Joshua 12


With c hapter 12, we enter upon the second part of the book. The first part (ch. 1-11) speaks of Joshua, the victorious one (type of Christ in the power of the Spirit amongst His own), obtaining possession for Israel of promised bless­ings. During the course of their victories, the Lord's host (and Joshua himself, if we look at him not as a type, but as a man subject to infirmity). have experienced much of their own weakness, which cannot fail to be the case from the moment that we are prominent as instruments of divine power. But the main point presented in the book of Joshua, is divine grace giving the victory to Israel for their establishment in Canaan , and not their responsibility when once there.

This side of Israel 's history begins rather in the book of Judges; what a contrast, too, the two books present. Freshness and vigour in that of Joshua, the power of the Spirit of Christ acting freely in vessels, feeble in themselves, but filled with this power. We turn to Judges only to witness how sudden and complete was the declension, when a generation arose which knew not Joshua, and were left to their own respon­sibility to keep what God had entrusted to them.

Church history opens the same page to us. Read the First Epistle to the Thessalonians; then pass on to the addresses to the seven churches, and see the difference between the work of power established of God in perfection at the beginning, shedding around it the fragrance of its divine origin, and the work entrusted to man, and become as such the subject of divine judgment.

Chapter 11 closes with these words: “And the land rested from war” (v.23). It is always thus; peace follows victory. God not only gives us the victory, but causes us to enjoy its fruits. The path of conflict, trodden in faith­fulness under the guidance of the Spirit, ends in the peaceful enjoyment of our heavenly blessings; and this is what is presented to us in type in the chapters we are about to peruse. That which was true for the people as a whole (see also ch. 21:44 ), is realised in the same way by the individual believer; and so it says after Caleb's victory: “And the land had rest from war” (ch. 14:15 ).

Beloved, are you disheartened by the struggle in which you are engaged? Are you ever tempted to throw down your arms, and to say: It is too much for me? Or have you realised that the conflict is but leading you on to that blessed moment when God will say: “And the land had rest from war”?

The second part of the book (ch. 12-24) treats of the division of the land. Possession follows victory.

But after what manner will the people enter upon the enjoyment of their inheritance? Here again, as during their warfare, we shall trace the same exhibition of weakness on their part, side by side with the grace of God which granted the enjoyment of His gifts.

Chapter 12 is the recapitulation of Israel 's victories. Thirty-three kings, of whom two were on the other side of Jordan , have fallen before the Captain of the Lord's host. God reckons to His people the victories which He had given them. The Lord attributes to faith, all that grace has wrought in us, and that faith has laid hold of.

One more point I would notice. The Lord does not enumerate our victories until warfare is over. Until the goal is reached, the believer should not be occupied with his progress. The apostle says: “forgetting the things that are be­hind.” The race is not the moment for pausing; the apostle had to reach forward to the things that are before, and every backward glance was not only lost time, but a positively evil thing, inasmuch as it divided the thoughts, affections, and aim of his heart, and hindered him in doing one thing” (Phil.3:13,14).

Ah! when the goal is reached, it will be time enough to enumerate our victories, and God will not leave the charge of this to us; He will reckon them Himself. Meanwhile, then, let us run that we may win Christ; let us fight that we may re­ceive the prize. The end of the struggle is near, and others have already gone before us. May we be enabled to say with them: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.”