And it came to pass, when all the people were clean passed over Jordan, that the LORD spoke to Joshua, saying,…
That is true. We saw it. We were there. It is happening every day. Take out the mere detail and put in the great picture, and what is it? It is Divine interposition in the affairs of life. It is God taking away all hindrances to the progress which He Himself has purposed and defined; not the hindrances to your progress, but the hindrances to His own progress as shown through your life. He will not take any stones out of our way if they lie between us and ruin. He will rather embed those stones a little more firmly. God be praised for His hindrances! We wanted to make that contract, and could not. We had the pen in hand to sign it, but the ink would not flow, or the light suddenly gave out, and we dropped the pen. What did it? We see now we were going to sign away our birthright, our liberty, our honour, our conscience, and we were doing this more or less unconsciously, and God said "No." Blessed be God for His denials! Sometimes we are able to say, "Blessed be God for His bereavements!" Let God alone. Let us put our lives lust into His hands and say, "Lord, they are Thy lives more than ours. Thou hast only lent them to us. We would not spoil one moment of these trembling frailties which we call our lives. Undertake everything for us and use us. We will run Thine errands, we will obey Thy will, we will do what Thou dost bid us do. Lord, undertake for us. Then if there is a river in the way Thou wilt dry it up, if there is a Red Sea in the way Thou wilt command it to stand back, and we shall walk through the beds of rivers as if they were beds of roses," you would be greatly comforted, as I have been in a thousand instances, by reasoning from the river to the sea. This is the right method of inference, by induction and by deduction. What has God done for us in the past? Hear David. He said: "The God that delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from this uncircumcised Philistine. I will strike him in the name of the Eternal." Was it a rash act? It was reasoned piety. Why did the young man's blood boil for one moment and then subside? It was all the piety of the past gathered up into one supreme stroke. Sometimes one act of faith condenses a lifetime of study, experience, and prayer. "Wondrously doth life bring its own power, and marvellously doth yesterday contribute its quota to the forces of to-day. When a great man advises you upon a certain course, he does not speak for the moment. For a quarter of a century and more he has been buried in the study of law, and when he gives you advice that could be written down in a line he puts a lifetime into that line. When the hoary physician touches your pulse half a century touches it. So we should thus see God moving, as in contemplation and in faith, from the Jordan to the Red Sea. He says to us, as we near the sea: "What about the Jordan? Was there one drop of water on the sole of your feet?" No, Lord, there was not. "Then," saith He in reply, "as with the Jordan, so with the Red Sea. It shall be dried up as if it had never been." When the disciples said, "How can we feed this multitude?" He said, "Did I not feed a multitude once. What lack was there then?" None. "Had the people barely enough to eat?" Nay. "How many baskets took you up?" Twelve. And He helped them to carry out that reasoning, that He who was able to do it once was able to do it twice; and if He could do it twice, He could do it for ever. Here is the historical lesson He teaches us, that what He did yesterday He is going to do to-morrow. If you have no faith in to-morrow, surely you have faith in your own recollection of yesterday. There are timid souls who never dare look at to-morrow. The Lord says to these, "Then think about yesterday; that is over. Now what was done to you yesterday? You thought your heart was going to burst. Did your heart break yesterday?" No. "You thought all things were against you yesternight. Did one star fall out of its place?" No, Lord, they are all there. "Then," saith God, "as yesterday, so to-morrow; as the Jordan, so the Red Sea." What is your experience? How have you been treated in straits and perplexities and difficulties? Who cooled your fever? Who brought light when all was darkness? Bacon saith, "A little learning inclineth to atheism"; but much learning, great wisdom, makes a man pray. Whenever you doubt God, think that you are but feebly or superficially instructed. When you can lean upon Him four-square, know that the kingdom of heaven is at hand. How true it is that all things in life are done by an unseen power in so far as they are either good or bad. The devil is as invisible as God. How wonderful a thing it is that-life becomes shaped into palaces and temples without any handling of our own. The Jordan was dried up not with hands; the Red Sea was dried up — not with hands. Hands, poor hands, what can hands make? "The hand can make and break" is a little proverb, I would suggest. Whatever can be made by the hand can be unmade by the hand. God Himself takes all primary ministry unto His own power and employs us, even when we are going about our own errands, simply as His messengers. All life as it grows wisely and well turns and tends to service. Blessed be God, there is a bondage of love, there is a slavery of joy! Are you dreading the Jordan? He will dry it up for you if you put your trust in Him. Are you dreading the Red Sea? He will blow it away with the wind of His mouth. You may go within a step of it, nay, you may touch it, but the moment the foot of faith touches that sea, the sea is gone.
(J. Parker, D. D.).
Parallel VersesKJV: And it came to pass, when all the people were clean passed over Jordan, that the LORD spake unto Joshua, saying,