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Prosper! - Just A Minute #167

Andy Bonikowsky
Written by Andy Bonikowsky
06/01/2018

"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." (Joshua 1:8)

God wants you to prosper!

I’m serious. It is not a joke nor a heresy. It is Bible truth.
Many times we allow unwise believers, or even unsaved people, to take truthful concepts from Scripture, distort them, and somehow kidnap their vocabulary to the degree that we avoid them entirely.

That’s a win for the Devil, and an unhealthy reaction on our part.

In this passage we find Joshua, a military commander if there ever was one, receiving instruction from the divine Captain. One of the orders given the new leader of Israel was this famous command in verse eight. He was never to forget or ignore the word of God. He was to keep it close, always right in front of Him.

Why?

If he obeyed, he was promised success. And not just a tiny bit of success. He would prosper in everything he did and in every place he went!

Now, considering the fact that he was about to invade a heavily defended group of kingdoms, this command seems quite odd. How in the world could the collection of Moses’ books — made up mainly of historical narratives, social laws, and spiritual instruction — offer any military help?!

Well, strictly speaking, it couldn’t.

But that is the point. The Pentateuch was not about weapons or war strategies! It was about knowing God, loving Him, and coming to trust Him so fully, that obeying whatever He commanded, was always understood to be the right thing.
In other words, doing His will day by day was the key to prospering. Success was defined as simply doing what God said to do.
It made absolutely no difference what armament the enemy had, how they defended their cities, or what counterattacks they might use. To prosper in conquering the promised land -- God's will for Joshua -- all he needed to do was obey the word of the Lord, at every turn.

Now just in case we might try to relegate this principle exclusively to the earliest stages of Biblical teaching, and somehow less relevant, the Lord repeats it nearly 500 years later. In the very first Psalm, David picked it up and applied it across the board, to every believer. We can’t just explain it away. It is too clear: “Blessed is the man . . . his delight is in the Law of the Lord . . . whatsoever he doeth shall prosper”!

Assuming you desire God’s will supremely, reading and embracing His Word will guarantee success. It will also help make sense of many puzzling details of life.

Now, one question all of this should force us to ask is, What does prosperity look like?

Well, was Abel’s short life in Genesis 4 a success? Was Zechariah’s death in 2 Chronicles 24, between the altar and the Holy Place, a victory? Did Stephen, in Acts 7, die a martyr’s death prosperously?

Yes! Yes! Yes!

How is that? Because they accomplished exactly what God wanted them to do. This being the case, prosperity is necessarily unique to every believer. It does not look the same across the board.

Are you a student? Are you going into business? Is God leading you into the ministry? Do you have some daunting challenge in front of you? Are you fearful of being unprepared for the future?

God wants you to prosper!

And true prosperity is the same today as it always has been. In ancient days it had nothing to do with their career, nor their plans for the future, nor the expectations of the world around them. It had only to do with being and doing what they were supposed to be and do, according to God.

Do you think this is extreme? Does it sound ridiculous? Well consider this: God’s will undoubtedly did not make any more sense to the Canaanites surrounding Joshua than it does to the world around you.

Just think Jericho.

In the end, you have a choice . . . who will you listen to?

Dear Father, how important to keep in mind Your view, the real one, and to know You guide every single event towards Your glorious purpose. Please use these words to encourage someone who is hurting. Amen.