« PreviousContinue »
THE BOOK OF JOSHUA, 1.1-18.
The Lord exhorteth Joshua; and he exhorteth the people. i Now after the death of Moses thou shalt meditate therein day the servant of the Lord it came and night, that thou
mayest obto pass, that the LORD spake unto serve to do according to all that Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' is written therein: for then thou minister, saying,
shalt make thy way prosperous, 2 Moses my servant is dead; and then thou shalt have good now therefore arise, go over this success. Jordan, thou, and all this peo- 9 Have not I commanded thee? ple, unto the land which I do Bestrong and of a good courage; give to them, even to the children be not afraid, neither be thou of Israel.
dismayed: for the Lord thy 3 Every place that the sole of God is with thee whithersoever your foot shall tread upon, that thou goest. have I given unto you, as I said 10 Then Joshua commanded unto Moses.
the officers of the people, saying, 4 From the wilderness and this 11 Pass through the host, and Lebanon even unto the great ri- command the people, saying, ver, the river Euphrates, all the Prepare you victuals; for within land of the Hittites, and unto the three days ye shall pass over this great sea toward the going down Jordan, to go in to possess the of the sun, shall be your coast. land, which the LORD your God
5 There shall not any man be giveth you to possess it. able to stand before thee all the 12 And to the Reubenites, and days of thy life: as I was with to the Gadites, and to half the Moses, so I will be with thee: I tribe of Manasseh, spake Joshua, will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. saying,
6 Be strong and of a good 13 Remember the word which courage: for unto this people Moses the servant of the Lord shalt thou divide for an inherit- commanded you, saying, The ance the land, which I sware un- LORD your God hath given you to their fathers to give them. rest, and hath given you this land.
7 Only be thou strong and 14 Your wives, your little ones, very courageous, that thou may- and your cattle, shall remain in est observe to do according to all the land which Moses gave you the law, which Moses my servant on this side Jordan ; but ye commanded thee : turn not from pass before your brethren armed, it to the right hand or to the left, all the mighty men of valour, that thou mayest prosper whi- and help them; thersoever thou goest.
15 Until the Lord have given 8 This book of the law shall your brethren rest, as he hath not depart out of thy mouth; but given you, and they also have pos
PART 111.--0. T.
sessed the land which the LORD 17 According as we hearkened your God giveth them : then ye unto Moses in all things, so will shall return unto the land of your we hearken unto thee : only the possession, and enjoy it, which Lord thy God be with thee, as Moses the Lord's servant gave he was with Moses. you on this side Jordan toward 18 Whosoever he be that doth the sun-rising
rebel against thy commandment, 16 And they answered Joshua, and will not hearken unto thy saying, All that thou command- words in all that thou commandest us we will do, and whitherso- est him, he shall be put to death : ever thou sendest us we will only be strong and of a good cougo.
LECTURE 366. Of our title, help, and way, to the attainment of heaven. The title of the Israelites to the land of Canaan is expressly set forth in the beginning of this book, which relates chiefly to their settlement therein. And that title is no other than the gift of God. “Go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel.” And again, “ Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses.” God gives, in fulfilment of his promise. God gives in the free exercise of his right. “The earth is the Lord's, and all that therein is : the compass of the world, and they that dwell therein.” Ps. 24. 1. So is it also in the case of our heavenly inheritance. We can plead no other title than the gift of God through Jesus Christ our Lord. And indeed what other plea could be so strong ? What other claim could be so sure to be right? In many things our Maker has vouchsafed to justify his dealings to his creatures. In many respects the
grounds of his proceedings are yet far above out of our sight. But whether it be in the allotment of Canaan, or of heaven, whether it be in giving to the wayward Israelites a land flowing with milk and honey, or whether it be in assigning the joys of eternity to Christians so unworthy as the best of Christians are, still we know of a certainty, from what we know of God's proceedings, and from what we know of God Himself, that whatsoever He orders, in earth, or in heaven, must be holy, and just, and good.
The gift of God was Joshua's warrant for taking possession of the land
of Canaan. The help of God was to be the means of his success. But at the same time he was exhorted to be strong, and of a good courage, and very diligent in obeying all the law of the Lord. “ Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage, be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest." Thus are we also encouraged, in our Christian course, by the covenanted assurance of help from heaven. Whilst at the same time we are
charged, that we must nevertheless ourselves be stedfast, and obedient, faithful, and devout. The fact that God worketh in us both to will and to do, of his good pleasure,” is the very reason urged by St. Paul, for us to work out our own “salvation with fear and trembling." Phil. 2. 12. So little do they know what God's good pleasure is, who think that He is pleased to give us grace by way of dispensing with our own exertions! So fearfully do they dishonour God's everlasting Gospel, who suppose, that by reason of the riches of his mercy in Christ they may safely continue in sin !
Joshua, in obedience to the command of God, bids the people be prepared for entering into Canaan; and especially reminds the Reubenites, and Gadites, and half tribe of Manasseh, of the conditions on which Moses had allowed them to settle in the country east of Jordan. See Num. 20. 29. In their reply they profess their willingness to obey his orders, and they declare that disobedience shall be punished with death; at the same time repeating the words of exhortation with which Joshua had been exhorted by God, and which he had probably reported to them: “ only be strong and of a good courage.' Firmness, and boldness; these are graces of the utmost importance in attaining to eternal life. These are graces entirely consistent with an humble distrust of our own strength, and a reverential fear of God. Whilst we can scarcely think too meanly of our own unassisted powers, we must have entire confidence in the strength of the Holy Ghost; we must work under the full conviction that we are strong in the Lord and in the power of his might. Whilst we shrink with lively terror from the least risk of sin, and fly with salutary caution from the most remote approaches of temptation, we must have a good courage when we are tempted, we must resist the tempter without misgiving or doubt that we shall through Christ obtain the victory. As God was with Joshua, so will He be with us. He will not fail us, nor forsake us. Only let us be * strong and of a good courage."
O God, who hast commanded us in thy word to serve Thee with full purpose of heart, grant that the book of thy law, the volume of thy revealed will, may be ever in our thoughts, and in our hearts ; that we may “meditate therein day and
night,” and that we may “observe to do according to all that is written therein.” For then shall we make our “way prosperous;” and then shall we have “good success.”
The two spies sent to Jericho are preserved by Rahab. 1 And Joshua the son of Nun Lord dried up the water of the sent out of Shittim two men to Red for
when spy secretly, saying, Go view the out of Egypt; and what ye did land, even Jericho. And theywent, unto the two kings of the Amorand came into an harlot's house, ites, that were on the other side named Rahab, and lodged there. Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom 2 And it was told the king of ye utterly destroyed. Jericho, saying, Behold, there 11 And as
as we had came men in hither to night of heard these things, our hearts did the children of Israel to search melt, neither did there remain out the country.
any more courage in any man, 3 And the king of Jericho sent because of you : for the LORD unto Rahab, saying, Bring forth your God, he is God in heaven the men that are come to thee, above, and in earth beneath. which are entered into thine Now therefore, I pray you, house : for they be come to swear unto me by the LORD, search out all the country.
since I have shewed you kind4 And the woman took the two ness, that
will also shew kindmen, and hid them, and said ness unto my father's house, and thus, There came men unto me, give me a true token: but I wist not whence they were: 13 And that ye will save alive
5 And it came to pass about my father, and my mother, and the time of shutting of the gate, my brethren, and my sisters, and when it was dark, that the men all that they have, and deliver went out: whither the men wentI our lives from death. wot not: pursue after them quick- 14 And the men answered her, ly; for ye shall overtake them. . Our life for your's, if ye utter not
6 But she had brought them this our business. And it shall up to the roof of the house, and be, when the Lord hath given hid them with the stalks of flax, us the land, that we will deal which she had laid in order upon kindly and truly with thee. the roof.
15 Then she let them down by 7 And the men pursued after a cord through the window : for them the way to Jordan unto the her house was upon the town fords: and as soon as they which wall, and she dwelt upon the wall. pursued after them were gone 16 And she said unto them, out, they shut the gate. Get you to the mountain, lest 8 And before they were laid the pursuers meet you; and hide down, she came up unto them yourselves there three days, unupon the roof;
til the pursuers be returned : and 9 And she said unto the men, afterward may ye go your way. I know that the Lord hath given 17 And the men said unto her, you the land, and that your ter- We will be blameless of this thine ror is fallen upon us, and that all oath which thou hast made us the inhabitants of the land faint swear. because of you.
18 Behold, when we come into 10 For we have heard how the the land, thou shalt bind this line
of scarlet thread in the window she sent them away, and they which thou didst let us down by: departed: and she bound the and thou shalt bring thy father, scarlet line in the window. and thy mother, and thy bre- 22 And they went, and came thren, and all thy father's hous- unto the mountain, and abode hold, home unto thee.
there three days, until the pur19 And it shall be, that who- suers were returned: and the soever shall go out of the doors pursuers sought them throughof thy house into the street, his out all the way, but found them blood shall be upon his head, and not. we will be guiltless : and who- 23 So the two men returned, soever shall be with thee in the and descended from the mounhouse, his blood shall be on our tain, and passed over, and came head, if any hand be upon him. to Joshua the son of Nun, and told
20 And if thou utter this our him all things that befel them : business, then we will be quit of 24 And they said unto Joshua, thine oath which thou hast made Truly the Lord hath delivered us to swear.
into our hands all the land; for 21 And she said, According even all the inhabitants of the unto your words, so be it. And country do faint because of us.
LECTURE 367. That no mere human example is perfect. The faith of the harlot Rahab is commended in the Epistle to the Hebrews, 11. 31, and in the Epistle General of St. James, 2. 25. She acted upon the conviction thus expressed to the spies, “The Lord your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.” Her faith wrought by works. Whereas the rest of the people, and their king, acted in opposition to the truths which they had heard, acted as if they thought they could succeed in resisting the will of the Lord. In taking then the faith of Rahab for our pattern, we are not concerned to defend or justify the whole course of her conduct. We need not be surprised to find, or unwilling to admit, that her past life had been spent in profligacy, and that her present right conduct was mingled with deceitfulness. We have only one perfect pattern set before us, the example of our Saviour and our God. And when we are to be instructed by the attainments and graces of our frail fellow creatures, we must be content to learn from each a part only of our duty; and we must expect to see in each something, if not much, to be avoided. It was an eminent attainment in this Canaanitish woman to act at no small present risk, and in the hope of future safety, on the strength of what she had heard of God's declared will. Let us not be ashamed to learn this valuable lesson, of one who yet knew no better than to promote her object by a falsehood. For if we cannot condescend to be instructed in faith, by one who had so grievously transgressed in works, we have need to call to mind what our Lord declared to the haughty chief priests and elders : “ Verily I say unto you, that the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.” Matth. 21. 31.