Joshua 13
Pulpit Commentary Homiletics
The most active servant of God may be overtaken by old ago before he has completed what he believes to be the task of his life. This fact suggests various reflections.


(1) We must not postpone the commencement of work. Joshua began to serve God in his youth; yet his work was not finished in his old age.

(2) We must not be satisfied with any amount of work done. Joshua had accomplished great things, but much remained undone.

(3) We must not be willing to work at intervals or with wastefulness of time. The work of life is too great for the longest, most earnest life. Time is short; the day of work will soon pass. "Work while it is day" (John 9:4).

II. IN GOD'S SIGHT THAT LIVE IS FINISHED WHICH HAS ACCOMPLISHED ALL WITHIN ITS POWER. Life is long enough for all that God requires of us. We may not be able to do all we wish, all we set before ourselves, all that appears to be needed, all that we think it our duty to do. But God apportions our duty according to our opportunities. Therefore in His eyes the broken, unfinished life is really finished if all is done for which opportunities have been given.

III. GOD JUDGES US BY FAITHFULNESS, NOT BY SUCCESS. It is not they who effect much, but they who serve truly, whom God accepts. We cannot command success. The finishing of our work is not in our hands. We can be faithful (Luke 16:10).

IV. THE UNFINISHED EARTHLY LIFE IS A PROPHECY OF A FUTURE LIFE. Our aspirations exceed our capacities. It is not simply that we desire the unattainable; but we are conscious of duties which reach beyond present opportunities, and of possibilities within us which the limits of life prevent us from developing. If God is too wise to waste His gifts and too good to deceive His children, we may take the broken life, and still more the incomplete life even of old age, as mute prophecies of a larger life beyond.

V. IN THE FUTURE LIFE THERE WILL BE NO OLD AGE. The pain of declining powers, of insufficient time, and of all other limits of earthly life will be gone. Eternity will give leisure for all service. The eternal life will not grow old, but flourish in perpetual youth.

VI. IT IS A PROVIDENTIAL BLESSING THAT GREAT MEN SHOULD NOT BE ABLE TO FINISH THE WORK THEY SET BEFORE THEMSELVES. It is well that they should leave work for smaller men. The necessity thus created becomes a stimulus to others. When one falls, another is raised to continue his work (John 4:37, 38).

VII. NO MAN FULFILS EVEN SO MUCH OF LIFE'S WORE AS COMES WITHIN HIS POWERS. At best we are unprofitable servants; but we are all also negligent and slothful. We have left undone many things which we ought to have done. None of us can say with Christ, "It is finished." Therefore we should review our lives with humility, contrition, and repentance, seeking forgiveness for the failings of the past and more grace for the duties of the future.

VIII. CHRIST'S WORK ALONE IS THE GROUND OF ACCEPTANCE BY GOD. Our work is unfinished. It is faulty for the negligence it proves. It can earn us nothing on its own merits. Christ's work is finished. On this our faith can rest. Then we may offer our own imperfect work to God through Christ, and He will transform it for us by lifting it into the light of His merits, till it will be worthy as dust shines like gold when the sunbeam passes through it. - W.F.A.

The rest of the land from war, then (Joshua 12:23), was not that of final and completed victory. It was only a temporary truce. The whole land was not yet in the possession of Israel, but enough of it was subdued to prove God's absolute sovereignty over it. And now rest is needful to review the field and secure the ends that have been so far gained. Joshua is too old any longer to carry on the strife, but there is a work that he can do, and which must be done, before he is gathered to his fathers - the division of the land which in the Divine purpose, if not as an accomplished fact, is already Israel's inheritance. Note here -

I. THE HONOURED ENDING OF A LIFE OF NOBLE DEVOTION TO THE SERVICE OF GOD. There is no Divine approval of Joshua's fidelity actually expressed here, but the spirit of it seems plainly to breathe through these words. It is as if God said to him, "Thou art old; thy work of life is done - done faithfully and well - now rest; review thy path of service; gather up the fruits of it; set thy last seal to the truth of My word of promise, and enter into thy reward." Old age has great dignity and beauty in it when it crowns a life of earnest practical godliness. "The hoary head is a crown of glory, etc." (Proverbs 16:31). Like the rich glow of autumn when the fields have yielded their precious store to the hand of the reaper, and the song of harvest home is sung; like the golden sunset closing a day of mingled brightness and gloom, giving assurance of a glorious rising in the world beyond; such is the halo that surrounds the head of one of God's veterans. Think of the moral grandeur of the Apostle Paul's position when, in view of his past life work, and in prospect of its eternal issues, he could say, "I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight," etc. (2 Timothy 4:6-8). Such honour, in their measure, have all those who consecrate their days with whole-hearted devotion to the service of the Lord.

II. THE FAILURE OF THE LONGEST AND THE NOBLEST LIFE COMPLETELY TO FULFIL ITS OWN HIGH AIMS. "There yet remaineth very much land to be possessed." This is not said in reproach of Joshua. He had accomplished the work to which God had called him. But it reminds us that; however rich a human life may be in the fruits of practical devotion, it is after all but a contribution towards the full working out of the Divine purpose - small, feeble, fragmentary indeed in comparison with the grandeur of God's providential plan. Great as may be the victories it has achieved, it leaves "much land yet to be possessed." More. over, the noblest spirit fails to reach its own ideal, the most fruitful life falls to realise its own aspirations. Human life at the best is but a tale half told, a song that dies away into silence when only a few timid notes have sounded. It is but a beginning, in which the foundation is laid of works that it is left to other hands to furnish, and purposes are born that find elsewhere their actual unfolding. How many a man in dying has had a painful sense of having fallen far short, not only of the diviner possibilities of his life, but even of the realisation of the hopes that inspired him in his earlier years. There is always a touch of sadness in the autumn gleam.

"The clouds that gather round the setting sun
Do take a sober colouring from an eye
That hath kept watch o'er man's mortality;"

because they remind us of the brevity of our life day, and reflect the vanishing glory of so many of its fairest dreams. Full as it may have been of high endeavour and grand achievement, how much remains undone! "There remaineth yet very much land to be possessed." This is capable of many applications.

(1) As regards science. Marvellous as its progress has been, how many undiscovered secrets has Nature still locked up in her bosom!

(2) As regards the practical uses of life. God has made man "to have dominion over the works of His hands;" but what vast resources of the material world still remain unutilised in His service!

(3) As regards personal spiritual development. The best of us fall sadly short of the Scripture standard of character. When good men die, how far off still appears to them the goal of Divine perfection - like the horizon that seems to recede and widen and become more unapproachably glorious as we reach forth towards it.

(4) As regards the progress and consummation of the kingdom of God among men. Its triumphs thus far have been very wonderful, but how much remains yet to be done! How far as yet are the kingdoms of this world from having become "the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ"! How small the circle of light as compared with the vast outlying realms of darkness comparatively few of those who profess the faith of Christ, knowing anything of the living power of it, two-thirds of the human race being still heathen.

III. - THE STEADFASTNESS OF THE DIVINE PURPOSE, in spite of the decay, one after another, of the instruments by which it is accomplished. Much land remains to be possessed, and it shall be possessed though Joshua pass away from the scene of conflict. "Them will I drive out from before the children of Israel (ver. 6). God raises up men to take their particular part in His great work, some more prominent, some less, but He is independent alike of all The fall of His heroes on the field of battle in no way checks the onward march of the great unseen Captain of the host to final victory. All true leaders in the holy war point us, alike in their life and in their death, to Him whose presence is never withdrawn, whose years fail not, whose eye never becomes dim, whose force is never abated. In following their faith, and considering how their "conversation" ended, let us not forget that "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever" (Hebrews 13:7, 8). - W.

There remaineth yet very much land to be possessed. "Now therefore divide this land for an inheritance" - form a somewhat strange pair of precepts. It seems as if Joshua was dividing what he had not got; and as if Israel were casting lots rather for perils than property. It is not quite so extreme as this. The point in the conquest was reached when nowhere was there a resistance needing a nation in arms to quell it. The several tribes were each strong enough to make good the conquest of their several heritages. The work of the nation as a nation was over. The work of each tribe had now to begin. Still there is some of the grandeur of a Divine method in giving us something that still needs conquering; enriching us with something for which some fighting still requires to be done. Look at it.

I. GOD'S GIFTS ARE GENERALLY HALF HOLDING AND HALF HOPE, All He imparts has this double character - it is always at once a possession and a responsibility His gifts resemble, say, a colonial estate needing to be cleared; a good house half built - requiring to be finished before it can be used; a mine requiring to be wrought. They are always of vast value to those who will develop their value; but of little to the indolent or timorous. For the same gift, accordingly, some will be devoutly thankful, some thankless. Hebron, given to Caleb on condition of clearing out the Anakim, seems a fee simple, unencumbered, and he rejoices at his fortune. "The wood" still harbouring the enemy seems to Ephraim for a while at least a doubtful possession. Some - the heroic - rejoiced with abounding gratitude over God's gifts; some - the indolent - deemed them so hopelessly encumbered as to be valueless. So that His gifts were great to the great-hearted, and little to the mean-spirited. God's gifts are ever of this kind. He gives daily bread, but only through the toil that wins it; saving grace, but only on condition of repentance and obedience which will use it. He gives not bags of either earthly or heavenly gold, but chances, opportunities, potentialities. "A little strength and an open door" gives the power of making our own blessed destinies, is God's usual gift to all as well as the Church at Philadelphia. His grace is power to win character; not a certain pulp which, without effect, shapes itself into goodness; nay, it is something which we cannot keep except on the condition of getting more of it. The land divided is, in great part a land yet to be possessed. Observe secondly -

II. GOD'S METHOD IS THAT OF WISDOM AND OF MERCY. His gifts would not be blessings if action were needless for their improvement and enjoyment. That would then be stagnation of our powers with consequent enfeeblement. But the gift of that which requires enterprise and action, developes all qualities of strength, vigour, courage, self denial, self respect. Those who have no part in winning what they get generally lack power to keep it. Each tribe held with a stronger hand what it conquered for itself. The sense of possession was more secure, the enjoyment of it more perfect, If God were to give dignities instead of duties, enjoyments without responsibilities attached to them, how dull and earthly would His very gifts make us, In His mercy He gives us "high callings," "new commandments," "fights of faith to fight," and so developes all manliness and godliness. Do not murmur that your bit of the land of promise can only be got, secured, and enjoyed by fighting; it is the mercy of God that so orders it,

III. IN COUNTING OUR WEALTH WE SHOULD ALWAYS INCLUDE THE LAND NOT YET POSSESSED. God's Israel are always in this position. They have a little secure and grip of a great deal that needs still to be secured, but easily may be. "The good I have not tasted yet" was rightly included in her list of mercies by one of the sweet singers of our own day. With others "a bird in the hand may be worth "two in the bush;" with us, the "two in the bush" - being attainable - are to be discounted as of far greater worth. Caleb was thankful for the hill of Hebron, while yet the Anakim disputed its possession with him. Your land to be possessed is yours by title, by promise, by the power given you to win it. Be thankful for it and take it. In your gratitude remember the victories you have still to win; attainments which you yet will make; all the answers to your prayers that are on their way to you; the heavenly Canaan you yet will gain. For, though not yet "possessed," these are all yours by God's deed of gift, and we act wisely and devoutly only when we discount God's promises as being absolutely true and certain to be redeemed. - G.


(1) They who devote themselves to the service of God must be prepared to make earthly sacrifices. We cannot serve God and mammon. If our service of God costs nothing it is worth nothing (Luke 14:33). Therefore count the cost (Luke 14:28).

(2) Earthly possessions distract our attention from heavenly service. Therefore it is hard for the rich to enter into the kingdom of heaven (Luke 18:24).

(3) It is right that they who have the care of souls should be freed from the care of earthly business.


(1) They who serve at the altar have a right to live by the altar (1 Corinthians 9:7). This is

(a) just (1 Corinthians 9:11),

(b) necessary for unhindered service, and

(c) not injurious to true devotion so long as the servant of God does not degrade his vocation into a trade by working for money instead of receiving money that he may have means for work.

(2) In contributing to the support of God's servants we are offering sacrifices to God. The sacrifices were the priests' and Levites' portion (Deuteronomy 18:1). We cannot benefit God by our gifts, but we can give to God through His servants (Matthew 25:40). It is our duty to provide in temporal things for those who minister to us in spiritual things. He who starves the ministers of Christ is as guilty as if he starved their Master (Matthew 25:45).

III. THE TRIBE OF LEVI FOUND ITS TRUE INHERITANCE IN GOD. The sacrificial gifts of the people were not its chief inheritance, but only the small necessary earthly portion of what it was to receive. Its true heritage was spiritual.

(1) The Christian minister should not regard the earthly returns which he receives for his service as his main reward. To do so is to commit the sin of simony. His real reward is spiritual.

(2) He who makes any sacrifice for God will be amply compensated in Divine riches (Mark 10:29, 30).

(3) It is better to have God for our portion than any earthly inheritance (Psalm 73:26). To have God for an inheritance is

(a) to enjoy communion with Him;

(b) to be protected by Him;

(c) to live for His service.

This is the best inheritance, because

(a) it is satisfying to the soul, while the earthly inheritance is full of dissatisfaction, and can never supply our greatest wants;

(b) it is eternal; and

(c) it is pure and lofty.

Note: In the Christian Church, though there is diversity of orders (Romans 12:6-8) there is no distinction of caste. All Christians are called to the altar of sacrifice (Hebrews 13:10), all are to serve as priests of the temple (1 Peter 2:9), and all should find their true inheritance in God (1 Peter 1:4). - W.F.A.

I. WHEN SPIRITUAL GIFTS ARE USED FOR UNSPIRITUAL PURPOSES THEY LOSE THEIR SPIRITUAL VALUE. In the Book of Numbers Balaam appears as a prophet inspired by God. In the Book of Joshua he is only named as a common soothsayer. All spiritual gifts, of insight, of power, of sympathy, are worthy only so long as they are well used. As they become degraded by evil uses they lose their Divine character and become mere talents of cleverness and ability.

II. THE ABUSE OF SPIRITUAL GIFTS FOR PERSONAL GAIN IS A SIN WHICH CANNOT GO UNPUNISHED. Balaam had sold his prophetic powers for money, consenting to use them on the side of evil and falsehood. Now his sin has found him out. He who receives great gifts incurs great responsibility. No spiritual power is bestowed for merely selfish uses. The greater the talents we abuse, the greater will be the judgment we shall invoke.

III. THE POSSESSION OF SPIRITUAL GIFTS IS NO GROUND FOR THE ASSURANCE OF PERSONAL SALVATION. Balaam had great gifts, yet he suffered the fate of the heathen. Our privileges are no proof of a Divine favour which will overlook our sins. Salvation comes not from the gifts of the Spirit, but from the grace of God in Christ. The least gifted has as good ground for salvation as the most highly endowed. Pulpit power, the "gift of prayer," theological insight, and religious susceptibilities may all be found in a Christless life, and if so they will be of no avail as grounds of merit in the day of judgment.

IV. THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTH ONLY INCREASES THE GUILT OF THOSE WHO WILL NOT FOLLOW IT. Balaam knew the true God and the way of right. But not living according to his knowledge, his guilt was aggravated, and his doom certain. It is worse than useless to know Christian truth unless we obey it (James 1:22-24). The faith in Christ which secures to us salvation is net the bare intellectual belief in the doctrines of redemption (James 2:19), but submissive trust and loyal obedience to Christ as both Lord and Saviour (Mark 2:14). - W.F.A.

A study of pathetic interest; one of the great "might-have-beens" of the world. One capable of winning an immortal fame, but actually finding only an immortal infamy. The Judas of the Old Testament: one travelling on the right road till within sight of heaven, and then turning aside to perdition. Consider -

I. THE GREATNESS OF THE MAN. Evidently his position is one of great dignity and influence. He has raised himself to priest-kingship among the Midianitish tribes. He is considered to have such power in divination and forecast that he is brought all the way from a city in Mesopotamia to the borders of Canaan to "curse Israel." This reputation would lead you to expect to find him at least a man possessed of great spiritual insight; able at least to guess well concerning all moral probabilities, He has, moreover, reached a clear knowledge of God; has not become entangled by any service of the lower deities whose degrading worship was so prevalent; showing that he was a spiritually minded man, who had gone on and on following the light which reached him, until that light exceeded that of any one else among his people. His divination is no black art - carried on by appeals to demons - but by pure sacrifices offered to the supreme God. He had evidently been accustomed to utter exactly what God imparted. Pleasant or painful, what God sent him he said. And his honesty and courage are conspicuous in his actual declarations concerning Israel. When we have put together these qualities: spirituality sufficient to discover and serve the true God; great strength of integrity; the keen perception which can discern the essential differences and destinies of things; the fear of God to which "the secret of the Lord is always revealed" - you get a character of the first quality, one that has in it the making of a Moses or an Abraham, one who could and should have been one of the grandest of the prophets of the Lord. If only he had reached the full development of his spiritual powers, Midian might have been another Israel, for generations a source of highest good. Doubtless till middle life this course of high righteousness, consecration to and communion with God had gone on. But beginning well and running well, he falls at last into ignominy and shame. Mark -

II. THE PROCESS OF HIS FALL. It must not be dated strictly from the temptation before which he fell. There is always, or almost always, some declension before a fall. No one falls into crime by one stumble. Can we trace the process? The writer of the Apocalypse, with his power of going straight to the mark, sums up in one word: He loved the wages of iniquity; not iniquity, but what iniquity could give him. First the selling of his spiritual power was a declension. To seek God's light in order to get man's money was an activity damaging to his conscience. Whether it be the sale of masses, absolutions, indulgences, or oracles, the vitiation is in each case the same. A seemingly slender line divides Samuel's acceptance of an honorarium from Balaam's eager desire for it. But seeming alike, they essentially differ. In Balaam's case the greed got headway, and instead of the prophet's simple acceptance of gifts as a means of living, there was a valuing of all his spiritual powers and privileges only for their market value. [It is an awful thing when a Christian minister values his creed and his experience only as a means of making money.] Then hankering after money, he soon loses the fine edge of honour. When once God refused to give him leave to go with the messengers of Balak, there should have been no reopening of the question. But so anxious is he for the "rewards of divination," that on their second embassy he goes to God for a second time, for the chance of finding Him permit what He had already refused. Declining to accept a reluctant service, God at once permits and punishes a less honourable course. Again and again he tries to get permission to curse Israel, just in order to get gold. That desire to get a different light from what God has given him is degrading and demoralising. Each dishonourable and dishonouring attempt to get God's anathemas to hurl against a righteous nation fails to hurt Israel, but terribly damages himself; until, hunting after some means of possessing himself of Balak's gold, in the pursuit he falls down, and down in degradation until, God refusing to inspire him with evil, his heart is ready to welcome and utter an inspiration from below. And his character is so disintegrated in this hankering after money, that at last he gives the most diabolical advice that man could give; viz., that instead of fighting Israel, they should endeavour to corrupt them (Numbers 31:16). The licentious feasts, the heathen orgies are of his counselling, and but for Phinehas might have been as disastrous to Israel as their intent was diabolical. What a fall, from the level of highest character, influence, and opportunity, down to the level of a Satanic crime. The love of money is daily making wrecks equally disastrous and irreparable. Beware of it.

III. Lastly observe THE RETRIBUTION. Likely enough he got his reward, and was for a moment as pleased as Achan. But had he satisfaction in it?

(1) Israel, in whose future well being he recognised the source of the world's best help, is crippled, degraded, weakened through his advice, and that would pain him.

(2) Midian is all but completely annihilated. All the males and most of the women are slain (Numbers 31.).

(3) Balaam himself has but a short lived enjoyment of his wealth, for he also is slain (Numbers 31:8).

(4) The loss of life probably pained less than the everlasting infamy that made what hitherto had been an honoured name a proverb for the vilest form of treacherous wickedness. These penalties are obvious. In the world of spirits there must have been others more serious still. May we fear dishonourable gold, as that which makes the heaviest of all millstones to drown men in perdition! - G.

Joshua 13:22
Joshua 13:22. God is patient in the exercise of His justice as well as in His compassions, for He is the Lord, with whom "a thousand years are as one day." He knows that His threatenings, like His promises, cannot fail. Of this we have a striking proof, both in the punishment which came upon Balsam, during the war for the conquest of Canaan, and in the blessing of Caleb.

I. For many years Balsam had been untrue to his own conscience, in going back to the idolatries of Canaan, after having been made for one day the organ of the most glorious oracles of the true God. He is thus an illustration of the truth that the baser passions of the heart, if not subdued, will always quench the clearest light of the intellect. Balsam chose wittingly the evil part. He plunged again into the corrupt practices of the heathen. For a long time it seemed to the eyes of men, who judge only by the appearance, that he had made the right choice. Was it not better to sit under his own vine and fig tree, and enjoy the riches heaped upon him by Balak, than to join the Israelites in their dreary desert pilgrimage, beneath a blazing sky, and over the burning sand? Had not Balsam acted wisely? Unquestionably he had if the rule of true philosophy be, "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die;" that is to say, if God does not reign in righteousness forever and ever. But when the old soothsayer fell beneath the sword of those Israelites whose warfare he had not been willing to share, he understood too late that it was these despised people who had alone been wise, and that, in spite of all the light he had received, he had lived and acted like a fool. How many are there now living who recognise with their minds the truth of the gospel, but who are unwilling to give up their sinful indulgences, until there rises upon them the terrible day of the Lord. Happy those for whom this day of awakening comes before death, so that they do not go down to the grave with their hearts made gross by merely material prosperity, only to be aroused by the stroke of Divine retribution. Let us remember the punishment of Balaam, which came surely, though it seemed to tarry, when the prosperity of the wicked seems to us a stumbling block.

II. The promises of God's love are not less faithful and sure than His threatenings, though they also may seem slow of fulfilment. This is illustrated in the history of Caleb, who courageously served his people through a long lifetime, bringing back a good report of the land garrisoned by the enemy, which Moses sent him to explore. "Therefore Moses sware on that day, saying, Surely the land whereon thy feet have trodden shall be thine inheritance and thy children's forever, because thou hast wholly followed the Lord thy God," (ver. 9). This promise was not forgotten. Caleb received, as an inheritance, that hill of Hebron which was assured to him in the name of the God whom he served. Thus the promises of God are yea and amen. - E. DE P.

Machir was a 'man of war,' therefore he had Gilead and Bashan. These cities include the group which form such a striking stronghold in the northern part of the land beyond Jordan. Mr. Porter, in his 'Giant Cities of Bashan,' has described the surprising strength of the architecture of these cities - the failure of even three thousand years of change and wear to render the houses unfit for habitation; and has also described the strange formation of the district of Argob, rendering it a natural fortress of the most formidable kind. Here, by special adaptation of place with people, this district is assigned to the family of Machir. It was wisely so assigned, for through all the succeeding generations the keeping of the frontier in this direction was well done. We may gather one or two hints not altogether valueless from this assignment. Observe -

I. MACHIR HAS FOR HIS LOT THAT WHICH BY HIS COURAGE HE HAD CONQUERED. From Numbers 32:89 we learn that, gigantic as were the inhabitants of Gilead, strong as was its cities, impregnable as its natural fortress seemed, the children of Machir "took it," and dispossessed the Amorite that was in it. Now they enjoy that which their unusual valour won. Like Caleb, whose daring made him ask Hebron, even when it was in the hands of the enemy, they chose a difficult spot, and conquering, inherited it. More than any other they had a right to this, for their courage had conquered it. Your best inheritance will always be some Gilead that you conquer for yourself. The truth you discover for yourself will do you most good. The experience you develop for yourself will be your best guide. Even the money you make for yourself will be that which you at once employ and enjoy the best. Conquer what you want to have. By courage, diligence, enduring hardness, achieve what you would like to keep.

II. "A MAN OF WAR" IS THE RIGHT MAN FOR FRONTIER DUTY. The Jacobs in the middle; the Esaus are better on the borders of the land. The bravest should be those nearest the foe. They who keep the gates of a kingdom should be those to whom conflict has no terrors. Theologians that keep the frontiers of truth should be brave. Timid Christians that think all the world is going to turn catholic or infidel are not men for warfare on the border. Against assaults there should be placed those who have been through all the fights of faith and unbelief in their own hearts, and who can bring a strenuous, cheerful energy to the task of fighting for the truth. Those strong enough to expect a perpetual victory of truth are those alone fit to deal with the assaults of error. Ministers of religion, keeping the frontier between the Church and the world, should be in a good sense men of war; on their guard against encroachment of worldliness; strong enough to brave opposition and to be above the seductions of the flattery which a compromising spirit may win from the world; strong enough to keep out the intrusions of the secular spirit in all its forms of caste feeling, of cold heartedness, of indifference to the perishing; strong enough to carry the war into the enemy's country, and secure by extending the kingdom of Christ. On all frontiers there is need of vigour. Wherever the enemy is near, set what is bravest and stoutest in you to watch. The pugnacious element in our nature is very valuable - if it operates in Gilead. There is deficiency of it too often; and too often where it is, it is just in some position where it quarrels with its friends instead of with the temptations and the wrongs and the difficulties which are its proper foes. For frontier work of all kinds, courage is the prime qualification. Lastly -

III. THERE IS NO CITADEL LIKE A FORTRESS WON FROM THE ENEMY. What he won was his reward, but it was something more. It was the best stronghold he could have against the enemy. The conquered fortress makes the best defence. The vigour enough to win it grows stronger and becomes the power to keep it. A victory is always a point of strength and a stronghold conquered, a vantage ground against the foe. The Church differs from all other communities in this, that she is never weaker by extension; each new conquest gives her a better frontier; every Gilead subdued becomes a new line of defence, making her more impregnable against attack. By God's blessing, conquer a rebellious heart and subdue it to Him, and it becomes a fortified post from which you can assail or defend more powerfully than before. Graces that are easily Gained are easily lost. But those that are won with arduous difficulty are invariably much more securely held. None keep truth like those who have fought hard to get it. None are more generous than those who have fought hard with selfish tendencies within them. None keep elevation of thought and feeling more persistently than those who have reached it by crucifying the flesh. A conquered temptation is a grand fortress in which you are stronger to resist seduction than ever before. A grief conquered by faith becomes a quiet resting place, and one secure against all assaults of despair. Keep making daily some conquest, and so you will perfectly secure all that you have won. - G.

The Pulpit Commentary, Electronic Database.
Copyright © 2001, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2010 by Biblesoft, Inc.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Bible Hub
Joshua 12
Top of Page
Top of Page