Joshua 8

* God encourages Joshua. (1,2) The taking of Ai. (3-22) The

destruction of Ai and its king. (23-29) The law read on Ebal and

Gerizim. (30-35)

1,2 When we have faithfully put away sin, that accursed thing

which separates between us and God, then, and not till then, we

may look to hear from God to our comfort; and God's directing us

how to go on in our Christian work and warfare, is a good

evidence of his being reconciled to us. God encouraged Joshua to

proceed. At Ai the spoil was not to be destroyed as at Jericho,

therefore there was no danger of the people's committing such a

trespass. Achan, who caught at forbidden spoil, lost that, and

life, and all; but the rest of the people, who kept themselves

from the accursed thing, were quickly rewarded for their

obedience. The way to have the comfort of what God allows us,

is, to keep from what he forbids us. No man shall lose by

self-denial.
3-22 Observe Joshua's conduct and prudence. Those that would

maintain their spiritual conflicts must not love their ease.

Probably he went into the valley alone, to pray to God for a

blessing, and he did not seek in vain. He never drew back till

the work was done. Those that have stretched out their hands

against their spiritual enemies, must never draw them back.
23-29 God, the righteous Judge, had sentenced the Canaanites

for their wickedness; the Israelites only executed his doom.

None of their conduct can be drawn into an example for others.

Especial reason no doubt there was for this severity to the king

of Ai; it is likely he had been notoriously wicked and vile, and

a blasphemer of the God of Israel.
30-35 As soon as Joshua got to the mountains Ebal and Gerizim,

without delay, and without caring for the unsettled state of

Israel, or their enemies, he confirmed the covenant of the Lord

with his people, as appointed, #De 11; 27|. We must not think to

defer covenanting with God till we are settled in the world; nor

must any business put us from minding and pursuing the one thing

needful. The way to prosper is to begin with God, #Mt 6:33|.

They built an altar, and offered sacrifice to God, in token of

their dedicating themselves to God, as living sacrifices to his

honour, in and by a Mediator. By Christ's sacrifice of himself

for us, we have peace with God. It is a great mercy to any

people to have the law of God in writing, and it is fit that the

written law should be in a known tongue, that it may be seen and

read of all men.

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