O Lord, what shall I say, when Israel turneth their backs before their enemies? For the Canaanites, and all the inhabitants of the land shall hear of it, and shall environ us round, and cut off our name from the earth; and what wilt thou do unto thy great name—Joshua 7:8, 9.
My soul! learn a most blessed lesson here, such as will be an unanswerable argument for thee at all times, and upon all occasions, to make use of at a mercy-seat, and among the strongest pleas in prayer. Israel had sinned, and had fallen before the enemy in consequence of it. Joshua confesseth that all that was come upon Israel was just, and had that been all the event included in Israel’s destruction, it would have been no more than what was right. But God had promised to bring Israel into Canaan; and therefore the honour of God was concerned that this should be accomplished. Now, saith Joshua, if for our sins thou sufferest us to fall before our enemies, what will the nations of the earth say of it? How will the promise be fulfilled, and thy faithfulness and honour be secured? “O Lord, what shall I say? What wilt thou do unto thy great name?” Pause, my soul, and apply the sweet truth. God will magnify his name above all his word. He saith himself, “I wrought for my name’s sake, that the land should not be polluted before the heathen, in whose sight they dwelt.” And the Lord repeats it three times to the same purpose, in one chapter. (Ezek. 20:9, 14, 22.) Now, my soul, under all thy straits and difficulties, do thou adopt the plan of Joshua, and be assured that this is the great argument to ensure success. His name is engaged in and to Jesus, to give him to see the travail of his soul, now he hath made his soul an offering for sin, and to be satisfied. Hence, therefore, the name of Jehovah is pledged to this. “Once have I sworn,” he saith, “by my holiness, that I will not lie unto David.” (Psalm 89:35.) Every believer in Christ should be for ever pleading this in the blood and righteousness of Jesus. Dost thou want pardon? Ask it for his name’s sake. Dost thou want grace? Here again let the Lord’s name’s sake be the plea. To interest the name of the Lord in every petition, is the sure way to obtain it. To plead duties, or ordinances, or, in short, any thing but Jesus, and God the Father’s covenant engagements to Jesus, is to go off the ground. No reason, or shadow of a reason, can be found, but God’s own name, and this engaged in a way of redemption by Jesus, wherefore the Lord should be merciful to pardon and bless a poor sinner. Do not forget this, but for ever plead with the Lord for his name’s sake, and for his glory in Christ; and the event will surely be that Jehovah must work, and as he hath said himself, have pity for his holy name, “that it be not profaned among the heathen;” and answer thy petition for grace. And oh! how blessed that scripture in which the Lord sums up and confirms the whole, on this one account: “Not for your sakes do I this, saith the Lord God, be it known unto you: be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel.” (Ezek. 36:22, 23.)