Tuesday, June 7th, 2022




The Book of Joshua is one of triumph in many ways, as God’s promise to Israel of occupying the land of Canaan was fulfilled in ways that could only be accomplished with God. But there are interesting lessons underneath the surface that are applicable to us today. One comes in Joshua 5. Joshua has at this point led the Israelites across the Jordan River and into enemy territory, into Canaan, specifically, near Jericho. There, the angel of the Lord appears to him and has the following exchange: “Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?”


“Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, “What message does my Lord have for his servant?”


The commander of the Lord’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.”


The first thing to note is that in the Old Testament, any mention of “the angel of the Lord” is talking about the 2nd person of the Trinity — the one who will be named Jesus when he comes later in a human form. So, unbeknownst to Joshua, he is speaking to Jesus, and therefore, God. This is not a rank and file angel, so what he says, he says with the full authority of God. Joshua asks him a binary question — are you for us or against us? (Remember, he is in enemy territory and very much wary of anyone who looks like a soldier.) The angel of the Lord opts for door number 3 — he’s neither! Knowing what we know, that God is for the Israelites, why does he respond this way? Why not say he’s with them? It’s because the angel of the Lord was sent for a mission of God, not of Israel. What he’s saying is, essentially, “I’m here on behalf of God, you can come line up behind me, or you can go do your own thing by yourselves.” This is what life lived for Jesus is — abandoning and surrendering our own plans, schemes, and desires, and choosing to follow Jesus towards his ends, not our own. The kind of faith God wants from us is not us believing that He will join our side, or our way of thinking; the kind of faith God wants from us is for us to join His side, and His way of thinking. We all know the story of what happened next for the Israelites — they conquered Jericho by simply blowing horns — an outcome only possible by the hand of God carried out by a people who follow His word in faith. Today, consider this story. Are you praying for God to join your team for your desires, or are you praying to do whatever God desires?

“ Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?”

Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, “What message does my Lord have for his servant?”

The commander of the Lord’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.” — Joshua 5:13-15