In Joshua 5 the Bible tells us that Joshua was by the city of Jericho when he encountered a man with a drawn sword.….”And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” 14 And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the Lord. Now I have come.”
The way that the Commander answers Joshua is fascinating. I believe that this Commander is none other than Jesus. It became apparent rather quickly that it was not for Joshua to claim the allegiance of this Commander he encounters. Oh no, the Commander was not on Joshua’s side. He was in the presence of the Commander. In an immediate reorientation of the situation Joshua ends up on his face in worship when He realizes who he’s talking to. The Commander (Jesus) tells him to remove his shoes because the place on which he stands is holy ground.
There is a great lesson to be reminded of here. We live in the midst of a church culture that is quick to proclaim how God has great plans for your life. He is consumed with your success and comfort and significance. If you’ll just put a little faith in Him or give your spare change or show up to a service He will reveal all the great things He’s got planned for you. This interaction between Joshua and Jesus shows us a much different reality.
God is not on your side. He does not have a plan for your life. He is Yahweh, the King of Kings and the LORD of Lords. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. He is the gracious creator and the righteous judge. He has a great plan for his own glory. We have the immeasurable privilege of being a small small part of it. We should glory in our role as a peon in the grand story of God rather than pout that “God’s plan for our life” doesn’t include more money, comfort, fame or prestige.
How crazy is it that in spite of all our frailty, weakness, and impotence we are included in God’s divine plan for His glory and renown. He allows us to participate! He even uses our strengths and abilities to point other people to His grace and love. He uses us to lead the church into worship, mission, and truth. He redeems His enemies and allows them to be on His side. We are on HIS side.