THE COMMANDER IN CHIEF

Scripture Reading:  Joshua 5:13-15

“When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with drawn sword in his hand.  And Joshua went to him and said to him, ‘Are you for us, or for our adversaries?’  And he said, ‘No; but I am the commander of the army of the Lord.  Now I have come.'”   (Joshua 5:13-14)

The people of God were facing their first major battle — Jericho, a highly fortified city.  As Joshua was leading the people toward Jericho, he encountered a man standing before him with his sword drawn.  Joshua, not knowing who he was, asked, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?”  The man answered, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the Lord.”  When Joshua heard this, he fell on his face and worshiped him.  Then Joshua asked, “What does my Lord  say to his servant?”  The Commander replied, “Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place were you are standing is holy” (v. 15).

Who was the person and why did he answer Joshua’s question with the answer “No.”  He identified himself as the commander of the army of the Lord.  He was referring to the great host of heavenly angels who are very numerous and powerful (Matthew 26:53).  He was the Commander in Chief of all the heavenly armies.

Joshua immediately reacted when the man identified himself.  Joshua fell down and worshiped him.  This explains who this man was — He was a visible manifestation of God (a theophany).  Standing before Joshua was the pre-incarnate Christ, the Second Person of the Godhead.  This explains the reaction of Joshua.  He was standing face to face with the Lord Christ.

But why did Christ answer Joshua’s question, “Are you for us or for our, adversaries?” with the answer “No.”  He did so because He was saying to Joshua, “The battle is not your battle, Joshua; it is the Lord’s battle.  I am not on your side, you are on My side!”  The Psalmist said it  best, “For not in my bow do I trust, nor can my sword save me.  But you have saved us from our foes and have put to shame those who hate us” (Psalm 44:6,7).

We need to realize that Jesus is our King who defends us from our enemies.  He fights the battles for us.  He is the Commander in Chief of the armies of heaven.  And in the end we are more than conquerors through Him who loves us and gave Himself for us.

King Jesus, Commander of the hosts of heaven, I bow before you and worship you.  Enable me to be on Your side.  I have many challenges before me and many spiritual battles to fight.  May I trust You to lead the way and to give me victory over my enemies of doubt, pride and anxiety.  I trust You, my Lord and my King.

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