by Dr. Ken Matto

(Josh 1:8 KJV) This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

In the above verse we read that God had commanded Joshua to meditate in the book of the law and if he did, then he would prosper. This of course does not mean that if a person studies the Bible then they are going to become rich in money and worldly goods. After all, if God tells us not to love the things of the world, then why would He contradict Himself by throwing all that temptation in front of His children? What God seeks are those who are going to meditate in His word which will result in spiritual prosperity. When a Christian is spiritually prosperous they are spiritually strong, and if we look at the life of Joshua we will see a man who became a champion for the Lord because he followed God’s counsel on remaining in the Word of God.

This is a valuable lesson for us also. Nothing has changed in the Kingdom of God. Spiritual prosperity comes to a Christian by means of being immersed in the Scriptures. I think in our modern day we have lost the belief that the Bible is more than just a guidebook for Christian living, but that it is the revelation of the mind of God and that means even though it contradicts the ways of the world, we can never go wrong because God is absolute wisdom and that wisdom is always contrary to the world. We have all heard the saying that in the Kingdom of God, the way up is down. In other words, the humble are the exalted in the Kingdom of God. (Mat 23:12 KJV) And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. The world elevates its disciples by teaching them to walk over others.

A real question for Christians is “why do we study the Bible?” Now I know all the usual answers one would get in response to that question. However, the reality is that many Christians, probably the majority, study the Bible but when a situation arises in the life of that believer, they abandon the Bible’s wisdom and run to the nearest Christian book store and buy a “self-help” book normally written by some famous Christian psycho-babbler who tends to mix the truths of Scripture with the worldly teachings of Freud, Rogers, Skinner, or others. Could we do that because we simply do not trust the teachings of Scripture as sufficient for our lives? Oh yes, we study the Bible to learn about salvation, Heaven, the teachings of Christ, eschatology, and other such gems within the pages of holy writ but when it comes to personalization of issues, how much do we really depend on the Scriptures? If we look at our libraries, it will give us a good indication of what we are truly placing our trust in.

The Scriptures tend to do some things that these self-help books do not. Probably the main thing that the Scriptures have over the self-help books is that they demand accountability. Self-help books tend to make excuses for people so they may sin with a clear conscience (if that is possible). Remember, self-help books are written by authors for the purpose of making money. God did not write the Bible to make money.
(Psa 24:1 KJV) The earth is the LORD'S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. The Lord already owns it all, including the fortunes made by those who write self-help books. God wrote the Bible for our benefit. The Bible is our personal guidebook from the mind of God. As Christians, we are strangers and pilgrims on the earth. There are so many snares which can take hold of us if we are not armed. The Bible has been written in a way that helps us identify any snares which could stultify our Christian walk. This is why God has written the Bible with so many narratives of real people who had real struggles in their walk. This makes comparison of our lives to theirs much easier. For example, Peter obviously had a struggle with his mouth, since we read many times, "Peter answered and said," when no one asked him anything. I identify with Peter many times in my life, as I have opened mouth and inserted foot. God has given His children the Bible as a guidebook through this wilderness.

These self-help books really do not prepare us to face opposition in our lives either. It is obvious that just being Christians in this world will cause opposition. This is why God has given us so much in the Bible which deals with opposition so when it comes we will know exactly how to handle it. Every day brings something new into our life, whether it is something small or something big. When these things come into our life, who or what is the first thing we turn to. The reason we study the Bible is not only to make sure that we are saved but the essence of many teachings in the Scripture is “preparedness.” The word “prepare” is used 81 times in the Scriptures. When God uses a word 81 times, I think we should sit up and take notice. When we are spiritually prepared by our study of the Scriptures, then we are able to deal sufficiently with any and all situations which come into our lives.

None of us knows what a day may hold. Whenever we read the Scriptures, they give us comfort, because we realize that God cares for us and will strengthen us in times of affliction. We read the Scriptures and see what the Bible characters went through and how God cared for them during their lowest times. I am convinced that whatever we read from the Scriptures in the morning, will be needed for that day.
(Deu 33:25 KJV) Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shall thy strength be. This verse also reveals that God will strengthen us but it is according to His word. If we do not read and study the Bible, we may not identify areas of strength that God is giving us. That strength may be in humility, defense, or confrontation, and it is imperative we know the difference, and how to engage each one properly.

Unlike the man-centered cult books, you will find the Bible brings stability to the Christian walk.
(Isa 40:3-4 KJV) The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. {4} Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: If you look at these verses, you will see, in metaphoric language, that God promises to stabilize the Christian walk. He says the mountains will be made low and the valleys will be exalted. Picture what you have if a mountain is made low and the valley is raised. Instead of having a roller coaster existence, the road will be made flat and straight for the Christian. This does not mean there will be no tribulation in the life of the Christian, it means simply, that through rough times, God can stabilize the Christian’s walk. This would control disbelief, anxiety, thoughts of hopelessness, and other destructive elements. The Christian walk is a continuum because salvation is a continuum. As a child of God, whenever we find something in Scripture which pertains to our situation, we may bring it before the throne of Grace. Our Christian walk may seem marred, but because of the character of God and His Word, we can be stable.

How this world would love to become a stable world. Unfortunately, stability is not something we can expect from a world that has been thrown into instability because of sin. As Christians, no matter what comes into our lives, we will be able to live that stable life simply because the Holy Spirit, who indwells the true believer, will give us that stability that we so need during times of trials and other situations which life may bring. This will also confuse the world when they see us going through rough times with a stabilized outlook. How many times have we heard someone tell us, “I would go crazy in your situation.” You see, when we have the mind of Christ, it gives us stability rather than chaos which the world normally lives in.
(Isa 33:6 KJV) And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, and strength of salvation: the fear of the LORD is his treasure. This is the only time in the Bible that the word “stability” is used. Do you notice where it will come from? It comes from “wisdom and knowledge.” Now is that the wisdom and knowledge of worldly things or is it the wisdom and knowledge which comes from the Scriptures? Let the Scriptures answer that question. (Josh 1:8 KJV) This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Yes, the Christian can prosper, even in the darkest of times. (4/29/05)