Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may be successful wherever you go.
My wife’s little cousin I and go on walks together several times a week. One of our favorite places to do this is at a local park. There’s a paved walkway that extends two miles around a lake. Once pass the playground, there’s only one thing on Dustin’s mind… we’re going to feed the ducks. Before we can get to the ducks though, there’s a steep incline that he likes to run down. It wasn’t long after we started taking our walks that I learned I have to run down the slope in front of him. Sometimes he gets going so fast that I have to help him stay on the paved walkway. It seems to be his natural tendency to veer off the path and into the rocks and leaves on the side of the trail. This is always a difficult transition and one better off avoided all together.
As I was reading Joshua chapter one this picture of Dustin running down the path immediately entered my mind. Moses has just died and the Lord has appointed Joshua as the new leader of Israel. At this point in time the Israelites are still wandering in the desert but the Lord is preparing them to enter into the Promised Land. Upon establishing Joshua as the new leader, God gives him several instructions. Among the most important of these was the charge to not forget the law that God had given to Moses. If Joshua wanted to be successful as a leader (both spiritual and of the military), he would have to remain true to God’s commandments. Just as Dustin must stay on the paved walkway, Joshua is commanded to “not turn from [the law] to the right or to the left.”
Today was the first morning I had the discipline to sit down and spend time in the Bible for about a week. One could say that I have been “off the path” and this has caused more trouble than it’s worth. I didn’t have anything terrible happen to me and I was still heading in the right direction… I was just doing it the hard way. I challenge you to evaluate what type of ground you’re walking on this morning. Are you still on the pavement, walking daily in the light of Scripture, or have you turned to the “right or the left” and are now trying to navigate the much rougher terrain? Whether you’re heading for the ducks like Dustin and me or into battle like Joshua, the greatest disservice you can do to yourself it to veer off the path. I encourage you to pick up your Bible and discover the way of the Lord once again. Do it quickly though, the walk will only become more difficult.