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Joshua 10:1-43 -

The great victory and its results.

Many of the considerations which this passage suggests have been already anticipated. Thus the celerity of Joshua's march (verse 9) suggests the same set of ideas as Joshua 4:10 . The destruction of the cities teaches the same lessons as the destruction of Jericho; while the miraculous interposition in the battle of Beth-horon is hardly to be distinguished, as a source of spiritual instruction, from the destruction of Jericho. Again, the confederacy of the kings ( Joshua 4:1-5 ) has been already treated under Joshua 9:1 , Joshua 9:2 . Yet some few points remain to be noticed.

I. DIVINE HELP DOES NOT EXCLUDE HUMAN EXERTION , Joshua went forth to battle relying upon a special promise of God. Yet he went up "suddenly," we are told. Thus, so far from the certainty of success diminishing energy, it should rather increase it. The apostles went forth relying on a Divine promise that God's truth should permeate the world. But though this promise relieved them. from the restless anxiety which too often oppresses their successors in the work, it did not relieve them from the necessity of exertion. And accordingly we find them untiring in their exertions to spread the gospel, and also to lay firmly the foundations of the Christian Church. The same untiring spirit of exertion should animate us now. Success is assured in the end, and for that very reason we should not slacken, but rather the contrary, in our efforts to propagate truth. The two opposite rotors which retard the success of God's cause are

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II. THE ANSWER TO PRAYER IS MORE EFFECTIVE THAN OUR WORK . Had Joshua not done his best, the hailstones would not have fallen. But inasmuch as he was doing his work, God helped him, and more execution was done by God from heaven than by Joshua's troops on earth. So he who works and prays not will be rewarded with less success than he who works and prays. If we are not as successful as we could wish, we may ask whether we have asked God to work with us. It is a touching story which has been told of Sir D. Brewster's father, that he was so well known as a man of prayer that when any unexpected and almost marvellous conversion occurred in his parish, it was attributed by his people to his prayers. Perhaps one of the reasons why the Roman Catholic Church still maintains so strong a hold upon the world is because of the fervent belief still retained among her people of the power of prayer. Such prayer is often sadly misdirected, and yet, as a recognition of a power above that hears and answers prayer, it must be more acceptable in God's sight than the philosophical Protestantism which denies the existence of a Father in heaven, ridicules prayer to God, especially for temporal blessings, on the ground of the invariability of law, and thus practically abolishes the God of the Old Testament and of the New, and makes void the gospel of Jesus Christ. Surely superstition itself is better than this denial of the loving Fatherhood of God. The lesson here concerns spiritual rather than temporal blessings, but it none the less contains a protest against the sceptical spirit which would lead us to think it unnecessary to maintain by prayer an attitude of continual dependence on God.

III. HEAVENLY LIGHT SHALL NEVER FAIL HIM WHO IS FIGHTING IN GOD 'S CAUSE . Joshua asked for light, that he might destroy God's enemies. So must the Christian ask for light, that he may distinguish friends from foes—truth from falsehood. He has the light of God's Word, which, coming direct from God, is symbolised by the sun; and the light of man's preaching of that Word, which, inasmuch as it only reflects the Word itself, is not inaptly typified by the moon. We need not fear that that light will ever fail us; and yet we do well to pray that it may continue to be afforded us. We may, in the strength of faith, pray that the sun may for us stand still upon Gibeon and the moon in the valley of Ajalon, until God be avenged on His enemies, sin and falsehood and their allies, through our means.

IV. WE SHALL " SPEAK OF HIS TESTIMONIES EVEN BEFORE KINGS , AND SHALL NOT BE ASHAMED ." Joshua makes a great point of the subjugation of the kings to the people of Israel. He makes his captains set their feet upon their necks to show that none can resist the armies of the Lord.


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