Saturday, September 20, 2014

JOSHUA+—An Illustrated Summary of Life Applications from Every Chapter of the Bible by G. Campbell Morgan

"On every page of the God-breathed writings are many thoughts that stretch out like long, clear arms of light across the darkness, discovering things otherwise hidden and illuminating wider areas than those of the immediate context. They are searchlights. From a multitude of these, I have selected one in each chapter of Scripture, for at least one central thought in every chapter should arrest the mind and affect the life," wrote G. Campbell Morgan, a wise, warm-hearted, careful Bible teacher who conducted a classic 3-year chapter-by-chapter study called Life Applications from Every Chapter of the Bible. Here are the fruits of that timeless study—summarized, illustrated, and amplified—on all 66 books of the Bible (posted one book at a time, cumulatively).
Joshua 1:2 "Moses My servant is dead; now therefore arise, cross this Jordan." As John Wesley said, "God buries His workmen, but carries on His work." Joshua was called, equipped, and appointed to carry the purpose of God a step further, but all he was about to do was made possible by what Moses had already done. Joshua came to the beginning of his service knowing his dependence on the things already done. Thus it always is with God's enterprises in this world. God alone is the One who works continuously until the job is done. His instruments are men and women, and high indeed is the honor of being such. Each will take up a work already begun, and  will leave it unfinished. Each is a debtor to those who have gone before, and a creditor to those who will follow. Therefore it is wise for us to be humble and restful: humble because no service we render is wholly ours and restful because the work we do is part of a larger whole that will not be completed. God will still continue it and find other instruments. That is the joy of working together with Him. Joshua would know that joy as he led the Israelites to their long-promised land, but it would not be easy. Three times in this chapter Joshua is told to be strong and courageous, twice by God and once by the people. When it is our turn to serve God and His people, let us remember to be strong and courageous, humble and restful.

Joshua 2:11 "The Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath." Those words constitute a confession of faith from Rahab the prostitute of Jericho, the first city that would be conquered in the promised land. This confession is remarkable in showing the effect of people undeniably governed by God upon the peoples of the land to which they were coming. It is also remarkable in revealing the capacity of the human soul for coming to right conclusions when hearing reliable testimony about manifestations of divine power. The people of Jericho were terrified not of the Israelites themselves but of the greatness of their God. They heard of the deliverance from Egypt and overwhelming military victories over powerful enemies to the south. They knew these things had not been done by the Israelites but for them through their God. They recognized His Almighty nature over "heaven above and on earth beneath." Rahab herself showed wonderful discernment and stands out from her people because she made her knowledge the inspiration of her faith. The men of Jericho couldn't help sharing her convictions about God because of undeniable facts, but they rebelled against them and hid behind their mighty walls. Rahab recognized the acts of God and yielded to them. The people of God render true service to others not by making a name for themselves, but as they make His name great among others.

Joshua 3:5 "Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you." The peoples' first movement forward under Joshua was under the condition of their positive relation to God. There was nothing in this first advance to give them any cause for personal glorying. They came onto the actual soil of Canaan not by their engineering efforts of deflecting the course of the Jordan River or by bridging it, but by divine intervention. God's might would be on display as He arrested the swollen river and made a dry highway for His people to the other side. The wonders of God are performed for His people when they sanctify themselves, which is walking in the light of obedience to God's Word. The call to sanctification or consecration is a call to separation from everything God forbids, and dedication to Him completely in mind, heart, and will. The attitude is more than activity: in proportion as in our deepest life we yield to His will, we place ourselves in line with His work. The application is personal and social—as true of the individual as for the church. All our progress is the result of God's power in us as we respond to His call to sanctify ourselves completely and without hesitation.

Joshua 4:6 "When your children ask later." The people of God had sanctified themselves as He commanded, and He brought them across the Jordan River by a miracle similar to the parting of the Red Sea during the Exodus from Egypt. Before there could be any forward march, they were commanded to halt for worship by gathering large stones from the dry riverbed, one for each of the twelve tribes, and setting them up as a memorial on the side of the Jordan to which they had now come. Our highlighted verse states the purpose for this memorial, which is so important, it is repeated at the end of this chapter: "When your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, 'What are these stones?' then you shall inform your children, saying, 'Israel crossed this Jordan on dry ground' (Joshua 4:21-22). God has such tender care for children that He arranges for such things that appeal to their natural curiosity. In answer to their questions the history of their people's deliverance was to be repeated to each succeeding generation. The true value of all monuments and memorials is to lead children to inquire, and it is the business of those who have charge of them to answer those questions well so individuals, families, and nations are preserved from forgetting things of real significance.

Like Wafers with Honey
Joshua 5:12 "The manna ceased." The manna had been God's supernatural provision for His people during their journeys in a wilderness where cultivation of the soil was impossible. Since they were now in a land already cultivated and capable of further cultivation, they were fed with the corn of the land and their future supply would depend on their own labor. They would be as surely fed by God in the land as they had in the wilderness, but they would now be responsible for co-operating with Him through the labor of their own hands. God always provides for the needs of His people. When they are in circumstances by His leading where they are unable to provide for themselves, He cares for them without any action on their part. When it is possible for them to act and to work, He provides for them through that activity. God never employs supernatural methods of supplying needs that can be met by natural means, for He never encourages laziness. The manna always ceases when by industry we are able to produce bread.

Joshua 6:17 "Only Rahab the harlot and all who are with her in her house shall live because she hid the messengers whom we sent." It is written, "By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she had welcomed the spies in peace" (Hebrews 11:31). This helps us to understand the true nature of faith, for her faith is placed in direct contrast with disobedience. Rahab was obedient and that constituted faith. Her obedience was not doing what the spies told her, but the fact that she received them. As we saw in Joshua 2:11, she was obedient to her conviction that the Israelites worshiped the one true God. She testified that everyone in Jericho believed that as well, but they did not act according to their convictions. Rahab had faith so she acted accordingly. The essence of faith is far more than a creed intellectually held: it is always volitional surrender to intellectual conviction. Jesus said, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven" (Matthew 7:21). The light that Rahab had was not particularly brilliant—her advantages had been very few—but she followed the gleam by believing actively and was thus delivered, along with those who shared her faith, from the spectacular fall of Jericho.

Joshua 7:12 "Therefore the sons of Israel cannot stand before their enemies." This chapter opens with a significant and ominous "but." So far the people of God had been completely victorious in the promised land. We now see them defeated and flying before the people of Ai, enemies far less formidable than those at Jericho. Joshua was filled with the profoundest consternation and poured out his soul before God, crying out, "O Lord, what can I say since Israel has turned their back before their enemies?" (Joshua 7:8). The answer was given him at once: Israel had sinned grievously so now was unable to stand before their enemies. The particular sin was of one man, Achan, but Israel was now a nation and no one person could act alone. This is a striking revelation of the divine conception of the solidarity of human society. The sin of the one is the sin of the community. All the hosts of God were defeated and His enterprises checked because one man disobeyed. The story of Achan's sin, as he himself confessed it, is full of warning. Note the progression: "I saw," "I coveted," "I took" (Joshua 7:21). The danger begins when the sight lingers until unholy desire is generated. Swift and terrible, yet necessary for the strength of the nation, was the judgment that fell upon this man. The confession he made was complete but it could not help him because it was not made until there was no escape from detection. What we do affects those around us whether we like it or not. Remembering that promotes personal holiness and prevents sin and disaster.

Joshua 8:33 "The sojourner as well as the native." We learned from studying Deuteronomy 27:9 that Moses instructed the people to set up an altar and pile of large stones inscribed with God's law by Mount Ebal when they were in the promised land. After a tremendous victory at Ai, Joshua 8  concludes with the Israelites carrying out Moses' precise instructions at Mount Ebal. The verse highlighted is connected with carrying out those instructions. The principle involved we have observed before: there was to be one law for both sojourners and natives in Israel (Leviticus 24:22). That emphasized the rights of the sojourners. Here it stresses equality of privilege and also of responsibility. From the beginning the door was open to others to enter this Theocracy, this Kingdom of God. The claims of blood and birthright were not exclusive. But those who entered needed to obey the law and abide by its blessings and cursings. They could claim no exemption from responsibility. Today that door to the Kingdom of God  stands wide open to men and women of every nation through our Lord Jesus Christ. There are no longer any native born because all who enter must be born anew by God's Spirit (John 3). That is the one necessity both as right and responsibility that must be insisted upon. The Gospel has been well described as the Good News of the victory of God through Jesus Christ over Satan, sin, and death on behalf of His people. Any admission to a Christian fellowship must be through faith in that true Gospel because anything less threatens to destroy that fellowship, and makes impossible the realization of its true functions.

Joshua 9:19 "We have sworn to them by the Lord, the God of Israel, and now we cannot touch them." These words were spoken about the Gibeonites, who constituted a new threat to the people of God. What happened was the fame and dread of the Israelites spread far and wide throughout the promised land. The kings of Canaan formed a league against the oncoming hosts but before they could take action, the Gibeonites sought to secure their own safety by deceit. The fundamental mistake of the leaders of Israel was they trusted their instincts and "did not ask for the counsel of the Lord" (Joshua 9:14). God commanded them not to make any covenant with the peoples of the land, but they were tricked into doing so because the Gibeonites put on an elaborate ruse of being from a distant land. But the covenant with the Gibeonites being made and ratified in the name of the Lord, the leaders knew they must not break it. Joshua, strictly bound by the letter of the covenant, condemned the Gibeonites to perpetual servitude but their lives were spared. In all the history that follows, we see that this treaty was honored. This account is a revelation about the sacredness of the covenants we make and the caution we must exercise before we do.

Joshua 10:42 "Joshua captured all these kings and their lands at one time because the Lord, the God of Israel, fought for Israel. " All through the history of the conquest of the land, we must bear in mind that the record treats it as a divine movement by which corrupt peoples were cleared out of possession, and so creating a new era in the history of the whole race. Joshua captured the kings and their lands only "because the Lord, the God of Israel, fought for Israel." Joshua and Israel, as leader and people, constituted God's instrument for this cleansing and purifying work. It is well to remember all the great spiritual and moral benefits that have accrued to humanity through this people of God. When, however, these people themselves became degenerate and corrupt, God cast them out of the land, as He had done with the previous dwellers. "The Lord is a warrior" (Exodus 15:3), but He is always on the side of "truth, humility, and righteousness" (Psalm 45:4). In the strength of this divine passion and power, Joshua fought on until the whole of southern Canaan was cleared of the corrupt peoples and in Israel's possession.

Joshua 11:23 "And the land had rest from war." But that rest did not come quickly nor was it realized until war had achieved the high purposes of God. After the conquest of southern Canaan, a new confederacy had to be faced and fought. The northern kings, conscious of their peril, joined together in an attempt to break the power of the conquering hosts. Turning north, Joshua attacked and utterly defeated them. All this did not happen immediately, of course. We are told, "Joshua waged war a long time with all these kings" (Joshua 11:18). It had been about five years of hard fighting from the death of Moses, but that completed the conquest by the armies of Israel acting as a unit. There was still much fighting that needed to be done, but the preliminary campaign was complete. The statement that the land had rest from war does not mean, therefore, that there would be no more war, for in the settlement of the land each tribe would be involved in border skirmishes. It rather declares that rest was reached through war. It has often been that way in the history of man. Through blood, fire, and smoke God cleanses the land and the heart of man from evil things that produce human feverishness and restlessness, leading to quietness and rest. When passions are purified and evil thoughts are no more, war will cease. Until then, God grant that this awful instrument of cleansing and renewal may never be longer than necessary.

Joshua 12:24 "In all, thirty-one kings." This chapter is a brief summary of Israel's military triumphs under Moses (verses 1-6) and then Joshua (verses 7-24). The highlighted verse refers to the extent of Joshua's victories on the west side of the Jordan River, helping us realize at once the difficulty and greatness of what he accomplished with God's direct help. This comparatively small strip of land was occupied by many peoples at perpetual and cruel strife, united only in their utter corruption. Every considerable city had its king, but there was no true cohesion among the nations except when fighting Joshua and the Israelites. When he had completed his great campaign, these all were subdued, and the land came under the rule of God through His people. Thus ends the first section of this book. The destructive part of the divine work was potentially completed. The constructive work of God could now go forward.

Joshua 13:1 "Very much of the land remains to be possessed." With this chapter the second part of the book of Joshua begins, which tells how the tribes were settled in their new land. Joshua was now close to 90 years old, yet God reminded him that there was still much to be done. Of the land God had chosen for His people, much remained unsubdued, and within the area conquered, strong cities such as Jerusalem were still held by otherwise defeated Canaanites. To help complete this work, God commanded Joshua (with help from Eleazar the high priest) to divide the land among all twelve tribes. Once everyone saw the plan on paper or its equivalent, they could start working on the steps necessary to make it a reality. The danger was that the Israelites might rest content with victories already gained and fail to realize all the purposes of God for them. As a matter of fact that did happen, as we shall see. This contains a lesson for us. In whatever realm we think of our place in God's purpose, we have never occupied all the territory He has provided, for we are terribly prone to be satisfied with less than God's will for us. It is true in the realm of spiritual experience; it is true in the matter of missionary enterprise.

Joshua 14:12 "Give me this mountain." This was the petition of Caleb, and it is characteristic of his bold faith. He was now 85 and still in possession of full vigor. Along with Joshua 45 years ago, he perceived the truth about the promised land, for he had seen not only the difficulties in possessing it, but also he saw God fully backing them (Numbers 14:8). God Himself described them as following Him wholly (Numbers 32:11-12), a fact Caleb now reminded Joshua about (Joshua 14:6-9). For 40 years Caleb had shared the wanderings and discipline of those who had not shared his faith. For five years he faithfully took part in the military campaign to take possession of the long-promised land. Apparently he occupied comparatively quiet position among his people, while his friend Joshua had been called to conspicuous and powerful leadership. Caleb comes forward now when there was still much to be done as a stirring example of willingness to tackle the most difficult territory, saying, "You heard on that day that Anakim [giants] were there, with great fortified cities; perhaps the Lord will be with me, and I will drive them out as the Lord has spoken" (Joshua 14:12). They were still there so Caleb asked for the privilege of demonstrating and vindicating his faith by valiant deeds. Joshua's recognition of his brave, godly friend's right to this choice was quick and generous. Caleb's life illustrates three lessons for us about faith: 1. Faith sees and dares in the day of difficulty, 2. Faith waits patiently through delays caused by failure in others, 3. Faith acts with courage in the day of opportunity.

Jerusalem Depicted as the Center of the World; Deuteronomy 11:12
Joshua 15:63 "As for the Jebusites, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the sons of Judah could not drive them out." This is the first statement about Jerusalem in the Bible, although it was simply mentioned by name twice before. It was the king of Jerusalem, Adoni-zedek, who organized his fellow kings in a futile attempt to stop Joshua's northern campaign from succeeding (Joshua 10:1). Jerusalem's early name was simply Salem, where the unusual king-priest Melchizedek was from who blessed Abraham (Genesis 14:18-20). The highlighted verse is the first time we are told anything about Jerusalem itself, and that is the tribe of Judah could not dislodge those who possessed it. King David managed to take it with great difficulty seven years after he became king. In some senses it was held by God's people for centuries—how imperfectly the biblical record shows—but then it was lost to them when the Romans destroyed the city in A.D. 70. Jerusalem has been regained amazingly by the Jewish people in modern times, and this is what God Himself said will happen someday yet future: "When all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves" (Zechariah 12:3). The last references to Jerusalem in the sacred writings are to it as a city coming out of heaven from God (Revelation 21-22), which may be treated as an allegory: God's high purposes for men will never be achieved by man. They will come to men from God. We today are beset by enemies too strong for us to deal with or drive out, but our hope is in God. He will carry out His purposes to their ultimate realization.

Joshua 16:4 "The children of Joseph, Manasseh and Ephraim, received their inheritance." This chapter and the next tell about the land allotted to the tribes of Joseph, which was divided between his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh. The land set aside for the tribe of Ephraim was a particularly fertile and beautiful district, in many respects the most desirable in the whole country. It was nevertheless a possession of particular difficulty in that it still lay largely in the power of the Canaanites. The history of Ephraim, which later became a dominant tribe, was a sad one. The failure of the tribe began at this time, recorded in these words: "But they did not drive out the Canaanites who lived in Gezer, so the Canaanites live in the midst of Ephraim to this day" (Joshua 16:10). They received their inheritance, but they did not take possession of it. In the will of God and by the consent of Ephraim, it belonged to them but they failed to appropriate it in all its fullness because they left the Canaanites in possession. The gifts of God to His people belong to them because He bestows them, but they can only be possessed by conflict—by the deliberate actions of those upon whom they are bestowed. Moreover, the richer the gifts, the stronger the foes that need to be dealt with and therefore the sterner the conflict to be waged. The things that are ours by divine grace become all the more ours by our own devotion and faithfulness to God.

Joshua 17:15 "If you are a numerous people, go up by yourselves to the forest, and there clear ground for yourselves." The territory of Manasseh is indicated in this chapter. Some of the cities of Ephraim were within that territory, and some of the cities of Manasseh were within the territory of Asher and Issachar. This could be marking the unity existing between Ephraim and Manasseh as sons of Joseph, and that Asher and Issachar were not strong enough to subdue the territory committed to them. The overlapping emphasized the unity of the tribes in one national life. Manasseh, like Ephraim, did not drive out the Canaanites but worse, they joined Ephraim in complaining about their land portions to Joshua. They said they were a great and numerous people worthy of more land. Joshua's answer here in our highlighted verse is evidence of his statesmanship. He displayed a clear understanding of the weakness of these tribes and the only way they could become strong. He did not deny that they were a great people, but—surely with a touch of irony—he charged them to demonstrate their greatness by taking possession of what they had. Joshua instructed them to clear out their hill country by driving out their enemies and cultivating its land rather than seeking more ground.

Joshua 18:3 "How long will you put off entering to take possession of the land which the Lord, the God of your fathers, has given you?" These words were addressed to the nation, but had special application to seven of the tribes. It seems that after the allotment of districts to Judah, Ephraim, and Manasseh, the nation slackened in its work. In view of this, Joshua at the beginning of this chapter had the tabernacle set up in the midst of the land, at Shiloh. Having done this and having rebuked the seven tribes for procrastinating, he made arrangements for the unoccupied land to be divided into seven parts so the responsibility of taking possession would be shared by all the tribes. How perpetually the work of God suffers because His people become slack! There is no weakening of the sense of the importance of the work or intention of abandoning that work, but weariness creeps upon the soul, enthusiasm cools, things lose their grip upon the mind, and effort grows sluggish. Against that tendency we should strenuously guard ourselves. If we do not, slackness turns into paralysis and work ceases. Inertia is one of the most deadly foes of all campaigns, hence the value of these words: "Let us not grow weary in doing good." The reaping is sure only "if we do not lose heart" (Galatians 6:9).

Joshua 19:51 "So they finished dividing the land." When all had been provided for, only then did Joshua himself get a portion of land. He was content to wait, taking only when all others had received. He asked for Timnath-serah, a city in the rough and uncultivated hill district of Ephraim, the tribe Joshua was from. When Ephraim and Manasseh recently complained about not having a land portion worthy of their greatness, Joshua charged them to prove their greatness by going up to take possession of what was already theirs. Now Joshua proved he was prepared to take his own advice. It's no surprise to read, "So he built the city and settled in it" (Joshua 19:50). That is when they finished dividing the land. The work had been done by Joshua their leader, Eleazar the high priest, and the heads of the tribes before the Lord at the tabernacle in Shiloh, the newly appointed place of worship in the promised land.

Joshua 20:9 "These were the appointed cities." This is referring to the cities of refuge. Now that the people had come into the land, these were provided according to the arrangements already made (Numbers 35:11). Three cities were on the west of the Jordan River and three on the east. They were placed so they would be available throughout the land, and they were all Levitical cities. Jewish commentators tell us that in later times, the roads to such cities were always kept in thorough repair to aid the fugitive in his flight from being slain by an avenger for involuntary manslaughter. At every turning were posts bearing the words "Refuge, Refuge" to guide the unhappy man in his quest for sanctuary. Once settled in such a city, the man-slayer had a convenient home assigned to him and the citizens were to teach him some trade so he could support himself. In this method of dealing with the most heinous of sins, certain principles are revealed: 1. God makes distinction between sin and greater sin, showing there are degrees of guilt. Premeditated murder is to find no sanctuary, even in a city of refuge. 2. Man must not punish man unless his guilt is established after a full investigation. 3. All deliverance is closely connected with the priesthood, which stands for sacrificial mediation. The first two are observed in all human law courts worthy of the name. Deliverance from sin, in any degree, comes only through God Himself.

Joshua 21:45 "Not a word failed of any good thing that the Lord had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass." This chapter tells of how the Levites were appointed to their cities and pastures throughout the promised land. These men who, in place of the first-born (Numbers 3:12), were devoted to the spiritual service of the nation were to live among the people, not in separation from them. Their presence everywhere was a perpetual witness to the nation of its relation to God and consequent responsibilities. Thus the second division of this book of Joshua, dealing with the settlement of the people in their new land, comes to an end. It concludes with the declaration that God "gave Israel all the land He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they possessed it and lived in it" (Joshua 21:43). His every promise to them had been fulfilled. No man had been able to stand before them as they had been obedient to Him. He had delivered their enemies into their hands. And yet, those enemies had not all been driven out so the Israelites had not fully possessed their possessions. As a matter of fact, they never did completely realize the purpose of God in this matter. That failure, however, came from their own disobedience so the record at this point fittingly closes with this declaration of God's faithfulness to His covenant with His people.

Joshua 22:26-27 "Let us build an altar, not for burnt offering or for sacrifice; rather it shall be a witness between us and you." Joshua gave the two and a half tribes on the east side of the Jordan River an honorable discharge from their military duties in the conquest since their brothers now had their lands on the west side. When those tribes returned to their homes in the east, they promptly erected a large altar by the river. The nine and a half tribes were greatly distressed when they heard that because it seemed to indicate the setting up of a new center of worship, which was expressly forbidden by God (Leviticus 17:1-9, Deuteronomy 12:5-14). An army gathered at Shiloh, the designated place of worship, and marched out to confront the eastern tribes only to learn that the altar was not raised for the purpose of worship, but as a witness that the eastern tribes remained an integral part of the nation. It was a recognition of God that was born from a fear of man. They were afraid subsequent generations of the western tribes would repudiate the eastern tribes as being part of the same nation and religion. It is a humiliating historical account of how suspicions and misunderstandings may exist between different tribes of one nation. Its value to us is in indicating the true way of realizing unity: recognizing and testifying to our common allegiance to the one true God as He is revealed in the Holy Bible. There are many temperaments, dialects, and modes of expression, but only "one Lord, one faith, one baptism" (Ephesians 4:5). In proportion as each recognizes this and yields wholly to it, all come to the realization of true unity, which is harmony—not monotony, but concordant difference.

Joshua 23:11 "Be very careful, therefore, to love the Lord your God." As the time of Joshua's passing approached, the great leader twice gathered his people together and delivered farewell messages to them.  The first is in this chapter and the second in the next. What was most on Joshua's heart and mind was the power and faithfulness of God. The consequent earnest desire of this godly leader was for his people to be faithful to the Lord. The references Joshua made to himself are very few and brief, such as "I am old" and "I am going the way of all the earth." Only incidentally did he refer to his own work, but his references to the Lord are constant: "The Lord your God has done"; "The Lord your God, He it is who fought for you" and so on. Earnestly and urgently he charged them to "be courageous to keep and obey all that is written in the book of the law," to "cleave to the Lord," closing with a most solemn warning on what would happen to them if they departed from their allegiance. The verse highlighted is the supreme note of this wonderful address. Everything else is assured if a man or woman loves the Lord. Failure to keep the law is always the outcome of failure to love the Lawgiver. For such failure in love, men and women are held responsible. Love must be diligently maintained and practiced with great care. That is the meaning of this charge from our Lord's half brother: "Keep yourselves in the love of God" (Jude 21). To cease to discipline your life is to cool in your devotion.

Joshua 24:15 "If it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom you will serve." These are the words of a fine irony. Contrary to popular usage, they are not an appeal to choose between God and idols. Joshua was supposing his hearers had decided not to serve God. The choice then was between serving the gods their forefathers had abandoned or the gods of the corrupt peoples in the new land. From God's perspective ("thus says the Lord"), Joshua outlined His people's history from the call of Abraham to the present day. In the compass of 11 verses, the "I" referring to God occurs no less than 17 times (Joshua 24:2-13). It's a breathtaking statement of the truth that everything of greatness in Israel's history is of God. From that fact Joshua made the logical deduction, "Now therefore, fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and truth" (Joshua 24:14). But if not—them let them choose between those other gods. As John Calvin said, the human heart is an idol factory. Men and women must worship; they must have a god. That is universally true. If they will not serve the Lord, then let them choose whom they will serve, only let them make their decision in the clear light of what the kingship of God really means in terms of light, love, life, and liberty. This is a great method of appeal. If today people say of God's anointed and appointed King, "We will not have this Man to reign over us," then let us urge them to choose between the alternatives offered them, only let them compare the results of the reign of Christ over human life with those of any other authority to which loyalty may be yielded. Such comparison compels the thinking man or woman to Joshua's decision: "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."

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  1. This is my third try, but at least Google let me in. : ) I am IMPRESSED, Allacin! You are a genuine biblical scholar, and this blog is equal to a seminary course. Keep up the good work.

  2. Thank you, Ellie: that's high praise coming from you and is wind to my sails as I begin Ruth! :)