Summary: We are in a spiritual battle, but following Jesus, our captain, we cannot lose.
Strength For The Battle
Text: Joshua 5:13-6:27
1. Illustration: Some of the most devastating defeats in military history are the ones that are unexpected. At Pearl Harbor, the reason we were so devastated is that we did not believe that the Japanese would not attack us. As a result, we were unprepared and shocked when they did.
2. Likewise, we set ourselves up to attack from Satan when we refuse to recognize that we are at war.
3. 1 Pet. 5:8 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
4. The truth of the matter is that in order to take the land, we have to realize that the devil is not going to give in without a fight.
a. He has held the land and will not wish to give it up.
b. We will have a fight on our hands.
c. However, the good news is that greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world.
5. Read Joshua 5:13-15
Proposition: We are in a spiritual battle, but following Jesus, our captain, we cannot lose.
Transition: We must realize that...
I. It Will Take Seeking the Lord’s Help (13-15)
A. Commander of the Army of the Lord
1. As Joshua and the people are nearing their first conquest, he is surprised to look up and see "a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand."
a. This was a threatening sight to Joshua; one that he did not expect.
b. Imagine that you are a commander of an army, and you come across someone armed for battle who you do not recognize.
c. As you might expect, Joshua was a little alarmed.
d. Naturally, Joshua asked whose side he was on.
2. At first glance, his answer seems a bit odd. He says "Neither," he replied, "but as commander of the army of the LORD I have now come."
a. Actually, in Hebrew it reads "No."
b. With his no he was stating that his interest was not the same as Joshua’s, which was to know if this man was for him or against him.—(New American Commentary)
c. The point here is that He was not a part of any human army, but He was far greater than anyone Joshua had ever seen before.
3. The phrase "commander of the army of the LORD," is what scholars call a theophany.
a. Now, I know some of you are saying, "come on Pastor, we are still trying to learn your last name. What in the world is a theophany?
b. A "theophany refers to an ‘appearance of God’ to man." (Ferguson, S. B., & Packer, J. 2000, c1988. New dictionary of theology (electronic ed.) . InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove, IL)
c. In other words, this is was none other than Jesus himself.
4. We can see from the text, that Joshua now recognizes this because he "fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, "What message does my Lord have for his servant?"
a. Joshua now knew that he was in the presence of God himself.
b. He knew that they would not be fighting alone, but that the armies of heaven would be fighting for them and with them.
5. Notice what the commander of the Lord’s army tells him, "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy."
a. Joshua is being taught a lesson about priorities.
b. The battle that he was about to face was a spiritual battle, and needed to be fought with spiritual power.
B. Stand in the Power
1. Illustration: When Hitler and the Nazi’s invaded in 1939, the Polish army fought valiently against them. However, they efforts were in vain, because they were fighting again tanks with horses. Although their efforts were noble, their means were outclassed.
2. It is the same with us, when we try to fight the devil with non-spiritual means.
3. 2 Cor. 10:3-4 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.
a. All too often, we lose our battles with the devil because we are trying to fight a spiritual battle with physical weapons.
b. In order to fight a spiritual battle, we have to fight with spiritual weapons.
4. We also need to realize that we are not alone, and we cannot fight our battles alone.
a. Eph. 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
b. It doesn’t say be strong in yourself, it says be strong in the Lord!
c. It doesn’t say be strong in your power, it says be strong in His power.