“And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries? And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my Lord unto his servant.” (Joshua 5:13-15)
The children of Israel had just crossed over the Jordan River and entered the land that had been promised to them by God. Moses was no longer there to lead them, and their new leader, Joshua, was helping them prepare for their first major battle without Moses. It is hard to imagine what emotions and thoughts might have passed through Joshua’s heart and mind as he tried to prepare the people to fight. How would you feel if you were named the new leader of an entire nation of people? And these weren’t just any people – these were God’s people. Joshua had a responsibility before God to lead the people to trust and obey God’s leadership. That meant that Joshua had to trust and obey God’s leadership, too.
In the book of Joshua, chapter 5, we are told that someone very special appears before Joshua just before the Israelites must fight against Jericho. The Bible says this Man had His drawn sword in His hand, and He appeared suddenly before Joshua. At first, Joshua was not sure who this could be. He didn’t know if it was a spy from Jericho, someone sent to kill the Israelites’ leader, or what. So Joshua asked the Man, “Friend or foe?” He asked him whether He was on the Israelites’ side, or whether He was against them. The Man answered, “No, but I am the Captain of the host (army) of Jehovah, and I am now come.”
Do you know what Joshua did? He fell on his face before the Man, and he worshipped Him! That Man was really Jesus Christ, God Himself, appearing in the flesh. He accepted Joshua’s response, because Jesus is worthy of worship. An angel or a great apostle would not accept worship, but the Captain of Jehovah’s army did. We don’t know exactly what Joshua was thinking, or whether he recognized this Man as the Messiah Who would one day come to save His people, but we know that Joshua bowed down before Him like He would bow to God Himself.
How would it be to know that you have the Captain of Jehovah’s army fighting on your side of the battle? Would you be afraid? Would you be hesitant to go forward and fight under His leadership? No! You would be encouraged and motivated because you could have trust in your leader. The army of Jehovah is as all-powerful as God Himself, because it is His army. Joshua knew without a doubt that, if God’s army was fighting with them, they could not lose.
But guess what? If you are a believer, trusting and obeying the God of the Bible today, you have that same Jesus “on your side”! The Captain of the army of Jehovah, the Jesus Who came to Earth to die for sinful people but Who never yielded to sin Himself, this same Jesus is with you. This same Jesus is fighting alongside you as you fight against temptation and as you go through hurtful things. This same Jesus is just as much God as He always has been. He is still all-powerful. He is still trustworthy. He is still worthy of your worship and obedience. He loves His people, He leads them, and He delivers them.
Jesus Christ is “on your side,” and He is worthy of your trust and obedience.
» Do I forget sometimes what the God I worship is really like?
» Do I forget that God has promised to stay with me and answer when I call for help?
» How should I respond to the truth that Jesus is on my side, helping me fight against sin?