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JOSHUA iii. 9, 10, 11.
First, AND Joshua said unto the children of Israel, come hither, and hear the words of the LORD your God."
Secondly, He instructs the Hebrews how they are to determine, when the living God was amongst them. That he would without fail drive out from before them all their enemies, all those who opposed their entrance into the promised inheritance. Joshua, however, did not direct them to look unto themselves for marks, evidences, or signs; Psalm xliv. 3, "For they got not the land in possession by their own sword, neither did their own arm save them: but thy right hand, and thine arm, and the light of thy countenance, because thou hadst a favour unto them."
Thirdly, The Hebrews were assured that the living God was among them because the ark of the covenant of the LORD of all the earth passed over before them unto the river Jordan. This was to these wanderers, an indubitable proof, that he would do all that they had been taught to expect he would do. Behold the ark of the covenant of the LORD, of all the earth, passeth over before them into Jordan. What is this ark of the covenant? Let us inquire at the lively oracles of God. Isaiah xlii. 6, "I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles." Isaiah xlix. 8, "Thus saith the LORD, in an acceptable time have I heard thee: and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages."
But this ark of the covenant is the ark of the covenant of the LORD of all the earth. Psalm xlvii. 2, "For the LORD most high is terrible; he is a great king over all the earth." Psalm cv. 7, “He is the LORD our God, his judgments are in all the earth." Psalm xcvi. "O sing unto the LORD a new song; sing unto the LORD, all the earth. Sing unto the LORD, bless his
name; shew forth his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people. For the LORD is great, and greatly to be praised: he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD made the heavens. Honour and majesty are before him: strength and beauty are in his sanctuary. Give unto the LORD, O ye kindreds of the people, give unto the LORD, glory and strength." Psalm xcviii. 4, "Make a joyful noise unto the LORD; all the earth make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise. Because God is the God of the whole earth, therefore the whole earth shall worship him." Psalm lxvi, 4, “All the earth shall worship thee, and shall sing unto thee, they shall sing to thy name. Selah." Isaiah xii. 6, "Cry out and shout, thou inhabitants of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee."
First, Blessed are the people who know the joyful sound. Secondly, God himself hath given a sign, and an evidence. A virgin shall conceive. There shall no sign be given you, but the sign of the prophet Jonah. The birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are infallible signs of the love of God, and of the consequent salvation of man. Thirdly, After such signs as these, to ask after a sign, by which I may know whether I myself, or every individual of the human family shall be saved from sin and death, from sorrow and pain, is an unquestionable sign of a wicked and an adulterous heart.
JOSHUA iii. 12-17.
First, JOSHUA commanded that a man should be chosen from every tribe; twelve men were to be chosen-and for what purpose they were chosen, we shall learn in our progress through the next chapter of this book.
Secondly, And it shall come to pass as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests that bear the ark of the LORD, the LORD of all
the earth, shall rest in the waters of Jordan; that the waters of Jordan shall be cut off from the waters that come down from above; and they shall stand upon an heap. Exodus xv. 8, "And with the blast of thy nostrils the waters were gathered together, the floods stood upright as an heap, and the depths were congealed in the heart of the sea." Psalm cxiv. 3, "The sea saw it and fled: Jordan was driven back." Jeremiah xlix. 19, "Behold he shall come up like a lion from the swelling of Jordan to the habitation of the strong: but I will suddenly make him run away from her: and who is a chosen man that I may appoint over her? For who is like me? And who will appoint me the time? And who is that shepherd that will stand before me?"
Thirdly, And the priests that bear the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the midst of Jordan. Exodus xiv. 29, "But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left."
Fourthly, The priests continued in Jordan until all the people passed over.
First, The priests are the first who enter into Jordan, and the last who quit it. Secondly, It is remarkable that the miracle of dividing the sea, was wrought immediately after the deliverance from Egyptian bondage, and that of dividing the river, immediately preceding their entrance into the promised land; to neither of which astonishing events, were the people either directly or indirectly instrumental. Thirdly, Nothing more was expected of the priests, than merely to advance before the people, bearing the ark of the covenant of the LORD of the whole earth. The business of the gospel minister is only to point his hearers to Jesus Christ, the true ark of the covenant. Fourthly, In leaving Egypt, the people fled from their pursuers, who were their enemies. But in entering upon the promised land, their enemies flee before them. So immeasurable is the difference between Moses and Christ Jesus, between the law and that grace and truth which came to light by the gospel, between death and life, between the two dispensations.
JOSHUA iv. 1-9.
First, "AND it came to pass when all the people were clean passed over Jordan, that the LORD spake unto Joshua, saying, take you twelve men out of the people, out of every tribe a man.
Secondly, "And command you them, saying, take ye hence out of the midst of Jordan, out of the place where the priest's feet stood firm, twelve stones; and ye shall carry them over with you, and leave them in the lodging place, where ye shall lodge this night.
Thirdly, "Then Joshua called the twelve men whom he had prepared of the children of Israel, out of every tribe a man. And Joshua said unto them, pass over before the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God into the midst of Jordan, and take ye up every man of you a stone upon his shoulder, that this may be a sign among you when your children shall in future ask what mean ye by these stones."
Fourthly, The answer to this question. The waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it passed over Jordan, and these stones are for a memorial of this miraculous event. Psalm ciii. 2, "Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits."
Fifthly, And Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests which bear the ark of the covenant stood; and they are there unto this day.
First, God directs Joshua to take twelve men; not twelve men from one tribe, but one from each tribe. If Joshua was a figure of Jesus Christ, are not these twelve men figures of the apostles? Secondly, These stones were to continue under the law. Did not the apostles upon every occasion appeal to the law, and to the testimony? Thirdly, These monumental stones were to remain as witnesses, to succeeding generations, of what
the LORD had done for the children of Israel. Fourthly, As the waters of Jordan would have been the death of the people, had they closed upon them; they are to continue as evidences of their miraculous salvation. Fifthly, the children of Abraham are those individuals in the human family who are witnesses to the truth which Abraham believed, respecting the great salvation. These stones were for witnesses; and, saith John the Baptist, God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. If by this allusion the baptist intended the Gentiles, or any of those who listened to his ministration, he must have designed to show that they were but as these stones, which took any impression that the artist imprinted or engraved upon them; and indeed we know that believers are called living stones, built upon the foundation of the prophets and the apostles, Jesus Christ himself being the corner stone, and their builder is God; and to show that they were not fashioned by the art of man, there was no tool to lift upon them.
JOSHUA V. 10-15.
First, AND the children of Israel encamped at Gilgal, at which place the reproach of Egypt was rolled away from the people. Ezekiel xx. 7, "Then said I unto them, Cast ye away every man the abominations of his eyes, and defile not yourself with the idols of Egypt: I am the LORD your God."
Secondly, There they kept the passover on the fourteenth day of the month at even. Exodus xii. 26, 27, "And it shall come to pass when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service? that ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the LORD'S passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses And the people bowed the head and worshipped."
Thirdly, And the manna ceased on the morrow after they had eaten of the old corn of the land.