Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' minister…
"This book of the law," saith God to Joshua. And both in our text and in the verse preceding it is set forth as a rule claiming his observance and obedience, from which he may not swerve. In a peculiar sense we apply this term to the five books of Moses, and in a yet more limited one to the Decalogue. And since the New Testament contains so fully and so peculiarly the revelation of the gospel of the grace of God, and thus abounds with the language of invitation, promise, and privilege, it may seem as though to us the oracles of God had no other voice, and that the Bible is not to us the "book of the law" of God. But while we are jealous of God's grace, let us beware of a dangerous error. The Bible does propound to us a law — the very law of the two tables is unrepealed. Not the Jewish law as our code of worship or practice, not any law as the means of our justification, but the laws of Christian holiness and virtue. Our Bibles must be our lamps, our light, of our counsellors- our oracles of duty no less than of comfort. And while the Cross furnishes the motive, while the Spirit is the Teacher, the Author and Giver alike of will and power, the precepts and prohibitions of the Bible must be our guide, as the by-paths of sin and ruin present themselves on the right hand and on the left. We are not to go to this book of God for our creed or system of theology alone, but for our code of morals and practice. For the Bible is neither all doctrine, nor all promise; it has its rules, its precepts, its prohibitions. Its precepts based upon its doctrine, yoked graciously with its promises, but precepts still. You are placed from day to day amid duties and temptations. Your God, your fellow-men have many claims upon you; you stand in many and varied relationships. You are a pilgrim in a road bestrewed with pitfalls and beset with by-paths of sin and error; a soldier amid many and subtle and mighty foes, with a hard field to fight; a voyager over a stormy sea, amid shoals and rocks and quicksands. Your Bible is your guide, O pilgrim — your sword, O soldier — your chart, O seaman l What else shall preserve you even in sound doctrine in these dangerous days but that ye be "mighty in the Scriptures," and so reject another gospel, though its preachers wore the garb and semblance of angels, yea, though (were it possible) they were angels of light? Or what, in reference to your practice, shall secure you against the workings of sin's deceitfulness — against the deep devices of your arch-enemy, the tempter — against the false and unscriptural principles of the world around, the spurious morality which passes current among men — what but "this book of the law"? — this book which in its revelations is pure, unerring, truth — which in its precepts is all pure in holiness, all perfect in virtue. But draw near to it ever as remembering that you are listening to the voice of God. Bow down to its revelations therefore as unerring, to its requirements as authoritative and supreme.
(J. C. Miller, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' minister, saying,