Shiloh was a fit name for the dwelling of the God who is Israel’s rest, and as a place for those sacred institutions which typified Jesus, our peace. Yet it was in the city of peace that Joshua stirred up the people to war. True peace wages a determined war against all the enemies of the Lord. Even The Great Peacemaker came to make war in the earth, war with evil, war with Satan, for there can be no peace for holiness till sin is exterminated.
Enriched with the spoil already taken, the people declined the toils of further conquest, Too often this is the sin of believers; they rejoice in the things whereunto they have already attained, and no longer press forward to that which is beyond. Self-satisfaction is the end of progress; the Lord deliver us from it. Joshua rebuked the people for their slackness.
Surveyors were to go forth to take a prospect of all the land: it is good for us to consider what graces are attainable by us, for this will aid in stirring us to action. The division of the land among the tribes would also secure more ardent service on the part of each tribe. Division of labour, so long as it does not lead to envying and jealousy, is a wise arrange- ment in the service of God. All the land will be conquered when each tribe fights for its own portion: all church work will be done when each worker diligently performs the peculiar duty allotted to him.
God’s ministers, now-a-days, ought to be cared for by the people, since they are shut out from the profits of trade, and the emoluments of secular offices. God will take care of those whose lives are freely given to his service:
He who was once a spy himself is now the sender forth of others: those who serve God well in a lower position are the most likely to be promoted to a higher office.
They were brave and pushing men who performed this service. The church has need at this time both of enterprising spirits who will survey and describe the state of the unconverted world, and of diligent and brave soldiers who will go forth to the conquest of it. At present we are slack to go up and possess the land, and need to be aroused to our duty. O that zeal might revive among us, till the Lord’s host should again press forward in the holy war.
God chose to appoint the casting of lots as his way of revealing his mind, but this by no means teaches us to follow the superstitious method of judgment by lot. That is little better than tempting the Lord our God. We have no precept for using the lot, and consequently no promise is connected with it. It would be in our case a heathenish custom, which as Christians we must not follow.