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doorkeeper in the house of your God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness." If then ye have been awakened from your heathenish security, whatever terrors may have brought you to the feet of Jesus, bless God for them: and whatever hardships ye may endure in the service of your Lord, bless God for them also. If only ye submit to God, and take part with his people here, you shall have your portion with them to all eternity.]
JOSHUA'S VICTORY OVER THE CONFEDERATE KINGS. Josh. x. 24, 25. And it came to pass, when they brought out those kings unto Joshua, that Joshua called for all the men of Israel, and said unto the captains of the men of war which went with him, Come near, put your feet upon the necks of these kings. And they came near, and put their feet upon the necks of them. And Joshua said unto them, Fear not, nor be dismayed, be strong, and of good courage: for thus shall the Lord do to all your enemies against whom ye fight.
THE Jewish history, considered merely as an history, is the most wonderful, and most instructive, that ever was recorded: but considered as a shadow of things to come, it has an interest peculiar to itself. The attention which it excites, is not that of speculative curiosity, but of practical concern: and every one who desires to obtain favour with Israel's God, feels himself bound to study it, in order to learn from it the character of God, together with the duties and privileges of his chosen people.
Having had frequent occasion, in our discouses on the Pentateuch, to shew, that the figurative import of this history is not imaginary, but real; and that such an explanation of it is strongly intimated in the New Testament; we may dispense with any remarks of that kind at present, and proceed to notice, in reference to the Christian's warfare, the defeat of the five confederate kings by Joshua; a full account of which is given in the chapter before us.
The things which we shall more particularly refer
I. The occasion of the confederacy
[The Gibeonites, who were a strong and powerful people, had made a league with Joshua, whilst all the other kingdoms of Canaan were determined to oppose him. This incensed all the other powers against them, especially their nearer neighbours, who considered it as betraying the common interest, and as facilitating the threatened subjugation of the whole country. To prevent the influence of such an example, and to punish those whom they regarded as traitors, five kings united their forces to go and smite Gibeon, before they should be able to obtain any assistance from their new ally. They accordingly went up with all possible expedition to attack the city, and to wreak their vengeance on its inhabitants.
Here then we may see what usually takes place when any of the enemies of Christ submit themselves to him. Their former friends and companions consider it as a defection from their standard, and a dereliction of their cause; and often resent it with no little acrimonya : --and though their opposition does not in all cases proceed to the same extremity, it never fails to shew itself in a way of contempt and ridicule. Satan too is indignant at losing one of his vassals; and not only stimulates his subjects to commence hostilities against them, but labours by all possible wiles and devices to reduce them to their former bondaged There is the same en
mity against the cause of Christ existing now as ever. "the kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers took counsel together, against the Lord, and against his Anointed"," in the days of old, and the same rage continued against all the Apostles and Disciples in after ages, so must it be, and so it will be, as long as Satan shall be permitted to exert any influence over the minds of men': earth and hell will combine against the Church of Christ; and every one that enters into covenant with Jesus, shall have a powerful confederacy to contend withh.]
From the occasion of that confederacy, we proceed to notice,
II. The means by which it was defeated
[Instantly, and with great importunity, did the Gibeonites make application to Joshua for timely succouri. They rightly judged, that, having once made a covenant with them, he would afford them his effectual aid. Nor were they disappointed of
their hope: for Joshua, without delay, gave orders to his whole, army, and marched all night to their deliverance.
Such is the way in which Christians also must obtain deliverance. If they attempt to resist their enemies in their own strength, they will infallibly be vanquished: but if they betake themselves to prayer, they cannot but succeed. Prayer calls Omnipotence to their aid: and while it is yet offering, God will both hear and answer it. Behold the Apostle Paul, how sorely he was beset, how grievously he was assaulted: yet scarcely had he been able thrice to repeat his cry for help, before the Lord answered him, "My grace is sufficient for thee:" and immediately you behold him triumphing, as if all his enemies were lying prostrate at his feet'. Thus the Christian, whatever confederacy be formed against him, has only to cry unto the Lord for help, saying, "I have no might against this great company that cometh against me, neither know I what to do;" and the victory will be no longer doubtfulm: the devil himself could not stand before such a prayer as that, but would instantly be put to flight". Joshua felt that there was danger of his coming too late: but no such danger exists in relation to the Christian; for his Lord is always near, a present, “a very present help in the time of trouble."]
Let us next contemplate,
III. The extent of that defeat
[The confederate armies were discomfited in a moment, and the pursuit of them continued so long, that Joshua entreated that the sun and moon might be arrested in their career, in order to afford him light to finish the work he had begun P. And because the slaughter of them by the hand of Israel was not sufficient, God himself cast down great hailstones upon them, and slew more than all the host of Israel had slain with the sword. All the five kings also were taken, and, after the captains of Israel had put their feet upon their necks, were slain, and hanged up on trees, as accursed monuments of God's wrath and indignation. Thus complete was the destruction of Israel's enemies by Israel's God.
Thus shall the Christian also be enabled to say with the Apostle, "Thanks be unto God, who always causeth us to triumph in Christ!" When once he has entered into covenant with Christ, "sin shall no more have dominion over him:" "being Christ's, he shall be enabled to crucify the flesh with the affections and lusts:" yea, God will so give him the victory, that "Satan himself shall be bruised under his feet
k Isai. lxv. 24.
m 2 Chron. xx. 12, 15-17.
12 Cor. xii. 7-9.
n Jam. iv. 7.
P ver. 12, 13.
9 ver. 10, 11.
shortly." See the victories granted to David in answer to his prayer: these were a counterpart of those recorded in the text, and of those also which every true Christian shall experience".]
It was not for the purpose of insulting over a vanquished enemy that Joshua ordered his captains to trample on their necks, but in order to shew unto Israel, what sentiments this victory should inspire; and to set before their eyes,
IV. The prospect it afforded them in all their future conflicts—
[Many conflicts yet remained for them, before the whole land would be completely subdued. But, however numerous or severe these conflicts might be, the people had no reason "to fear or be dismayed," since every enemy should be subdued before them in like manner, and be, as had long since been foretold, mere "bread for them."
In like manner are we also taught to regard our victories as pledges of future and greater conquests. Whilst we are in this militant state, we shall find many enemies to encounter. Sometimes they may appear so formidable as almost to defy Omnipotence itself: but we need not fear: there are at all times "more with us than with them:" we shall always have Jehovah himself on our side: and "if God be for us, who can be against us?" Our own weakness is no ground of fear; because God" will perfect his own strength in our weakness:" "instead of breaking the bruised reed or quenching the smoking flax, he will bring forth judgment unto victory." In this light then let us view the menaces and assaults of all our enemies: they shall only be the means of displaying and magnifying the power of our God. Only let us remember that encouraging direction, "Call upon me in the time of trouble, and I will hear thee, and thou shalt glorify me;" and then may we rest assured, that "no weapon which is formed against us shall prosper;" yea, we may defy all the powers of earth and hell ever to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord "."]
1. To those who put discouragements in the way of repenting sinners
[Few will acknowledge themselves to be persecutors of the Lord's people, though there is scarcely a more common character to be found. But know, that mocking is as painful s Ps. xviii. 4—10, 16-19, 36-40, 50.
r Rom. xvi. 20.
t Numb. xiv. 9.
u Isai. liv. 17. Rom. viii. 35-39.
to the mind, as scourging is to the body :" and "it were better to have a millstone hanged about your neck, and to be cast into the sea, than that you should offend one of Christ's little ones" If any think, that, because multitudes concur with them, they are the less in danger, I would remind them of Gibeon's enemies, and say, "Associate yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces; gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces"."]
2. To those who yield to discouragement—
[Think not of your own weakness, but of the power and grace of Christ. And if others cry out by reason of a confederacy, join not with them in their desponding apprehensions, but sanctify the Lord of Hosts himself, and make him your fear, and him your dreada."]
x Heb, x. 33. and xi. 36.
y Matt. xviii. 6.
a Isai. viii. 12, 13.
THE CONQUEST AND PARTITION OF CANAAN.
Josh. xi. 23.
So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the Lord said unto Moses; and Joshua gave it for an inheritance unto Israel according to their divisions by their tribes.
THE promises of God, though often slow in their accomplishment, are sure to be fulfilled in due season. Abraham waited twenty years for the promised child, till, according to the course of nature, there was no hope that Sarah should ever become a mother; yet Isaac was born to him in due time. God promised to give to him and to his posterity the land of Canaan; yet it was four hundred and thirty years before his posterity were brought out of Egypt; and forty more before they entered into Canaan; and even then it was six more years before they obtained a quiet possession of it. Still however, the promise could not fail, nor did it fail in any particular. The accomplishment of that event is recorded in the words we have just read; which will naturally lead us to contemplate the conquest and partition of the promised land.
I. The conquest of the land