“When Joshua was by 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’m 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 your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy,” and Joshua did so.
– Joshua 5:13–15
This is one of my favorite passages, stories, pictures in the book of Joshua. And there’s so much we could talk about here, but the reason I read Joshua 5:13–15, I just want you to get a picture. I’m going to give you three points in like two minutes here. But as Joshua is on the outskirts of Jericho, so he’s about to lead the people of God into the promised land, and he’s about to specifically lead an army into the first battle he has led them in. And you can just imagine all the things going through Joshua’s mind as he looks at what’s before him, and God meets him in that moment and says at least three things to him. Again, there’s more we could talk about.
Oh, God, we praise you for not leaving us alone and we praise you for being with us.
Joshua 5:13–15 Reminds Us We Are Not Alone
But number one, God reminds Joshua that he is not alone, that God is with him. And we’ve seen this already in Joshua 1. We’ve seen it at the end of Deuteronomy. “Just as I was with Moses, I will be with you.” And here at this pivotal moment in Joshua’s life and leadership, God is reminding him yet again, “You are not alone.”
The Lord Is In Command
And he’s telling him second that you are second in command. I love this. “Who are you?” Joshua says to this person he sees, and this person says, “I’m commander of the army of the Lord.” That’s who Joshua thought he was. He thought he was commander of the army of the Lord. But he realized in this critical moment that he was second in command, that the Lord is ultimately in command.
We Are Always On Holy Ground When Following God
And then third, Joshua realized here he is on the outskirts of pagan Jericho with all the false gods and idolatry and immorality being practiced in that city. And Joshua hears God say, “You are on holy ground. Take off your sandals from your feet.” And I just want to encourage you… We could go all kinds of other places in the Bible, specifically in the New Testament, where we hear God say to us… And I just want to encourage you today, no matter what you’re going through in your life, no matter what you may be going through in your leadership in some sphere of influence, whether it’s your home or at work or however you lead, in the church, be reminded today, one, you are not alone. God is saying to you right now through his word that he is with you.
And two, you are second in command, and he is sovereign over all. He is Lord. And so your first responsibility then, my first responsibility today is to bow before him and say, “What do you say to me? What do you want me to do? You’re in charge of my life.” And third, to realize that no matter where you are, if you are God’s servant, following God’s will and God’s word, then you are always on holy ground. You walk… Everywhere your foot treads is holy ground.
And so we pray: Oh, God, we praise you for not leaving us alone. For being with us, for your promise to always be with us, for never leaving or forsaking us. We praise you that when we wake up in the morning, no matter what the previous day has held or what that day holds, that you are with us. All glory be to your name.
Joshua 5:13–15 Praises God For His Love And Holiness
We praise you for your love for us, that you are always with us. Praise you for your sovereignty over all things. We gladly submit to you. We take our place today as second in command. And we are so thankful that you are Lord of our lives. So lead us, guide us, do in and through our lives whatever you desire, we pray.
And help us to remember all day long today, all night, and the next day. We are constantly on holy ground. With your holy spirit inside of us, help us to live sacred lives. Lives consecrated to you, just like we saw in Joshua 3. God, help us in our thoughts, in our desires, in our words, in our deeds, in everything we are and do. God, help us to be holy. Make us holy as you are holy. Help us to live every single moment in the light of your holy presence. We pray all of this in light of Joshua 5:13–15. In Jesus’ name, amen.