Remember that God doesn’t come to take sides. He comes to take over! (See Joshua 5:13-15). The story in Joshua is one of the most astounding examples in the entire Bible of why none of us should dare presume or take for granted that God is on our side. Here we see the children of Israel had just crossed the Jordan River outside of Jericho under “God’s direction”. Joshua was appointed by God as Moses’ successor to lead God’s chosen people, the Jews, into the Promised Land. God had been leading His people for 40 years through the wilderness to come to the edge of the Promised Land to take possession of it. They were commanded to dispossess these morally depraved nations who were killing their own children in religious sacrifices.
This is the crowning moment of over 400 years of planning to fulfill the promise God personally made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, that their descendants would possess this land. Right after all the males circumcised themselves to prove how committed they were to keeping God’s commands and ordinances. Their leader, Joshua found himself confronted by the appearance of the Lord with His sword drawn. We know it’s the Lord Himself because Joshua was told to take his sandals off (it was holy ground) which was something only God would say. Let’s take a look at Joshua 5:13-15 in the New Living Translation:
When Joshua was near the town of Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with sword in hand. Joshua went up to him and demanded, “Are you friend or foe?” “Neither one,” he replied. “I am the commander of the LORD’s army.” At this, Joshua fell with his face to the ground in reverence. “I am at your command,” Joshua said. “What do you want your servant to do?” The commander of the LORD’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did as he was told.
Joshua looked at this heavenly figure with the sword and asked the question of the ages, “Whose side are You on; Ours or theirs?” The divine response is “Neither”. How in the world could God not be on Joshua’s and on Israel’s side? They are Abraham’s children. God Himself powerfully delivered them from Egypt through signs and wonders. They were led by God through the wilderness. God divided the Red Sea and the Jordan River for them to cross. There has never been a surer group of people on earth with the supposed endorsement of God. Yet we see God reminding us and them that we should never presume God is automatically on anybody’s side.
This Puts the Axe to the Root of Presumption
It’s not your way or my way, it’s YAHWEH! I pray this Scripture makes us consider that no matter how right any of us truly think we are, we should always pause and acknowledge our need for God’s grace to save us from ourselves. I hope at the very least we will learn a few things in the following pages as we join the camp that the Lord is in.
Excerpt from A Better Way To Govern
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