Who Are You For? [Joshua 5]
11On the day after the Passover, on that very day, they ate some of the produce of the land, unleavened cakes and parched grain. 12The manna ceased on the day after they had eaten some of the produce of the land, so that the sons of Israel no longer had manna, but they ate some of the yield of the land of Canaan during that year.
13Now it came about when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing 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?" 14He said, "No; rather I indeed come now as captain of the host of the LORD." And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and bowed down, and said to him, "What has my lord to say to his servant?" 15The captain of the LORD'S host said to Joshua, "Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy." And Joshua did so.
Before they could go into battle the children of Israel had to circumcise those men who had been born during the 40 years of wandering. Remember, all the warrior age men who came out of Egypt had died in the wilderness because "they did not listen to the voice of the LORD" (v. 4) God also prepared them for their new way of life by the abrupt change of no longer sending manna. They were ready to move into their promised land.
One thing still needed to happen. Joshua needed to know who was going to command this army. I am touched by the personal and strong yet tender way God gave him this message. When Joshua asked the man with the drawn sword who he was for, us or the enemy, he answered that it was neither. "No; rather I indeed come now as captain of the host of the LORD." His loyalty was to God alone. This Captain is the same Captain of our soul.
Have you ever been in a conflict with someone and just want to know who is right and who is wrong? Maybe you have never thought to ask that question of God but I think He would answer neither. Probably because it is the wrong question, just as Joshua's was. The real question we should ask is "God, what is Your heart in this matter?" Not the dividing question of "Whose side are You on?
Father, we praise You that as we face our battles You have sent the Captain of Your army, Jesus, to express Your heart, Your character to us. Indeed we are on holy ground as we encounter Him.