Whose Army Do You March In?
“I’m in the Lord’s Army, Yes Sir!” That is the line I remember from the song we sang all the time as kids in children’s church. I loved it because it allowed us to move, “right arm, left arm, left foot....” you get the idea. Of course now I realize it is very similar to a Christian version of the hokey pokey. No criticism intended, the song taught a valuable lesson. We do not march according to our battle plans but the plans of the Lord. He leads and we follow.
People trying to serve the Lord in 2023 may have a hard feeling like we are doing the same thing as these people here in Joshua chapter 5. I mean they had been eating manna, bread given to them from God, from Heaven. They had seen the Jordan river dry up in front of them. They were about to see the wall of Jericho fall. So many miracles it’s hard to point out just one, but before they get started marching a few things need to happen. First they need to take the Passover which reminds them of the truth that they were slaves and the reason they are no longer slaves is that God delivered them. Secondly they need to do something very ordinary, cook dinner. For the first time in 40 years someone said, “hey what’s for dinner?” The miraculous bread, the manna stopped as soon as they ate the food out of the promised land. They were going to be eating from God’s provision from here on, but it was going to be normal every day food just like us.
We often think that there needs to be an insanely out of this world event to show us that God is taking care of us. But the truth is most of the time He takes care of us in normal ordinary ways. He gives us a job, energy to work, intelligence to figure out our problems, normal stuff. The absence of miracles is not the same as the absence of His presence and provision. God takes care of us as we get up and serve Him according to His Word and Will each and every day.
Joshua apparently in, Joshua 5:13-15, went out to get the lay of the land before the battle with Jericho, the most formidable of the cities they were going to face. While he was on his survey mission he is met by a man with a sword in his hand. Joshua asks the question that comes to his mind, are you with us or with them? But that was not the question that needed asking. This is not a man but the commander of the army of the Lord. The question is not whose side He is on but whether or not Joshua is on his. Joshua hits the ground in worship and asks for further instructions, his instructions are the same that Moses heard back in Exodus 3:5, take off your sandals you are on holy ground. The preparation Joshua needs to take to be ready to face their great enemy is not military in nature but spiritual. He must worship the Lord and commit Himself to follow the true leader of Israel’s Army. The Lord of Hosts. As in, “right arm, left arm,” what do you want next Lord I am at your service.
Joshua is going to lead the entire nation of Israel to battle the same way that David the King would later face Goliath (1 Samuel 17:45), understanding that the battle is the Lord’s to fight not ours. We meet the enemy in the name of the Lord of Hosts trusting His power, provision and providence to protect guide and provide.
God has given you clear instructions on how to march in His army on this Tuesday. Whatever else you are facing, whatever confusion situations you find yourself in, you have His sure Word to you. Love Him with all that you are and Love the people around you as you love yourself. And know that just because your toast at breakfast didn’t fall from heaven, that doesn’t mean it is not from the Lord’s loving hand.
Let’s begin by praying for His grace to be faithful in the normal everyday actions and words we use today and serve Him with all that we are as we march according to His battle plan not our own.