“Live and in person” Advent devotion for December 5, 2020. Read Joshua 5:13-15 and Psalm 124.
It is an exciting time for the people of Israel and their new leader, Joshua! God had stopped the Jordan River so they could cross into the promised land on dry ground. They don’t have to eat manna anymore, because they now have access to the abundant produce of their new home.
They are ready to begin their conquest of the land by taking the city Jericho, when suddenly, Joshua looks up and sees a man with a drawn sword in his hand. I’m sure Joshua had his sword out too when he stepped up and asked, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” Is he a good guy or a bad guy? Will the fight begin right here and now?
The man answers, “I am the commander of the army of the Lord.”
This is no ordinary soldier. Joshua falls facedown on the ground and worships. He has to take off his sandals at this holy place, just like Moses did in front of the burning bush. This must be more than just one of the heavenly host. This must be the Lord, live and in person!
I don’t know about you, but if I were team captain and choosing sides, I would definitely want the Lord on my side! Scripture names other impressive warriors. Like Samson, who killed a lot of Philistines. Or some of David’s mighty men. But as David said, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God” (Psalm 20:7). When the Lord is on your side, victory is a given!
Before this, Moses told the people, “the Lord your God is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory” (Deuteronomy 20:4). Later, Joshua would also remind the people, “it is the Lord your God who fights for you” (Joshua 23:10).
Much later, the apostle Paul would write to Timothy, encouraging him to “fight the good fight of faith” (1 Timothy 6:12). The Christian faith is a struggle, a battle if you will, to hold onto the eternal life we have in Christ. The devil, the world and our sinful nature constantly attempt to distract us with promises that never fulfill, never last and never live up to expectations.
It’s a losing battle – unless the Lord is on your side. Here’s the good news. Not only does He fight for you, but He overcomes the world, he defeats death and He wins the victory for us! So don’t give up. Keep fighting the good fight of faith. The battle belongs to the Lord! (1 Samuel 17:47)
Lord, thank You for the victory You have given me in Jesus Christ. Amen.