And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, “Are You for us or for our adversaries?” So He said, “No, but as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, “What does my Lord say to His servant?” Then the Commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua, “Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.” And Joshua did so. (Joshua 5: 13-15, NKJV)
When a commander considers an impending battle, often they will take time and seek seclusion to think and strategize. Joshua leaves the Israelite camp at Gilgal and visually surveys and contemplates the well-fortified city of Jericho. He spends the night in the open country alone. His first expedition’s hopeful success on this side of the Jordan is troubling because the walls of Jericho are high and his army has no earthly implements to gain advantage unless they can somehow draw the fighting men away from the city.
The Bible says he lifts his head (maybe he was praying and seeking the Lord for guidance and wisdom) and a Man is standing before him brandishing His sword!
“Are you for us or against us” says a startled Josh, while reaching down to secure his own weapon of choice. The Man says, “No, but as Commander of the LORD’S army, I am now present.” Can you imagine this?
The Commander of the LORD’S army, right in front of him, is not a mere man but the Man with a capital M. And, because He is worthy of respect and reverence, He asks Josh to remove his sandals as the ground they now occupy has become holy. The preincarnate Christ was literally standing before him.
The Lord heard his desperate plea for help and came personally to lead the charge. Falling on his face in worship, Josh asks how may he serve the Commander. Finally, he figures out that the Lord was the only One who could make this campaign and any future battle successful. And that every one of his marching orders would be given from the King of Kings, not from someone in the horizontal plane. His memory flashes back to the battles that were led by his former superior, Moses, on the other side of the Jordan, when Josh was second in command.
With the present distress the world is facing right now with the COVID-19 pandemic, are you finding yourself on your knees more often, pleading and petitioning the Lord to protect, provide strength and impart guidance to you and your family members? Are you feeling the weight that Josh felt as he gazed at the seemingly insurmountable high-walled adversarial city that lay before him?
As so often is the case, people turn to God in times of stress. Even if they have no personal relationship with Jesus, people will end up, sooner or later, turning for help to the Higher Authority. Everything happens for a reason. Even the bad stuff. And good is happening in the midst of this turmoil. Across this nation and world, people are coming literally together or connecting at levels that is really surprising. Community is happening. Sincere communication and prayers are spiraling up … not down.
People are finding each other again. Families are going deeper. Relationships are being restored and renewed. People are getting stronger. The spirit of the nation is uniting. Life is breathing life into lives.
Jesus has come. And tomorrow the Christian calendar identifies this undeniable fact with the celebration of Easter. He is aware of the needs of all. With His sword drawn, He is slaying the enemy and winning the battle yesterday, today and in every tomorrow.
Will you join Him in this epic battle? He needs warriors like you to fight knowing that the victory is ours for the taking because we have the Commander of the LORD’S army leading the charge.
Joe Wagley is a Realtor and broker in Lenawee County. He is the owner of The Wagley Group in Adrian. He can be reached at 517-265-6000 or by email at [email protected]