Week beginning: 13th December, 2015

By Jeremy Cooke | London

"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 the commander of the army of the LORD I have now come.' Then Joshua fell face down to the ground in reverence, and asked him, 'What message does my Lord have for his servant?'

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."

Joshua 5:13-15 (NIV)

Is God on your side?

It's a surprising answer to read is it not? The Lord says, through His commander, (probably the pre-incarnate Son) that He is not on Israel's side any more than He is on the side of the Canaanites whom the land is about to vomit out, at God's instigation, because of their outrageously perverted and distorted way of life.

It is good to remind ourselves that God is not there for us to utilise for our benefit, as we often try to do when we pray for Him to do what we want and to bring our plans to successful fruition. The Lord has His purposes, which He will fulfil. Joshua's response is to ask what the Lord wants of Him, the exact opposite of many of our prayers.

Jesus (the same name as Joshua in Anglicised Greek), if He is the Commander here, tells him that he is not just to listen to Him, but primarily to respond in reverence - and awe - at His 'otherness' (holiness), when in His presence.

Then he and we can hear his instructions for whatever Jericho lies ahead (see ch 6:1-5).

How close is this to our rushed and squeezed daily devotions?

Prayer Points

1. Take time to worship God this morning, giving him the honour and praise that is due to his name.
2. Ask the Lord to show you what he wants you to do for him today.