Daily Devotional

Joshua 5:13-14

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.”

When the Israelites crossed the Jordan river and entered the promised land, they encamped near the city of Jericho. Tensions were high as the people prepared for their first battle with the Canaanites, wondering what would happen.  

Suddenly Joshua saw an imposing soldier standing nearby with his sword drawn, and he asked: “Are You for us or for our adversaries?”

I love the response he gets: “No.”  

In other words, there’s a third option – one that Joshua hadn’t considered.  

Personally, I believe the Commander of the LORD’s army is an appearance of Christ in the Old Testament. That’s why Joshua falls down on the ground and worships him, and the Commander says, “Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy” (verses 14-15). That’s what God said to Moses when he appeared to him in the burning bush.

So what lesson can we take from this?  

One conclusion is that we can’t stuff God into our box. Joshua thought there were only two possibilities, and he thought God had to choose one of them. But God said, “No.  You’ve got it all wrong. The question is not if I’m on your side or their side. The question is… are you on my side?”  

That’s an important lesson to learn in the divided, angry, polarizing times we live in. Many of us try to cram God into our box – our political party, our church, our opinion, our theological camp. “God is on our side.”

But our ways are not God’s ways, and our thoughts are not his thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9). He’s not limited by our ridiculous categories or our partisan politics. He is infinitely wise…infinitely powerful…and infinitely good. And we can barely comprehend how and why God does things the way he chooses. But he’s absolutely in control.

And the question is: “Are we on his side?”
"New King James Version (NKJV)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved."
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