To Begin With, We Want Much Of The Joshua Service – Only A Prayer Meeting
This is the service of many. Moses said to Joshua, “Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek.” We have a battle against sin, error, pride, self, and everything that is contrary to God and to His Christ; and in the Joshua-service many can be employed. As the Holy Spirit has given diversities of gifts, so are there varieties of agencies for battling for the truth. Every believer should be a soldier in Christ’s own army of salvation. We must not join a church with the main design of our own edification: our chief point in life is far higher than the most spiritual form of self-interest.
We must live to battle for Christ Jesus our Lord in all manner of ways. To feed on the manna of Heaven, and then to wrestle with the evils of earth, is a healthy combination. We need, all of us, to stand up for Jesus in these evil days: the enemies are many and powerful, and no man redeemed by Christ must keep back from the conflict. Friend, what part will you take? In this Joshua-service, all the combatants were under due command. “Joshua did as Moses had said to him,” and the people did as Joshua commanded them. In all holy service, willingness to be led is a great point. Certain workers may be very good personally; but they will never combine with others to make a conquering band.
They work very well alone, or as fore-horses in the team; but they cannot trot in double harness. We most of all need men and women who can keep rank, who can do their work quietly and perseveringly, and are ready to follow the direction of those whom God may call to be leaders. A general can do nothing without such soldiers; and they feel that they can do little without him. Soldiers without discipline become a mob, and not an army. May the Lord send us troops of disciplined warriors prepared to chase the Amalekites! All at it, and always at it, and all for the love of Jesus: this makes a fine motto. Friend, will you be one of the steady workers? In Joshua-work, courage was required. “Go out, fight with Amalek.” The Amalekites were fierce, cruel, strong.
They are said to have been the chief among the nations; by which I understand first among the plunderers of the desert. The soldiers under Joshua had courage, and faced their wolfish foes. Saints need courage for Jesus in these days. May God, in His mercy, make His people bold against scepticism, superstition, and open wickedness! In these days, boldness is a jewel, for men are not sure about anything, or they speak as if they were not; and when men are not sure themselves, they can never convince others. A modern-thought gentleman said in a paper, the other day, “We are not all so cocksure as Mr. Spurgeon.” No; and the more’s the pity. If ministers are not absolutely certain of what they preach, they are not likely to convince others. If you doubt a thing, let it alone till your doubt is solved one way or the other. He that doubts creates doubters.
Only he that believes will make believers. In this age of unbelief, if you are to win victories, you must have convictions, and you must have the courage of those convictions, and refuse to bow down before the infidelity of the age. We are called, not to flirt with error, but to fight with it; therefore, let us be brave, and push on the conflict. Those fighting under Joshua did not grow weary. Moses had the more spiritual work, and his hands grew heavy: we sooner tire in private devotion than in public service. Joshua and his men were not weary: never let us be weary in well doing. Do you ever grow weary in one peculiar way of serving God? It may be useful to try something else. “You mean, drop what I am doing?” No; I do not. I mean, do something extra.
It often happens that a man cannot do one thing, but he can do two things. Do you think the observation strange? It is true. Variety of labour serves for recreation. In the service of God, it is a relief to turn from one consecrated effort to another; and so rest one set of faculties by exercising others. Throw your whole soul into the heavenly crusade, and weary not through your fight with Amalek from dawn to set of sun. Friend, will you be unwearied in the heavenly war? In the Joshua-service, they were successful, for “they discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.” Beloved workers for the Lord, may He grant you like success against evil! The devil goes to be beaten, and he shall be beaten. If we have but courage and faith in God, and can use the edge of the sword, we shall yet defeat the powers of darkness.
Many evils are deeply entrenched in modern society: the drunkenness, the scepticism, the superstition, and the vice around us are a tremendous force; but the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is equal to the emergency. If all professedly Christian men were actuated by the spirit of the Gospel, many evils would be greatly diminished. If we also believed in the power of the Gospel, so as to tell it out to our fellows with joyful confidence, in the power of the Spirit of God, we should soon see the wickedness and worldliness of the age put to the rout. Alas, brethren! the fault of many workers is that they do not use the edge of the sword. One does not like to think of the edge of a sword; but nothing else will serve in battle.
One gentleman has preached a magnificent sermon, everybody admired it. Yes, that was the richly-adorned hilt of the sword; but nobody was wounded. Another man, in rough tones, boldly stated a naked truth, and pressed it home on the conscience, and that truth has pricked his hearer in the heart. The edge of the sword means business, and people know it. They are not amused; but are made to mourn and repent. What cares the evil heart of man for the scabbard of our sword? It needs the edge, and must have it. In talking to people, are we not often afraid of using the edge of the sword? “Well,” says one, “I try to bring in the Gospel gradually.” Quite right; but the best way to bring in the edge of the sword gradually is to cut with it at once.
We are such a long while parading and parleying, that we do not come to the point, and tell men that they are lost in sin, and must immediately fly to Christ for refuge, or they will perish. We must bring forth the truth clearly and boldly, if any good is to be done. “Joshua discomfited Amalek with the edge of the sword.” We must use the Word of God, which is the sword of the Spirit, and force it home upon the attention and the conscience of all we can reach. Give the people plenty of instruction as to the central truth of salvation through the blood of Jesus. We may do as we like about flags and drums,- I mean, preaching about this or that minor point,- but we must come to the edge of the sword,- the wrath to come for the ungodly, and salvation in Christ for believers.
Give men plenty of that sacred command, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” Strike home in the Name of the Lord, and command all men everywhere to repent. Quote Scripture; quote it continually. Bring out the doctrines of grace, which are the burden of the inspired Book. It is the Word of God that saves souls, not our comment upon it. Smite them with the edge of the sword. Thus I have spoken about the Joshua-work, wishing with my whole soul that every member of the visible church would enter the ranks, and use the sword with his whole heart. Oh, that those who are marching to the promised rest may serve the Lord valiantly while they are on the road thither! If you are saved yourselves, may the Lord employ you in His army, and glorify Himself in you!
Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Excerpt From Only A Prayer Meeting By C.H Spurgeon
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