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The Pastor's Blog

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Thirty-nine years earlier, Joshua, along with Caleb and ten others, had seen the fortified cities of Canaan. They had tasted Canaan’s fruit and spied the fearsome warriors. Sadly, the Israelites had rebelled against God and refused to enter from Kadesh-Barnea. “The fierce Canaanite warriors are giants. We’re like tiny insects in their sight! If we enter the land, they will destroy us!” After that, the unbelieving Hebrews had wandered in the Wilderness until a whole generation had perished.


The remaining Israelites had been children in Egypt, or they had been born in the Sinai dessert. With Joshua at the helm, the Israelites crossed the Jordan River and camped on the western shore, in the land promised to Abraham, their ancient ancestor. 


Forty years after the exodus, with Moses gone, Joshua must have felt a heavy burden of leadership. Alone with his thoughts, Joshua slipped out of camp and strode toward Jericho. Its gates were secured, and its impenetrable rock walls towered above the surrounding landscape.


Gazing up the hill, Joshua must have whispered a silent prayer. “Lord, you’ve led us through the wilderness. You’ve provided bread from heaven and Your life-giving water gushed out of the rock. You’ve given us victory in battle, and You even pushed back the mighty Jordan so that Your people could cross on dry land. But Lord, how will you defeat this great fortified city?”


Startled, Joshua “looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua approached him and asked, ‘Are you for us or for our enemies?’ ‘Neither,’ he replied. ‘I have now come as Commander of the Lord’s army’ ”(Joshua 5:13-14).


Who? The Commander-in-Chief of Heaven’s hosts. Who? The pre-incarnate Jesus! “Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy” (Joshua 5:15). Humbly, Joshua fell before the Always-Victorious King.


What was the battle plan? What was the Divine strategy? Did Jesus tell Joshua to build catapults? To sharpen the spears? To enlist mercenary warriors from surrounding nations? No. “Look, I have handed Jericho, its king, and its best soldiers over to you. March around the city with all the men of war, circling the city one time. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry seven ram’s-horn trumpets in front of the ark. But on the seventh day, march around the city seven times, while the priests blow the rams’ horns” (Joshua 6:3-5).


It didn’t make sense. It wasn’t logical. March, day after day? Ram’s horns? Shout? Amazingly, miraculously, when “the troops shouted, and the rams’ horns sounded … the wall collapsed. The troops advanced into the city, each man straight ahead, and they captured the city” (Joshua 6:20).


There’s a lesson for us.


Our enemy is defeated, “not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy” (Titus 3:5). We are victorious only because of God’s great grace! We are “more than conquerors” (Romans 8:37), not due to our merit or efforts, but only when we obediently follow the Commander of the Lord’s Army.



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