Joshua 5:13-15; 6:1-5
13 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, “Are You for us or for our adversaries?” 14 So He said, “No, but as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, “What does my Lord say to His servant?”15 Then the Commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua, “Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.” And Joshua did so.
1 Now the gates of Jericho were tightly shut because the people were afraid of the Israelites. No one was allowed to go out or in. 2 But the Lord said to Joshua, “I have given you Jericho, its king, and all its strong warriors. 3 You and your fighting men should march around the town once a day for six days. 4 Seven priests will walk ahead of the Ark, each carrying a ram’s horn. On the seventh day you are to march around the town seven times, with the priests blowing the horns. 5 When you hear the priests give one long blast on the rams’ horns, have all the people shout as loud as they can. Then the walls of the town will collapse, and the people can charge straight into the town.”
We don’t often think to put the words worship and warriors in the same sentence but there is a war and worship that wins involves:
- Wanting to hear the Lord
After receiving the report of the two spies, readying the troops, and crossing the Jordan, Joshua seeks to ready himself. He starts by studying the situation and surveying the landscape so as to devise a battle plan. It was there that as he “looked up” that he encountered a man with a sword in his hand. Joshua questioned the man to see if he was a friend or a foe, Joshua wanted to know whose side this man was on. The response of the man is an interesting one, So He said, “No, but as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” His response was not what Joshua expected he said, “Neither”, which revealed His purpose and then He went on to reveal His position. When God steps onto the scene He does not come to take sides, He comes to take over. Worship is not about what we want but what He wants. Today we want God to join us in our battles, but we should not ask if God is on our side, instead we must decide whether we are on God’s side. The more appropriate question is, “whose side are we on?” As we face the battles, physically, emotionally and spiritually we need to make sure that we are on the Lord’s side through all our confrontations. When the messenger identified Himself, revealing His position, “Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped”. There is no doubt that Joshua was in the presence of Jesus, first, this messenger allows himself to be worshipped, angels never do, and secondly, Joshua was instructed to remove his sandals because he was on holy ground just as Moses had at the burning bush Exodus 3:5. Jesus was the reason for Joshua’s worship and He is the reason for our worship. Worship is not a response to our changed circumstances but the unchanging Creator.
For Joshua worship also involved the question, “What does my Lord say to His servant?” For Worship warriors the battle doesn’t start with a sword but with submission. Winning begins before the battle, when we recognize and remember who is in charge. Real worship always involves wanting what God wants over our wants. When worship is centered around the Messiah and His message we care about His commands. God’s commands involve taking off and taking notice “Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.” As we come into worship today do we really take notice of whose presence we are in and what needs to be removed in response? God wants us to recognize and be reverent yet so often we want to go and do instead of be. As we ask “God what do you want me to do” He responds, “Be still, and know that I am God” Psalm 46:10. We want to focus on the outcome without observing His omnipotence. Yet it is only in the presence of His power that we can have peace in the problem we face. Most of our prayer time is taken up with telling not asking and listening, we usually tell God what we need and want. When Joshua realizes who he is addressing he immediately falls into worship which involving asking, listening and obeying. We want worship to address our answers but it was designed to addresses the Almighty because the Almighty is the answer. Today will you coming to hear His command, will you ask the crucial question of worship: “Lord what do You want me to hear and do?”
- Walking with the Lord
God reveals that the details of how the war was to be waged involved walking with Him. The significance of surrender is seen in the truth that with the Savior we are not fighting alone. Joshua was told that they were to march around the city for 6 days carrying the Ark because God’s battle plan involved His people walk with Him. That probably sounded pretty strange to Joshua but remember it’s not about God joining us but us joining Him and heading in the direction that He is going. Success was not found in walking around Jericho but walking with God around Jericho. Success was not found in a sword but in spending time with the Savior. We forget just how big the city was and how far they had to walk, it took a full day to get around. Today many of us won’t even walk to the front of a church to surrender let alone around a city. So couldn’t God just have knocked the walls over without all the work? Can’t He take care of our problems without us having to do anything? Of course He could but He usually doesn’t. It’s in the walking with Him that our wanting turns to wonder as we watch His power at work. We need to learn the lessons but we usually don’t want to learn, we just WANT! Worship warriors spend their time in wonder not wanting. Today what moves us is not the Savior but selfishness and until we start walking with the Lord we are just going to be standing there staring at the walls saying “I wonder when God is going to do something about these walls? I told Him they needed to come down!” Today we have made it all about the walls instead of the walk, yet it is in the walk that the war is won. Can you imagine what the people in Jericho were thinking as they watched? Here are all these people marching around the walls of the city, blowing trumpets, carrying the Ark and not saying a word. Do you think we could get that many Christians together today and have everybody keep their mouths shut all day long as they marched? We want to make worship about the words but notice what Joshua commands the people in verse 10 “Do not give a war cry, do not raise your voices, do not say a word until the day I tell you to shout. Then shout!” The words come after the walk not before, after we walk in obedience then come the words. Today we worship with words and a wayward walk, yet God calls us to walk the talk. Try worshipping God today by just walking with Him in wonder without the words.