War and Peace


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”Because he was a man of war.” Joshua xvii. 1.

In the giant drama of life how quietly some play their parts, and what a struggle others have of it !

”And the land was subdued before Israel.” Joshua xviii. I.

In the regenerate mind the spiritual nature is strong and predominates, while the natural mind occupies a secondary place.

”We will build sheepfolds here for our cattle and cities for our little ones ; but we ourselves will go ready armed before the sons of Israel until we have brought them unto their place.” Numb, xxxii. 16. 17.

There are certain struggles through which all men go. There is a bit of hardship here, a bit of worry there ; an item of poverty here, a bit of pride there ; a jot of ill-health here, a trifle of vexation there. But back of it all there are the broad and deep elementals of character, the growing traits of humanity — “the cattle and the little ones,” that do not struggle, but simply grow. Just so the glow of the summer sun gnaws the blossom from the tree, and the heaviness of October weights its fruits to the earth, and the chill of winter nips at the tendons of its leaves and scatters them broadcast on the sward ; but back of heat and storm, of wind and rain, of snow and hail, there is the slow, weighty, heavy growth of the tree itself— a thing that goes steadily on ; no matter what struggles tear the branches, the leaves, the blossoms, and the fruit.

“And they drove not out the Canaanites that dwelt in Gezer ; but the Canaanites dwell among the Ephraimites unto this day, and serve under tribute.” Joshua xvi. 10.

Not all inherited traits are radically removed from man’s character in the great work of soul-building. But rather is the position of some traits changed in the regenerate mind. Traits which were in things temporal ready to assume the place of mastery are made subservient in things eternal.

“For nation shall rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles.” Mark xiii. 8.

How fiercely the good traits of a regenerating soul struggle with the evil traits ! how desperate the battle between the kingdom (“the reign”) of truth and the kingdom of falsity ! and how the foundations of faith are shaken ! and how hunger for the Word of God comes upon the troubled soul, and anxiety because of that hunger !

”They gathered themselves together to fight against Joshua and Israel with one accord. ” Joshua ix. 2.

There is nothing so palpable in the regenerating life as the fact that man is met by a whole bunch of problems at a time. Hardly has one misfortune and distress been passed through before another presents itself. The utter despair of the thing it was that taught men to say, ” It never rains but it pours,” in regard to their troubles. It is, alas ! very true that troubles never come singly — they always come in troops. The “kings” always “gather themselves together and attack Joshua and Israel with one accord.” And perhaps it is best so. The whole series of disasters generally prognosticates a long spell of mental sunshine ; and while you have the armor on it may be best to run through the whole gamut of battle.

”For these did Moses smite and cast out.” Joshua xiii. 12.

If man will but suffer it to be so the law of the Lord will reach down into his soul and remove thence the stains of evils and the shadows of falsity.

Author: A. Roeder (1900)