God's words according to Joshua 1:6-9 promise us that we'll have great success as we adhere to His words, obey His commands, and not stray to the left and the right.
This is such a huge promise, telling us that if only we obey God's word carefully, we'll find prosperity and success.
But is this really true?
The promised success
Joshua, Moses' successor, needed God if he was to bring the people of Israel to the promised land. God was the one who called the nation out of slavery in Egypt, called the nation to go into a promised land a distance away, and called Joshua to lead this stubborn nation after Moses died.
Having seen the miracles and victories God gave during Moses' time and the possible challenges ahead of them, Joshua likely felt the weight of His responsibility as Israel's leader, entering a foreign land God wanted for them.
Knowing he needed Him, our merciful and gracious God spoke to Joshua and gave him a promise of success on one condition: total obedience to God's word.
"Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. 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. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."
What happened then?
We know for certain that after many battles and years, Joshua succeeded in leading the nation of Israel into the promised land. Towards the end of his life we read him telling the nation of Israel,
"But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." (see Joshua 24:15)
He died having lived a life of service to God.
"Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had known all the works of the Lord which He had done for Israel." (Joshua 24:31)
What does this tell us?
Friends, how we define "success in life" matters.
God promised Joshua great success if he would carefully obey His word. Did Joshua receive what God promised him? Based on his life, we can say "yes."
The success that he received, however, was a success based on God's will. His obedience to God led to the success that God promised him.
As for us, we ought to realize that obedience to God's word will surely bring us success, the kind of success that God wants for us.
We may not earn millions and own acres of land but we may live a life of purpose and joy in Christ. When we live our lives in obedience to God, we are assured of success in the eyes of God, even if that looks different from the world's version of success. After all, there is no price that can be put on peace, contentment, joy, courage, and an enduring hope through all of life's trials. Having no fear of death but rather a hope of a home in Heaven cannot be bought with any money. The comfort of God at every turn in our journey through this earth is priceless.
Yes, God promises us success. But the question is: do we recognize that success?
This is the "success in life" that God wants us to receive: a blessed and abundant life lived within His close companionship and presence all the days of our life.
If you have that, you have so much more than success. You have the greatest, most precious blessing that money cannot buy.