the Third Sunday of Lent
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Charles Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening"
“Open thy mouth wide and I will fill it.”
We shall now see what Caleb did with his inheritance in the land of promise.
These were giants, but their gigantic stature did not frighten Caleb from attacking them. He who fears God is not the man to fear anyone else.
This Debir appears to have been mastered before, but the Canaanites had re-occupied it. Our sins are very apt to return upon us, and when they do so we must drive them out a second time. The ancient name of Debir is here given, but why it would be hard to say. Kirjath-sepher signifies the city of the book. Since learning was scarce in those days, it may be that this place was famed for its records. Anyhow it was a Canaanitish city, and it was to be captured. Ungodliness is none the better for being associated with education.
This exploit is recorded again in the book of Judges; probably because the hero of it, in after years was moved by the Spirit of God to become a judge and deliverer of Israel. He was a worthy nephew of a noble man. The younger members of a family should never allow their elders to engross all the zeal and faith. If there be one earnest Christian of our kin, let us endeavour to equal him.
If earthly parents thus give to their children what they desire, how much more will our heavenly Father bestow upon us more of his Holy Spirit. Some blessings we must fight for, as Othniel fought for Kirjath-sepher; others may be won by prayer, as Achsah gained the field of the abounding springs.
Joshua 21:3 , Joshua 21:10-13
Caleb having gained his promised inheritance appears to have shown a noble spirit by generously resigning the city of Hebron to the Levites. He was brave to win, but not greedy to hold.
Thus Caleb had the Lords servants for near neighbours, and the very chief of them lived at his doors. It was well for them to have so valiant a defender, and well for him and his household to have such excellent instructors. God’s ministers are our best friends.
A double honour was thus put upon Caleb’s city. If the Lord will but use our property for his service we will cheerfully give him the best that we have.
O happy soldiers they who serve
Beneath thy banner, Lord!
And glad the task if thou but nerve
Their arm to wield the sword.
Though Satan fiercely rage without,
And fears o’erwhelm within,
Rings in the air Faith’s victor note
“Against the world I’ll win.”
“Thou shalt stand in thy lot at the end of the days.”
Shiloh was a fit name for the dwelling of the God who is Israel’s rest, and as a place for those sacred institutions which typified Jesus, our peace. Yet it was in the city of peace that Joshua stirred up the people to war. True peace wages a determined war against all the enemies of the Lord. Even The Great Peacemaker came to make war in the earth, war with evil, war with Satan, for there can be no peace for holiness till sin is exterminated.
Enriched with the spoil already taken, the people declined the toils of further conquest, Too often this is the sin of believers; they rejoice in the things whereunto they have already attained, and no longer press forward to that which is beyond. Self-satisfaction is the end of progress; the Lord deliver us from it. Joshua rebuked the people for their slackness.
Surveyors were to go forth to take a prospect of all the land: it is good for us to consider what graces are attainable by us, for this will aid in stirring us to action. The division of the land among the tribes would also secure more ardent service on the part of each tribe. Division of labour, so long as it does not lead to envying and jealousy, is a wise arrange- ment in the service of God. All the land will be conquered when each tribe fights for its own portion: all church work will be done when each worker diligently performs the peculiar duty allotted to him.
God’s ministers, now-a-days, ought to be cared for by the people, since they are shut out from the profits of trade, and the emoluments of secular offices. God will take care of those whose lives are freely given to his service:
He who was once a spy himself is now the sender forth of others: those who serve God well in a lower position are the most likely to be promoted to a higher office.
They were brave and pushing men who performed this service. The church has need at this time both of enterprising spirits who will survey and describe the state of the unconverted world, and of diligent and brave soldiers who will go forth to the conquest of it. At present we are slack to go up and possess the land, and need to be aroused to our duty. O that zeal might revive among us, till the Lord’s host should again press forward in the holy war.
God chose to appoint the casting of lots as his way of revealing his mind, but this by no means teaches us to follow the superstitious method of judgment by lot. That is little better than tempting the Lord our God. We have no precept for using the lot, and consequently no promise is connected with it. It would be in our case a heathenish custom, which as Christians we must not follow.