I enjoy reading the book of Joshua. I learn so much every time I read through this book. Recently my eyes were opened to something new in Joshua 1:8. This is a wonderful promise God gave us concerning the power of His word.
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. Joshua 1:8 (NKJV)
I've started asking other believers what they think this verse says and I've found a pretty common miss-understanding. Many people believe we are supposed to memorize the God's word and then speak it out. They think it says something like, "let the book of the law depart out of your mouth".
I've heard messages quote this verse saying we should speak out in faith. But if you read it carefully you will find a different message entirely. Joshua 1:8 actually says, "Do NOT let this book of the law depart out of your mouth". In other words, we should meditate on the word of God and keep it in our hearts.
Consider a few other well known verses.
The Psalmist says that he HID the Word in his heart.
Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You. Psalm 119:11 (NKJV)
Jesus said that every idle word a man speaks will be judged.
But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. Matthew 12:36 (NKJV)
So an accurate understanding of Joshua 1:8 is very important. I've learned that if we speak out the Word of God before we have a revelation of His word, we risk unbelief. If our spirits do not have a revelation of God's word we are just quoting idle words. We are quoting what has become head knowledge and not spiritual knowledge. Memorizing scripture is good but going around quoting scriptures before they blossom in our heart is not good. So really, it's better to read the word and then meditate on what you've read.
You've heard the old saying, "Actions speak louder than Words." Well this is where Joshua 1:8 is directing us as believers. When we meditate on the Word of God our actions change and we begin to act as God wants us to act. We are lead by the Spirit of God. Jesus wants us to act on the Word so that when we speak out His words they agree with our actions.
But what happens when we hide the word of God in our Hearts? Joshua 1:8 goes on to say, "That you may observe to do according to all that is written in it." This hidden and meditated Word of God will make our way prosperous and will make us successful. There is a great benefit to meditating on the Word of God
And yes, there is also a time to speak out the Word of God. Look at how Paul explains it in Romans.
That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Romans 10:9,10 (NKJV)
Believing in your heart that Jesus is Lord is the first step. We must have a revelation of what He has done for us. Then when we have meditated and believed on His Word we should speak or confess what He has done for us. This is true for salvation and also for every other part of our life. So I encourage you to Read, Meditate and then Speak.