“And the Captain of the Lord’s Host said unto Joshua, ‘Loose your shoes from off your foot—for the place whereon you stand is holy.’ And, Joshua did so.”
Remembering this will cause us to fall down and worship even in enemy territory.
Joshua and the children of Israel had just crossed over into the Promised Land by “passing through” the flooded Jordan River. Just as He parted the Red Sea for Moses and the two million Israelites when they fled from 430 years in Egyptian captivity, so did He part the Jordan River so they, too, could walk across on dry ground (Josh. 3:15-17).
This miracle caused the enemies’ hearts to “melt within them and their spirits to fail” (Josh. 5:1), which should encourage us when we find ourselves in the heat of spiritual battle. Never forget, “Our God will fight for us” (Neh. 4:20) and victory is assured when we go forth in His Name (I Sam. 17:37, 45-47; II Chron. 20:15). Hallelujah!!
It’s also interesting their arrival at Gilgal brought a return of the rite of circumcision, which had been neglected during their 40 years in the wilderness (Josh. 5:2-9). It also brought an end to the need of manna from Heaven because they could now eat “of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year” (v. 12). Glory!!
But, none of that could have prepared Joshua for his up-close-and-personal encounter with “the Captain of the Lord of Hosts” (vv.13-15).
Many scholars believe this was one of the pre-Incarnate appearances of Christ Himself in the Old Testament. Called the “Captain of our salvation” in Heb. 2:10, this designation was also given to the One Who appeared to Abram (Gen. 12:7) and Moses in the burning bush (Ex. 3:2, 6). Interestingly, this same Greek word “archegos” used for “Captain” in Heb. 2:10 is the same one used in Heb. 12:2 for “Author of our faith.”
What’s equally beautiful is Joshua’s response when he realized Who “stood over against him with His sword drawn in His Hand” (Josh. 5:13a). He asked “Are you for us or against us?” (v.13b). And, the Angel replied, “No—but as Captain of the Host of the Lord am I now come” (v.14a; Rom. 8:31-32). . .which caused Joshua to “fall on his face to the earth and worship Him as he asked, ‘What says my Lord unto His servant’?” (v.14b).
Such should always be the case when we realize with Whom we’re dealing. Like Isaiah, our consciousness of His Greatness will lead us to a conviction of our sinfulness (Is. 6:1-5). Thank God that He doesn’t leave us in our wretched condition, but brings cleansing (vv.6-7) and a commission (v.8).
We should also note this encounter took place “by Jericho” (Josh. 5:13a), that ancient, evil city that’d so long been a stronghold of the enemy. But, that was about to change—partly because of Joshua’s “Holy Ghost, Holy Ground” experience with the Lord Himself. May we remember that today when we invade the enemy’s territory and are tempted to doubt or fear. Put on your Christian Armor and prepare for battle (Eph. 2:10-18). Victory is assured. Amen and amen.
By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated January 10, 2010