The time had come for the Israelites to move forward and take Canaan. The fulfillment of their promise was just ahead. The Lord had brought them miraculously to this place. In Joshua chapter one, they were told to be strong, courageous, and obedient. In chapter two, Joshua sends spies into Jericho, and they are protected and helped by Rahab. In chapter three, God once more holds back water, this time of the Jordan River; so that the Israelites can move forward receive their promise. Now in chapter five, they have circumcised the new generation, and held Passover in preparation for the military invasion of Canaan. They perceive they are ready to go.
Last night, after a good discussion with Jayson Arnold, something came to light in Joshua 5:13-15.
“Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, ‘Are you for us or for our enemies? ‘Neither,’ he replied, ‘but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.’ Then Joshua fell face down to the ground in reverence, and asked him, ‘What message does my Lord have for his servant?’ The commander of the Lord’s army replied, ‘Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.’ And Joshua did so” (Joshua 5:13-15, NIV).
Joshua looks up and sees a powerful man with a drawn sword, and he asks if he is for the Israelites or for their adversaries. The man replies that he is for neither, and then tells Joshua that he is the commander of the army of the Lord. Joshua’s reaction is to worship him, and then the commander tells him to remove his sandals because “the place where you are standing is holy ground.” At the burning bush Moses was told to take of his shoes because he was standing on holy ground. God was there and it was a holy place. Moses couldn’t look upon the Lord, or he would die. Now someone stands before Joshua and tells him that he stands on holy ground. But now that holiness can be seen by human eyes. Surely this great commander is Jesus, because then Joshua would not have been told to take of his shoes because he was on holy ground.
At the point when Joshua asked if the Lord was with him, the Lord told him that he was with neither side. Joshua had not yet surrendered to him in worship. He had not yet removed his shoes. He had not yet committed himself. When Joshua removed his shoes, he honored who was before him. With Joshua’s surrender and commitment, the answer was so longer “no”. It was “yes”.
Jesus stands before us, and waits for us to remove our shoes and worship Him. He waits for our heart, our commitment, and our obedience. He longs to take us into our Promised Land, but He waits for our absolute surrender. With that surrender comes all of His power and His unfailing commitment to us.
What lies before you? What promise waits? Is He with you? You are standing on holy ground in His presence. What will you do? Will you take off your shoes and worship Him? Or will you hesitate because you are not sure? He is all you need when you say “yes”.