Joshua has fully assumed command of the Israelite army – and is preparing to lead these people across the Jordan and into a series of battles to conquer and take the land which God has been promising them for countless generations. Joshua has a big job ahead of him – and (as we all probably would), he has reservations and needs encouragement.

“Be Strong and Courageous” he is told numerous times… and then he gets a surprise visitor.

Throughout our reading through the first 5 books of the Bible, we have seen Jesus show up in various forms: the Passover Lamb, the Bronze Serpent, Abraham’s Visitor – and here once again we see Jesus make an appearance… this time as the Commander of the Lord’s Army.

The setting is that Joshua has obeyed God and led the Israelites to the brink of the Promised Land. Perhaps while walking along to gather his thoughts, Joshua comes face to face with Jesus Himself. We know this “Man standing near him with sword drawn” is Jesus because – for starters he allows Joshua to bow and worship Him, and second, He describes the ground He (and Joshua) are standing upon as holy. Bible scholars agree that this figure is indeed, Jesus – come to speak with Joshua.

Remember what Joshua has experienced: he stood by Moses side all those years as the Israelites grumbled and complained about their situation – frustrating Moses in the process. It was also Joshua who (along with Caleb) brought back a favorable report from Canaan – only to have the people side against him and for the 10 spies… culminating in their 40 year trek through the desert. Joshua had seen his fair share of disappointment and struggle – and it is understandable that his confidence is low.

So in walks Jesus.

Notice what Joshua says to Jesus – “When Joshua was by Jericho, he looked up, and behold, a Man stood near him with His drawn sword in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, Are you for us or for our adversaries?” Joshua 5:13 AMP. Joshua was unsure about what (or Whom) he was seeing – and based on all that he had been through, he is understandably cautious. So he immediately seeks to nail this Angelic Being down on whose side He would be fighting.

But notice how Jesus replies!

 “And He said, No [neither], but as Prince of the Lord’s host have I now come.“ Joshua 5:14 AMP

Do you see what Jesus does? He basically tells Joshua – “It’s not ME that is choosing a side here… it is YOU. I’m not on either of these “sides”. This entire process isn’t how I wanted this to work… but sin has brought this into being. Therefore – it isn’t ME who must choose sides – it is YOU!”

I don’t know about you – but that reply is comforting to me. How many times have we all seen someone claiming God on their side – yet they end up doing the most “un-godlike” things? Or how about when opposing sides of a conflict BOTH claim God behind their mission? It is enough to drive a sane man, crazy!

The Truth of the entire matter is that God does not conduct Himself like we do. Sin has completely destroyed our perspective – and it is we who are in need of a “side” – not God. God is not worried, concerned, apprehensive, or in conflict. He is not rubbing His hands together and attempting to manipulate the world to His desired result. Instead, He has already completed the destruction of sin by sending Jesus to the cross. In God’s eyes – the outcome is already finished and decided.

That is what is means for the “righteous to live by faith” (Hab 2:4; Rom 1:17). To not make my decisions and choices based on fear – but instead to walk in the understanding that the outcome is already finished and decided.

In the end, the real question isn’t “Is God on MY side” – but instead “Am I on HIS side?” May our response be like that of Joshua… to bow in worship and humbly obey what He says to do. Then all His Promises shall be ours.

 

Be Fruitful & Multiply,

PK

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