Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; 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. (Joshua 1:7-8 NIV)
The Law was to guide the new nation in the ways of God. Joshua, as their commander, was told to be careful to obey it all. If leaders do not follow after God there is a good chance the people will follow that lead. But if they follow hard after God through obedience to His word, many will be challenged to do the same. Joshua was encouraged to meditate on the words of the Law. He was supposed to talk about out all the time. Most of all, he was told to be careful to live it. We can talk about it and study it, but if that does not translate into living it then we our words are misunderstood by the message we preach with our actions.
If he would do these things, he was promised twice that he would be successful, and even prosperous. I don’t think the principle has changed. If we will do the same thing, we will have the same results.
Meditation upon the word is a holy habit that is not much employed today. Most mature Christians will spend time reading the word, speaking of the word, and applying it to their lives, but few meditate upon the passages they read. This often involves memorization. Take time to let the word you read speak to you. Ask the Holy Spirit to make it come alive and apply it to your daily situations. The quantity of Scripture read is not as important as seeing the application to your life in a passage. Look for eternal truths to apply.
While they were going out, a man who was demon-possessed and could not talk was brought to Jesus. And when the demon was driven out, the man who had been mute spoke. The crowd was amazed and said, "Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel." But the Pharisees said, "It is by the prince of demons that he drives out demons." (Matthew 9:32-34 NIV)
Two blind men had just had their vision restored. Before they could leave the building people brought a man whose tongue was kept still by a demon. Jesus drove the demon out, and the man was able to speak again. Unless you have witnessed a miracle of this magnitude, it must be impossible to imagine the excitement in the hearts of those who observed such wonderful things. Those who observed it said that Israel had never seen such miracles of healing, one after the other.
Whenever people get excited about what God is doing among you, there is always someone to throw a wet towel over your fire. The religious are always among us. They deny what God is doing, right before our very eyes, by crediting evil with doing the work. Does it make any sense at all that good things like mercy and healing would flow from an evil source? But it doesn’t matter to them that it makes no sense. The problem is not their thinking. It is their heart. They are unwilling to accept what is from God because it does not fit the mold of their hardened religious wineskin. They reject it because it doesn’t fall under their ability to control and steal the glory from. Blinded by their religious spirit, they do not realize what they are doing. Remember, it is not these folks that we fight against. It is the spirit of darkness that has clouded their understanding so that even in the face of a merciful miracle, they cannot give praise to God.
If your good is evil spoken of, know that you are in good company! The enemy of our soul will fight his hardest to deny the work of God through you. The more vocal the attack, the more you can be sure you are on the right track. Don’t focus on those detractors. Be encouraged by those who praised God because of His work through you. We serve the King, not man!
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