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  • William T. Howe Ph.D.

March 12, 2021

Daily Reading: Joshua 5-8


Joshua 5:13

And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?


Theophany. That is what they call it. It is a pre-incarnate appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ. Arguably, Joshua came face to face with the Lord. His task was to take Jericho, that seemingly impenetrable city. Some say that the walls around Jericho were wide enough for chariots to race side by side upon them. Perhaps 30 feet tall, or more. Yet, here was Israel, they had no armaments, no battering rams, no catapults, they had been wandering in the wilderness for forty years. How are they to conquer such an enemy?


Every child of God from time to time faces something similar. Giants invade, or occupy, a space that seemingly makes it impossible to overcome certain problems, issues, or difficulties. What can be done when opposition is well defended, has the upper hand, or when the task seems impossible? These are the times when Ephesians 6:12 takes on a personal meaning. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. What then?


This is the situation Israel was in, Joshua being the leader was troubled no doubt. Israel crossed the Jordan river, the manna ceased, and they were facing Jericho. While thinking on these things, while trying to make a plan, while praying perhaps, Joshua sees a great warrior. A man with a great sword drawn as if ready to battle. Joshua, being wary, but yet rising to the challenge, asked a great question: Art thou for us, or for our adversaries? To which the man replied: And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant? We know this was God on earth in that the man said to Joshua the same thing God said to Moses way back in Exodus 3:5. The one who spoke to Joshua said: And the captain of the LORD'S host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so. Joshua 5:15


In a poor paraphrase, but one that will help to remember this encounter, the Lord basically said to Joshua, "I'm not here to take sides, I'm here to take over." He did, for I believe that the conversation Joshua had with this One as recorded in the next chapter (Joshua 6) was during this encounter. The Lord gave His leader of Israel a plan so bizarre that we still scratch our heads about it in wonder. The Lord told Joshua what to do, Joshua told Israel what to do, Israel did that which they were told and... well...to coin a phrase, "the walls came tumbling down." The rest is history.


The moral to this story is to do that which the Lord directs to do, even when, and especially when, it doesn't make sense. For by doing this, the impossible is made reality.


Until tomorrow, live for Christ today.

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