“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.” (Joshua 1:8, emphasis mine)
This was a bit of a hangup for me as a kid. It certainly helped that my name was Joshua. Of course I went by Josh. I knew my namesake, however. But just knowing that I was named after the Joshua of the Old Testament didn’t do much to help me “observe to do according to all that is written therein”. I mean, you have this tooome. Thousands of pages of dry, onion-skin leaves holding a language that was most-likely no less easy to comprehend four centuries ago as now to the untrained eyes and mind of a kid more interested in playing outside than donning my spectacles to study the Word. I remember reading Jurassic Park in fourth grade and merrily skipping sixty pages at a stretch if I got lost or misunderstood what was going on. Don’t worry I read it again and got it. Lost World twice, too. But that act of omitting sections with impunity made its way into other parts of my life and world and as such, there were whole realms and vistas of God on which I missed by virtue of not making contact with God in His word. Okay, so my first Bible was a New King James. The thees and thous replaced with their modern counterparts. You get the idea.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV)
“O that my ways were directed to keep Thy statutes! Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all Thy commandments.” (Psalm 119:5-6)
Also called regolith (sounds so cool), mantle rock is the loose, sedimentary rock above the solid part of Earth’s crust. Analogized, it’s the fragmented pieces of life above the foundation to our world. God aims to make sense of all of it but He must necessarily dig down deep. He sees the mistakes we make at an early age. The kind that become deep-rooted evil trees of doubt and fear and maybe anything akin to that which would propagate a generational curse or two. The kind of thing that creates tectonic shifts in midlife and that leave us wondering where the hell everything went wrong. Trust. God sees and and loves and understands. He understands the influences that lead us to diverge, however slightly, from anything that would “make [our] way prosperous” or give us “good success”. And after a certain point, because He is a good Father, He will come calling to shore up those blind spots in us. Those that may not be in keeping with the ways Jesus would act in our place. Best not to think about it too much and let the Holy Spirit do what He will. I digress. Look at the desperation in the psalmist from the above verse. How many places in the Word of God does that little qualifier of “all” come in to play? And again, because God is a good Father, He won’t let us escape “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:” (Ephesians 4:13) Read that one way (What can I say? I regressed to the King James in my late teens.) and it sounds like Paul is telling the Ephesians that we’ll be able to only get so much like Christ in this life. This is how I read it for many years and it kind of made sense to me. Read it again in the New Living Translation and understand: “This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.” That’s it. God’s got me, God’s got you. The great and grand fissures that would keep us from furthering along in God’s plan for our life are seen by Him alone. And as we belong to Him, warts and all, it’s He who takes responsibility after we acknowledge Him in those ways.
“Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6)