“’Neither,’ He replied. ‘I have now come as commander of the Lord’s army.’” (Joshua 5:14)
An entire army of Israelite fighting men died in the desert of Sinai, none of them in battle. This was God’s judgment against Israel for their refusal to obey His command to enter and subdue Canaan, for allowing their fear to displace their faith.
Moses died on Mount Nebo. Joshua took the reins of leadership the Lord placed in his hands and led Israel across the Jordan, the Lord having parted the river. They camped at Gilgal near Jericho – their first target. All the men were circumcised since that had not been done in the wilderness. The manna stopped when people began to eat locally grown produce. And the people celebrated the first Passover in Canaan. These were days of high excitement and expectation.
In this atmosphere, one day near Jericho Joshua looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword. Rather ominous. Joshua asked Him, “Are you for us or for our enemies?” It was a question of loyalty. The man’s answer stunned Joshua: “Neither.” His answer further revealed that His loyalty was not to any human endeavor but to the Lord, to His concerns and His plans and His will. That led Joshua to then bow down and worship Him.
Loyalty is not to an “us or our enemies” scenario. It isn’t about us or them. It is all about the Lord and loyalty to Him.
For Moses it was the burning bush that was not consumed where he learned this truth. For Joshua, it was the commander of the Lord’s army. Both were told, “Take of your shoes, for you are standing on holy ground.” The ground was made holy by the presence of the Lord.
Lord, May our loyalty be always toward You and never toward our own agenda. Amen.