And Joshua said to the people, Sanctify yourselves: for to morrow the LORD will do wonders among you.
Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you. These words admirably express the conditions of all blessing for the people of God. Those conditions are at once Divine and human. The Divine is the essential; the human can only be realised through it.
I. GOD WILL DO WONDERS. This is a true description of all God's works of deliverance, and primarily of His great miracle of pardon. For, of all the marvellous things which He does, the most amazing is that He should have pity upon us, and should come back to us after we have forsaken Him. Grace is the crowning miracle. Never discouraged, it is perpetually triumphing over all obstacles, breaking down all that opposes its designs, bidding the mountain to become a plain, and magnifying itself in our infirmities. There are periods in the history of the race, and in that of individuals, when this miracle of constant recurrence is made yet more emphatic, as though to hasten on the purpose of eternal love. So was it at the time of the conflict between Israel and the Canaanitish nations. So was it at the birth of Christianity. So is it at the time of the beginning of the new life in the individual soul. The free and sovereign grace which does wonders is thus the necessary, antecedent Divine condition.
II. THE HUMAN CONDITION IS CLEARLY EXPRESSED IN THESE WORDS OF JOSHUA. Sanctify yourselves." We repeat, this condition cannot be fulfilled unless Divine grace have renewed our heart, and given us strength to sanctify ourselves. But our duty is none the less positive, imperative, sacred. God does not treat us as passive, inert beings, but as free agents made in His likeness. It behoves us, then, to respond to His grace. Hence the necessity to sanctify ourselves, in order that we may be partakers in the wonders He will work. This is all the more necessary since God will not work these wonders without us, but, by us and with us, calling us to be fellow workers with Him. Israel must prepare itself for victory by sanctifying itself. To sanctify ourselves is to put away all that is alien to the Divine life; to consecrate ourselves unreservedly to God; to give ourselves to Him; to bring Wire our heart that He may fill it. It is to yield ourselves to Him as wiring instruments in His hand; so that we are never better workers with Him than when we allow Him to work in us. To let Him work, this is our best way of serving. Do we desire that He should again "do wonders" in our age, in these days of final conflict between the gospel and antichrist? Let us, then, sanctify ourselves, like the children of Israel on the eve of battle with the Canaanites, and so will be fulfilled the twofold condition of all spiritual blessing so well set forth by St. Paul in the words: "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God which worketh in you to will and to do of his good pleasure" (Philippians 2:12, 13). - E. DE P.
Parallel VersesKJV: And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for to morrow the LORD will do wonders among you.