And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to him, “Are you for us or for our adversaries?” So he said, “No, but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to him, “What does my Lord say to his servant?” Then the commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua, “Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.” And Joshua did so. (Joshua 5:13-15)
The Commander Of The Lord’s Army
At the age of eighty-five years old, Joshua was still a formidable man prepared to fight for the Lord. The children of Israel had reached the Jordan River with the land of promise beyond its borders. Moses had died and Joshua was given charge of leading the people of God to take the land promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It would not be an easy task and many battles would be fought to subdue the people of Canaan. The Lord reminded the people often He was giving the land to them and they should not fear. Jericho would be the first city to fall and become the firstfruits of the offerings made for the Lord during the conquest. The city was securely shut up as the fear of the Hebrews had reached the land of Canaan. Stories had already reached the ears of the people of Jericho of the crossing of the Red Sea and what happened to the great Egyptian army. Taking Jericho would be the first challenge for the young nation of Israel.
Crossing the Jordan River, the Israelite’s began preparing for taking the city of Jericho. Joshua would have pondered the military options for doing something he and the people had never done before. The Lord had promised the son of Nun that there was nothing to fear and he must remain courageous and strong. Prior to the assault on Jericho a man appeared to Joshua with a sword drawn in his hand. Joshua did not shrink from the man but challenged him asking him to identify himself. He asked the stranger if he was for the people of Israel or an adversary. What happened next is one of the most remarkable encounters any man would experience. The man told Joshua he was the commander of the army of the Lord and he had come to instruct the leader of Israel how to take Jericho. Joshua learns the city will be taken in a most unusual manner by marching around it once a day for six days and then on the seventh day march around the city seven times, and blow the trumpets. It would then happen the walls of the city would fall down flat allowing the Israelite’s to enter the city and effect its destruction. The people would follow the word of the Lord and Jericho would be destroyed save Rahab and her family. Everything happened just like the commander of the Lord’s army said.
This story took place thousands of years ago but the message of the commander of the Lord’s army still resonates for the people of God. There are many Jericho’s in the lives of saints who struggle to know how to overcome the impossible challenges that test the faith. On the surface, victory seems impossible. The wisdom of men seeks to find a means to defeat the forces of Satan but with little success. Faith is challenged and sometimes defeated. It is then the story of Joshua and the commander of the Lord’s army must come to bear upon the soul of man. There is an awesome and powerful army that belongs to the Lord God and His commander still rules the army to fight the battles for the people of God. The victory over Jericho came from the faith of the people exercising the plan given to them by the Lord trusting the impossible would bring about the possible. Marching around the city was not a military answer in the wisdom of men. It may have seemed rather silly to go out for six days, march around the city and then return to camp. There could have been those who would have scoffed at the idea of going out on the seventh day, marching around the city seven times and blowing the trumpets. What city or nation was ever defeated in this manner? Joshua and the people believed the word of the commander of the Lord and Jericho fell in the exact manner prescribed by the commander of the Lord’s army. The faith of the Christian must rest in the answer of the Lord whether it fits the wisdom of man or not.
Answered prayer is allowing God to work His will in the battles fought by His people. He has a commander of His army that brings the victory and that commander still marches before the army of God to win the battles for saints of the Lord. Like Joshua, the child of God must bow before the commander and submit to the will of the Father. When courage and trust are instilled in the heart of God’s people, no city or fortress will stand. The victory of the Christian is brought about through faith and obedience to the word of the Lord. Stand with the commander of the Lord’s army and fight the good fight knowing the Father has promised victory. He will fight for us defeating everything that exalts itself against righteousness. God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able to endure. He releases His commander to fight for us. Thank God for His power to gain the victory. Build your faith upon the promise of the Lord and the presence of the commander of the Lord’s army.