December 17, 2012
- By Ed Powell
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"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?' 'Neither,' he replied, 'but as commander of the army of the LORD I have now come.'" Joshua 5:13-14
The world is always at a loss to explain the miraculous power of God when it has been manifested in behalf of His own. In Joshua's situation, God had just parted the waters of the Jordon River and led them through on dry ground. When the kings of the Amorites and Canaanites heard of this "their hearts melted and they no longer had the courage to face the Israelites."
Notice three things Joshua did immediately after Israel crossed the Jordon River into Canaan. First, he "set up at Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken out of the Jordon." This was to be a memorial "so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God" (Joshua 4:19-25). He recognized that God had interceded for them in a miraculous way.
Secondly, he circumcised all the men who had been born in the wilderness during their 40-year journey. This he did in obedience to God and identifying his men with Israel's covenant God. You say, "What's so significant about that?" You have to realize they were now in the territory where the Amorites and Canaanites were more powerful than Israel. Joshua didn't know if they planned to attack Israel and run them back into the wilderness or what was in their minds regarding Israel that now was camped in their land. By performing this rite of circumcision, Joshua disabled his whole army from standing in its own defense.
Thirdly, three days later, he led Israel in the observance of Passover together with the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Joshua wanted to teach Israel to "obey God." To be in God's favor superseded all other considerations. It was imperative to Joshua to demonstrate to all Israel, that in all things they needed to BEGIN WITH GOD and walk in obedience and in the light of His presence.
This was all done so that there would be nothing of the flesh with its energy and pride to hinder the work that God wanted to do through them. This was a time of cleansing, of preparation and having their hearts focused on God. They were now ready for God to use them in whatever way He desired.
Suddenly, Joshua looked up and standing before him was a man with a drawn sword in his hand! He was the commander of the army of the Lord. Look what he said to Joshua. "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy." How important it is for us to realize that when we come to God in true prayer, we are standing on holy ground. We are in the very presence of God. This is awesome to me.
Joshua was now to receive God's battle plan for the fall of Jericho. Observe that the battle is not to the strong, nor the race to the swift; but to those whose lives are dedicated and committed to God. How necessary it was for Israel to take these steps of obedience and worship so they would be channels through which God could work freely and fully. So it is with each of us. The vessels God uses are cleansed and pure ones. Our time before Him in prayer and with Him in meditation is imperative for the time when He wants to use us as vessels for His glory. In His presence we will be equipped for the battle and hear Him say, "Be still and know that I am God." It is there we will behold the "MAN" who will reveal His plan and purpose for the encounters we face day by day. Dare to believe Him fully and trust Him wholly.
© 2007 by Ed Powell. Used by permission.
This page was reprinted by permission from: http://www.litmin.org/dare.php?row=352&date=2012-12-17
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