Summary: Are you really listening to God?
JOSHUA 5:13 Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, "Are you for us or for our enemies?" 14 "Neither," he replied, "but as commander of the army of the LORD I have now come." Then Joshua fell face down to the ground in reverence, and asked him, "What message does my Lord have for his servant?" 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 so.
We have seen this in the Bible before, haven’t we? Do you remember what God told Moses at the burning bush? You are standing on Holy ground. I believe this is sign of Joshua being handed over the leadership of the Israelites from Moses. There are a few things I would like to point out about this encounter, but we should establish WHO it was that was talking to Joshua first. Remember that our text says "a man" was standing there. This isn’t the only incident where man came face to face with God, is it? There are numerous mentions in the Old Testament...as a matter of fact, the Bible tells us that Adam and Eve talked with God. Let’s look further.
John 1:18No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known. This is clearly a reference to Jesus. Even Jesus Himself said in John 6:46 No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. So, clearly the only one that has ever seen the Father is Jesus Christ. In the many instances of man having face to face encounters with God, it was really the pre-incarnate Christ who represented the Father on earth. We know that Christ was with the Father from the beginning.....JOHN 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning. Now, there ARE angels of the Lord.... like Micheal, and Gabriel. but I believe where the word "man" is used to describe a heavenly being, it refers to the "Son of man"...which is Jesus Himself. I want to show you a how Joshua handled this encounter and see what we can learn from it.
First, Joshua asked "are you for us or against us?" Jesus didn’t answer that question. He merely said "Neither," he replied, "but as commander of the army of the LORD I have now come." Now most of us at that point would have said "Hey! Didn’t you hear me? Are you for us or against us?" But what did Joshua do? Our text tells us that Joshua fell to his face (in reverence) and asked "what message do you have for me, your servant?"
Whenever most of us come face to face with Christ, we are full of questions. Matter of fact, we are so busy asking questions and making requests that Christ can’t even get a word in edgewise! Did you ever try to hold a conversation like that? Someone asks you "How are you doing?" and then won’t let you answer them before they are already talking about something else. See, they are asking to hear from you, but they don’t really care about your response! Sometimes when we ask how some situation is going in some Christian’s life, they say "well,.....we’re just waiting to hear from God." Most times when we pray we get so busy asking that we don’t have time to listen. We usually pray and tell God what we need and want, then we have to hurry up and get up.....gotta go, we’re busy! I believe that more Christians would hear from Christ if they would just take the time to listen!
Joshua immediately recognized that he was in his Master’s presence....and he then submitted totally to Him. You see, being in His presence is an honor, a distinction that other religions don’t get to have with their Gods. Too often we Christians take Gods presence for granted and we don’t give it the reverence and honor that it deserves. The first thing that Joshua was told was "take off your sandals, you are standing on Holy ground." WOW!
Now, I don’t think that God intends for us all to come to the altar and get barefooted.....that could be somewhat offensive for some of us! But I DO believe that God (Christ) wants us to approach Him with the dignity and respect that He deserves...which is ALL you can give, for when we bow our heads to communicate with Jesus, WE are then standing on Holy ground....and we need to listen and ask Him "What can your servant do for You today, Lord?" instead of telling Him what we expect Him to do for us.