Joshua: or The Spirit of Christ in His Own.

1882 177 The character of certain remarkable personages in the Word of God typifies that of Christ's; in particular so does Joshua, who introduced the people of God into the land of promise. It was neither Moses, apostle of the Jewish profession, nor Aaron their High Priest, but Joshua who prefigured Christ acting by the Spirit in His own.

Accordingly all the Book of Joshua shows the power of the Spirit of Christ in His people to bring them into the effects of salvation.

Joshua comes before us for the first time in Ex. xvii. 9 in the war with Amalek. Moses, Aaron and Hur go up to the top of the hill. When Moses holds up his hand, Israel prevails; when he let down his hand, Amalek prevails. When his hands were heavy, Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands till the sun went down; and Joshua discomfited Amalek. Thus was it made plain from the first that strength nor courage, nor skill, nor a righteous cause, decided the victory, but intercession with God: on His blessing from on high the success of His people wholly depended. Nor was it all over in one fight, but Jehovah's war with Amalek must be from generation to generation. Moses prays, and Joshua acts. Israel has no force but by continual blessing from above. Joshua is the leader of the people in the battle, as the Spirit of Christ conducts us in spiritual combats.

The second time that Joshua appears, he accompanies Moses as his minister, when he went up into the Mount of God, Ex. xxiv. 13; but Jehovah does not speak to him.

Joshua is seen again in the expedition of the spies to Canaan, Num. xv.

At the end of the book of Deuteronomy (Deut. xxxi., Deut. xxxiv.), Joshua is named as the successor to Moses, who should bring in the people to possess the land of Canaan. Moses went near to the Jordan, figure of death: it is Joshua that leads the people into the enjoyment of their privileges.

Two things present to us the Christian life: the wilderness, where the patience of God's people is tried in passing through this world, a dry and thirsty land where no water is; and the land of Canaan where they have to fight against the powers of evil, Eph. vi. 12. The Christian has to do with both. Everything in this conflict is done by the power of God, as was set forth plainly in the fall of Jericho. The accursed thing enfeebled Israel because the power of God cannot be used to the profit of the accursed thing. Such is the principle on which He uses His power. The details of the life of Joshua are those of the christian life. That power, though under the power of the Spirit, has a responsibility; it must reproduce the character of God. When He introduces His people into conflict, they have crossed the Jordan. It is when we have passed from death into life that the conflict begins for us. In vain does Jordan overflow all its banks; the power of God stays its waters above, or those below fail and are cut off, so that the people pass over on dry ground.

It is death and resurrection with Christ: Christ's work not merely in its efficacy for justification, but as applied by the Spirit to the soul's realization for life in the heavenly places, where Christ is with whom we are united. Death is the destruction of the earthly life, of man as he is naturally. Such is the way by which we must go in order to enjoy the things above where Christ sits, a way not passed heretofore. There must be a means of dealing with the flesh, of delivering us from all in us which gives Satan an advantage in the warfare we have to carry on with him, in order to realise our heavenly privileges. It is the judgment of God on and in the cross of Him who died and rose and ascended; and God has quickened us together with Him, having forgiven us all offences. One with Him by the Spirit, I am dead to sin and the world; and I am risen with Him, yea seated in Him in heavenly places, Col. ii. Col. iii.; Eph. ii. The christian knows death and judgment borne by Christ for us, that we might be now associated with Him in His living acceptance in glory before God. The way into Canaan lay through the river, and all for Israel depended on the ark of the covenant which rested in the bed through which before rolled the proud waters of Jordan. Thus does death lose its previous power, and is no more for us than the pathway of faith into the heavenly land, the entry into the enjoyment of the things above. It is the efficacy of Christ's death and resurrection as a present thing for the conscience and heart. Before Israel was the Jordan overflowing all its banks all the time of harvest; on the other side, the possession of all the promised blessings, but even then not without conflict for every foot of the land. Israel passed clean over Jordan where God for them had cut off its waters before the ark of His covenant. Into the midst of the greatest difficulties, into the midst of Jordan, the ark was borne; but it was of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth passing before Israel into Jordan, and there it stood firm until all passed over. God is for us. Death and judgment become the certainty of our salvation from the moment we lay them on Christ who bore their effect on our behalf. We have spiritually passed out of death into life. Our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against Satan, against principalities, against powers, against the world, rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenlies.

The principles of this conflict, it may he noticed, are at the beginning of the book of Joshua. When we fight in communion with God, Satan flees. When we reject the accursed thing, the enemy has no strength longer. With God our victory is continual; without Him our force is lost. Never expect to find any strength in the co-operation of the world. From the first chapter we see good courage urged because of confidence in God's presence and power, but only in the path of His word — of obedience. Never does He introduce into the conflict with the assurance of victory, demanding of us the courage of faith, an entire confidence in Him. He orders us to be strong, because He is our strength. Think of Israel asking, Have we passed the Jordan? What ingratitude to doubt or even forget it! When we have passed it spiritually, God is for us in fighting for the Lord. The worldly man fears not God but Satan. A christian does not dread God but he does Satan, because he knows himself to be weak. We have to fight Satan, but God is for us, having already given His Son for us. When there is confidence in God, when the life of Christ is in activity, sin is as it were behind us. This confidence gives us the courage to look at all the will of God. We dare not do so when we have not the confidence that God is with us.

There are Christians which tremble at the thought of an unknown future: God does not fill their future. People tremble just so much as they confide in themselves. The power of God leads us to the accomplishment of the will of God: our continual dependence on God is the result of God's power in us and of confidence in God. When the blessing of God inspires us with confidence in ourselves, it is turned against us. Christ was perfectly dependent on His Father. Such dependence makes us humble and gives us all power. God says as it were to us, Now therefore arise," He introduces us Himself into the conflict because He has Himself trodden the road. He is with us wherever we go. God makes us "prosper" there, but not in worldliness. When we are not before Him, our knowledge, our victories are snares, because they inspire us with confidence in ourselves.