Searchlights from the Word by G. Campbell Morgan: Joshua

Helpful outline sermon suggestion from every chapter from the Book of Joshua

Gene Exod Levi Numb Deut Josh Judg Ruth 1Sam 2Sam 1Kin 2Kin 1Chr 2Chr Ezra Nehe Esth Job_ Psal Prov Eccl Song Isai Jere Lame Ezek Dani Hose Joel Amos Obad Jona Mica Nahu Haba Zeph Hagg Zech Mala Matt Mark Luke John Acts Roma 1Cor 2Cor Gala Ephe Phil Colo 1The 2The 1Tim 2Tim Titu Phle Hebr Jame 1Pet 2Pet 1Joh 2Joh 3Joh Jude Reve

The Book of Joshua - "Searchlights from the Word" by G. Campbell Morgan.

Chapter 1

Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan.
Joshua 1:2

As these words are read, we are reminded of John Wesley's saying: "God buries His workmen, but carries on His work." Joshua was called, equipped, appointed to carry the purpose of God a step further; but all he was about to do was made possible by what Moses had already done. The first great leader of the people had completed his task; he had done what God had appointed him to do, but there were things he could not do. He came to the end of his service knowing the greater things yet to be done. The second leader was now to take up his task; he also must do what God had appointed, knowing that there were things which he could not have done. He came to the beginning of his service knowing his dependence upon the things already done. Thus it ever is with regard to God's enterprises in this world. He is supreme in plan, in purpose, in power. He alone is the One Who worketh continuously, and without cessation, until the work is completed. His, instruments are men, and high indeed is the honour of being such. Each will take up a work already begun, and will leave it unfinished. Each is debtor to those who have gone before, and creditor to those who are to follow. Therefore it behoves us to be filled with humility and restfulness. We must be humble as we remember that no service we render is wholly ours. The conditions which make it possible have been created by others; and indeed in itself it is part of their work. But we must be restful also. None of us can finish anything. The work we do is part of a larger whole, and when our "twelve hours" have run their course, it will not be completed. God will still continue it, and find other instruments. That is the joy of working together with Him.

Chapter 2

The Lord your God, He is God in heaven above, and on earth beneath.
Joshua 2:11

These words constituted the confession of Rahab. They are remarkable, first, as showing the effect which these people, God-governed, were already producing upon the peoples of the land to which they were coming; and further as revealing the capacity of the human soul for coming to right conclusions in the presence of manifestations of the Divine power. As to the first. The effect was not that of a sense of the greatness of the Hebrew people, but of the greatness of their God. The heathen had heard of the deliverance from Egypt, and of the victory over powerful enemies. They knew that these things had not been done by the Israelites, but for them, through their God. They recognized Him in His Almightiness, for this is the full meaning of the declaration that "He is God in heaven above, and on earth beneath." As to the second. This woman's language all through shows her power of discernment. She had heard of the past wonders, and so she knew the issue. She stands out in separation from her people because she made her knowledge the inspiration of her faith. The men of Jericho shared her conviction, but rebelled against it. She recognized the act of God and yielded to it. The one really valuable influence exerted by the people of God is that of a revelation of His power. They render true service to men, not as they make a name for themselves, but as they make His name great among men.

Chapter 3

Sanctify yourselves; for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.
Joshua 3:5

This was the command which indicated the conditions upon which God covenanted with His people to lead them in. Thus their first movement forward under Joshua was of such a nature as to impress them as the chosen people with the truth of their positive relation to God. There was nothing in this first advance calculated to give them any cause for personal glorying. They came on to the actual soil of Canaan, not by deflecting the course of the intervening river, nor by bridging it, but by Divine intervention. His might was exercised as He laid arrest upon the rushing river, and so made highway for His people to the other side. But His power operated when they fulfilled these conditions. The wonders of God are performed for His people when they sanctify themselves, that is when, so far as they have light, they walk in it. The call to sanctification, as an act on the part of the people of God, is a call to separation from everything which they know He disapproves, and of dedication to Him completely, in mind and heart and will. The attitude is more than activity. That is to say, in proportion as in our deepest life we yield to His will we place ourselves in line with His work. The application is personal and social. It is true of the individual and of the Church, that all our progress is the result of the putting forth of His power; but it is equally true that He works when there is response to His call, and when our sanctification to Him is unquestioned and complete.

Chapter 4

When your children ask in time to come.
Joshua 4:6

The people of God had sanctified themselves as He had commanded, and He had wrought the wonder of bringing them across Jordan by the putting forth of His power. Now, before there could be any forward march, they were commanded to halt for worship, and the performance of a ceremony which was in itself a recognition of the Divine presence and activity. Stones were to be gathered out of the river-bed by representatives of the tribes, and these stones were to be erected as a memorial-pile on the side of the Jordan to which they had now come. We miss the real beauty of this arrangement if we fail carefully to note the true reason of this pause and erection of a pillar. That reason is declared in these words: "That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask in time to come." It is repeated later (verses 21-22). The ultimate purpose of God lay far on, and out of sight. Ere it was reached, many generations would come and go. None of the lessons learned by the way must be lost. They must be perpetuated in the national memory throughout the coming days. In order that this might be so, Jehovah definitely arranged for such things as would appeal to the natural curiosity of children. Thus in answer to their questionings the story of the Divine deliverance was to be repeated to each succeeding generation. This is the true value of all monuments and memorials. They are erected to make children inquire, and it is the business of those who have charge of them, to answer their questions. Thus the child is instructed as to the things of real significance in national life; and thus the nation is preserved from forgetfulness of those things.

Chapter 5

The manna ceased.
Joshua 5:12

The manna had been God's supernatural provision for the needs of His people during the time of their journeyings in a wilderness where cultivation of the soil was impossible. They were now in a land already cultivated, and capable of cultivation. They were now fed with the corn of the land, and their future supply would depend upon their own labour. They would be as surely fed by God in the land as they had been in the wilderness; but they would now be responsible for co-operation with Him in the labour of their own hands. This is ever so. For the needs of His people God always provides. When they are in such circumstances, under His direction, as to be unable to provide for themselves, He cares for them without any action on their part. When it is possible for them to act and to work, He provides for them through that activity. God never employs supernatural methods of supplying needs which can be met by natural means. In other words, He puts no premium upon indolence by His provisions for men. If for any reason within the compass of His government of our lives, we are unable by our own effort to obtain what is necessary for our life and service, we may count upon Him to provide for us. When the hour comes in which that inability no longer exists - when we are able by thought and toil to secure necessary things - He demands that we use the strength He has provided, and in such use. He works together with us. The manna always ceases when by industry we are able to produce bread.

Chapter 6

Only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all that are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent.
Joshua 6:17

The writer of the letter to the Hebrews cites this as an illustration of the activity of faith: "By faith Rahab, the harlot, perished not with them that were disobedient, having received the spies with peace" (11:31). This is very interesting, as it helps us to understand the true nature of faith. In this Christian writing her faith is placed in direct contrast with disobedience. She was obedient, and that was faith. Her obedience was not, in the first place, that of doing what the spies told her. It was that of receiving them. She was obedient to conviction. In a previous chapter (2), we have her own account of that conviction. She told the men that she knew the power of their God, and that the people of the land knew it also. They were disobedient; that is, they did not act in accordance with their convictions. She had faith; that is, she did act in accordance therewith. That is of the very essence of faith. It is far more than a creed intellectually held. It is always volitional surrender to intellectual conviction. Not everyone who saith Lord, Lord - even though the confession may be a perfectly honest statement of real conviction - but he that doeth the will, enters into the Kingdom. The light which Rahab had, was not particularly brilliant - her advantages had been very few - but she followed the gleam, she believed actively, and was thus delivered. Thus is clearly revealed the true principle of life.

Chapter 7

Therefore the children of Israel cannot stand before their enemies. - Josh. 7:12

This chapter opens with a significant and ominous "but." So far the people of God had been completely victorious. We now see them defeated and flying before their enemies. Joshua was filled with the profoundest consternation, and poured out his soul before God. The central word of his agony was that in which he cried: "0 Lord, what shall I say, after that Israel hath turned their backs before their enemies!" The answer was given him at once. Israel had sinned; therefore they were unable to stand before their enemies. The sin was that of a man, but Israel was now a nation, and therefore no one person could act alone. This is a striking revelation of the Divine conception of the solidarity of human society. The sin of the one is the sin of the community. All the hosts of God were defeated, and His enterprises checked, because one man had disobeyed. The story of Achan's sin; as he himself confessed it, is full of warning. Mark carefully the progress of it. "I saw." "I coveted." "I took." Everyone sees. The danger begins when the sight lingers until desire is generated. The next stage is almost inevitable. Swift and terrible, and yet necessary for the strength of the national life, was the judgment which fell upon this man. The confession he made was complete, but it was worthless because it was not made until there was no escape from detection. Confession, and being found out, are two things. The ultimate teaching of the incident is undoubtedly that of its revelation of the fact that any one member of the hosts of the Lord may bring disaster upon those hosts by personal sin.

Chapter 8

As well the stranger as the home-born.
Joshua 8:33

Among the final instructions given to the people by Moses, were those which provided for the setting up of great stones upon which the words of the law were to be written; the erection of an altar on Mount Ebal; the offering of sacrifices; and the uttering of the blessings and cursings as appointed (Deut. 27). These words occur in connection with the account of the carrying out of these instructions. The principle involved we have observed before (Lev. 24. 22) in its application to the law. There was to be one law as well for the sojourner as for the home-born. That emphasized the rights of the sojourner. Here it stresses equality of privilege and Searchlights also of responsibility. It is to be observed that from the beginning, the door was open to others to enter this Theocracy, this Kingdom of God. The claims of blood and birthright were not exclusive. But it was insisted upon, that such as entered must accept the law, and abide by the blessings and cursings as provided. They could claim no exemption from responsibility, and the home-born could exercise no exclusivism against them, on the ground that they were not of the actual Israelitish blood. Today that door of entrance to the Kingdom of God, through Jesus Christ the Lord, stands wide open to men of every nation. There is a sense in which there are no longer any home-born, and that because all who enter are born anew of the Spirit. That, therefore, is the one necessity both as right and responsibility which must be insisted upon. Any desire for comprehension, which suggests the admission into the fellowship of the Christian communion of those who are not completely yielded to Christ, and so share His very life, is dangerous, because it threatens to destroy that fellowship, and make impossible the realization of its true functions.

Chapter 9

We have sworn unto them by the Lord, the God of Israel; now therefore we may not touch them.
Joshua 9:19

These words were spoken concerning the Gibeonites through whose strategy a new peril threatened the people of God. The whole story is suggestive. The fame and dread of the Israelites were spreading far and wide throughout the land. Indeed, the kings of Canaan conscious of their danger, had formed a league against the oncoming hosts. Before they had time to take action, this trouble with the Gibeonites arose. They sought to secure their own safety by deceit. The fundamental mistake made by the princes of Israel in this matter was that they acted on their own account, instead of remitting what was a new situation to God for counsel and guidance. They "asked not counsel at the mouth of Jehovah." Moreover, they had been straitly charged to make no covenant with the people of the land, and though it is possible that in doing so with these people, they thought they were people from a great distance, it is yet clear that they approached perilously near to disobedience, if indeed they were not actually guilty of it. But the covenant being made and ratified by the use of the Name of God, they would not break it. In this is a revelation of what these people felt as to the sacredness of a covenant, made, and there is no doubt that they were right. Joshua, strictly bound by the letter of the covenant, condemned the Gibeonites to perpetual servitude. In all the subsequent history we see that this treaty was recognized.

Chapter 10

All these kings and their land did Joshua take at one time, because the Lord, the God of Israel, fought for Israel.
Joshua 10:42

That statement is to be carefully noted All the way through this history of the conquest of the land, we must bear in mind that the record treats it as a Divine movement by which a corrupt people were cleared out of possession, and so a new era in the history of the whole race was created. Joshua took the kings and their land, because Jehovah the God of Israel fought for Israel. Joshua and Israel, as leader and people, constituted God's instrument for this cleansing and purifying work. Those who read the story without this recognition miss its supreme note. It is well to remember, too, all the great spiritual and moral benefit which has accrued to humanity through this people of God. True, today they are a people scattered and peeled over the face of the whole earth, but that fact is a further witness to the same activities of God. When these people failed to fulfil the Divine purpose, and themselves became degenerate and corrupt, God cast them out of the land, as He had done with the previous dwellers therein. "Jehovah is a Man of war" in very deed, but He is always on the side of "truth and meekness and righteousness"; because of these things. He in His majesty rides on prosperously; and for them His right hand teaches terrible things (see Psa. 44). In the strength of this Divine passion and power, Joshua fought on, until the whole of Southern Canaan was cleared of the corrupt peoples, and in possession of Israel.

Chapter 11

And the land had rest from war.
Joshua 11:23

But that rest did not come quickly, nor was it realized until war had achieved the high purposes of God. After the conquest of Southern Canaan, a new confederacy had to be faced and fought. The northern kings, conscious of their peril, joined together in an attempt to break the power of the conquering hosts. Turning north, Joshua attacked, and utterly routed them. He then turned back to Hazor with like results. As we have said, all this did not happen immediately. Indeed, we are told in the text that it occupied "a long time" (verse 18). In all probability, from the death of Moses to this period, five years had elapsed. Thus ended the unity of the action of the hosts of God. There was still much to be done in the way of conquest, and afterwards there was much fighting as occasion demanded, but the preliminary campaign of conquest was complete. The statement that the land had rest from war does not mean, therefore, that there was to be no more war, for in the settlement of the land the separate tribes were involved in war. It rather declares that rest was reached through war. It has often been so in the history of man. Through blood and fire and vapour of smoke, the signs and symbols of conflict, God cleanses the land, and the heart of man, from those evil things which produce human feverishness and restlessness; and thus, through the terrible ordeal, leads men to quietness and rest. When passions are purified, and evil thoughts are no more, war will cease. Till then God makes it the awful instrument of cleansing and renewal.

Chapter 12

All the kings thirty and one.
Joshua 12:24

This chapter contains no new matter. It is rather a concise summary of the extent of the conquest; first, that under Moses (verses 1-6); and then, that under Joshua (verses 7-24). These words refer to the extent of Joshua's victory on the west side of Jordan, and in their bald simplicity help us to realize at once the difficulty and greatness of what he accomplished. That comparatively small strip of country was occupied by these many peoples, living among its mountains, at perpetual and cruel strife, united only in their utter degeneration and corruption. Six races are named - Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. Every considerable city had its king. There was no true cohesion among the nations, but there were confederacies formed against Joshua, as we have seen. When he had completed his great campaign, these all were subdued, and the land passed under the rule of God through His people. Thus ends the first section of this Book. The destructive part of the Divine work is potentially completed. The constructive work of God may now go forward. The whole story recalls Whittier's lines:-

Chapter 13

There remaineth yet very much land to be possessed.
Joshua 13:1

With this chapter the second part of the Book of Joshua commences, which gives the account of the settlement of the people in the conquered land. Joshua was now probably about ninety years of age, and the word of Jehovah reminded him that there was still much to be done. Of the land which God had chosen for His people, there was very much even yet unsubdued; and within the area of that conquered, strong cities such as Jerusalem, Gezer and others, were still held by the otherwise defeated Canaanites. The people of God were called upon to complete this work; and now, in order that it might be accomplished, Joshua was commanded to proceed forthwith to the division of the land among the tribes. The danger was recognized that these people might rest content with victories already gained, and so fail to realize all the purposes of God for them. As a matter of fact this did happen, as we shall see subsequently. The words have a message for us. In whatever realm we think of the Divine purpose for us, we have to say: "There remaineth very much land to be possessed." We have never occupied all the territory provided for us in the Divine intention, and we are ever terribly prone to be satisfied with less than that which is in the will of God for us. It is true in the realm of spiritual experience; it is true in the matter of missionary enterprise.

Chapter 14

Give me this mountain.
Joshua 14:12

This was the petition of Caleb, and it is characteristic. He was now eighty-five years of age, and was still in possession of full vigour. He it was who, with Joshua, forty-five years before, had seen the truth about the land, for he had not only seen the difficulties, he had seen God. The whole history of the man is full of interest and instruction. The victory of his faith at Kadesh-Barnea had been that of a man who "wholly followed Jehovah." For forty years he had shared the wanderings and discipline of those who had not shared his faith. For five years undoubtedly he had taken part in the conflict which had resulted in their coming into the land. During all that period he had never been uncertain of the issue. He had apparently occupied a comparatively quiet and obscure position among his people, while his friend Joshua had been called into the place of conspicuous and powerful leadership. Very beautiful is this story of the converse of the two men. Caleb came while there was still much to be done; and urging his unabated vigour as constituting fitness for the work, he asked for a possession in the land, which would make stern demands upon him in order to make it his own. On that mountain the Anakim had dwelt; on it there had been great and fortified cities in the day when his faith had triumphed. They were still there, and he asked for the privilege of demonstrating and vindicating faith by works. Joshua's recognition of his friend and of his right to this choice was quick and generous. He granted him the mountain he asked, and blessed him. In the history of Caleb three things are illustrated concerning faith. Faith sees and dares in the day of overwhelming difficulty. Faith waits patiently through delays caused by failure in others. Faith acts with courage in the day of opportunity.

Chapter 15

As for the Jebusites, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the children of Judah could not drive them out.
Joshua 15:63

This is a very interesting statement. because it is the first made about Jerusalem in the Bible. The city has been named before. It was the King of Jerusalem, Adonizedek, who called together four others to join him against Joshua and the people of Israel (chapter 10). This, however, is the first thing we are told about it, and it is very suggestive. The children of Israel could not dislodge those who possessed it. In David's time it was taken, and in some senses was held by the people of God for centuries - how imperfectly, the whole history reveals. Subsequently it was lost to them, because they were never able to drive out their enemies. The last references to Jerusalem in the Sacred Writings are to it as a city coming out of heaven from God. All which things may be treated as an allegory. God's high purposes for men will never be achieved by man. They will come to men from God. Man is a Divine creation, but he is devilishly fallen, and he cannot recover himself. His recovery can only come by redemption, and he cannot redeem himself. God alone can redeem him. All this is true of the city of Mansoul, it is true of the whole social order. Both the one and the other are possessed by enemies too strong for us to deal with them, or drive them out. But our hope is in God. He has perfected the work, and will carry it out to the ultimate realization. The City of God is yet to come, and it will come, not by earth's activities, but out of heaven, from God, and not from man.

Chapter 16

And the children of Joseph, Manasseh and Ephraim, took their inheritance.
Joshua 16:4

This is the account of the portion allotted to Joseph, as it was divided between his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, with special reference to the lot which fell to Ephraim. It was a fertile and beautiful district, perhaps in many respects the most desirable in the whole country. It was nevertheless a possession of peculiar difficulty, in that it still lay largely in the power of the Canaanites. The history of Ephraim - which later on became the dominant tribe, as Hosea's prophecy shows - was a sad one. The failure of the tribe began at this time, and is recorded in the words: "They drave not out the Canaanites that dwelt in Gezer; but the Canaanites dwell in the midst of Ephraim." They took their inheritance, but they did not take possession of it. In the will of God, and by the consent of Ephraim, it belonged to them; but they failed to appropriate it in all its fullness, because they left these Canaanites in possession. The gifts of God to His people belong to them because He bestows them; but they can only be really possessed by conflict, and thus by the action of those upon whom they are bestowed. Moreover, the richer the gifts, the stronger the foes which have to be dealt with, and therefore the sterner the conflict to be waged. How constantly the people of God fail as did Ephraim! They take their inheritance in the sense of recognizing the Divine gift, and speaking of it as belonging to them; but they fail to dispossess those who hold it from them by their presence and power. To fail to appropriate Divine gifts by conflict against enemies, is to lose them. The things that are ours by Divine grace, we must make ours by our own devotion.

Chapter 17

If thou be a great people, get thee up to the forest, and cut down for thyself there.
Joshua 17:15

The territory of Manasseh is indicated in this chapter. It is interesting to notice that some of the cities of Ephraim were within that territory; and moreover, that some of the cities of Manasseh were within the territory of Asher and Issachar. The reason for this, as to the first, may be that it was intended to mark the unity existing between Ephraim and Manasseh as sons of Joseph; and, as to the second, that Asher and Issachar were not strong enough to subdue the territory committed to them. The overlapping emphasized the unity of the tribes in one national life. Of Manasseh it is also true, as of Ephraim, that they did not drive out the Canaanites. Yet these children of Joseph were discontented with their portions, and complained to Joshua. They said they were a great people, and that the lot given to them was not adequate. The answer of Joshua was characteristic of him, and evidenced the greatness of his statesmanship. He manifested a clear understanding of the weakness of these tribes, and of the way by which alone they could become strong. He did not deny that they were a great people, but - surely with a touch of irony - he charged them to demonstrate their greatness by taking possession of what they had. He instructed them to go up to the mountains, and cut down the trees and drive out their foes, and so to enlarge their borders by cultivating their possessions, rather than by seeking more ground.

Chapter 18

How long are ye slack to go in to possess the land which the Lord, the God of your fathers, hath given you? - Josh. 18:3

These words were addressed to the whole of Israel, but had special application to seven tribes. It would seem as though, after the allotment of districts to Judah, Ephraim, and Manasseh, the nation slackened in its work. In view of this, Joshua first caused the erection in the midst of the land, at Shiloh, of that place of worship which was the perpetual symbol of the deepest truth of their nationality. Having done this, and having rebuked the seven tribes for slackness, he made arrangements by which the rest of the land should be divided into seven parts, and so the responsibility of taking possession would be shared by all the tribes. The arresting word in this question of Joshua is the word "slack," as it reveals a peril always threatening those who are called to carry out some Divine enterprise. How perpetually the work of God suffers because His people become slack! There is no weakening of the sense of the importance of the work, there is no intention of abandoning that work; but weariness creeps upon the soul, the enthusiasm which characterized the beginning cools; things lose their grip upon the mind, and effort grows sluggish. Against that tendency we should strenuously guard ourselves. If we do not, slackness will become paralysis, and the work will wholly cease. Inertia is one of the most deadly foes of all campaigns. That is the truth recognized in Paul's word: "Let us not be weary in well-doing." The reaping is only sure "if we faint not."

Chapter 19

So they made an end of dividing the land.
Joshua 19:51

This chapter gives us the record of the division of the remainder of the land among the six tribes - Benjamin's portion being described at the close of the last chapter. When all had been provided for, Joshua was given a special portion. It was the portion for which he asked. The time and nature of his choice are alike revelations of the character of the man. He did not ask for a possession for himself until all had been supplied. He was content to wait, taking only when all others had received, and then taking his portion as the gift of the nation. His choice in itself was suggestive. He asked for Timnath-serah. Thus he chose a city in the rough and uncultivated hill district which was part of the lot of Ephraim. When the children of Joseph had complained that the lot appointed to them was not worthy of their greatness, Joshua had charged them to go up to the mountain, and prove their greatness by taking possession actually of what was theirs in the appointment of God. Now, at last, when his opportunity came, he proved that he was prepared to act himself upon his advice to others. Thus, as a member of these very tribes, he proved his greatness. There is a splendid ring of the resoluteness of his character in the statement that "he built the city and dwelt therein." "So they made an end of dividing the land." The work had been done by Joshua the leader, Eleazar the priest, and the heads of the tribes; and all had been done at the door of the Tent of Meeting, and thus in relation to those great facts which lay at the foundation of the national life.

Chapter 20

These were the appointed cities.
Joshua 20:9

The reference is to the cities of refuge. Now that the people had come into the land, these were provided according to the arrangements already made (see Num. 35). Three were on the west of the Jordan, and three on the east; and they were so placed as to be available to the whole of the land. They were all Levitical cities. Maclear says that "Jewish commentators tell us how in later times, in order that the asylum offered to the involuntary homicide might be more secure - (a) the roads leading to the cities of refuge were always kept in thorough repair, and required to be at least 32 cubits (about 48 ft. broad) ; (b) all obstructions were removed that might stay the flier's foot or hinder his speed; (c) no hillock was left, no river was allowed over which there was not a bridge ; (d) at every turning there were posts erected bearing the words 'Refuge,' 'Refuge,' to guide the unhappy man in his flight ; (e) when once settled in such a city the man-slayer had a convenient habitation assigned to him, and the citizens were to teach him some trade that he might support himself." In this method of dealing with the most heinous of all sins, as between man and man, certain principles are revealed; (1) God does make distinction as between sin and sin, showing that there are degrees of guilt. Premeditated murder was to find no sanctuary, even in the city of refuge. (2) Man must not punish man, except his guilt be established after the fullest investigation. (3) All deliverance is closely connected with the priesthood, which stands for sacrificial mediation. The first two are observed in all human courts of law. Deliverance from sin, in any degree, can only come through the act of God.

Chapter 21

There failed not aught of any good thing which the Lord had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass.
Joshua 21:45

This chapter records the last things in the settlement of the land, and they had to do with the appointment to the Levites of their cities and pasturage in Israel. These men who, in place of the first-born, were devoted to the specific service of the nation in spiritual things were to live among the people, not in isolation and separation from them. Their presence everywhere was intended to serve as a perpetual witness to the relation of the nation to God, and of its consequent responsibilities. Thus the second division of this Book of Joshua, dealing with the settlement of the people in the land comes to an end. It concludes with the declaration that Jehovah gave them the land, and they possessed it. His every promise to them had been fulfilled. No man had been able to stand before them, as they had been obedient to Him. He had delivered their enemies into their hands. And yet, those enemies had not all been driven out, and so they had not fully possessed their possessions. As a matter of fact, they never did completely realize the purpose of God in this matter. The failure, however, was wholly due to their own disobedience, and so the record at this point fittingly closes with this delaration of the faithfulness of God to all His covenant with them.

Chapter 22

Let us now prepare to build us an altar, not for burnt-offering, nor for sacrifice; but it shall be a witness between us and you.
Joshua 22:26-27

The two and a half tribes now returned to their possessions on the other side of Jordan. As they did so, they builded an altar to the west of the river. To this the nine and a half tribes objected, not because they had any fear of their brethren possessing within the central borders of the land so recently divided, but because this act of erecting an altar seemed to indicate the setting up of a new centre of worship. In these words they replied to that fear, declaring that the altar was not raised for purpose of worship, but for a witness that they remained an integral part of the nation. It was a recognition of God, born of a fear of man. They were afraid that subsequent generations of those dwelling in the land might repudiate those dwelling on the other side of Jordan. It is all a very humiliating story, as it shows how suspicions and misunderstandings may exist between different tribes of the one nation. Its value to us is that it does indicate the true way of realizing unity. It is that of recognizing and testifying to our common allegiance to the one Lord. That is the bed-rock of our unity. There may be many temperaments, many dialects, many modes of expression, but there is "one Lord, one faith, one baptism," and in proportion as each recognizes this, and yields wholly to it, all come to the realization of true unity, which is ever that of harmony - not monotony, but concordant difference.

Chapter 23

Take good heed, therefore, unto yourselves, that ye love the Lord your God.
Joshua 23:11

As the time of Joshua's passing approached, he twice gathered the people together, and delivered farewell messages to them. The first of these is contained in this chapter. Its burden is that of the power and faithfulness of God, and the consequent earnest desire of the great leader for the faithfulness of the people to Him. The references which Joshua made to himself were very few and brief; the principal ones being: "I am old and well stricken in years," "I am going the way of all the earth." Only incidentally did he refer to his own work. After having declared that Jehovah had brought them in, he said: "I have allotted unto you these nations that remain." His references to Jehovah were constant: "Jehovah your God hath done"; "Jehovah your God, He it is that fought for you," and so on. Earnestly and urgently he charged them to be "courageous to keep and to do" the law, to "cleave unto Jehovah"; closing with the most solemn warning as to what would happen to them if they departed from their allegiance. Of all the wonderful address, the words we have chosen constituted the supreme note. Everything else is assured if men love Jehovah. Failure to keep the law is always the outcome of failure in love to the Law-giver. For such failure in love, men are responsible. In order that love may be maintained, they need to take heed to themselves. That is the meaning of the charge of Jude: "Keep yourselves in the love of God." To cease to discipline the life, is to cool in devotion.

Chapter 24

If it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve.
Joshua 24:15

These were the words of a fine irony. In spite of a constant use of them, they did not constitute an appeal to choose between God and idols. Joshua was supposing that they had decided not to serve God, and he called them then to choose between the gods their fathers had abandoned, and those which they had found in the land. He had traced their history from the call of Abraham to that time. This history he had expressed in the form of the speech of Jehovah; and in the compass of eleven verses the Divine pronoun "I" occurs no less than seventeen times. It was a great statement of the truth that everything of greatness in their history was of God. From that fact, Joshua made the natural deduction: "Now therefore fear Jehovah, and serve Him." But if not - then let them choose between these other gods. The implicate of the appeal was the recognition of a great necessity in all human life. Man must worship, he must have a god. That is universally true. If men will not serve the Lord, then let them choose whom they will serve, only let them make their decision in the clear light of what the kingship of God really means of light, and love and life and liberty. This is a great method of appeal. If today men say of God's annointed and appointed King. "We will not have this Man to reign over us," then let us urge them to choose as between the alternatives which are offered them; only let them compare the results of the reign of Christ over human life with those of any other authority to which loyalty may be yielded. Such comparison compels us to Joshua's decision: "As for me and my house, we will serve Jehovah."