No Anakim were left in the land of the Israelites; only in Gaza, Gath, and Ashdod did any survive.
I. THERE ARE GIANTS THAT WE HAVE TO RIGHT. The spies had made a true report. Their report erred not in the measurement of the difficulty, but in the estimate of the nation's power with God's help to overcome it. It was true enough that scattered over the land were these tribes or families of great stature - Anakim, Emim, Zamzummims, Rephaim, as they are variously called. The Israelites being probably a people of less than ordinary stature found themselves thus face to face with a most stalwart and lordly race, with a people whose strength is still evinced in those marvellous remains of "the giant cities of Bashan," which impress all who behold them. And the land cannot be theirs until these giant tribes in their mountain fastnesses are destroyed. It is with them as it is with all men - all have to fight some giants in their fight of life. Our outlook should be made hopeful by faith, not by illusion. There are giants before us whom we shall have to fight if we are faithful. Difficulties, temptations, huge griefs, loneliness of spirit, impulses of wrong, cares and anxieties, still make a great tribe of the children of Anak. We shall find them scattered all over the land - in Bashan and in Hebron, and throughout all the hill country. Wherever the conquest would be hard enough without them, there are they found to make it harder still. It is well to abjure self deception. The way of righteousness is hard, and many a battle will try all our nerve and all our endurance. Life itself is stern and fun of conflict. Be not surprised if the strain on you be terrific, if the number and force of the enemy alike distress you; there has nothing new happened to you. All have had giants to fight with in their course through life. Israel could not possess the land until the giants were con. quered, and your apprehensions of the future are so far accurate that you will have to encounter them without doubt. Secondly observe -
II. WE CANNOT HELP BEING. AFRAID OF THEM, BUT WE MUST KEEP THE FEAR WITHIN PROPER LIMITS. It is useless to forbid fear, and perhaps unwise. Useless, because so long as our nervous system is what it is, and the possibilities of life are so solemn and various, it is inevitable that solicitude should be awakened. It would be unwise, for the fear, kept within proper limits, is one of the most valuable of all our instinctive emotions. The eye, by a sort of fear instinctively operative in it, brings down its lid over it whenever anything approaches it. And by the physical apprehensiveness of the organ itself its delicate arrangements are protected. And what is done for that organ by its nerves of peculiar sensibility is done for our lives in all their complexity by an instinctive apprehensiveness which "scents the danger from afar." While there are giants it is desirable that there should be some fear of them. For fear, within bounds, makes men brace up their energies - take all precautions against surprise, sends them to God for guidance and for help, sets them to repair their weak point, whatever it may be. It is only in excess that fear is mischievous - that is, when it occupies the entire thought, paralyses all the energies of the life, and itself directly aids the overthrow it was meant to avert. It may perhaps be expressed accurately thus: Fear is a good servant but a bad master. So long as it does not rule us, but only suggests precautions and helps to make our protection complete, so long it is a blessing. Whenever it becomes master, and commands instead of merely advising us, then our manhood is destroyed, and the ills we fear overtake us all the faster for our alarm. Israel did not do wrong in fearing the Anakim, but only in letting their fear exceed its proper limits, and fill their souls to the exclusion of all faith in God and hope of His help. Do not needlessly blame yourself for the agitation and apprehension produced by the possibilities of the future, only limit these things by faith and prayer and watchfulness, so that, thus kept in its place, your fear may serve you well. Thirdly observe -
III. ISRAEL HAS NOT TO FIGHT THE GIANTS TILL IT IS STRONG ENOUGH TO CONQUER THEM. Somehow - we hardly know how - the fight with the Anakim comes last. Perhaps because they occupied the fortresses formed by Nature - the mountain fastnesses; and naturally the first attention was given to the more regular and more numerous combatants inhabiting the cities. Whatever the reason, they were five years in the land before Caleb led the first attack on them (see Joshua 14:10). And only when they were flushed with victory, every man a conqueror - when the prestige of their miraculous forces conquered men's hearts before a sword was drawn - only then are they exposed to the strain of what seemed such an unequal conflict. And meeting them when they were thus grown in courage and prowess, their defeat requires no more effort than many of the lesser struggles which taxed their less developed powers. There seems something here characteristic of a universal experience. God's Israel are never unequal for a conflict, when the time has come for it. There is always such growth of force, or such heavenly aid, that when the fight comes it is found that fitness for it has come before it. You perhaps look forward with extreme solicitude to the giants that will dispute your passage. Remember, there is some distance between you and them, and much may happen before you reach them. You are gathering strength every step you take on the right road. And every lesser victory is giving you force and nerve to win a greater one. And should the giants not die before you get to them, you will find that, like Israel, you have grown fit to fight them before you are called to fight them. You will be strong enough for victory over them before you are required to enter into conflict with them. Lastly observe -
IV. THEY FOUND OUT THAT THE WORST PART OF THE GIANTS WAS THE TERROR THEY COULD INSPIRE. The great power of the giants was over the imaginations of their foes. And they had no real force at all equal to the terror they excited. Israel saw in imagination the size of the men, heard with alarm of the length of their spears and the weight of their armour. They did not remember that in any match between a great soul and a big body, the big body has but little chance. And so they were overpowered by the mere imagination of their enemy's force. But when they actually face them, they find that valour avails more than muscle, energy than height, faith than armour, soul than body. By beating them they found that the chief power of the giant was his power of affecting the imagination of his opponent. So is it still. "The worst ills are those that never happen," as the French proverb says. They threaten us, alarm us, agitate us, and after all turn off in some other direction, and do not come to us. And so is it with our giants. Their worst part is something which exists only in our imagination. They kill us by frightening us, and they frighten us by the powers they borrow from our imagination. Let us be of good courage and not afraid. And if giants many and strong threaten us let us keep fear in the bounds of faith, let us remember on warfare is ordained for us except where victory is possible, and let us put a check on the too easily affected imagination which needlessly dreads a foe, whose outward bigness is no accurate measure of the dimensions of his real force. - G.
He left nothing undone of all that the Lord commanded Moses.
I. THE THINGS UNDONE ARE MANY. We have not left undone a duty here or there merely, but we have the painful consciousness of having missed so much that more seems undone than done. Darwin's biographer relates that the great scientist "never wasted a few spare minutes from thinking that it was not worth while to set to work." His golden rule was "taking care of the minutes." And so he became rich and accurate in knowledge. How much more might we have done in the home! We deal negligently with those about us until change or death takes them away I How much more might we have done in the world! We have loitered in the sheepfold to hear the bleating of the sheep, when we ought to have been in the high places of the field. How much more might we have given and taught and toiled in the Church of God! We are always evading manifest obligations, which are also precious privileges. With what fiery energy the bird, the bee, the butterfly, carry out the special commission with which they are entrusted! In nature everything seems to be done that can be done with the granted measure of time, space, material, and energy. But we are conscious of a very different and far less satisfactory state of things in the human sphere. Here inertia, laziness, slipperiness, procrastination, prevail. There are great gaps in our work.
II. THE THINGS UNDONE ARE OFTEN THE THINGS OF THE GREATEST CONSEQUENCE. Emerson speaks of "the science of omitting." A very necessary and much-neglected science. "The artist," says Schiller, "may be known rather by what he omits." The master of literary style is best recognised by his tact of omission. The orator declares his genius as much by what he leaves out as by what he puts into his discourses. And in life the science of omission must have a large place. Life on its moral side, in its highest sense, becomes complete and successful by exclusion: if we are to make anything of it, we must reject much. When, however, an artist understands the science of omission, he leaves out the trivial, the vulgar, the irrelevant. Pater, speaking of Watteau, the French artist, says, "Sketching the scene to the life, but with a kind of grace, a marvellous tact of omission in dealing with the vulgar reality seen from one's own window." Yes, leaving out the vulgar features and commonplace detail. But the defect in our moral life is that in our science of omission we too often leave out the primary, the highest, the essential. The trivial, the fugitive, the inferior, the accidental, are given a place in our life, whilst the large, the noble, the precious, and the supreme are excluded. It is thus with us in questions of character. The weightier matters are more difficult, and we evade them. It is thus with matters of duty. We shirk the calls demanding courage, diligence, sacrifice, and content ourselves by doing abundantly the things which are more immediately connected with our pride, our interest, or our pleasure. Here we are often condemned. Great principles are left out of our character, because they are difficult to acquire and maintain; great duties are ignored, because they mean heroism and suffering; great opportunities are forfeited, because they demand promptitude and resolution; great works are declined, because they involve consecration and sacrifice.
III. THE THINGS UNDONE ARE THINGS FOR WHICH WE MUST BE HELD RESPONSIBLE. We are often deeply concerned, as, indeed, we ought to be, with the things we have done amiss; but we are less troubled by the things left undone. Yet the negative side is as really sin as is the positive side. In these modern days it is rather fashionable for men of a certain type to stand quite aside from an active career. They are deeply impressed by the seriousness of life, by its difficulties, its mysteries; they decline, as far as may be, its relationships, its obligations, its trials, its honours, its sorrows. They will tell you that they have no gifts, no calling, no opportunity. But, however disguised, these lives are slothful and guilty. But most of us have somewhat of this slothful temper. True, we gloss with mild names this skirking of duty. We call it expediency, standing over, modesty, deliberation, forgetfulness, oversight; but it ought to be called sloth, hypocrisy, cowardice, sin. How much undone for God, for man, for our own perfecting! And as for the future, let us put into life more purpose, passion, and will. Let us be more definite, prompt, unflinching. Let us be at once more enthusiastic and more methodical.
(W. L. Watkinson.)
It was ofJoshua 2:10, 11). And the Gibeonites (Joshua 9:10). There is no doubt, then, that throughout the land there had gone forth the fame of God; and when the kings flung their hosts in battle against Israel it was as it has always been (Psalm 2:2).
(F. B. Meyer, B. A.)
So Joshua took the whole land.I. THE MAGNITUDE OF THEIR DIFFICULTIES SHOULD BE REGARDED AS ONLY THE MEASURE OF THEIR VICTORIES. "Joshua took the whole land."
II. THEIR MOST SIGNAL VICTORIES ARE EVER INCOMPLETE. The whole land, yet not the whole (Joshua 8:1).
III. THE TRIUMPHS WHICH THEY DO WIN ARE EVER THE FRUIT OF GOD'S PROMISES.
1. According to all that the Lord said unto Moses." This clause serves also to limit and explain the former. God had specially told Moses that the whole land should not be conquered too suddenly (Exodus 23:29, 30).
IV. THE INHERITANCE THUS GIVEN BY GOD SHOULD BE THE INHERITANCE OF ALL GOD'S PEOPLE. "Joshua gave it for an inheritance unto Israel according to their divisions by their tribes."
V. THE REST WHICH THEY OBTAIN HERE FAINTLY FORESHADOWS THE PERFECT REST HEREAFTER. "And the land rested from war."
1. Rest after severe strife.
2. Rest only through faith and obedience.
3. Rest, but rest which still requires that they watch and pray.
4. Rest, which though but an imperfect pattern, should stand for a sure prophecy of the rest which is perfect, If we really enter into the rest of faith, it will be by that holy Spirit of promise, "which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession."
(F. G. Marchant.)
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