and applying what He teaches to our lives. I have found a key to make each reading of God’s Word meaningful. God revealed it to a key Biblical figure several millennia ago. This was the man Joshua.

Joshua had an impossible task. He needed to fit in Moses’ shoes. Now it isn’t that Joshua was not well trained or prepared for the job. He was. No matter how much time he had spent working at Moses’ side, he like us, had a lot more to learn. It is fascinating to see what God tells him. God lays it all on the line. He tells Joshua how he can be successful or how he can be a failure. Many of us have never taken these instructions to heart. We never thought what God said to Moses would be equally important to the success of our own lives and ministries. Let’s take a close look at the passage.

“Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go. This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. 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” (Joshua 1:6-9).

What is the key thing Joshua is to focus on? He was to be strong. That is important. But what was he supposed to be strong doing? How was he to know what God wanted? How would he know if what he wanted was different from what God wanted? God clearly tells him.
“This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.”

well of life

God’s Word needed to be close to Joshua’s mind. He needed to be affected by the truth that God had revealed in His Word. At that time, they only had the first five books of the Bible called “the Book of the Law” or just more simply called the “Law.” They were written by Moses under the inspiration of the Lord. They are the same as what we now know as Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.

The Lord does not stop there, however. He carefully delineates how God’s Word is to stay close to Joshua’s heart and mind. He is to meditate on the Word. The Hebrew word ‘to meditate” can mean devise, muse or even imagine. He is to take God’s Word and mull it over in his mind much like a cow chews the cud. The cow seems to do this all day long. He chews the grass and then it is sent to his stomach. Then up it comes again, and he chews on it more. This continual effort at meditating is seen summed up in the words, “day and night.”

Joshua was not a king, but he was a leader of these people in every other sense. He was the general. He was the maintainer of the society. He was the means God would speak to guide and help the people. What was he supposed to do all day? Meditate. This advice is extremely interesting because it goes against what we would normally advise others or do in our own lives. God knows the difference between the great and the typical.

He wanted to bless Joshua and the people more than anything that they could think of. This happens when we allow the Word of God to come so close to our minds that our minds and hearts are shaped by it. Remember, just reading or memorizing God’s Word, though good and essential, is insufficient. It is only when we enter the meditation of God’s Word that it comes alive. When we follow God’s advice, He blesses us in all that we do.

This is so different than what we often see in the church–a deadly legalism. We do things because others do it. We do it in a stale and unresponsive way, believing that the action is important. This mentality is often associated with reading God’s Word or prayer. They both are essential parts to a growing Christian. But when we focus on the action rather than on what God is trying to say to us through the action, we have failed. God wants us to seek Him and His will, and not just go through some religious activities.

Spiritual life is like digging for a well. If one digs fifteen feet but doesn’t reach water, does he stop? No. It is hard to dig at such depths. But if he needs to dig another fifteen feet to reach water, he digs it. What sense is there to have a well when there is no good clean water? Our need to have water helps motivate us to dig deeper. Our belief that we will eventually find the needed water helps us persist in such digging. So it is with meditation. We have that inner need for wisdom, guidance, comfort, warning and encouragement. God ministers to us what we need (much more than we could expect) through His Word. Once we catch on and are blessed, then it is easy to get into a spiritual discipline called meditating.

We need to note that Biblical meditation is very different from Eastern meditation. In the East, they try to block their minds from logical thought with a mantra (word). They ‘empty’ their minds. Biblical meditation fills one’s minds with God’s Word and discusses the associated thoughts with the Lord. It often looks like a quiet conversation about a certain passage of God’s Word between God and man. Questions are important in this process. “What does this mean? What does this have to do with my life, Lord? What are you trying to tell me through this Lord?”

Some people could not meditate like this even if they tried very hard. This is because they do not have the Spirit of God. It is like trying to receive a radio station but not having the radio receiver to receive it.

“For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man, which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians 2:10, 11).

One needs the Spirit of God to be able to understand the things of the Spirit. If one does not have God’s Spirit, then they can not properly handle God’s Word. We should remember, though, that sin in the lives of Christians brings about the same deadening effect. A dead person cannot communicate. He is isolated from the land of the living. Sin is just like that, even in the lives of Christians. “But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, And your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He does not hear” (Isaiah 59:2).

This is the second session of the ADT 3-Day Seminar on Renewal

Revive Your Faith | Deepening Our Reflections | Tracing Our Life's Journey | Pursuing Our God 

The Heart of Discipleship (Isaiah 50:4) | The Heart of Discipleship ( Isaiah 50:5-9)

Exodus: Overview Christ in Exodus 3 Whys in Exodus

Titus: Overview Pastoral Overview Called into His Service (Titus 1:1-4) Church Planting (Titus 1:5-9)

  BFF Homepage  | Top | Back | Scripture Index | Topical Index | ADT
 Click the CD for more informationClick Library to get articles, handouts and available slides

Biblical Foundations for Freedom

By Paul J. Bucknell

NASB used