Summary: We are in a spiritual battle, but following Jesus, our captain, we cannot lose.
Strength For The Battle
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.
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.