Thursday, December 3, 2009

Skewed Question

At my first read, it didn't seem He answered the question. Joshua appears to have been alone--at least for a moment. He and the Israelites were camped just outside of Jericho. Maybe he was pondering how God would possibly deliver such a secure city into their hands. When he lifted his eyes he saw a Man with His sword drawn, so he asked, "Are You for us or for our adversaries?"

The first word from the Man was "No." No? That isn't an answer. It wasn't a yes or no question. He continues, "but as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come." (Joshua 5:13) Joshua responded by falling to his face in worship--apparently this Man was no man at all. He was God revealing Himself in bodily form. Then the Commander said, "Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy." (5:15) So I sat for a moment, God, what does this mean? And He pressed in upon me.

This Commander was neither for the Israelites nor their adversaries, He was of the Lord's army. Joshua was asking the wrong question. None of this was about the Israelites. It wasn't about their delivery and conquest. It wasn't about them at all. It was about God. He was the One revealing Himself to the nations. He was the One fulfilling His promises. He was the One who was in the process of unfolding redemption for all peoples. He was the One worthy of praise. Joshua was looking too earthly.

In essence the Commander was saying, "I am not for you. I am not for your adversaries. I am for the Lord. The question is, will you follow Me?" We can get things so twisted at times, can't we? Our plans are devised, our dreams laid out, and then we look to God to follow us. But that is not how victories are won. A life of abundance--overflowing with peace and joy--comes when we sacrifice our agenda at the feet of the Lord and decide to follow Him, wherever He may lead.

To those who follow, He promises peace in the midst of a storm, joy that is stirred from within, and love without strings. That is ultimate living. That is victory. The Commander answered perfectly. It was the question that was skewed.

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