I. THE BURIAL OF JOSEPH'S BONES WAS A JUSTIFICATION OF HIS FAITH. Joseph had been so sure that God would give the promised land to Israel that he had made his brethren swear to bring up his bones with them (Genesis 50:25).
(1) True faith will lead to decisive action. It is vain to profess to believe in our heavenly inheritance unless we behave consistently with our belief.
(2) Faith is concerned with the unseen and the future. If we could see all there would be no room for faith.
(3) Faith is justified on earth by providence. It waits its full justification in heaven. As Joseph's faith was justified in the entrance into Canaan, so the old Messianic faith was justified in the advent of Christ, and the Christian faith will be justified at the "consummation of all things."
II. THE BURIAL OF JOSEPH'S BONES WAS AN EXAMPLE OF DEFERENCE TO THE WISHES OF THE DEAD. It is well that children should respect the wishes of departed parents. Much good may be learnt by considering the thoughts and purposes of our ancestors. The people which has no respect for its past is wanting in reverence and in depth of national life. Yet there must be a limit to the influence of antiquity. The ancients lived in the childhood of our race; wisdom should grow with enlarged historical experience. At best they were fallible men, and cannot claim to extinguish the reason and responsibility of their descendants. New circumstances often render the rules and precedents of antiquity entirely obsolete.
III. THE BURIAL OF JOSEPH'S BONES WAS AN ILLUSTRATION OF THE ONENESS OF MANKIND. Ages had passed since the death of Joseph. Yet his bones were preserved and buried in the very "parcel of ground which Jacob had bought." There is a family unity, a national unity, a church unity, a human solidarity. The past lives on in the present. Men are insensibly linked and welded together. We are members one of another. Therefore we should consider the good of each other, and of the whole community, and should take note of past experience and future requirements.
IV. THE BURIAL OF JOSEPH'S BONES REMINDS US OF THE DELAY WHICH PRECEDES THE ENJOYMENT OF THE HIGHEST BLESSINGS. There were centuries of delay between the promise and the possession of Canaan. Many ages passed after the first prophecy of redemption and before the coming of Christ. The second advent of Christ has often been anticipated by the Church and longed for by His people, but it is not yet accomplished. The Christian must wait on earth during years of service before receiving his heavenly inheritance. This is occasioned
(1) by our unbelief - as the unbelief of Israel deferred possession of Canaan;
(2) by the need of fitness - the people needed to be trained in the wilderness; the world needed preparing for Christ, who came in the "fulness of time;" Christians must be made "meet for the inheritance of the saints in light;" the world, must be prepared for the full and perfect reign of Christ." Yet, note, the promise is not violated because the fulfilment is delayed. Finally, the Christian inheritance will not be the unconscious possession of a grave in the promised land, but the enjoyment of heaven with the faculties of an eternal life. - W.F.A.
Joshua rose early in the morning.
They removed from Shittim, and came to Jordan.
1. The advance was from a notable past. "Finis" had been written to the first volume of the history of Israel; bondage its preface, vengeance its introduction, mercy its continual illumination. Sin had made their forty years a wilderness, in which they wandered from one oasis to another of heavenly grace set as with palm-trees and wells of water. And the present was rich and satisfying. Eastern Palestine was overflowing with honey and oil and milk. The stately oaks of Bashan, its sheep and goats and mighty bulls waiting to be herded among their riches, its abundant pasturage and countless watercourses, quite outrivaled the land beyond the river. Here they were already in possession; while beyond, fenced cities and disciplined troops forewarned of hardship and blood. This new volume opened to-day will show no such lavishness of miraculous helps. Still the word is "Advance." If the leader is less, the people are more. If miracles and interventions are fewer, courage and skill and power are greater. God's helps are transferred from without to within the hearts of men. He works best for them by working through them.
2. The advance was a long step toward their destiny. God's purposes never turn back. His plan demanded the transfer of the people across the Jordan. Just because Eastern Palestine was broader and richer, they must go over. Their national growth and mission demanded a new type of life. Israel must set his feet by the shore of the great sea, and dwell upon the roads traversed by caravans and armies. Then Alexandria can supply its spiritual philosophy, Greece its culture and language, Rome its law and wide sway, to aid in recording and extending the gospel. Physical geography is potent in civilisation.
3. Advance requires spiritual preparation. It is not first for the sake of earthly reward. An eternal purpose, a holy destiny rules the progress. Before each Jordan is crossed, the people must be sanctified, the leader empowered. The past was no dead past to bury its dead, but was to live in remembrance of deliverance granted and mercies showered, of disastrous and destructive sins.
(C. M. Southgate.)
PeopleAdam, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashite, Girgashites, Hittites, Hivite, Hivites, Israelites, Jebusites, Joshua, Levites, Perizzites
PlacesAdam, Jericho, Jordan River, Salt Sea, Sea of the Arabah, Shittim, Zarethan
TopicsCamped, Crossed, Crossing, Early, Got, Israelites, Jordan, Joshua, Journey, Lodge, Lodged, Morning, Moved, Moving, Pass, Passed, Removed, Riseth, Rose, Shittim, Sons
Outline1. Joshua come to Jordan
2. The officers instruct the people for their passage
7. The Lord encourages Joshua
9. Joshua encourages the people
14. The water of Jordan are divided
Dictionary of Bible ThemesJoshua 3:1
Library'The Waters Saw Thee; they were Afraid'
'And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you. 6. And Joshua spake unto the priests, saying, Take up the ark of the covenant, and pass over before the people. And they took up the ark of the covenant, and went before the people. 7. And the Lord said unto Joshua, This day will I begin to magnify thee in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee. 8 And thou shalt command the priests that bear …
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture
The Meeting Hereafter.
Adam and Zaretan, Joshua 3
The New Leaders Commission
The Charge to the Soldier of the Lord
Stones Crying Out
Some Miscellaneous Matters Belonging to the Country About Jericho.
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