“Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”
Explanation and Commentary of Joshua 1:8
The false prosperity doctrine taught to the shame of the Church all over the world by charlatans is that if you follow God, especially in the form of giving money to some specific ministry of the charlatan, you will be rich, healthy, and have all your wildest dreams fulfilled. This is a lie from satan, and it keeps multitudes from getting to God. Woe to the perpetrators of this lie (Mt 18:6).
However, this verse in Joshua is true if one will allow God to be the one to define what it is to be “prosperous and successful.” He has put us on the earth as bearers of his divine image so that in the area of “producing, multiplying, and subduing the earth” (Gen 1:28), we can prosper. He has also called us Christians to “make disciples of all nations” (Mt 28:18), and in that he would most definitely have us prosper. Jesus Christ prospered in every way. He was given the kingdom of God, but it cost him suffering. Job, whose name is synonymous with suffering, prospered in that he maintained his character to the end. That he also received material wealth and reproductive fruitfulness was a bonus, but not the point. God has ways that are eternal, and have existed eternally in him. The Bible calls this righteousness, and Jesus said that if we seek it, along with the kingdom of God, all these things will be added to us so that we need not worry for provision.
These ways and this kingdom are encoded in “this Book of the Law.” Joshua was being commissioned to steward the chosen people of God into the land of promise. The Hebrews had struggled mightily in the wilderness, suffering beyond what should have been necessary, because they did not “keep this Book.” If they were to have any success, it would be by following God’s ways. In his kindness, he had given his precepts to Moses to write down for them. We are saved by grace and by our faith in Christ. If we would live the good and abundant life that God has designed for us, we will be “careful to do everything in” the Bible that God means for the Church to do.
Breaking Down the Key Parts of Joshua 1:8
#1 “Keep this Book of Law…”
The first five books of the Bible are generally considered the Law. It consists of the narratives of the creation of the world and of God’s first revelation to his vicarious people through Abraham, and the code of law, of which the Ten Commandments stand paramount.
#2 “…always on your lips;”
In order for the Word to have a place on the lips, one must have the Word on the mind. Most people tend to talk about what they think about. Having the Bible on one’s lips is only advisable to those who are also “doers of the Word” (Ja 1:22). Anything else is hypocrisy and a poor witness.
#3 “meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.”
Loving God is loving his ways. Loving his ways is living his ways. His ways are found in the Bible. The only way to consistently live according to his ways is to meditate often on his Word.
#4 “Then you will be prosperous and successful.”
God knows how he would prosper us. We do not. We must look to him for his plans, his calling on our lives, and his desires for us. Whatever God deems right for us in the way of career, financial success, and relational prosperity is what will be best, and what we should want him to do. That said, our choices to obey the ways of his kingdom and his righteousness will give us some control over the outcomes. His Word is clear that there are ways to prosper in godliness, and there are ways to fail in evil living. Living according to how he is and how he created the world to work should lead to a rewarding and “prosperous” life. This does not in any way mean that we will not have trouble. The fallen world makes trouble a foreseen conclusion, and Jesus even promised that trouble would come, even as he promised that he has overcome all of it for us.
Expert Overview of Joshua
Biblical Translations of Joshua 1:8
Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.
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 good success.
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.
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Masters Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years. If you would like to reach out to contact Natalie, then go here to send her a message.