Joshua 5

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We must remember that all these things which are written " happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition upon whom the ends of the world are come." This expression, " ends of the world," has its importance as also this, " once in the end of the world," etc. (Heb. 9:2626For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. (Hebrews 9:26)). It is what we are in as Christians, consequent on the end of all the dealings and ways of God with man as to teaching or testing him. Now man as man has been fully tried, and God has set up another man. He is more than man too, but still another man, and it is in grace too, surely, for sinners, that we may find a better paradise than that which has been lost. The Lord Jesus Christ could say, when He came to the end, " now is the judgment of this world." We find men tried in every way from innocence to the cross of Christ, and the Son Himself is cast out of the vineyard and slain. John the Baptist came after the law and the prophets and preached repentance (Matt. 11), but they would not repent. When he mourned, they did not lament; and when the Lord came and piped, they would not dance. In that same chapter He says, " Come unto me." Now man must come to Christ as ruined, according to His own invitation.
Man may be decently alienated from God, or indecently, but it is all the same. " The carnal mind is enmity." We must come to the Second man, to Christ. God did not set up the Second, whilst He could recognize the first. He cannot own both; and to acknowledge man in the flesh now is to set aside the fact that God has set up another. What I would now set forth is the full deliverance we have in the Lord Jesus Christ. I need not say this is not deliverance as to our body, but blessed liberty of spirit while we are waiting for the deliverance of body. We are not only forgiven, but are brought into liberty of association with God in holiness.
This deliverance is shadowed in Israel's history by figures, Egypt, the wilderness, Jordan, Canaan. We are all aware that the general idea is that Jordan means death and Canaan heaven. But directly we enter Canaan, we get conflict. This is not the heavenly places as a place of rest evidently. That which characterizes Canaan is conflict, and we get a figure of what we find brought out in Eph. 6-the wrestling, not with flesh, and blood, but with spiritual wickedness in heavenly places, for which we need to have on the whole armor of God. But if we are to have conflict there, we must first be there. What I would speak of then is the way we get into the heavenly places. Remember Christ is there. We find in the history of Israel the way a soul progresses to the heavenly places. It is when they get into Canaan, and not in the wilderness, that the reproach of Egypt was rolled away. They kept the passover as circumcised, they ate the old corn of the land, and the manna ceased.
And this is the way the soul gets into deliverance " from this present evil world," and is introduced into the heavenly places. They were slaves in Egypt, making bricks without straw; but God comes down to deliver them, and He talks only of Canaan and not of the wilderness. But first He appears in the character of a judge. He must pass them through the judgment. They were as great sinners as the Egyptians (perhaps greater, for they had a greater knowledge of God), but still, wherever the blood was, there was shelter-perfect security. It was only because the blood was on their houses that God passed over. It was not a question of communion, but the blood keeping God out as a judge.
So with the believer now. It is a blessed fact that, wherever the blood is relied on, God cannot see a single sin. God would have to deny the efficacy of that blood if He did not pass over. What screened them was not their seeing the blood but God seeing it. Many souls are saying, I do not know whether I have accepted it aright. But what gives peace is knowing that God has accepted it. They think they must look into their hearts to see if they have accepted it aright: but a simple soul would not think of such a thing, but would only be too happy to rest in God's value of Christ's blood. There may be many a work to give right affections. It is quite true that we ought to find the blood each day more precious, but that is not questioning my acceptance. It is a question of growing affections; but what gives peace is not growing affections, but the fact that God has accepted the blood, and He must deny the efficacy of the blood of Christ if He did not receive me. The effect of it was to arrest His hand in judgment. Not only has my sin been pardoned, but God has been glorified at the cross of Christ. That gives full value to the blood.
If God judged sin only, then He is righteous, but there is no love. If He had said of men, " They are poor wretched things and cannot help it, so I will pardon all," there might be love shown, but there would be no righteousness. It would not be holy love. But when we come to the cross, we have perfect righteousness and perfect love. God's truth and majesty are fully brought out there, because He, the " captain of our salvation," was there made " perfect through suffering." He has suffered, and now the Son of man is glorified and God is glorified in Him. He has run the race and is now set down at the right hand of God.
" God hath highly exalted him." In virtue of the cross man is glorified. Stephen sees the Son of man in heaven: that is the wonderful thing. Stephen did not say " I see the glory ": this was natural in heaven; but " I see the Son of man at the right hand of God " in the heavens-man in heaven. He is there not only as Son of God but as man. He gets His place in the glory of God. We get this wonderful truth because He has finished the work God gave Him to do. None but He could sit there. God has been glorified by what man has wrought. He was divine of course, or He could not have done it. This becomes the basis of everything-man having a place in the glory of God, not at His right hand-that is the place of pre-eminence for Christ alone. Now that He is there, He has sent down the Holy Ghost to convince the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. Of righteousness both to the believer and to the unbeliever: to the unbeliever because he rejects Christ; to the believer because he is associated with Him. He convinces the world, not as individuals, but all in a lump. When the world cast out Christ, the Father says, " I will have Him," and now He is set down as the result of His finished work. He receives it now from His Father as man. The angels desire to look into this. All God's moral attributes have been glorified in man in the person of Christ. It is the foundation not only of the putting away our sin, but of the glory of God in righteousness and truth.
When we have passed through the veil and entered within the holiest in the consciousness of our souls, what value do we not see in the blood! And now we apprehend what the cross is! Now I contemplate the cross for the affections of my soul. I meditate and think of the cross, then I get growth. When we are at home with God, then we get growth. It is not there I find peace. For peace is had by learning that righteousness has accepted the blood which love gave. Now love gives it to me, but righteousness is exalted in giving it. Israel go to the Red Sea, and here they are brought to a standstill. They found they were hemmed in on every side, and now they are " sore afraid." So often when a person is delivered from judgment in one sense, he meets somehow with death and finds Satan pursuing. Many a soul gets peace and comfort whilst looking at the cross: but is afraid when it thinks of judgment. " I am a poor sinner delighting in the cross: it just suits me." Does judgment suit you? When they came to the Red Sea, it was not judgment, but God a positive Deliverer. They had known God as a Judge in Egypt, and the blood had screened them. Now they learn Him at the Red Sea as a Deliverer. They never see the " salvation of God " till they get to the Red Sea, and they pass out of Egypt. They are not only sheltered from judgment but brought into a new place.
The blood screens us from judgment on account of our sins, and by that same cross and resurrection we are brought to God. Christ dead and risen is what we have in Romans; and the result is we are brought to God as our Father. Death and resurrection take me clean out of the place I was in. If I say " I am a guilty sinner," He says, " You are justified." If I say " defiled," He says " You are cleansed." If I have offended, then I am forgiven. He has met every question that could perplex the soul.
The new place of man is as perfectly redeemed and brought to God. Not only are his sins put away, but he is delivered, brought out into the wilderness. When God speaks of deliverance, He does not say a word of the wilderness. I am brought out into a new place altogether, not yet the heavenly places, but I have " redemption through his blood." So we find two conditions of the Israelites-in the wilderness, and in Canaan. And there are two distinct parts in the life of a Christian. First, what we find in Hebrews and Galatians, the place of deliverance from the present evil world (Gal. 1:44Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: (Galatians 1:4)), that is the wilderness; and, secondly, I am in Canaan, the heavenly places, as shown in Ephesians and Colossians. The wilderness is what the world is to the Christian. What has a dead and risen man to do with the world? Now death and judgment are behind me, but I have not left conflict behind.
The blessed Lord went into death, and bore the judgment. If I am associated with Him, it is all behind Him. If I have a part in Christ, I have a part in the deliverance (see Psa. 22). As soon as " heard from the horns of the unicorn " He says, " I will declare," etc. The first thing the Lord does in resurrection is to declare the Father's name to His brethren. He brings them out into the same place He is in. In John 20 He says to Mary Magdalene, " Go to my brethren "; and then He leads their praises as the firstborn among many brethren: " In the midst of the church will I praise thee." He brings them to His God and their God, His Father and their Father. He had been all alone in His suffering and wrath. Now all is settled, and now He says, " In the midst of the congregation." He associates us with the praises-" Not ashamed to call them brethren." He never said " My brethren," nor " peace " until after He was risen. He had said, " Fear not," and anticipatively He had said, " My peace I give unto you "; that is, you shall have it. But peace was not then made, and it is not till He has made peace by the blood of His cross that He comes and " preaches peace to them that are afar off and to them that are nigh." He passed into the new place as man and says, Now you are here with me. Now we are associated with Christ, as Israel sings, " Thou hast led forth thy people which thou hast redeemed; thou hast guided them in thy strength into thy holy habitation." We have the promise of glory too: " Thou shalt bring them in," Ex. 15:13-1713Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation. 14The people shall hear, and be afraid: sorrow shall take hold on the inhabitants of Palestina. 15Then the dukes of Edom shall be amazed; the mighty men of Moab, trembling shall take hold upon them; all the inhabitants of Canaan shall melt away. 16Fear and dread shall fall upon them; by the greatness of thine arm they shall be as still as a stone; till thy people pass over, O Lord, till the people pass over, which thou hast purchased. 17Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O Lord, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, in the Sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have established. (Exodus 15:13‑17).
The wilderness is the path of a Christian in which he learns himself. It is the place of a soul who is really at rest before God. There may have been experience before of slavery, etc.; but they were the experiences of a soul in which God has acted, but which is not yet delivered. It is where a soul is who knows he is redeemed. If I only know the blood, I am still in Egypt; but if I have passed through the Red Sea, I know God as a Deliverer; I am not in the flesh but in the Spirit (Rom. 8). The prodigal son had experiences before he returned home, but they were the experiences of one who had not yet met the father. There was a work in the man. He found he was perishing. He had repented and set out; but there still remained the question, What will he say to me when I meet him? Will he set me on his right hand or left? He had his speech already made up and had fixed the place he was to take in the house, that of a servant, but he had not yet met his father. He learns what his place was in the house by what the father was to him when he met him, and he says nothing about the place of a servant. He is brought in as a son. He did not, could not, say, " Make me as one of thy hired servants," for his father was on his neck. It was not what he was for God, but what God was for him. He puts the best robe on him, not a robe. He met him in his sins, but does not bring him in in his sins. God met him in rags, but in Christ he is brought in.
If I have got through the Red Sea, God is a deliverer and not a judge in virtue of the full blessed work of Christ. I am not in the flesh. It is not merely that your sins are forgiven, but you are in the Second man, in Christ, before God. The first practical effect is, I am brought into the wilderness. A person has a great deal to learn after he is redeemed. I am out of the flesh and have my place in and with Christ; but the learning of the flesh in me is a humbling process. " And thou shalt remember all the way Jehovah thy God led thee these forty years to humble thee, to prove thee," etc. " Thy raiment waxed not old, neither did thy foot swell these forty years," Deut. 8. God was thinking about their very clothes and their feet, but He gave them all the discipline and correction needed to show them themselves. And when through their unbelief they refuse to enter the land of Canaan, being unwilling to go up and fight the Amorites, He in His grace turns round in unfailing love and patience and dwells with them all the forty years of their wilderness journeyings.
What characterizes the Christian is the presence of the Holy Ghost, God dwelling in him in virtue of redemption. He does not dwell in innocence; He never dwelt in Eden. The dwelling of God with man was always consequent on redemption, whether in the cloud with Israel or in the church by the Holy Ghost. He had walked with Adam in the garden, dined with Abraham, so to speak, but He never dwelt with them. But directly He gets a people redeemed, He dwells with them and talks of holiness. He adapts Himself to their circumstances. When they were in bondage in Egypt, He comes to them as deliverer; when they are in the wilderness dwelling in tents, He pitches His tent amongst them and leads them through. When they arrive at Canaan, He meets them sword in hand as their captain to lead them in conflict; and when at length they are all settled down, He builds a beautiful house and dwells in their midst. So with His people now. He dwells with us by the Holy Ghost: first in them as individuals (" Know ye not that your bodies are the temple of the Holy Ghost "); secondly, in the church collectively (" In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit "). It is not merely they are born of God, but they have the blood on them, and there the Holy Ghost dwells. " After ye have believed," etc. He spake of " the Spirit which they that believed on him should receive." " He that stablisheth us is God." He quickens unbelievers and dwells in believers. The presence of the Holy Ghost is what forms the distinctive character of the Christian and of the church. The leper was washed, sprinkled, and anointed-the blood placed upon his ear, his hand, and his foot; and then the oil upon the blood. It was most holy: nothing must pass into the ear, or be done by the hand that would defile, neither must they do anything that would defile the feet in walk. The anointing-that is, the presence of the Holy Spirit in us-is the seal of the value of the blood. " The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost," Rom. 5. The Holy Spirit is the earnest, not of the love of God (for we have this), but of the inheritance for which we wait.
In the wilderness God is humbling, proving us, and making all work together for good. Circumcision is not practicable in the wilderness. Israel come to Jordan and cross it. Here we have a figure, not of Christ dying for me, but of my dying and rising with Him. It is not simply that Christ died for us, but I am crucified with Christ. I reckon myself dead and have received Christ as my life; I am dead, risen, and seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus; I am gone out of the wilderness altogether. We were dead down there in sins, and Christ came down and died for sins; and now we are quickened, raised up, and seated in Christ. This is the new place altogether; and it is the doctrine taught in Eph. I am no longer looked at as alive in the flesh at all; I have got into heavenly places; and the moment I have got there, all is mine-" All spiritual blessings in the heavenly places "; but then it is only as I set my foot on my blessing, that I make it practically my own. And then I find that there is another foot there: the enemy is in possession; so that I have need of the whole armor of God. The place we have to pass through is the world as a wilderness; but, as to my position, I am in the heavenly places, and I must walk accordingly. If I am living in the world as a man in the flesh, I meet my neighbors and I may find them kind and obliging; but directly I begin to talk of heavenly things, I find them opposed.
I have got then to show forth Christ in living relationships. If it is true that I am in Christ, it is true also that Christ is in me. " At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you." The standard is not a man running on towards heaven, but it is showing out the Christ that is in me. " Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body "-this and nothing else. " Death worketh in us, life in you." I hold that Paul is dead. It was Christ acting through Paul. If we fail, that is wilderness work. If Christ is in me, I must never let a bit of anything but Christ be seen. Now you have Christ in you, this is positive power and nothing else. Now look to it that this be seen and nothing else. Joshua says, " Set your foot on." It is yours. I have got into Canaan and conflict comes directly. I am sitting in heavenly places in Christ. It is all mine, and now I am seeking to get hold of the things that I have a right to. " As captain of Jehovah's host am I now come." We get testing in the wilderness, conflict in Canaan. When I am in Canaan, I have spiritual intelligence and activity in that which belongs to me. " Heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ "-how much have we each realized of the spiritual blessings which are ours?
In the stones taken out of Jordan we find that the believer takes with him the character of death. The ark went down. We died to sin. The world and Satan's power is all gone. We belonged to death once: now death belongs to us. Now I am bound to say, " Reckon yourself dead." We are never told to die to sin, but that we " are dead." The first thing is, we have passed through Jordan dry, and that is our title to reckon ourselves dead. Circumcision is the practical application of this. " Mortify therefore your members which are on the earth," etc. (Col. 3). If I see a man impatient, I do not deny he is dead, but I say you want a little of Gilgal. If I see a man looking at nonsense in the town, I say, I do not deny you are dead, but you want to be circumcised. This is the practical application of the death of Christ to our souls, actually realizing it. Most strikingly in Joshua we get Ai taken, then conquest after conquest; but we find Gilgal, the place of circumcision, to be always the place to which the camp returned after their victories. No matter what success you have, you must go back to Gilgal. The Book of Joshua is the history of successful energy; the Book of Judges, of failure, with God coming in and removing it from time to time.
Gilgal, the place of self-judgment, is the place of practical divine power. We find even victories dangerous unless we return to the judgment of the flesh. After preaching the gospel (the most blessed work that can be), we must go back to Gilgal. Israel began well at Jericho: what were the high walls to faith? The higher the walls, the worse the ruin when they come down. But instead of returning to Gilgal, they get self-confident and send up a few to take Ai. But there we get failure. They have to return to Gilgal and judge the flesh. In Judges the angel of Jehovah goes up from Gilgal to meet them at Bochim, that is, from the place of power to the place of tears. They had left the place of power for the place of sorrow. They sacrifice there, but it is in tears.
After the passage of the Jordan, the first thing we saw was the setting up of the twelve stones; secondly, circumcision; and then, thirdly, we get the passover. They can now look back at the foundation of everything in redemption. They keep it now, not as guilty and protected by it-this they had been in Egypt-but as celebrating the truth that the death of the blessed Son of God is the foundation of all blessing. The Lord's Supper is nothing less than celebrating that which is the foundation of God's giving us everything. The more we look at it, we find the cross holding a place that nothing else has, except Him who died on it. " As is the heavenly," etc. " As he is, so are we," etc. The cross is even a deeper thing than the glory. The glory has been obtained by it, but the cross is where the moral nature of God, His holiness, and His love, have been glorified. Here we see the circumcised believer in Canaan feeding upon the lamb, the remembrance of the death of Christ. The fourth thing seen is that they feed on the " old corn of the land," and the manna ceases. The old corn is a type of the heavenly Christ. The manna suited the wilderness-Christ come down from heaven. In the midst of all the circumstances down here He meets us on the journey, and we feed upon Him. It is the same Christ-only in another character-that we see in the old corn of the land. We have a humbled and a glorified Christ for the food of our souls: not only His life down here, but what we find in 2 Cor. 3, " We all with open (unveiled) face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image, from glory to glory." It is the fruit of the land-a humbled Christ who is now in the Canaan to which we belong. They had not yet taken a city, but they sit down at the table which God has spread for them in the presence of their enemies. All is mine before a single victory. I sit down in the presence of my enemies. He has spread a table for me. God's delight is my delight. Before I draw my sword in conflict, I sit down and know that everything is mine.
Lastly, we have the man with the drawn sword come to take His place as Captain of Jehovah's host. In heavenly things it is all conflict. Mark the word here. It is a question of " Art thou for us or for our adversaries? " There is no middle place; but a complete split. If you are for the world, you are against Christ. The moment it becomes a question of Christ, it must be either for or against. The world has crucified Christ, and He has said, " He that is not for me is against me "; and " He that is not against us is on our part." I know that the meaning of these two statements has been questioned, and thought difficult to reconcile, but it is very simple. If we are for Christ, we must be against the world; and if we are not against Him, the opposition of the world to Him is so strong that it will not have us. " Light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light," and there can be no uniting of the two. You never see the world accept faithfulness to Christ. The human heart is enmity to Christ. Satan's great object is to get Christians to suit their Christianity to the world. You will never get the world to take God as its portion. "As captain of Jehovah's host am I now come." Of course, it was the Lord Himself. We have the same words here as at the burning bush to Moses, " Loose thy shoe from off thy foot, for the place whereon thou standest is holy." In the spiritual conflict we have to carry on, holiness is as much a question as redemption; and when we come to have conflict, we must be as holy as we shall be when we are with Him. Thank God, redemption has done this. You will have the Lord with you. The One who carries on the warfare is the Holy One who has redeemed us, and the Lord's own strength is with us. How far have we the testimony? Can we say, " I am dead, and my life is hid with Christ in God? "
Is your thought and purpose to be at Gilgal or at Bochim? Is it your thought to go on in the knowledge of perfect redemption? to have everything of the flesh judged? and to have the Lord's strength with you for successful conflict?
" Prove all things." By what standard? My own comprehension, or God's revealed word? " Hold fast that which is good."
The call of the Christian is a marvelous thing. I do not speak only of glory; but in saying so I think also of being called to be like Him, to partake of His nature; and I become spiritually like Him. Therefore the apostle says (Eph. 5:2525Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; (Ephesians 5:25)) that Christ loved the church, and gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify and cleanse it by the washing of water by the word, to the end of presenting it to Himself glorious. The word does not render the church glorious, it sanctifies the church, but communion with Christ in glory is what glorifies. It is in virtue of the power of what He is that we share His glory.
In Eph. 4; 5, we see that we are conformed to what we know. Here is the reasoning of the apostle: you have known what God is in pardon, in love, and in glory; if you have laid hold of that, it is well, but you ought to reproduce it in your conduct. What is spiritually received in the heart does reproduce itself. Therefore it is said, Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect. God loved you when you were only His enemies. I do not now speak of our perfection in Christ, for it is already accomplished; but it is a question of our realizing on earth that which we know. John says, "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled of the Word of life." As much as I enjoy, so much I reproduce. When I realize what Christ is, it is the joy of my soul. Without doubt that will judge the flesh; for when Christ enters, all that is contrary to Him is manifested. We are going to see a little how Christ nourishes, and how one is sustained by Him in ordinary life, so that the power of Christ could not be enfeebled even in the midst of all the worryings which tend to distract us. If we cannot pass through them, occupying ourselves with the Lord, then, when we would come back to Him, the heart is cold. His love is weakened in us if we have not that which we used for going through all circumstances with Him.
We may distinguish three characters in the Christian. Firstly, he is a sinner redeemed. We see in him an object of grace in redemption. There are in him two opposites brought close, God and the sinner. Never has been, never will be, seen such a manifestation with an angel. Secondly, he has part with Christ in glory. Later on we shall see the other character; he has Christ as the manna for the passage through the wilderness. It is therefore of a passing nature, as the two other characters are everlasting.
When God visited His people in Egypt, He did not speak to them of the desert they had to cross, but of Canaan. So, in drawing us out of the world for communion with Jesus, God speaks to us of heaven; He has glory in view for us. But we are apt to stop and consider our circumstances in the wilderness, but when the Spirit acts, one sees only the end.
Paul did not live in the things that are seen, because they pass away, and are null in this sense; but he abode in the things eternal. Consequently the first requisite for enabling us thus to regard the world as null is to know that we are not of it. God found us in sin, entirely estranged from Him; and the question is how to place us in heaven. As He took Christ from the tomb, and set Him at His right hand in heaven, by the same power He has taken us out of our sins to place us in heaven, all the rest being blotted out.
In the chapter before us we find two things: the passover and the old corn of the land. All other things are left aside. It is a question of being in heaven for leaving the manna. This is a great deal to say; it supposes not only shelter from the judgment of God, but a place in heaven. Even when Israel were no longer in Egypt, they did not want the old corn of the land whilst they were in the wilderness. Pharaoh was no longer there. Israel was delivered from the bondage of Egypt, nevertheless they did not eat the old corn of the land. It is just the same for the Christian who has not learned the salvation he has in Christ. He is no longer under condemnation, but he cannot glorify God. He is sheltered from judgment, but he does not know the efficacy of Christ's work for glory.
All effort therefore must be entirely done with, and, like Israel outside Egypt and the power of Satan, we must know God as a Savior without fear any more. A Christian is one who can say, All is done by Christ for my salvation; He has plucked me forever from the power of Satan: as Israel could have said, We shall know Pharaoh no more; he is at the bottom of the sea.
Satan was conquered when Jesus drank of the cup which His Father gave Him to drink. The deliverance is complete for us, for God has shown our Savior, and as the apostle Paul says, If God is for us, who can be against us? It matters little then that Satan and the wilderness are still there. I leave all aside, because I know God is for me. But there is another which I ought to know. The Jordan remains, which is a different thing. Christ is dead and risen for me: such is what the Red Sea tells me; but the Jordan declares that I am dead and risen with Christ. It is the knowledge and the enjoyment of my union with Him. When we have this, we begin to eat the old corn of the land. We are seated in heavenly places in Christ. Being thus introduced into Canaan, we begin to have warfare with the enemies who are there, but we eat the corn of the land. And there is Gilgal, and circumcision, which means that, when we have the consciousness of being thus in the heavenlies in Christ, we judge all according to the standard of heaven. If I am there, I say of such or such a thing I see in the world, This is not of heaven, and I leave it; there I must abide, and must judge the flesh in the presence of God.
Returning to the manner of being nourished with Christ, we see that, when the old corn of the land was eaten, the manna ceased; that is, we enjoy redemption in quite a new way. The principle of the difference lies here. At the beginning I thought of my sins and of Christ; this is the door by which we must enter. We must be humbled, and enter by Christ. But afterward, knowing that God loves us as He loves Christ, and that His favor rests on us, and knowing all the bearing of redemption accomplished by Jesus, I begin to estimate the love of Jesus as God estimates it, to have the same thoughts as He in this respect. Then I see Christ in quite another way than before; I am nourished with Him in a way entirely new. It is no longer a mere question of being sheltered only, but I am united to Christ Himself. I contemplate all the perfection of the Lamb who is there; and when I think of the abasement He submitted to on the cross, how He abased Himself to make good the character of God, in order that God might be just without giving up love, and that He might act according to love without giving up righteousness, then I adore Christ. The Son of man has been glorified, because God has been glorified in Him. He has been content to be compromised in order that God might be glorified. He has renounced all, yet had an absolute confidence in His Father. " But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel." He goes to the end, and drinks the cup, that the Father might be glorified and we saved. Now I nourish myself with all this; not only am I sheltered, but I adore. What occupies him who is in his sins is to be sheltered; but he who feeds on Christ, while adoring Him, rejoices while contemplating Him, that he is seated in Christ in heavenly places.
The more spiritual we are, the more we know what the glory is that Christ would share with us. That which He was through all eternity, and all He has won by His obedience is given us, and we shall be like Him.
Is not Christ seen in heaven an object of affection to me? Am I glad to see Him there? He wishes that our affections should find nourishment in seeing Him in glory. " If ye loved me," said He to the disciples, " ye would rejoice because I go to my Father." And when I think that Jesus has been banished and rejected by the world, I am happy to see Him in heaven. He is the old corn of the land, for He is of the heavenly country. He is also the food that suits us. The Christian is heavenly, and ought to occupy and nourish Himself on Him who is there as the Lamb.
When I say that we ought to abide in Canaan, it is in Canaan where the warfare is that I speak of. There are continual conflicts in the heavenly places represented by Canaan, but it is clear that in heaven by-and-by there will be perfect repose. As a sinner, the believer was of Egypt; as a Christian he is of Canaan; but he is crossing the wilderness, and sometimes his spirit is still in Egypt, because he gets weary of the wilderness, and the heart then turns back. The world should be for him, as for Jesus, only a dry land, where no water is (Psa. 63). Here below we have nothing but a desert, where are fiery serpents; but it must be crossed and passed through with God. If our affections are capable of being nourished with Christ, we shall be able to endure everything. I say to myself, Why is it that I am not there? I know however, that Christ is my Savior. Oh! it is when one does not feed on Christ as the old corn of the land that one does not abide in communion with Him. The manna is for the wilderness, but the old corn of the land is for Canaan.
The other character which I have named is Christ as manna for the people in marching through the desert. Jesus speaks of it when He says to the Jews, " My Father giveth you the true bread from heaven," which the manna set forth.
If the Christian neglects to feed on Christ in this sense, he has no strength to put on Christ here below in his walk. If he walks ill, if there are falls, he cannot at Gilgal (for we must come there after all) feed on Christ as the old corn of the land, that is, feast in communion with Him, the heavenly rest. In this case one must be humbled, and settle accounts with Christ, which is an immense difference in the moral state of the soul. If Christ went up the mountain, then came the transfiguration; it was for Him the old corn of the land; He fed, as it were, on the glory; but if He went down, He found at the foot the power of Satan. In all the circumstances of the desert, however, Jesus lived on account of the Father. We too should live on account of Jesus. It is where we meet with the enemy's power that Jesus is our food as manna. Jesus could always say, " As the living Father sent me, and I live on account of the Father; so he that eateth me, even he shall live on account of me." As Christ Himself crossed the wilderness, and walked there by faith, we are called to do the same. In all circumstances He prayed; if difficulties increased, He prayed more earnestly. He was there as man, and passed through everything with the Father's help.
The Christian feeds on a Christ who has been tried and humbled, and ought to be himself as Christ, crossing the world with all the grace necessary, in order that one should own his Master in Him. If he walks with Christ, every sort of goodness, mildness, of long-suffering, will be seen in him. For Jesus, the effect of temptation was to bring out grace. If I am with Him, and people insult me, I endure; I shall not cease to be meek, because I feed on Him who is such. It is not that my christian character obliges me to be in these things, but I have all needful for going through them, and I forget them because I am not of this world, but of elsewhere. If I walk with Christ in me, if I eat manna in the desert, I feed also on the old corn of the land in Canaan. Every day one may do both. The manna is wanted, and daily diligence (for the manna spoiled). They had need of manna to go to Canaan.
But to glorify God, and reproduce the character of Jesus, in all positions of husband, wife, master, servant, one must feed on Christ, the old corn of the land. Another circumstance may be pointed out. Israel wanted the old corn of the land in the plain of Jericho before the victory was won; then Christ presents Himself as captain of Jehovah's host (v. 13). " Art thou for us, or for our adversaries? " said Joshua. It must be for or against when it is a question of Christ. I may, as man, have relations with others in certain things, but every man I meet is " for " or " against," when the question is of following Christ in heaven. If it is some one more spiritual than I that I meet, he is for me; if it is some one less spiritual, he is against me, for I might be drawn into evil by him.
If we would enjoy the heavenly joy, we must feed on Jesus as the manna come down from heaven, which is all we want for all the circumstances where we are found. Then we shall enjoy Him and the glory as our everlasting portion.