Joshua 1:8 - May I not let Your word depart from my mouth, but meditate on it day and night, so that I may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then I will make my way prosperous, and I will act wisely. (Ken Boa paraphrase)
This verse from the first chapter of Joshua has been paraphrased in the first person to remind us that God’s Word has application in our lives. It is, in a manner of speaking, addressed to us.
That’s quite relevant in light of the fact that this single verse is exhorting and instructing us to saturate ourselves in God’s Word. Why? Because that’s where we meet God…hear God…are confronted and instructed by God. In short, it is where we learn to act wisely.
I pray for wisdom on a daily basis, All of Scripture encourages me to do so. James puts it bluntly in the first chapter of the book that bears his name. Verse five reads,
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.
It doesn’t get any plainer than that. Ask for wisdom and God will give it…generously. That seems simple enough. Yet what I have learned over the years of my spiritual pilgrimage is that this “formula” does not work like a magic genie in a lamp. You don’t rub the lamp and make a wish. It doesn’t operate like taking an aspirin for a headache. You don’t take two tablets and get wisdom in the morning.
Instead, our text from Joshua gives us a pretty good understanding about how to attain wisdom. If the wisdom we want is God’s wisdom, and God has revealed his wisdom to us in and through his Word, then it would behoove us to read, study, mediate upon, pray over, and apply – SATURATE ourselves – with that source of wisdom. If we want God’s wisdom to rub off on us and really get into our spiritual bloodstreams – into our hearts and minds – then we have to do the hard work of “not letting it depart from us.” We will want to “meditate on it day and night.” We will want to be “careful to do according to all that is written in it.” Only then will we become prosperous and begin to act wisely.
That’s the cost to this component of faithful discipleship. It’s not easy and it certainly does not come instantly. This is not for the lazy or the faint of heart. But it is a pearl of great price that is worth more than we can possibly imagine. It’s worth the cost and then some.
One last thought: I’m not sure when I will know that “I’ve arrived” and received the wisdom that I’ve been desperately praying and striving for. Do we “arrive” when it comes to wisdom? What does that even mean? Does a wise person think that he or she is wise? That doesn’t seem to fit with my understanding of wisdom. I think I’ll just pursue it, with God’s grace, all the days of my life and leave it to my heavenly Father, if he so chooses, to one day let me know how I did.
Grace and Truth,