Our Daily Bread
8 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. NKJV
Leroy Eims tells the following story. One spring our family was driving from Fort Lauderdale to Tampa, Florida. As far as the eye could see, orange trees were loaded with fruit. When we stopped for breakfast, I ordered orange juice with my eggs. "I'm sorry," the waitress said. "I can't bring you orange juice. Our machine is broken."
At first I was dumbfounded. We were surrounded by millions of oranges, and I knew they had oranges in the kitchen--orange slices garnished our plates. What was the problem? No juice? Hardly. We were surrounded by thousands of gallons of juice. The problem was they had become dependent on a machine to get it.
Christians are sometimes like that. They may be surrounded by Bibles in their homes, but if something should happen to the Sunday morning preaching service, they would have no nourishment for their souls. The problem is not a lack of spiritual food--but that many Christians haven't grown enough to know how to get it for themselves.
-- Adapted from Leroy Eims in The Lost Art of Disciple Making. Leadership, Vol. 5, no. 3.
In an interview, Billy Graham was asked this question: "If you had to live your life over again, what would you do differently?" His answer: "One of my great regrets is that I have not studied enough. I wish I had studied more and preached less. People have pressured me into speaking to groups when I should have been studying and preparing. Donald Barnhouse said that if he knew the Lord was coming in three years, he would spend two of them studying and one preaching. I'm trying to make it up" -- Christianity Today, September 12, 1977, p. 19.
Heb 5:12For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
- Shall not depart from your mouth
- Deut 6:6 "And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. NKJV
- The Word is to be such to us that we can teach diligently to our children without preparation at every occasion.
- When siting in the house.
- When we travel from one place to another.
- When we lie down and when we rise up.
- It is to be so constant to us that it as though it is right in front of our faces or on our right hands.
- There was no one who was exempt from these commands.
- Even the king was to do so and even make a copy of the law for his own personal use..
- Deut 17:18 "Also it shall be, when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write for himself a copy of this law in a book, from the one before the priests, the Levites. 19 And it shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God and be careful to observe all the words of this law and these statutes, NKJV
- Notice he was to always keep it with him.
- He was to read in it all the days of his life.
- That he might fear the LORD God.
- That he would not fail to observe all the words of it.
- That makes me wonder if we should do less.
- You see from this that the Bible is for daily use.
- It is not mean to be a weekly book.
- We are to spend time in it each and every day.
- Someone will ask, but how much time, to which I reply, How much time do you have?
- How much TV do you watch.
- How many hours are you not working, bathing, sleeping and eating.
- I have found that we find time for what we think is important.
- How much time does it take to read from Genesis to Revelation? If you would read the Bible at standard pulpit speed (slow enough to be heard and understood) the reading time would be seventy-one hours. If you would break that down into minutes and divide it into 365 days you could read the entire Bible, cover to cover, in only twelve minutes a day. Is this really too much time to spend reading about God?
- God says to Joshua, "You shall meditate in it day and night, "
- Can't you hear Joshua say but look at everything I have to do, "If ever any man's business might have excused him from meditation, and other acts of devotion, one would think Joshua's might at this time." Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible
- To this end he must meditate therein, not for contemplation sake only, or to fill his head with notions, or that he might find something to puzzle the priests with, but that he might, both as a man and as a magistrate, observe to do according to what was written therein; Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible:
- We do not meditate on it because we do not understand it.
- Rather we read and re-read it so that it may change our hardened hearts.
- We study the book so that we can have confidence of the things we say we believe.
- We spend time in the book to get us through the difficulties of the day.
- A Bible that's falling apart probably belongs to someone who isn't. Christian Johnson
- But the Bible is a very knowable book.
- Deut 30:11 "For this commandment which I command you today, it is not too mysterious for you, nor is it far off. 12 It is not in heaven, that you should say, 'Who will ascend into heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?' 13 "Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, 'Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?' 14 "But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it. NKJV
- It ain't those parts of the Bible that I can't understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand. Mark Twain (1835-1910)
- The purpose of studying and meditating on the word is so that we may observe to do according to all that is written in it.
- The Bible is different than any other book.
- As I read it, there arises in me the desire to keep it.
- As I continue in the word, there is given me the desire to be able to keep it.
- As I give myself to it, God empowers me to be able to obey it and avoid the pitfalls of others.
- A real book is not one that we read, but one that reads us. W H. Auden (1907-1973)
- But the opposite is true.
- If we continue to avoid it we have no desire to keep it.
- As we continue to disobey it we have even less desire to keep it.
- We are left defenseless against the snares of Satan and fall headlong into great temptations and sins that destroy not only our testimony but our very spiritual health.
- 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.
- Joshua's courage, hope of victory, and wisdom necessary for success were dependent upon his constant attention and inflexible adherence to the written Law (tora), "instruction, teaching"). (from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1962 by Moody Press)
A man in Kansas City was severely injured in an explosion. Evangelist Robert L. Summer tells about him in his book The Wonder of the Word of God. The victim's face was badly disfigured, and he lost his eyesight as well as both hands. He was just a new Christian, and one of his greatest disappointments was that he could no longer read the Bible. Then he heard about a lady in England who read braille with her lips. Hoping to do the same, he sent for some books of the Bible in braille. Much to his dismay, however, he discovered that the nerve endings in his lips had been destroyed by the explosion. One day, as he brought one of the braille pages to his lips, his tongue happened to touch a few of the raised characters and he could feel them. Like a flash he thought, I can read the Bible using my tongue. At the time Robert Sumner wrote his book, the man had "read" through the entire Bible four times.
If we abide by the principles taught in the Bible, our country will go on prospering and to prosper; but if we and our posterity neglect its instructions and authority, no man can tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm us and bury our glory in profound obscurity.
-- Daniel Webster
The Bible Knowledge Commentary: Old Testament
1:7-8. Second, Joshua was again commanded to be strong and very courageous, being careful to obey all the Law of Moses. This command is based on God's power through His Word. This is a stronger exhortation, indicating that greater strength of character would be required to obey God's Word faithfully and fully than to win military battles! The emphasis in these verses is clearly on a written body of truth. Many critics argue that the Scriptures did not appear in written form until several centuries later but here is a clear reference to an authoritative Book of the Law.
To enjoy prosperity and be successful in the Conquest of Canaan Joshua was to do three things with regard to the Scriptures: (a) The Law was not to depart from his mouth; he was to talk about it (cf. Deut. 6:7); (b) He was to meditate on it day and night, to think about it (cf. Ps. 1:2; 119:97); (c) He was to do everything written in it, to obey its commands fully and to act by it (cf. Ezra 7:10; James 1:22-25).
Joshua's life demonstrates that in a practical way he lived according to the teachings of the Law of Moses, the only portion of the Word of God then in written form. This alone explains the victories he achieved in battle and the success that marked his entire career. In one of his farewell addresses to the nation just before he died he urged the people to live in submission to the Scriptures (Josh. 23:6). Tragically they heeded this charge for only a short time. In succeeding generations the people of Israel refused to be guided by God's authoritative revelation, and they all did what they chose (Judges 21:25). Rejecting an objective standard of righteousness, they chose a subjective one characterized by moral and spiritual relativism. This in turn plunged the nation into centuries of religious apostasy and moral anarchy.
Title: The Bible Readers Companion
Author: Richards, Lawrence O.
Theologians have defined three functions of O.T. Law. One: Law reveals the
character of the God who gave it. Two: Law serves as a standard against which
human behavior can be measured, and by which all can be judged. And three:
Law guides choices, enabling the believer to please God and thus to enjoy His
blessing here and now.
Title: Ryrie Study Bible NASB
Author: Ryrie, Charles Caldwell, Th.D., Ph.D.
1:8 The success of Joshua's mission would lie in his personal obedience to the
law of God. meditate. To ponder, muse, involving half-aloud reading and
rereading of the Word (Ps. 1:2). Notice that the law was already written at this
time and was held to be authoritative.
J. Josiah (sixteenth king).
1. He began in 640 b.c. and reigned for thirty-one years.
2. Josiah was the finest king since Solomon.
"And like him was there no king before him, that turned to the Lord with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; neither after him arose there any like him" (2 Ki. 23:25).
His achievements stagger the mind. One wonders just when he arranged to eat and sleep!
3. The reforms of Josiah.
a. He began to seek after God while he was yet very young, only sixteen (2 Chron. 34:3).
b. At the age of twenty, he began his massive reform work (34:3).
c. He destroyed all the altars of Baal (34:4).
d. He then ground them into dust and scattered it over the graves of those who had sacrificed to them (34:4).
e. He burned the bones of heathen priests upon their own altars (34:5).
f. He carried out these actions in distant Israelite cities as well as in his own kingdom (34:6).
g. At the age of twenty-six, he began to repair the Temple (34:8).
h. He led his people in a massive "repentance service" upon the discovery of the law of Moses (2 Ki. 23:1-3, 18-21, 29-32). He then had this book read to all his people.
i. He planned for and presided over one of the greatest Passover services of all time (2 Chron. 35:1, 18).
j. He killed heathen priests whom previous kings of Judah had appointed (2 Ki. 23:5).
k. He removed the shameful idol of Asherah from the Temple (23:6).
l. He tore down the houses of male prostitutes (23:7).
m. He brought back to Jerusalem the priests of God who were living in other cities in Judah (23:8).
n. He destroyed the altar of Topheth in the Hinnom Valley so no one could offer human sacrifices upon it (23:10).
o. He tore down the statue of horses and chariots (which were dedicated to the use of the sun god) located near the entrance of the Temple (23:11).
p. He tore down Ahaz's pagan altars on the palace roof (23:12).
q. He destroyed those altars which Manasseh had built in the two courts of the Temple (23:12).
r. He removed the shrines of Ashtoreth (god of Sidon), Chemosh (god of Moab), and Milcom (god of Ammon), which Solomon had built for his many wives (23:13).
s. He tore down the altar and shrine at Bethel which Jeroboam I had made (23:15), thus fulfilling a 300-year-old prophecy. (See 1 Ki. 13:1, 2.)
t. He demolished the shrines on the hills of Samaria (23:19).
u. He exterminated mediums, wizards, and soothsayers (23:24).
4. The scriptural ministry of Josiah.
a. In cleansing the Temple, Hilkiah the high priest discovered an old scroll which turned out to be a copy of the Law of Moses (2 Ki. 22:8).
b. Josiah was informed of this and tore his clothes in terror, realizing how the Old Testament laws had been so ridiculed and ignored during the wicked reign of both his father and grandfather (22:9-13). Apparently under Manasseh's wicked reign the Word of God had been all but totally destroyed. It was probably a capital offense to possess a copy of the Mosaic Law. Thus some faithful priest may have hidden a copy of this precious law in the Temple to await better days.
c. The young king then ordered Hilkiah to seek the counsel of a godly woman prophetess concerning all this. Her name was Huldah, and she may have been Jeremiah's aunt. (See 2 Ki. 22:14; Jer. 32:7.) God had often spoken to his people through a woman, and would do so after this also (22:14).
(1) He spoke through Miriam, the sister of Moses (Ex. 15:20).
(2) He worked through Deborah (Jdg. 5).
(3) Zacharias' wife was a prophetess (Lk. 2:36).
(4) Philip's four daughters were called prophetesses (Acts 21:9).
d. Huldah's message was a twofold prophecy. It stated that:
(1) Because of Judah's tragic and shameful spiritual failure, God had already determined to judge his people. She pronounced upon the Holy City the fearful divine words of the Lord (see 22:17).
(2) Because of Josiah's love of God, he would be spared all this, as judgment would not fall until after his death. He himself would be "gathered into thy grave in peace" (2 Ki. 22:20).
We are not to understand this to mean that Josiah would die a quiet death on his royal bed (he was actually killed in battle), but that he would be spared the wrath of the Babylonian capitivity and subsequent destruction of Jerusalem.
e. Josiah then gathered all his people at the Temple and personally read aloud the Law of Moses and urged them all to obey God's Word (2 Ki. 23:1-3).
5. The great Passover celebration of Josiah. This feast, which had begun in Egypt nearly 900 years back (Ex. 12) had evidently not been celebrated since the days of Hezekiah, over sixty years ago. But now Josiah determines to amend for this delay. We note with amazement the tremendous number of animals offered up at this time (2 Chron. 35:7, 8).
(1) thirty thousand lambs
(2) three thousand young bulls
(3) seventy-six hundred sheep
(4) three hundred oxen
b. Ark of the Covenant.
According to 2 Chronicles 35:18, this was the greatest Passover of all time. During the Passover celebration, Josiah elevated the sacred Ark of the Covenant to its proper place in the Temple (2 Chron. 35:3). Here is the final Old Testament mention of this, the most sacred piece of furniture ever built, the Ark of the Covenant. Its history makes fascinating reading indeed.
(1) It is first mentioned in Exodus 25:10.
(2) It was put in the tabernacle by Moses (Ex. 40:21).
(3) It was carried throughout Israel's forty-year wilderness experiences (Num. 10:35; 14:44).
(4) It followed the people of Israel across the Jordan River (Josh. 4:5).
(5) It was carried around Jericho (Josh. 6:13).
(6) It was placed beside Joshua on Mt. Ebal as he read the law to all Israel (Josh. 8:33).
(7) It was formally placed in the new tabernacle, set up at Shiloh (Josh. 15:1).
(8) It was carried into battle with the Philistines by wicked Hophni and Phinehas (1 Sam. 4:4).
(9) It was captured by the Philistines for seven months (1 Sam. 4:11; 6:1). During this time
(a) It was taken to Ashdod where it defeated Dagon (1 Sam. 5:1).
(b) It was taken to Ekron, where it caused a great plague (1 Sam. 5:10).
(10) It was carried by two "Milch Kine" into Bethshemesh. Here God smote a number of the citizens of this city for looking inside (1 Sam. 6:12).
(11) It was taken to Kirjath-jearim. Here it remained for twenty years (1 Sam. 7:1).
(12) It was brought to Gibeah by Saul. Here it saved Israel from the Philistines (1 Sam. 14:18).
(13) It was carried from Gibeah toward Jerusalem by David on a new cart. En route, Uzzah was slain for touching it (2 Sam. 6:3).
(14) It rested at the house of Obed-edom for three months (2 Sam. 6:11).
(15) It was brought into Jerusalem by David (2 Sam. 6:16).
(16) It was carried by Zadok the high priest over the brook Kidron to David during his escape from Absalom's rebellion (2 Sam. 15:24).
(17) It was carried back to Jerusalem by David's order (2 Sam. 15:25, 29).
(18) It was placed in Solomon's Temple (1 Ki. 8:1).
(19) We do not know what eventually became of it.
6. The tragic death of Josiah.
a. Necho, the king of Egypt, planned to lead an army through Judah to aid the Babylonians against the Assyrians at Carchemish (2 Chron. 35:20).
b. Josiah declared war upon Necho for this. In vain, the Egyptian king attempted to convince the Judean ruler that he had no quarrel with him whatsoever, and warned him not to interfere, lest God destroy him in battle (2 Chron 35:20, 21).
c. Josiah refused the peace offers and attacked Necho in the Valley of Megiddo. This particular encampment located in the plain of Esdraelon had already seen many battles.
(1) It was here that Deborah and Barak defeated the Canaanites (Jdg. 4-5).
(2) It was here that Gideon defeated the Midianites (Jdg. 7).
(3) It was here that David defeated Goliath (1 Sam. 17).
(4) It was here that the Philistines killed Saul (1 Sam. 31).
(5) It was here that Josiah was killed (2 Chron. 35:22).
(6) It will be in this area that the mighty battle of Armageddon will someday be fought (Zech. 12:11; Rev. 16:16).
d. Josiah was tragically slain in spite of an attempt to disguise himself (as did another king once). (See 1 Ki. 22:30.) He was carried back to Jerusalem and buried with much ceremony and sorrow. Jeremiah himself attended the funeral (2 Chron. 35:23-25). At his death, Judah would see no more good kings. It was all spiritual degeneration from this point on. Josiah was succeeded by his son, Jehoahaz (2 Chron. 36:1).
I study my Bible as I gather apples. First, I shake the whole tree that the ripest might fall. Then I shake each limb, and when I have shaken each limb, I shake each branch and every twig. Then I look under every leaf.
Martin Luther (1483-1546)
This message was preached at FBC Toulon, by Albert Harmon. See it at http://toulonbaptist.com