And the LORD said to Joshua, Get you up; why lie you thus on your face?…
To trust God is manifestly our duty. We are commanded to put our trust in Him. Trust in God is also a crowning means of safety and prosperity. Exceedingly great and precious promises are made to confidence in God. Watch over and cherish your trust in God. Cherish it by the study of the promises of your God. Cherish it by intercourse with God; and make this trust in God strong by giving it plenty of work to do. The more you exercise this principle, the stronger will it become. Trust in God is a manifest duty. But there are other obligations. We are under obligations to personal exertion. To trust is one duty; to exert ourselves is another: and although some persons would think that these two things cannot work together, they not only can, but they do work together in the experience and in the life of every man who is really walking with his God. Joshua, as you know, was leading the people forward to the entire conquest of Canaan. God has shown Israel's captain marvellous deliverances, and, as is common in our own life, after these wonderful deliverances there comes a check. And so entirely does this prostrate him, that God his helper has to rebuke him, and say to him in the language of rebuke, "Get thee up: wherefore liest thou upon thy face?" Now, it strikes me that there are not a few who are in the position of Joshua.
1. In the first place, there is the doubter, depressed and paralysed by his doubts. I say to that man, "Get up — get thee up, and inquire — get thee up, and call upon God — get thee up and search the book of God — get thee up and think, and meditate — get thee up and converse with sober, intelligent, wise, kind-hearted, Christlike disciples." Follow out your beliefs, and speak of that which you know. Then deal with your doubts. Do not let these doubts tarry. Do not let them become normal and constitutional. Regard them as a something to be taken away from your heart if possible.
2. We might, also, address these words to those who have fainted under the struggles of life. The words of those who have fainted in the day of adversity are such words as these, "All things are against me." "I shall one day fall by the hand of mine enemy." "Verily, I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency." Well, under depressing thoughts like these, those who have become weary in the struggle of life sink into prostration; and we say to such, "Get thee up." Out of most troubles there is a present way of escape, and a future way out of them all. Your trouble may be poverty. Why conclude that God means you to be poor all your days? Get up, and look if there be a way out of that poverty. Your trouble may be bodily weakness and sickness. Why conclude that you are to be an invalid all your days? Get thee up, and look. See if there be a way of escape from this bodily infirmity. Out of many of our troubles there is, I say, a way of escape; but we require to get up, and to look for the way of escape. All that we require in such circumstances is strength to wait. The working together of the various events of life is of course a process. That very idea of working together involves a succession of effects and of results. The good must come.
3. Perhaps, too, there is that class of person known by the common name of backslider. It is a serious thing to go back. But the man who has gone back is not in a hopeless state. He ought not to despair. Thanks be to God, I can appeal to your hope. I can in the name of God say, "Return unto the Lord, and He will return to you." He will heal your backsliding; He will love you freely; He will be as the dew to you, and you shall revive as the corn and grow as the vine. Only, only, return to the Lord.
4. Those who are hindered and disheartened in their godly enterprises, as were many of the companions of Nehemiah, in connection with the work of rebuilding the city and rebuilding the temple. Now God sent Haggai to say to the people, in substance, just what He said to Joshua, "Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face?" — for by His prophet God spake thus: "Is it time for you to dwell in coiled houses while God's house lies waste?" "Get thee up: wherefore liest thou upon thy face?" Now, just see that self-prostration and inertness are wrong. For, in the first place, it is God who speaks to us thus: "Get thee up"; God, whose power is almighty; God, whose resources are unsearchable riches; God, who is ever working to keep us up, and to lift us up, and who, when He has helped us ten thousand times, has His hands stretched out to help us still; God, who proffers His interposition to the weak and to the needy. And He speaks, observe, to our will, and to our hearts. By the use of these words He is seeking to work confidence, resolution, and determination. "Get thee up." He is appealing to our hopes, that He may comfort us by hope. There is no evil for which there is no remedy. The position, therefore, of a man of God is not that of prostration. Even when he is confessing his sins, his position is not that of prostration. Prostration is not his posture. His right position is to stand up like a man before God. Oh! do not thus lie prostrate on your faces. Do not yield to your despondency and despair. I speak to you men of God, and I may say to you, "All is right. All is right in Heaven concerning you: and if there be things wrong down here, Heaven can set them right." It may be, too, that there is some accursed thing that is producing your present perplexities and your present difficulties. I know not what that accursed thing may be. Perhaps it is sinful trust in yourselves; perhaps it is undue reliance on your fellow-creatures; perhaps you have done wrong ill endeavouring to obtain an instrumentality to assist you that is not holy, and that is not heaven-approved. What the accursed thing may be a little honest inquiry will soon discover. By the power of God, I say, get rid of it; but, even before you get rid of it, get up. You cannot see the accursed thing while you are thus spiritually prostrate. You cannot see what you ought to do while you are thus spiritually prostrate. Whatever may be the cause of your present difficulty and depression, it is your duty to get up, and stand before God upright as a man.
Parallel VersesKJV: And the LORD said unto Joshua, Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face?