Monday, November 25, 2013
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 in it;
for then you will make your way prosperous,
and then you will have success.
The wandering in the wilderness had come to an end. Forty years of living in the desert, burying one member of your family after another until the ones the Lord would not allow into the Promised Land were finally passed. Can you imagine being that last one? I can imagine you would have felt pretty targeted as the younger generation stared at you, waiting for you to die...but an unfaithful generation would be left in the wilderness and an new generation would now possess the land.
Joshua and Caleb had earned the right to lead the people into their new digs because of a great display of faith decades earlier. When others saw giants, they saw prosperity. When others saw fortresses,they saw potential. When others ran in fear, they stood fearless. When others denied the power, they declared the name of God. They were faithful, when the rest were faithless.
And now it was time to enter the land. A great battle stood before them, but God was leading them so they chose to simply follow in faith, believing God's plan was better than anything they could come up with - they acted on His instructions, setting aside their feelings, having the confidence that God would show up in a big way. And of course, He did - walls fell at the sound of trumpets, their enemies ran in fear and the land was theirs for the taking.
But before Joshua declared to the Lord, "All that You have commanded us we will do, and wherever You send us we will go," he listened to the instructions of the Lord and here's what God said: Know my Word so that you will be successful. That was basically it. If Joshua would marinate himself with the Word of God, if he would let it seep into his every thought, then he would be controlled by it and it would produce success in his life.
Does this command still resonate as truth today? If we know the Word of God, does it affect how we live? Does it make our paths straight? Does it bring comfort in the storms and stability in the trials of life? Does the word of the Lord enlighten, convict, reveal the heart of God and bless us?
When I was a young girl, I went to a friend's house to play after school and stayed for dinner. After dinner, the father took out God's word and read from it before we were dismissed from the table. I really liked that and when I got home, I asked my mom why we didn't read from the Bible after dinner each night. My mom furrowed her brow and replied, "But Kristen, we do more than that. We talk about God's word all through dinner, in the car after school, while we are at the grocery store and even when you are getting ready for school." And then she went on with what she was previously doing.
I thought that was a lame answer at first, but then I started to open my ears to the conversation that was going on in my home and soon realized she was right. The discussion of God's word was constantly on my parents tongues - what they were reading, how it applied to life, what the pastor had taught on Sunday, what mom was learning as she prepared to teach ladies study, what dad was teaching to the men on the train rides into work, what the word said compared to current events, and it went on and on. The word of God had soaked into my parents lives and it was such a natural part of their conversation that I didn't even realize that it was a big part of our conversation.
So how does the word of God affect your conversation in your home? I still think dinner devotions are a great idea, but if that's the only time your children hear you talk about the Lord, then maybe it's more of a tradition than a lifestyle. God told Joshua to make His word a constant point of conversation and I believe there is great benefit and protection that comes from this instruction. When you are asked a question of a friend, a child, a spouse - a great response is, What does God's Word say about that? Be that person who runs to the Word for answers, rather than relies on their own experience and feelings to guide them. And by the way, this means you need to be IN the Word to be able to talk ABOUT the Word...see how that works?
As we head into Thanksgiving this week, what a wonderful time to start incorporating the Word into our conversations. If you need a good example of examining your life to see the hand of the Lord, check out Psalm 118 and then write your own psalm of thanksgiving and share it with your family...
May your holiday be blessed with hearts of gratitude and praise for the goodness of the Lord in your lives!