Thursday, June 24, 2010

I Didn't Come To Take Sides, I Came To Take Over

I have been preaching through Hebrews 11 on Wednesday Nights for several weeks now. I am finally starting on the last section, about what I am labeling "The Others." Kind of ominous, right? Sounds a bit like a horror story. Well they are the others from the vantage point of little ink afforded them by the writer of Hebrews. First on the Faith Parade of the Others is Joshua.

Specifically, the story of the battle of Jericho is the lynch pin on which Hebrews 11 places Joshua's entrance into the Hall of Faith. And it did take tremendous faith to follow God's plan.

God: "Hey Josh. Here's what I want you to do. Go walk, check this out, around the city! They'll never see that one coming. Ahhhh. Then go home."

Joshua: "OK. Alright! Ummmm, listen. I know you're God and and the Lieutenants here were thinking of a more traditional approach. A good old fashion siege type, know...battering rams, catapults, that kinda stuff."

Isn't this the way we are? We ask for God to reveal His will, and show us His plan, but we do our own thing anyway. The story of the Battle of Jericho doesn't actually start in chapter six. No, it starts with a confrontation Joshua has back in chapter 5. The Israelites were camped near Jericho, waiting to start the campaign, when General Joshua has an encounter with a foreign soldier. Here is the scene from the ESV, the Scripture in Blue, my comments in Black:

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.

So Joshua sees a soldier, not Jewish, not Jerichoish, err, Jerichoese, Jerichoian, anyway, so he figures he is with another army. Joshua doesn't want to get in the heat of battle and realize he has another enemy on his flank, so he approaches the soldier for a treaty summit.

And Joshua went to him and said to him, "Are you for us, or for our adversaries?" And he said, "No."

Just "No."? That really wasn't a yes-or-no kinda question. Either you is or you ain't. In essence, He says, "Neither." Then He tells why.

"I am the commander of the army of the LORD. Now I have come."

Woooo! That's an Amen verse! You have to read that last statement with the right emphasis. "Now I." Say it with me "I." Again, "Now I have come." "Now I'm here, Joshua."
We see in the last statements made by the soldier that it is a pre-incarnate appearance by Jesus, what we call a Christophany.

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.

Notice the "Take Thy sandals off" comments. Have we heard that before...thinking...thinking. Oh, yeah. God said it to Moses at the burning bush.

Here is the deal. Joshua is planning an attack. God wants Joshua to do it His way, not the world's way. So Jesus pays old Josh a visit. Joshua says, "Hey, big boy, which side are you on." And Jesus says, "Joshua, I didn't come to take sides. I came to take over!" And he did. And the Israelites won the battle.

I want to leave you with this thought; having faith is allowing God to take over. It is a willingness to trust God to the point that you risk everything because you believe what He has told you. When the world seems to heavy too bear, Jesus says, "I'm not here to take sides. I'm here to take over!"

When you face an obstacle that has walls so thick and so high; when you see a barrier to your goals that can derail all of your plans; when the battles seem hopeless; those are the times to trust God even more.
Put God first.
Never look back.
And go circle your Jericho's and shout with all that is with-in you, because "the LORD has given you the city."

Remember that God took the city of Jericho. All Joshua had to do was possess it. Likewise, God has given you the victory; just go take it!

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