And when Joshua had let the people go, the children of Israel went every man to his inheritance to possess the land.…
I. THE MORAL OBLIGATION OF EVERY MEMBER OF OUR RACE (ver. 7).
1. All creatures are the servants of God, but they serve Him in different ways.
(1) Some without a will. Inanimate matter and insentient life.
(2) Some with their will. Brutes — instinct.
(3) Some against their will. Wicked men and fallen angels.
(4) Some by their will. Saints and angels.
2. To serve Him in this way is the obligation of the race. But there is one condition indispensable to this — supreme love for Him as the Sovereign. This will —
(1) Induce man to attain an understanding of His law;
(2) prompt him cheerfully to obey it.
II. THE SERVICE OF ONE GOOD MAN TO OUR RACE.
1. That a man can induce his race to serve the Lord. Joshua did.
2. That a man, to do this, must himself be a servant of the Lord. Joshua was.
3. That, however useful a man may be to his race in this respect, he must die. Joshua died.
III. THE MELANCHOLY SUCCESSION OF OUR RACE (ver. 10).
1. The succession involves no extinction. The mighty generations that are gone live on some other shore.
2. The mode of the succession involves a moral cause. We say the "mode," not the "fact." If the race continue to multiply as now, the limitation of the world's area and provisions would require a succession. This planet was probably intended as a stepping-stone to another. Had there been no sin, however, instead of the succession taking place through the grave, it might have been through a "chariot of fire," as in the case of Elijah.
IV. THE DEGENERATING TENDENCY OF OUR RACE.
1. This degenerating tendency is often found stronger than the most elevating influences of truth. Peter fell in the very presence of Christ.
2. This degenerating tendency indicates the necessity of a conscious reliance upon the gracious help of God.
Parallel VersesKJV: And when Joshua had let the people go, the children of Israel went every man unto his inheritance to possess the land.