Summary: Joshua, Pt 4
THE BATTLE IS THE LORD’S (JOSHUA 5:13-6:5)
Once upon a time, there was an officer of the Royal Navy named Captain Bravado who showed no fear when facing his enemies. One day, while sailing the Seven Seas, his lookout spotted a pirate ship approaching, and the crew became frantic. Captain Bravado bellowed, “Bring me my red shirt!”
The first mate quickly retrieved the captain’s red shirt, and while wearing the brightly colored frock, the Captain led his crew into battle and defeated the mighty pirates. That evening, all the men sat around on deck recounting the triumph of earlier. One of them asked the Captain, “Sir, why did you call for your red shirt before battle?”
The Captain replied, “If I were to be wounded in the attack, the shirt would not show my blood. Thus, you men would continue to fight, unafraid.” All of the men sat and marveled at the courage of such a manly man’s man. As dawn came the next morning, the lookout spotted not one, not two, but TEN pirate ships approaching. The crew stared in worshipful silence at the Captain and waited for his usual orders.
Captain Bravado gazed with steely eyes upon the vast armada arrayed against his ship, and without fear, turned and calmly shouted, “Get me my brown pants (for peeing).”
Joshua had his work cut out for him. Jericho was Joshua’ first real battle since his appointment as the leader of the next generation of Israelites. So far, he had successfully commanded all tribes to enlist for battle (Josh 1:10-12), obtained a convincing spy report on Jericho and led Israel safely across Jordan River. Now the general was up against a wall, literally. As long as the gates were shut, no battle was possible. What should he command his army to do? Storm the gates, scale the walls or severe the supplies? What message did the Lord send to Joshua by visiting him at the brink of war, guaranteeing him victory in the fight and safeguarding the lives of all the Israelites?
What kind of soldiers and supplies do we need? What kind of war do we face and what sort weapons do we have? What is utmost important to know in a spiritual battle?
God is the Rightful Commander
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 facedown 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. (Josh 5:13-15)
One of the most renowned Chinese fables is the story of the fox’s impersonation of a tiger’s might. One day a hungry tiger caught a fox for lunch in the forest, but the fox howled, “You cannot eat me. Heaven has appointed me the king of the jungle. If you don’t believe me, follow me around and see how the jungle creatures fear my presence.”