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he had, it would have been corrected by the person, who, if he had not been God, would not have suffered these divine honours to be paid himų. But, so far were these honours from being declined, that the bestowment of them was sanctioned by an express command, similar to what had been before given to Moses. Jehovah, when he appeared to Moses in the burning bush, commanded him to put his shoes from off his feet, seeing that the place whereon he stood was holy,” being sanctified by the divine presence. But indeed, in the beginning of the next chapter, the very person who thus addressed Joshua is called Jehovah: “And the LORD (Jehovah) said unto Joshua!" I think, then, that we are in no danger of mistake, when we say that the person who here appeared to Joshua as “a man,” was no other than the Son of God himself, the Second Person in the ever-blessed Trinity.]
He, in answer to the question put to him by Joshua, declared himself to be “ the Captain of the Lord's host” —
[This, in its primary import, signified that all Israel were under his special protection; and that under his command they might be assured of victory. But the same is true of God's spiritual Israel, in all ages of the world. They are one great army collected under him, and fighting the Lord's battles, in order to a full and undisturbed possession of the promised land. Of these the Lord Jesus Christ is the Head and Chief. He has received a commission from his Father to be “the Leader and Commander of his peoples :" and whatsoever a general is, or can be, to his army, that is he to all who fight under his banners. Instruction in the use of arms— provision for their whole campaign-encouragement to meet their foes—succour in every difficulty-protection from every danger-and all the rewards of victory, are assured to every one of them, in due season h -]
Seeing, then, that we have such a Captain, let us contemplate, II. Our duty towards him under that character
Doubtless our first duty is to enlist under his banners: for we are not his soldiers by nature: yea rather, we are his enemies, and fight against him in every possible
d Compare Rev. xix. 10. and xxü. 8, 9. where such a mistake was made indeed, but rectified with holy abhorrence.
ver. 15. compared with Exod. iii. 2–6. f Josh. vi. 2.
& Isai. lv. 4. h These several ideas may be somewhat amplified with good effect.
way. But He is held
up as an Ensign to the people; and to him must all people seek'.” And, as a man entering into the army of an earthly monarch surrenders up himself altogether to the disposal of the general who is placed over him, so must we voluntarily devote ourselves to the service of Christ, before we can be numbered amongst his host over whom he presides. But, supposing this to have been done, then we say that, 1. We must execute his commands
[Observe the question which Joshua put to him, the very instant he knew the Lord under this character: “What saith my Lord unto his servant ?” A similar question was put by the Apostle Paul, the very instant that the Lord Jesus Christ revealed himself to him : “ Lord, what wilt thou have me to dok?" In truth, there is not a soldier in any army who does not look for orders from his commanding-officer from day to day, or who does not feel himself bound to carry them into execution. Now the reading of the Scriptures with diligence will, for the most part, supply the needful information : yet are there many particular occasions whereon we must be peculiarly attentive also to the voice of his providence; and in those instances must we seek, by prayer and supplication, his special guidance, which he has promised to us in answer to our prayers. For instance: in the attack which was to be made on Jericho, nothing was left to the direction of Joshua, but every the most minute particular was given in command from this great Captain. And we also, if we will look unto Him, may expect all needful directions; to which, of course, we must adhere with all fidelity, in order to approve ourselves good soldiers of Jesus Christ.]
2. We must go forth in an entire dependence upon him—
[Soldiers of necessity confide in their commander; and in proportion as is their estimate of his talents, will be, for the most part, their expectation of success. Amongst men, however, this confidence is mutual: for the best general in the universe can effect nothing, if he have not good soldiers to carry his orders into effect. But, in the Christian camp, the confidence must be altogether in the Captain ; without whom the most gallant army in the universe must fail. We must be strong indeed, and of good courage: but we must “not lean to our own understanding," or trust in an arm of flesh." In
i Isai. xi. 10.
k Acts ix. 6.
fact, we are really strong only in proportion as we feel ourselves weak, and look to Christ to " perfect his strength in our weakness!." We must therefore be strong, not in ourselves, but “ in the Lord, and in the power of his might m."]
3. To disregard difficulties, and even death itself, in his service
[A soldier necessarily expects to encounter difficulties, and to expose his life to hazard in the service of his king and country. And the greater the difficulties which he has to sustain, the more he rises to the occasion ; insomuch that, if a service of peculiar danger is proposed, a whole army will vie with each other in their readiness to undertake it. Now, if this be the case with those who have enlisted under the banners of an earthly monarch, shall it not much more obtain amongst the armies of the living God ? St. Paul "gloried in distresses and necessities for the Lord's sake :" and the same spirit should animate us also. Indeed, at our very first admission into the service of our Lord we were forewarned, that "he who loved his life, should lose it; and that he only who was willing to lose his life for Christ's sake, should save it unto life eternal"." We must “ be faithful unto death, if ever we would attain a crown of life.”] ADDRESS
[Inquire now, I pray you, whether this Saviour be to you a friend or an adversary? He is here in the midst of us, “and with his sword drawn," though we see him not. And to every one of us is he either a friend or a foe. There is no neutrality, either on his part or on ours.
Our Lord himself has told us, “that he who is not with him, is against him; and he who gathereth not with him, scattereth abroado.” Would you, then, ascertain whether he be a Captain" unto you? Examine your own hearts; and ask, Whether you have ever enlisted under his banners by a voluntary surrender of yourselves to him; and then, Whether you are habitually regarding his will as your rule, and his arm as your stay, and his glory as the one object of your life? These are points easy to be ascertained : and on them your eternal happiness depends. If these things be true, then will he be a “ Captain of salvation" unto you: but if this be not the experience of your souls, then you have nothing to expect, but that he will say concerning you, "Bring hither those that were mine enemies, who would not that I should reign over them, and slay them before me9.” Oppose him, and you have nothing to hope ; submit to him, and you have nothing to fear, to all eternity.] 1 2 Cor. xii. 9, 10.
Eph. vi. 10.
n Matt. x. 39. o Matt. xii. 30.
p Heb. ii. 10. 4 Luke xix. 27.
THE TAKING OF JERICHO.
Josh. vi. 20, 21. So the people shouted when the priests blew
with the trumpets: and it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city. And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword.
THE promises of God, though often delayed beyond the time that our impatient spirits would fix for their accomplishment, are always fulfilled in their season. The period at which God promised to Abraham that he would bring forth his posterity out of Egypt, was at the end of four hundred and thirty years. During the latter part of that time the afflictions of the people increased beyond measure; yet was their deliverance neither accelerated nor delayed: but at the precise period that God had fixed in his eternal counsels, and had revealed to Abraham, even on “the self-same day,” they were brought forth from their bondage”. They would doubtless have been brought also into the full possession of the promised land if they had not provoked God to transfer to their children the mercies which they had treated with contempt. The space of forty years was allotted for that generation to wander, and to die, in the wilderness. During that time a new generation arose; and to them God fulfilled his word: he led them in a miraculous manner into Canaan, as we have seen: and now began to subdue their enemies before them. The first place which they were to conquer, was Jericho, a city of great strength; the taking of which is the subject for our present consideration.
We shall notice three things; 1. The preparations for the siege
One would naturally suppose that they would instantly avail themselves of the terror which their miraculous passage through Jordan had inspired ; and that, after fortifying their own camp, they would proceed to construct works for the capture of the city. But behold! instead of engaging in any such labours, they address themselves to works of a very different nature, suited only to a season of profound peace. 1. They renew the ordinance of circumcision
a Exod. xii. 51.
[This ordinance had been entirely neglected in the wilderness; so that, with the exception of those who had not attained the age of twenty at their departure from Egypt, all were uncircumcised. Their first object therefore, after entering into the promised land, was, to renew their covenant with God by circumcision. But was this a time for such an ordinance, when they would thereby disable themselves for war, or even for repelling an assault in case their enemies should attack them? Was it wise, or was it right, to act thus at so critical a juncture? Was it not a tempting of God, rather than a service that could be pleasing in his sight? No: it was commanded by Jehovah himself; and was therefore commanded, because God would make them to know that he was their defence; and, that to mortify sin and surrender up themselves to him, was the surest
It was not by human policy or strength that they were to prevail, but by his care and his power: and whatever was most suited to obtain his favour, was most calculated to ensure success.] 2. They keep the feast of passover —
[This ordinance also had been neglected in the wilderness: and, in renewing it, they brought to their remembrance God's gracious interpositions for them at their departure from Egypt, and expressed their conviction, that their whole security depended on the blood of that great Sacrifice which should in due time be offered. How strange does such an occupation appear, when the delay occasioned by it might give time for the arrival of succours to the besieged city! But, to those who know what interest God takes in the welfare of his people, this time would appear to be spent to the greatest possible advantage. And, though we, who are not to expect miraculous interpositions, should not be justified in following literally the example of Israel on this occasion, yet would it be well if we were more conformed to it in spirit: for assuredly, whatever difficulties or dangers we are in, it is our wisdom first to betake ourselves unto prayer, and, by renewed exercises of faith on the Lord Jesus, to secure the favour and protection of our God.] b Josh. v. 2--9.
c Josh. v. 10.