When Joshua was established by God as the replacement for Moses God gave specific instructions that would lead to good success.
“This Book of the Law is not to depart from your mouth, but meditate on it day and night, so you may be careful to do all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” Joshua 1:8
Success was not automatic for Joshua. He had to do what God instructed. The instruction was for Joshua to pay constant attention to the Book of the Law, which is the first five books of the Bible, written by Moses, by God’s inspiration.
If we were to give people advice about being successful today we would probably want to instruct them about being skilful and diligent, having good people skills, good negotiation skills, maintaining good character and honest dealings, and so on. I doubt that many people today are advised to make constant diligent study of the first five books of the Bible in order to be successful.
In past centuries is was much more likely that people were advised to study the Bible. Early American homes always had a copy of the Bible and most of also of John Bunyan’s book, Pilgrim’s Progress. Those homes often made it a practice to read a portion of the Bible as a family each day.
In Parliaments based on English law a copy of the Bible is always on hand and it is regarded as a legal document to be drawn upon if desired.
Captain Cook, who discovered Australia, was given a copy of the Bible by his wife before he set sail into unknown waters. Australian explorer, Edward John Eyre (1815-1901), nearly died under very difficult conditions and eventually had to choose whether to abandon his lantern or his Bible. He kept the Bible with him.
It might seem hard to believe to today’s young westerners how much more consideration was given to the Bible and reading from it daily just a short while ago.
Devotion to God’s Word may be less popular today, but that does not make it less important or fruitful in our lives. There are many benefits of daily reading of the Bible but let me just point out a few from Psalm 119.
“I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:11
“I understand more than the ancients, because I keep your precepts.” Psalm 119:100
“The entrance of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.” Psalm 119:130
In Joshua’s case God Himself promised Joshua a prosperous life and success if he meditated on God’s Word.
“you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” Joshua 1:8
It would seem silly not to take such a promise quite seriously, especially in a highly competitive world.
However, note that quality of success God promises. It is “good success”, as opposed to the kind of success that eats you up and spits you out.
I recently heard that James Packer, one of the world’s leading businessmen, is divesting himself of many of his roles, so he can enjoy his life. It is one thing to be important and powerful, but being in such a position gobbles up much of your life as well. I have heard of famous people, in movies, media and sport, who have looked forward to getting out of the rat race and grind of their career and it demands, so they can get their life back. Some well known people have had to resort to disguises to go and do normal things others readily enjoy.
In many of those situations the success would not be called ‘good success’ but maybe even costly success.
God’s promise is not just that there will be success, but that it will be good for us. It will turn out good in the short term and the long run. It won’t eat us up or burn us up, or burden us with so many concerns that we can’t enjoy the life God has given us.
If you are questing for success take a moment to consider what cost you might have to pay for it. What are you prepared to lose in order to be able to say you are successful?
Would you like ‘good success’? Are you willing to take God’s advice and meditate on God’s Word as a key strategy for that success?
God is not against success. God’s blessings include riches.
“The blessing of the LORD makes people rich, And He adds no sorrow to it.” Proverbs 10:22
God’s blessings don’t come with a whole bunch of downsides, or ‘sorrow’ built into the package. Good success, from God’s blessings, is not tainted with horrible prices you have to pay and ugly downsides.
God’s desire is for you to prosper and be in health, so don’t go chasing success in the wrong places that will lead you to pain and loss or a heavy price for your successes.
“Beloved, I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers.” 3John 1:2
I wish you every success in all you do. And to achieve that I urge you to turn to God’s Word and begin reading it and letting it soak into your life, even when you don’t understand it. Do it as a daily discipline, confident that as you pay attention to God’s Word, the Bible, God will give you success that has no downside, ‘good success’.