I was reading through verses in Joshua the other morning, when the following passage made me stop.
When Joshua was near Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” And he said, “No, but I am the commander of the army of the Lord. Now I have come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him, “What does my lord say to his servant?” And the commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua, “Take off our sandals from your feet, for the place you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.
How completely like God to bring comfort and encouragement to a man who was no doubt weary and lacking strength. His mere posture in the opening of this passage shows his heavy heart and soul. Joshua was about to face one of the biggest challenges of his life. But God was going to show up in an even bigger way.
Joshua shouldered a lot of responsibility. He commanded hundreds of men, was the leader after Moses died, and dealt daily with hundreds of personalities. Most importantly he had to listen closely for and to God.
Working with people takes a special gift itself. No one is easy to get along with. Everyone sees life different. I imagine Joshua to not only to be a fierce warrior, but a gentle patient and wise leader, as well. I am sure he worked at being the kind of leader God wanted. Leadership takes time to develop well. Joshua probably experienced frustration, self criticism, and doubt. He was human, made mistakes, and got tired.
But this is often where our great big God shows up.
It wasn’t completely unusual for God to send a “messenger” to those He gave an important task to. Abraham, Jacob, and Moses were all among the generations before Joshua who experienced this.
God always comes to us in our need. He encourages us to keep at whatever difficult task we are facing. He always sends something that will grab our attention. Joshua was a commander of an army. What better way to get his attention than to send the commander of God’s army?
Look at verse 13.
….a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand.”
Initially, Joshua thought he was just another guy. Maybe he jumped up in alarm, or maybe he pulled out his own weapon prepared to take action. Regardless, he didn’t immediately recognize what God had sent.
Me either. Sometimes I am looking down so much at the problem or task I am being forced to face, that I forget to look out and up. Even when I do look up, I am still so consumed by the circumstance that I think I am seeing another “part of the problem”.
Joshua thought that this man was his enemy coming to attack.
Immediately when the man answered, Joshua realized that this was the voice of God. I love how his posture went from looking down, to looking up, to falling down.
Only God can do this. Only He can take our downcast soul, cause us to look upward, and then fall down in worship.
When God draws near, we are on holy ground. We are being touched by the hand of a God who loves us so much He will meet us in our frustration and sadness. He will encourage us and cause us to worship and rise.
When we do, we will want to take off our shoes, because this dear sister, is holy ground.
What is God bringing to you today to show His love and encouragement?
“Take off your sandals”. This is your holy ground-just you and your Jesus. Lean in, and worship.
Love to you!!