Preparing for Success

13 December 2020 AM – Joshua 1:8 – Bible Study – Scott Childs
Introduction: Moses had just died. Joshua was now the leader of the nation of Israel. He faced a huge task of leading Israel into the Promised Land and conquering the many enemies and difficulties ahead. Those challenges seemed overwhelming and humanly impossible, yet God told him to prepare for prosperity and success – not failure! It was God’s will for him to go ahead. He had God’s promise (Jos 1:5b), “I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” Three times, God fortified Joshua with the words “be strong and of good courage” (Jos 1:6, 7, 9). Truly, Joshua was to prepare for success in God’s sight (Read Jos 1:8).
            We live in a troubled world. Covid is crippling economies and killing thousands. Ungodliness is overflowing. Immorality is rampant. “Truth is fallen in the street” (Isa 59:14). “Men love darkness rather than light” (Jn 3:19). Personal burdens of every sort weight us down. How can we be strong and of good courage in the face of all this? How can we prepare for true spiritual success?
Transition: Just as Joshua had to prepare for success, we must do the same. The Lord spoke Joshua 1:8 directly to Joshua, yet the principles in that great verse apply to our spiritual success as well. In this verse, I find three requirements we must fulfil to prepare for success.
To prepare for success we must …
1.        Daily study the Bible
a.         The Bible is God’s instructions for our lives.
1)         In Joshua’s day, he had only the first five books of the Law recorded by Moses. While the book of Genesis is very exciting and the book of Exodus and Numbers have some thrilling events, the books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy are mostly instructions and duties.
2)         Those five books were God’s Words for Joshua. They describe God’s amazing creation of the universe, creatures and man. They tell of the beginning of sin, and the beginning of the Jewish nation. They introduced him to Jehovah’s might and power over nature. They carefully detailed God’s expectations and commands for mankind.
3)         Today, we are privileged to have 66 books in our completed Bible, not just the first five. In the full Bible, God has revealed much more of His character; He has also revealed His plan of salvation through Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. He then tells us how to live the Christian life once we trust Christ to save us.
4)         The Bible is our manual for life.
a)         (Psalms 119:105) “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
b)         (Psalms 119:160) “Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.
c)         (Psalms 19:10) “More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
d)         (Romans 15:4) “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
e)         (2 Timothy 3:16) “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
f)           (Romans 10:17) “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
g)         (Hebrews 4:12) “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
b.         The Bible must not depart from our mouths.
1)         Thomas Constable points out that, “The phrase ‘from your mouth‘ refers to the custom of muttering while studying or reflecting.”
2)         To keep the Bible in your mouth you must regularly study it. Do you know how to study the Bible? It is much more than reading a verse here and there.
a)         Follow a reading plan (OT, Ps, Pr, NT).
b)         Focus while you read (Ps 119:18). “Open thou mine eyes…”
c)         Look for spiritual food to feed your soul.
d)         As you read, mark verses that speak to you.
e)         Go back to those verses. Reread, define, examine, look up cross-references, and ask God for wisdom.
f)          Write out a principle from that verse that you can put into practice today. Then meditate on it.
To prepare for success we must …
2.        Constantly meditate on the Bible
a.         Bible meditation is essential for success
1)         The Hebrew word for meditate means to moan, growl, utter, muse, or mutter. (Strong’s) The Ancient Hebrew Lexicon of the Bible says it is, “To be in continual contemplation over a matter.”
2)         I found this helpful tip in the KJBC. “Simply memorizing or quoting Scripture is not enough; meditation involves mature reflection on the Word of God and it is the basis for spiritual growth (cf. Ps 1:1-3; 63:6; 119:15, 97; 143:5).” Note those words, “mature reflection”.
3)         Meditating on God’s Word is mature reflection in our hearts on what we read in the Bible and what we must do. Meditation takes discipline. Carry reminders. Remove distractions and things that compete. Ask God for help. Share your meditations with others.
b.         Meditate in the Bible every fretful moment 24/7
1)         God requires Bible meditation day and night. Obviously, God knows we cannot stop all else that we do and sit meditating all day long and all night long.
2)         I believe God is saying that we must keep Bible truths going over in our minds so that every time a fretful thought attacks, we can direct our thoughts to meditating instead of worrying. We must focus on God’s promises instead of on our fears. We must especially force ourselves to meditate during vulnerable times – tired, fearful, bad news, worried, anxious, tempted, grieving, wakeful times at night, etc. Worry results from meditating on the wrong things.
3)         Our fast-pace lifestyle makes such meditation challenging; however, God said it is a key to success in life.
To prepare for success we must …
3.        Guard that we obey all that God says.
a.         Success requires full obedience
1)         If Joshua wanted to prosper and succeed, he must obey ALL of what God said.
2)         Years ago, when we lived in the jungles of PNG, one of the teens in our church often struggled with malaria. When her parents took her to get medicine, she pretended to take it but did not. She hated the taste. As a result, she did not get better very quickly.
3)         If we do not obey ALL that God says in the Bible, we cannot expect to prosper and be successful. We cannot pick and choose what we want to obey.
4)         If there is something that you know God wants you to do but you are unwilling to do it, you will never prosper and be successful until you surrender and obey God.
b.         Observing takes discipline
1)         Note the word “observe” in our text. That word means to watch over or guard in the sense of preserving or protecting. (AHLB)
2)         God said that for success we must guard that we do what He said. Since God said this, He obviously knows that we must guard our obedience because the world, the flesh and the devil do not want us to obey God.
3)         Guard your response so that you do right!
Conclusion: We have examined three requirements we must fulfil to prepare for success. 1) To prepare for success, daily study the Bible. 2) To prepare for success, constantly meditate on the Bible. 3) To prepare for success, guard that you obey all that God says. I know you want to be successful in God’s sight. Only a fool wants to be a failure. Joshua’s prosperity and success hinged on these three requirements and yours does as well. You can successfully conquer ungodly habits! You can get victory over anxiety! You can trust God and stop worrying! You can respond in a godly way to your burdens! You can say NO to temptation! You can be a successful Christian!
            If not yet a Christian, these requirements can lead you to Christ.
Song: Have Thine Own Way – 388