In Joshua 1:9 the Hebrew word for STRONG is chazaq — to be bound to or fastened onto. God’s grip is firmly upon us, and now we must cling to the truth that He is with us. The word for COURAGEOUS is amets — to choose to do something when you feel fear, pain or grief — and it challenges us to not just believe the truth that God is with us but to act on that truth. Being strong and courageous is not something a few of us are naturally gifted with but rather something we each have a choice to live out in our lives because God is with us. Check out the “With You” bookmark on this page to see other places in Scripture where God promises to be with us.
In her teaching on Joshua 1, Kathleen Harwood walked us through the meaning of several Hebrew words, including the one for MEDITATE, which we find in verse 8 — The Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful 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. Meditation is not about following a mystic religious practice but rather about thinking about something a lot. It’s to mutter. To wrestle. To speak aloud.
The Hebrew word for meditate is hagah (daw-gaw’), an onomatopoetic Hebrew word so named because of the sound associated with it. For instance, hagah is the growling of a lion over its prey (Isaiah 31:4), the moaning of a dove in distress, or the chirping of a swallow or crane (Isaiah 38:14). In the context of Joshua 1, the word hagah indicates musing or soliloquizing — the act of speaking one’s thoughts aloud when alone or regardless of the people in one’s midst.
To meditate on God’s Word day and night is to wrestle with the instructions and directions He gives. Why? So we will not forget them and because as David cries out to God in Psalm 143:5-6, “I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done; I ponder the works of your hands. I stretch out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land.” As Kathleen taught, “We are already good at meditating. We are always telling ourselves something. Our minds are never in neutral.” Whose words are we going to allow to flood our lives and to dictate our actions? In Joshua 1:8, God tells the people of Israel — and us today — to saturate our lives with the Word of God, which tells us who He is and who we are in Him. Check out this Attributes of God resource on this page to help guide your meditation.