Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Joshua meets his Commander

"Joshua Meets the Angel of the Lord" 
- Christoph Weigel, 1654-1725. 
From the Pitts Theology Library.

Joshua Meets the Angel of the Lord - Christoph Weigel 1654-1725
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Joshua 5:9-15

TO CHEW ON: "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.'" Joshua 5:13,14

The Israelites were camped at Gigal near what was to be their first city of the Canaan conquest—Jericho. We can feel with Joshua as he goes out to have a look at Jericho. He is probably excited but also apprehensive, imagining strategy but also unsure, feeling brave but also realistic. He is certainly alert, for when the Lord appears as an armed man, Joshua approaches and asks His allegiance.

We can imagine the relief Joshua feels when it becomes clear that this soldier is indeed the LORD—Yahweh come down to help, no, to lead as Commander of the Lord's army.

Nowhere do we read anything like this from Joshua: "No, I'm the commander of this army." Instead, he seems more than ready to hand control to this mysterious solder. It is from His mouth that Joshua gets the bizarre order of how to take Jericho (Joshua 6:1-5).

Two things strike me from this incident:

1. The real Commander shows up just in time. Even His words to Joshua have a hint of this timeliness: "... I have now come..." Has Joshua been praying about this? His solitary stroll toward Jericho shows he may well be preoccupied with his next move. And then, at precisely the right moment, his Commander appears on the scene.

God can come to us in the nick of time like that.
Now probably not as a theophany, but through what we read in the Bible, or the words of a pastor, or a book, or an article, or a song, or circumstances.

2. The Lord is the real commander of this army.
Joshua doesn't dispute that for a minute.

Is God the Commander of our lives?
Do we take orders from Him as readily as Joshua does from his Commander?

Dear God, thank You that You are always on time. Please help me to trust You to be the Commander of  my life. Amen.

MORE: Joshua

Joshua is a fascinating character.
  • We first meet him when Moses puts him in charge of the Israelite army assembled to fight the Amalekites in the wilderness - Exodus 17:9.
  • The Bible describes him as Moses' "assistant" when he accompanies Moses up Mount Sinai - Exodus 24:13.
  • He stays in the tabernacle of God's presence even after Moses leaves - Exodus 33:11. Barbara Billett in her book Praying with Fire says of him:
"Joshua had intimate fellowship with God just as Moses did. He lingered in the presence of God and got to know God and to trust God at His word" - p. 65.
  • He is one of only two spies that have faith they can conquer Canaan - Numbers 14:6-9. Billett again:
"Because Joshua and Caleb had intimate fellowship with God, God's word to them was magnified over any fear, unbelief, or temptation to not follow the Lord - Op. Cit, p. 66.
  • My Bible's introduction to the book of Joshua explains how he is a type of Christ:
"His name which means 'Yahweh is Salvation,' is a Hebrew equivalent to the Greek 'Jesus.' Joshua led the Israelites into the possession of their promised inheritance just as Christ leads us into possession of eternal life" - Ronald Mehl, "The Book of Joshua," New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 277.
Bible Drive-Thru

Bookmark and Share

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...