13 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?”
14 “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?”
15 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 5.13-15, NLT)
Moses has died, and now Joshua as the leader of the Israelites is tasked with getting them into the Promised Land on the other side of the river Jordan. The people have crossed the river and are camping, waiting to start conquering the land. The manna stopped and the people ate something other than manna for the first time in four decades.
Joshua left the camp to go for a walk – to pray, to scout out the land, to think, we don’t know why – but he is looking at Jericho. I can imagine those high walls were more than a major concern to him. He looks around and realizes he has no battering rams, no ladders, no trebuchets, nothing that can get in. Just some sticks, a few swords and a whole lot of inexperience.
As Joshua is getting closer to the city, he sees a man with a drawn sword in His hand, and asks a great question to ask any armed man approaching you – whose side are you on! The man says “No, I am not on your side, I am in charge”. We are here to serve God’s purposes in our generation, He is not here to serve ours. There is a sense that He is for us – He loves us and cares for us and will do anything for us, but there is another sense in which we need to come in line with His purposes. If we pick a fight with someone for carnal reasons, we cannot then go “hey God is on my side”, it does not work like that. The battle is the Lords and the way we win is join Him and His strength, and yield and submit to Him as the Great Commander.
Joshua’s response is wonderful. He takes his sandals off, which is a powerful reminder of Moses at the burning bush. You see Moses needed to know God was the great I Am, the God who could provide, the God who was there. When we first becoming Christians and start our journey that revelation is the one we need. He is the I am. But to take our land of promises, to win our battles, we need a new revelation – He is not just the God who is always there, He is the Commander of Armies, He is the God of strength and victory!
This man was no angel, Joshua fell on his face before him and no angel would receive that worship. No angel is the Commander of the Lord’s Armies. This is none other than Jesus Himself.
Not only that, the plan to take Jericho is one only Jesus could come up with. Walk around the city and shout and the walls will come down. When you come to know Jesus not just as the provider, and start to yield to His leadership and authority, and have a revelation of His authority, power and command, He will start giving you strategies to take cities, to knock down walls and to inherit your land of promises.