Old Shoes and Clouted, Patched Clothing
Joshua 9:3-27
And when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and to Ai,…

There are two sorts of hypocrites — those who profess to be better than they are: they form a large class; and those who profess to be worse than they are. There is great scope for hypocrisy even in wearing clothes. There are a great many people who wear very expensive garments at the cost of other people; because they have never paid for them, and never hope to do so. They represent one class of hypocrites. But occasionally you meet with a man who looks dreadfully shabby. His coat has a goodly number of patches, and every garment he wears gives proof of having been well worn. He dies, and leaves many thousands of pounds, sewn in some bag or other, and concealed in the chimney or under the mattress. Now, he is a hypocrite of the other type; he professes to be much poorer than he is. The Gibeonites were hypocrites of this order on this occasion. They acted as they did of a set purpose, not in order to show that they were poor, and thus to gain sympathy, but for quite another purpose. They sought to impress upon Joshua that they had come from a far country: that they had walked a weary journey, and that they had worn out their sandals, their clothes, and wine bags on the journey. They sought to make Joshua believe that they were led to him by kind, unselfish motives: that they had been prompted by such high regard for Joshua and the people whom he led as to earnestly wish to be on good terms with them. One cannot help trying to picture to one's self what happened at Gibeon just before they started. A goodly company of men went forth as ambassadors, and all wanted the oldest clothes they could get. I wonder whether there were secondhand dealers at Gibeon? The articles must have gone up suddenly in price if there were; and what an opportunity for clearing old and bad stock out — all the old sandals, and the old clothes I However that may have been, they got what they required, and at length appeared before Joshua, and represented to him that they had come a long journey, during which they had worn out their clothes, and that they had not had the opportunity of reclothing themselves; but that meanwhile they had been very careful of their garments in patching them diligently and well. It would not have done for them to have come in rags, and therefore they were careful to show to Joshua that, worn out as their garments were, yet they had made the best use of them, and had in each case put in a stitch in time to save nine. I wish that, while abstaining from all the deceit of these men, we could learn one lesson from them. Would that poor people always acted as economically as these people pretended to have acted on this occasion. If there are any of you who are placed in circumstances where it is necessary to have many patches on your garments, and other boys who are placed in better circumstances than you feel inclined to laugh and sneer at you, never be ashamed of your patches; always consider that every patch on your coat tells everybody what an industrious mother you have at home. On the other hand, a hole that is allowed to remain long and to expand day by clay is a reflection on all concerned. Now look at this from another standpoint. You see these people wanted to impress Joshua with the fact that on-this one journey they had worn out all the clothing they had provided for themselves. Have you ever thought what a great deal we all wear out in life? Have you ever thought how many garments, how many shoes, and how many hats every boy of twelve has worn out since the day he was born? I suppose the oldest man here would stand perfectly aghast ii all the garments he had worn and cast aside were only made to pass before him. Now that is something worth our consideration. It at least teaches us this — that there must be a marvellous Providence which takes care of us in a very extraordinary way. Then, think again of the food consumed. If we only thought of this we should begin to ask, "Where have all these garments come from? and how has all this food been provided? Thus, we should thank God more for His providence, and be less ready to cast away garments when they were half worn, and to think ourselves too good to wear a garment that is comparatively threadbare, though we may be too poor to buy a new one. Now just one word more — it is this. We not only wear out clothes and consume food, but also these bodies of ours, on the journey of life. We have only one body for the journey of life: in other words, we have only one suit for the soul. It is a marvellous suit, it expands as the soul expands. But it is not like the spirit itself; it is not immortal: it is subject to a great deal of wear and tear. Now God mends this for us day by day. But by and by, even with all His care, it begins to wear out. There are some here who are getting on in life. Their soul's garment is not what it was. They cannot run as fast as they could when they were boys: they cannot do as much work as they did when they were young men in the prime of life. What is the matter? Oh, the old garment is beginning to wear, and the good God has to patch it up a little. The doctor says sometimes, "Well, I can patch him up a little bit." But what a grand thing it will be when we shall never wear out! When this garment is put aside, God will provide for us another that will never grow old, and we shall engage in a service of which we shall never tire.

(D. Davies.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done unto Jericho and to Ai,

WEB: But when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and to Ai,

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