Summary: Part 6 and final part of a series about God moving Christians into a deeper experience of Himself.
Possessing the Land - Part 6
Worshipping The Lord - Read: Joshua 5:13-15 to 6:1-5
The children of Israel crossed the Jordan in full view of the enemy stronghold of Jericho, which lies in the great open plain (3:16). From this city, especially from the vantage point of its walls, the whole Jordan valley from Adam to the Dead Sea was visible. After the Children of Israel had crossed the river Jordan in that great miracle, and were camped at Gilgal, they did six things before taking possession of the Promised Land:
1. Their faith put fear in the hearts of the Enemy (2:2-11; 5:1)
2. They stopped but they didn’t stay (4:20-24)
3. They renewed their commitment to the covenant with God (5:2-9)
4. They remembered their roots (5:10)
5. They destroyed the manna mentality (5:12)
6. They worshipped the Lord
They did all these six things, before they fought one battle, before they attacked one city stronghold. All these things were done in full view of the enemy (3:16). These are principles that we need to follow prophetically.
The sixth thing the Israelites did, after crossing the Jordan, was to worship the Lord.
2. They Worshipped The Lord
Let’s consider two key Scriptures:
* Josh 5:13-15 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.
* 6:1 Now Jericho was tightly shut up because of the Israelites. No one went out and no one came in. 2 Then the LORD said to Joshua, "See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. 3 March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. 4 Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. 5 When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have all the people give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the people will go up, every man straight in."
Joshua strolled towards the enemy stronghold of Jericho. Perhaps he’d gone to think and pray how he was to take this mighty, ancient city. When he was near, he saw an armed soldier with a drawn sword, facing him.
Now if you met an armed soldier, and you were in enemy territory and near his stronghold, you would be excused for being a little afraid.
a. Fear must be defeated
It’s a little like the Disciples in the boat during the storm, in Matt 14:22-33. Eleven out of the twelve said, "It’s a ghost," ... "and cried out in fear" (Matt 14:26). Only Peter put aside fear, because he recognised the Lord Jesus.
Here, Joshua also put aside fear and went up to the war-like stranger, in the same way that Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water.
Joshua asked him, "Are you for us or for our enemies?" (v 13), which meant, "Are you my ally, or my enemy?" The answer was firm, "Neither," he replied, "but as commander of the army of the LORD I have now come." (v 14).
That is, He has come not only as Commander of the Angelic Host, but also as Commander-in-Chief of Joshua and Israel (Heb 2:10 - Jesus is known as the ’Captain of our Salvation’). His drawn sword spoke of battle being, or about to be waged. For us too, this speaks of a battle. However, this time our weapon is the Sword of the Spirit - the Word of God.
b. God revealed
As this stranger spoke to Joshua, something happened. His glory shone through and Joshua fell on his face in worship (v 14). Joshua knew he was not in the presence of a mere man, nor even an angel, but he was in the presence of God as the pre-incarnate Lord Jesus.
Jesus said to him, "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy." (v 15). The previous time this happened was in Exodus 3:4-6, when God had revealed Himself to His servant and friend, Moses, at the burning bush. Here, in this place, Joshua obeyed and he worshipped.