In those days there was no king in Israel: and in those days the tribe of the Danites sought them an inheritance to dwell in…
It may be that we wonder at the slowness of the Danites — wonder that they should hesitate to press forward and possess themselves of such an earthly inheritance; of such an inheritance because it was a part of the land promised by God to their fathers. May we not, however, be the more astonished at ourselves, as we remember our own indifference towards a heavenly inheritance? The habitation we now hold, straitened as it is, and but for time, must be resigned at the call of death, whether we have made any advance towards the heavenly inheritance or not. And why are we still? Is it because we are required to withdraw our affections from the earth? If so, we are to be gainers by it (1 Peter 1:4). And we ourselves often profess a desire to possess such a home. And often do we picture to ourselves a home where all that renders this life painful will be found no more. We desire a land which is "very good." Such a home, such a land, God's Word speaks of to us, and says that it is laid up for those who seek it (1 Corinthians 2:9). Yet few of us really seek this home; and so, in the words of the spies, we are again and again rebuked for our indifference. "Behold the land is very good: and are ye still? be not slothful to go, and to enter to possess the land." Now the spies declared, concerning the people of Laish: "When ye go, ye shall come unto a people secure, and to a large land."
1. The security here alluded to was a false security. It was that careless indifference to danger — that want of thought for their own safety — which the people of Laish indulged. There was peace about them. They did not think of the possibility of its being broken. They, in fact, prepared the way for their own destruction. And Holy Scripture tells us who seek the heavenly inheritance: "When ye go ye shall come unto a people secure, and to a large land." But this security is a true one (2 Samuel 22:2, 3).
2. It is a large land. In it we shall dwell in peace with those who now enjoy its blessedness. Our entrance there will be followed by the gift of our God to us of fuller measures of love. Could we possibly desire a life more blessed than this? — a life passed with angels, and archangels, and all God's faithful ones. "Behold," then, "the land is very good, and the people dwell secure: and are ye still?" In order to rouse their countrymen, and to hasten them forward towards Laish, the spies declared, "God hath given it into your hands." Now these words either set forth the faith of the spies, and mean, "God will give it into your hands," or they refer to God's promise of old to Abraham (Genesis 15:18), and mean, "Know ye not that it is yours already by promise? God hath given it into your hands, since He sware unto Abraham that he and his seed should possess it." And we would borrow their words, and say of heaven, "God hath given it into your hands." For ever since the Saviour shed His blood for you, heaven has been purchased thereby for your everlasting inheritance. Heirs, by promise, thereof, your baptism made you. Citizens of heaven ye are now. Take heed that ye forfeit not, by following the world and its lusts, your citizenship. Moreover, it was not purchased to be bestowed arbitrarily, and after the manner of men, upon a few. And this is evident from the whole of our blessed Lord's teaching. "In it there are many mansions." "It is a large country." And though many have passed from the earth, and are sure to enter it, "yet there is room." But for whom is their room? Oh, not for the proud and the haughty. Not for those who cry "Lord, Lord," yet do not the things which He hath commanded. Not for those who love this present world, yet profess to seek a better, but are still! There is room in heaven for the poor and humble in spirit, for those who follow "temperance, soberness, and chastity." The spies also sought to urge their countrymen on by declaring, concerning Laish, that it was "a place where there is no want of anything that is in the earth." So tempting a prize as this would, we should think, put away all hesitation, all fear of difficulties. And we declare the same of heaven. The blessings offered to the Danites had respect unto the present life. The blessings offered to us are those of the eternal life with God in heaven. Do you desire peace? It is there. Heaven is the abode of holiness; and where holiness is, there also is peace. Do you desire joy? It is there. In heaven sorrows and tears are not. Do you desire security? In heaven nothing shall disturb your peace, nothing shall diminish your joy. Do you long to offer unto God a worship holy and undefiled? In heaven you shall offer it. There you will join the sinless angels, and "the just made perfect," and with them worship and adore your God.
(C. P. Longland.)
Parallel VersesKJV: In those days there was no king in Israel: and in those days the tribe of the Danites sought them an inheritance to dwell in; for unto that day all their inheritance had not fallen unto them among the tribes of Israel.
WEB: In those days there was no king in Israel: and in those days the tribe of the Danites sought them an inheritance to dwell in; for to that day [their] inheritance had not fallen to them among the tribes of Israel.