An example of God’s presence with Joshua occurs soon after Israel entered Canaan. Israel was camped at Gilgal, and Joshua was out taking a walk, probably checking out his strategy for the upcoming battle with Jericho. When Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him. It happened suddenly. From where had he come? One minute he wasn’t there and in the next he was. In that moment Joshua experienced a change in perspective, so that he could now see the man. The man had a drawn sword in his hand, which meant that he was prepared for battle. It was threatening. Before we get to his question, let’s pause for a minute as Joshua is caught off guard by the sight of this man.
Sometimes what we need more than anything else is a renewed perspective that allows us to see reality.
As I coach leaders, I often remind them that every day is a battle for perspective.
There’s God’s perspective and then there’s mine. As a leader, I want to see what God sees. There’s God’s truth and mine. We need His. Joshua saw something new in front of him.
Something powerful happens in the human spirit whenever we focus our attention on something outside ourselves and beyond our trouble.
Whenever I focus my attention on Christ and the eternal life that is beyond this life, I find exceptional joy and abiding peace. When I focus on joy, I am better able to break through obstacles that life presents. Not always without pain and not always on the first try. But that’s life. We can learn to concentrate on what God says, rather than circumstances. I wonder how much God wants His kids to look up from their myopic, small, navel-gazing concerns to see Him, standing and ready to fight. I pray that my kids will always search for what is true and live in what’s real. We don’t just need a different perspective from the one we already have, we need one that sees what is in front of us, one that sees what is holy and true. A perspective that can only be seen by faith and beyond the minutia of the moment.
Joshua questioned the man about his loyalties and allegiance because he did not recognize him as a heaven-sent messenger. Joshua asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?” (Joshua 5:13).
Here was the man’s reply and Joshua’s response:
“Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.”
Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, “What message does my Lord have for his servant?”
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 (Joshua 5:14-15).
What a scene that must have been. The commander of Israel’s army is meeting the Commander of the Lord’s army. I don’t want you to miss the Commander’s response to Joshua because it has some solid application for us. Joshua wanted to know whose side He was on. Simple. This is not an unreasonable question between two warrior leaders. “Are you on our side or theirs?” What does that answer “Neither” mean? How can someone, especially a warrior, be on neither side in a battle?
God does not show up to gather opinions; He doesn’t come to choose a side. He comes to take over.
We are not to ask if God is on our side, although that seems like a common question. Rather than asking, “Is God on my side?” the more appropriate question is, “Am I on the Lord’s side?” This distinction is important today as we face many battles – physical, emotional, relational, financial, cultural, and spiritual.
The Commander continued, “…as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” And that was it. There isn’t a clear resolution to this encounter, but the obvious implication is the Lord will fight for Joshua and Israel as long as they maintain the proper priorities, which we saw throughout the preceding chapters. The Lord was letting Joshua know, in no uncertain terms, that he was not fighting alone. It wasn’t just that God was with him, but God was for him and would fight for him. Joshua needed to be able to recognize when he was in God’s presence and that he could trust in Him. As long as Joshua maintained his priorities, God would fight for him. This principle still stands today: God wants our undivided loyalty and holiness in our lives.
We are called to live in God’s presence. Keep your priorities straight.
God had already promised Joshua that He would be with him just as He was with Moses, so Joshua didn’t need to worry about that. I don’t know about you, but I tend to live better when I am cognizant of God’s presence.
God’s presence is what made that place holy. In fact, the word “holy” is used as a reminder for Joshua of the seventy-second talk he had with God earlier. It was a reminder that spiritual concerns, and not military preparations, were of first importance to the Israelites in their mission.
The principle of holiness is still relevant today. The concept of holiness: living for God because He is with us, is God’s expectation from the beginning of time.
God is with you right now. God’s presence calls for holiness and undivided hearts, but the temptation is to see how far we can walk from God and still be okay. Why would we not rather see how near we could live to Him?
To read Your Life in One Day click here: https://danholland2819.wordpress.com/2018/11/18/your-life-in-one-day/
To learn how to build your life on the power of belief order a copy of my book 70 Seconds: Stop Wandering; Start Living and Leading! For free shipping, visit www.CoachDanHolland.com/