God told Joshua that He would be with Joshua just as He was with Moses, but there was a caveat, obedience. His success (the success that God had ordained for Israel) was dependent on Joshua being obedient.
“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.” Jos 1:8 NIV
When the people of Israel weren’t obedient, they weren’t successful. We see this a few chapters later chapter 7.
God has different plans for everyone, so success is different for each person. For some, success might be prospering in work, school, sport, or hobby. Success also could be persevering through extreme circumstances.
We want to be careful when we decide what success is, as God’s definition for success in our lives might be different than our own.
For pastors, success is often viewed through the three B’s: buildings, bucks, and bodies. When I got to Elm Street, God made it clear to me that success should not be viewed this way. He showed me that this was a mission field, even if it was so close to home. The call was to be faithful to do and say what He called me to do and say.
Our call should be to be faithful to Him!
And He reminded me that heaven rejoices more “over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine who do not need to repent.” Luke 15:7 NIV
The grass might look greener in other places, but God seeks faithfulness.
I have seen people who seem like they are prosperous but they are spiritually bankrupt, and those who seem to have the toughest lives providing some of the most powerful testimonies of God’s strength and goodness. Our desire should be glorifying His name!
And just as with Joshua, if we love God with all our hearts and seek to be obedient to Him in everything (as much as we can as human beings), then His presence will be with us. And we know that if we are His children, He will never leave us nor forsake us. (Jos 1:5; Heb. 13:5)
But we can only be obedient to His Word if we know it, and if it is continually on our lips. May we make 2023 a year when His Word takes priority in our lives, and may we be successful in His eyes this year.