Joshua 5:1‐7:15; Luke 15:1‐32; Psalm 81:1‐16; Proverbs 13:1
The Mysterious Man
As Joshua neared Jericho, he ran into a mysterious person. “He looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand” (v. 13). Joshua didn’t recognize him. Joshua was probably prepared either to fight, if he was the enemy, or order him to lower his sword if he was an Israelite.
In an effort to find out whose side this strange person was on, he asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?” (v. 13). The man responded, “No.” The person did not fit in Joshua’s categories. He was the commander of the army of the Lord. This was no man; this was an angelic being. He certainly was not fighting for Joshua; Joshua was fighting for him. It would be somewhat like a private bumping into a general and asking him for whom he is fighting.
Joshua fell face down in reverence before his commanding officer. “What does my lord bid his servant?” Joshua asked. “The commander of the Lord’s army replied, ‘Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.’ And Joshua did so” (v.15).
Joshua, the leader of God’s people, received a lesson in humility. God was not on his team or fighting for him, but rather he was on God’s team. How often do we view the Lord as one of our soldiers whom we can command to fight our battles for us? We are God’s soldiers. The Lord makes the orders and leads us to fight His battles.
Yes, a leader does provide protection and firepower for his troops. Yet we should always keep the order of rank in perspective. God give us the marching orders.
Prayer: Lord, what orders do you have for me, your servant, today?
The Rev. Charlie Holt
The Church of St. John the Divine