SUCCESS GOD’S WAY
In today’s society success is measured in different ways. Some measure success by the accomplishment of a goal. Some measure success when something turns out well. These two ways are how some people measure success, but in my journey I have found that the world and most people measure success by fame, wealth (money) and power. I have heard the saying go: “If you have the money, then you will have the power.” These are the ways the world measure success, but this is not the way God measure success. For God does not measure success the way the world measure success. Let’s look at the book of Joshua and the first nine verses to get three things that God told Joshua he needs to be successful.
The book of Joshua picks up where the book of Deuteronomy left off. Moses dies at the close of Deuteronomy and in the opening of the book of Joshua we find God commissioning Joshua to lead Israel into the promise land, which is Canaan. Typically in Moses’ day the people would mourn for 30 days. Joshua and the Israelites are at the Jordan River and God speaks to Joshua and tells him to get ready to cross the Jordan. God had already given the land to Israel, but they had to posses it. They had to take it by marching on it. In fact, God told them how far north, south, east, and west the land they would be posses would be.
This land had been promise to them some 40 years earlier. For Moses and sent 12 spies to survey the land and come back with a report. Two of the twelve came back with a positive report while the other ten came with a negative report. Instead of Israel going with the two spies that were positive, which were Caleb and Joshua, they went with the ten. Even though God said that it was their land and all they had to do was a posse it. For this reason, being disobedient God had them wander in the wilderness for 40 years.
The wilderness can be an interesting place and some of you today can identify with Israel. You are in your wilderness today or have been going through your wilderness for quite some time. The wilderness is not bad sometimes, for in the wilderness things happen. The wilderness or desert is a place of refuge, cleansing, and consecration. For Israel the wilderness was a place where God had to cleanse them of the generation that disobeyed Him and did not want to go get their stuff. Moses had to go through the wilderness before, when he fled Egypt. But in his wilderness he became a leader. It was in the wilderness that God met him in a burning bush.
Some of you today know about your wilderness experience. Some of you are there because of being disobedient to God and some of you are there because God had to take you through the wilderness to get rid of some stuff that you did not need. God had to take you through the wilderness to get rid of some negative folks. God had to take you through the wilderness to get rid of some things that are not good for you. God had to take you through the wilderness in order for you to shed some excess so you can become more focus and more determined. That’s why when you come out of your wilderness there should be praise in your mouth. Sometimes people will not understand why you praise God the way you do, but they just don’t know about your wilderness experience. (Pause)
Let me tell you something; if Jesus can go through a wilderness experiences don’t think that you will not have a wilderness experience. Matthew 4:1 states that Jesus was lead by the spirit into the wilderness. Jesus was led into the wilderness before He started his ministry. Learn all you can while in your wilderness for God has something waiting for you.
God tells Joshua wherever you set your sole I will give you that place. God said no one will be able to stand against you for just like I was with Moses I will be with you and I will never leave you nor forsake you. Some of us need to take this to heart that if God is for you who can be against you. Wherever you go, whatever you do, God is there and He said that he will never leave you nor forsake you.
In our key verses today which are 6-9 we find the 3 keys to success God’s way. The first key is the key of obedience. God says 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. You have to obey God’s Word. Joshua did not have the bible like we do, he did not even have all of the Old Testament, and he probably had the first five books of the bible. Whatever that law was it was the Word of God and God said that in order to be successful you have to obey my Word. For us that is the Bible, the first key to our success is to obey God’s Word. I heard that obedience is better than sacrifice and if you obey God’s Word you will have far more success than if you disobey His Word. To obey God’s Word mean to do what his Word says. In the scripture when it says do not turn from the right or to the left, this just means that you can not deviate from God’s Word. You cannot have success doing your own thing. All of us can say that when I went against what God said I failed, but when I was obedient things worked out for my good.
The second key to success is to meditate on God’s word day and night. This command to “meditate on it day and night” recalls the language of Psalm 1.2 which states “But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.” The same Hebrew verb (literally “mutter, read in a low voice”) is used here; it means to study, “pore over”; “keep it in mind” Sometimes this can be the hardest thing for us to do and that is to read and study God’s Word. Let me give you an illustration, I read that a cow has a four chamber stomach and when a cow eats it goes to one chamber to digest and then it goes to the other chamber to be broken down further. We as Christians have to study the Word and read the Word so in our time of need we will have a Scripture that can get us through those tough time when we can’t get to someone to encourage us. Sometimes you have to encourage yourself. Pastor Shealey has given us some ways to do this in one of his bible studies. He told us and other authors have said the same thing. Early in the morning is a good time to read and study the bible. For if you start your day off in the Word it can make your day better.
The third and final key is to be brave and courageous. This is repeated three times in these verses and to be repeated that many time tell us that this is important. God tells Joshua this three times for a reason and that reason is that you have to be brave and courageous to do what thus says the Lord. Because sometimes people will want to discourage you and tell you that this cannot be done, this is too big for us, we don’t have this or that. But God said if you put me first I will add everything unto you.
You know that the first step is sometimes the hardest step to make, but once you take that first step the next step is much easier. You have to be brave and courageous to stand for God when the odds are stack up against you. You have to be brave and courageous to just stand for God and let him to the fighting for you. You have to be brave to say “as for me and my house we will serve the Lord” when everyone else is serving other gods. You have to be brave and courageous.
But what holds all of these keys together and that would be the keychain of Faith. Faith is the substance of things hope for evidence of things not seen. You have to have faith to faithfully follow everything that the Word says. Without faith it is hard to please God, but what we don’t realize is that you don’t have to have watermelon size faith; all you have to have is mustard size faith. If you have mustard seed faith you can speak to the mountain and it will move. Do you have the keychain of Faith to hold all these keys together in order to be successful?
Some of you may be saying as I get ready to close, “can this really work?” Let me give to examples if you read through the book of Joshua you will find that Joshua had success throughout the book and when he did fail it was not his fault, but it was someone in the camp that disobey what God had said. Joshua is a good example, but there is one that his name also means Joshua. And he is the best example that I can give that this can bring you success.
Jesus had success using the three keys. Jesus obeys God in whatever he did and he did not deviate from the will of God. For I read in the Word that he was in the Garden of Gethsemane and he was praying and asking God to remove this bitter cup, but before he closed his prayer he said not my will, but thy will be done.
Jesus mediated on God’s Word day and night. For I can see him getting up early in the morning and going out to pray and I can see him reading the scripture like he did when he was young. I can see him having a scripture for the devil in the wilderness when he was tempted. So if Jesus mediated on the Word what makes us think that we don’t have to do the same?
I also see Jesus being brave and courageous. For he was brave and courageous to go against the religious elite of his time. He was brave and courageous to associate with the so called “scum” of his time. He was brave and courageous to say that your sins are forgiven. He was brave and courageous for saying if you tear down this temple after three days I will build it up again. He was brave and courageous to go from judgment hall to judgment hall. He was brave and courageous to be beaten so that you probably could see his bones. He was brave and courageous to die for a sinner like me. He was brave and courageous to take my spot on the cross. He was brave and courageous to say Father forgiven for they know not what they do. I say that he was brave and courageous to die and stayed dead for 3 days. But I am glad that he put those three keys of success on the keychain of faith and he trust God to raise him from the dead. And on that third day morning and some say that it was early one Sunday morning. Jesus got up with all power in his hand and now he sits at the right hand of God making intercession for you and I. (Pause.)
If you want to know if these things can make you successful just look at Jesus and you will see that even though people make talk about you and the world is against you. That in the end if you want success and you go about getting it God’s way that you will be victorious in the end.
The doors of the church are open.