Imagine that you’re heading out on a journey. At the beginning you find three different paths you can take: one turns to the left, one turns to the right, and one goes straight ahead. Which one would you take? You might be thinking, “Pastor Tommy, that depends on where I am going!” What if you saw this passage inscribed on the sign post?
Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. (Joshua 1:7)
Now which road would you take? Joshua is telling us that the path of obedience is the pathway to success . . . and success is always straight ahead. Success for the saints of God depends upon their obedience to God. Turning to the right or to the left will take us off the course God has set before us and is calling is to travel.
Notice that Joshua warned us to “be careful to obey,” which seems to suggest it is easy for us to get a bit careless when it comes to our walk with the Lord. How easy it is to neglect the things of God when we are working through the challenges of daily living!
- We neglect Scripture.
- We neglect prayer.
- We neglect worship.
- We neglect fellowship.
- We neglect serving.
- We neglect giving.
By nature, we turn this way and that way, to the right and to the left. Sometimes we are distracted by things smaller than Jesus. Other times we are simply looking for the path of least resistance. Yet our God has often ordained a rough road for the redeemed to take. This is the straight way to our Savior; it is the way He has ordained to bring us to the end of ourselves, which is the greatest success He has promised. As we decrease, He increases and we are conformed more and more into the image and likeness of Christ . . . the place where both our strength and courage grow. To be sure, this is the only kind of success that truly matters!
Oh, by the way, Moses did not start out looking straight ahead at his Savior. When he was in the court of Pharaoh and saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew slave, one of his own people, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. But how instructive the text is when we read just prior to this sinful, man-centered act of salvation that Moses looked “this way and that way” (Exodus 2:12 NKJV), cutting him off from any measure of success in the eyes of God. You see, there is only one path to success as God has defined it—and that path is straight ahead!
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!