He continued, "This is how you will know that the living God is among you and that He will surely drive out before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites, and Jebusites.
I. SANCTIFICATION WOULD FIT THEM TO BEHOLD THE MANIFESTED PRESENCE OF GOD. Emblem, ritual, and precept were unceasingly employed to remind the Israelites of the holiness of God. They were to observe the sanitary regulations, because "the Lord thy God walketh in the midst of the camp." Before their offerings could be accepted they must purify themselves with ablutions. And, above all, they were excluded from the tabernacle where God's dwelling was, and into the Holiest only the high priest could enter once a year. Now every prodigy was the special coming of Jehovah into the midst of Israel. Whilst really present in the unceasing operations of nature, nevertheless it was on the occasion of the miraculous that God seemed to put aside the veil and to draw nigh in person. Hence the need that the Israelites should be sanctified. Holiness consumes impurity as light destroys darkness. The people must prepare themselves to stand in the glory of God's presence. So was it required at the appearance of the Almighty on Sinai, and before the wondrous shower of quails, and so afterwards for the battle of Ai; otherwise would "the Lord break forth upon them." Whilst we are not under the terrors of the law, yet reverence beseemeth us in our approach to the "Father of our spirits." We would not rush heedlessly to communion with Him, nor fall into levity while upon our knees. With us, too, there are times when we must sanctify ourselves for the special manifestation of the Divine. Sin amongst Christians is a chief obstacle to the accomplishment of signs and wonders in the name of Jesus.
II. SANCTIFICATION WOULD PREPARE THEM TO APPRECIATE THE GREATNESS OF THE MIRACLE. As was the case with the "mighty works" of our Lord, these wonders of the Old Testament were not wrought simply to assist men in their straits and feebleness, but to exert an ethical influence upon them, teaching the power and love of God. Now that the Israelites were about to enter upon their inheritance, the time was fitting one for signal marks of Divine favour and might. But in order that the miracle have due weight, previous reflection and expectation were essential. The Israelites were as children whose curiosity must be aroused and excitement intensified by stimulating annunciations. Then, when the notable day dawned, attention would be drawn to every detail, every occurrence, and the more vivid and lasting would he the impressions produced. A miracle silently and suddenly performed would fail of the results intended. Preparation befits our solemn engagements, qualifying us the more quickly to hear the "still small voice," and to note the "way of God" amongst men. It is well for the passions to be quieted, and the common duties dismissed from the mind, as we near the sacred operations of God. Of what abiding influence would the services of the Lord's day he capable, if it were possible to spend the previous evening in preparing the mind to say, "Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth"! Fully to reap benefit from witnessing a "sign," or from perusing an account thereof, demands of us the same sanctification of heart.
III. SANCTIFICATION WOULD AFFORD EVIDENCE OF FAITH IN THEIR LEADER AND IN GOD. What folly to trouble about purification unless they believed that the promise would be fulfilled. The miracle was to be eminently a proof of the love of God. His honour demanded that the people should show themselves to be in some degree worthy of His favour. Jesus inquired of the applicants for relief whether they had faith in His ability to heal them; and we read of places where "he did not many mighty works because of their unbelief." Unbelief is the great hindrance to the progress of religion, both in the individual and in the world. We block the only avenue by which heavenly blessings can come to us; we shut the gates, and wonder why our city is not thronged with angelic visitants. Faith in preparation would lead to augmented faith in the time of action. Soon was coming the hour of trial. How would the people venture between the dangerous heaps of water? Here would be reaped the advantage of previous thought. Faith grows by exercise. The conquest of one difficulty opens the way for subsequent victories. If the Church of Christ is paralysed by secret disbelief of the efficacy of God's Word and Spirit to convert men, how can she expect great awakenings? "According to our faith" is it unto us. And if there is not sufficient faith to lead to the making of the necessary arrangements, where shall be the faith to enable us to rejoice in the evident tokens of God's presence? Let us "lift up holy hands without wrath and doubting." - 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
TopicsAmorite, Amorites, Assuredly, Canaanite, Canaanites, Certainly, Dispossess, Drive, Fail, Girgashite, Girgashites, Gir'gashites, Hereby, Hittite, Hittites, Hivite, Hivites, Jebusite, Jebusites, Jeb'usites, Joshua, Midst, Perizzite, Perizzites, Per'izzites
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 3:10
1080 God, living
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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