As Joshua prepared to conquer the Promised Land he had an odd encounter. Joshua had been chosen by God, by Moses, and by the Israelites to take the Promised Land. At the beginning of the Book of Joshua, God instructed Joshua, “Be strong and courageous.” Likewise, the elders and leaders of the Israel looked to Joshua and pledged their loyalty by saying, “Be strong and courageous.”
As if to seal the approval of the Lord; the promise of conquest was confirmed and the people pass through the Jordan River as the water stopped flowing during the flood season. God had delivered the people out of Egypt through the water, and He brought them into Canaan through the water. The first obstacle in their way was the heavily fortified and walled city of Jericho. Victory would have been a challenge to any experienced army of the day.
The Lord seemed to be blessing every step of the journey now and was surely with them. However, as Joshua prepared the Israelites for the “siege” at Jericho, he encountered “a man standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand.” (Josh 5:13 ESV) Joshua asked the important question, “Who are YOU for, us or the adversaries?” The man responded powerfully, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the Lord, Now I have come.” (Josh 5:15 ESV) Joshua recognized the truth of this statement and worshipped.
Whose side are you on? Often we think because we are followers of God that He is on our side, and subject to our small manipulations. We would never admit that verbally, but we ask God often to bless our endeavors or even our mistakes. Is this the right way to view God? Should we ask God to bless our actions? In this moment when Joshua’s leadership was put to the test, God reminded him of something important. The Lord is about His own agenda, not the agenda of the people. Perhaps the question we should ask is: Are we are the Lord’s side?
Jesus taught us, and we would do well to listen. When the religious rulers sought Jesus to kill him, Jesus responded with these words, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing.” (John 5:19 ESV) Let that sink in! Jesus moved only in perfect harmony with the Father. His authority was validated from perfect obedience. He did not demand the Father change the agenda, rather he followed the Father’s agenda to the cross, but redemption was the plan, and restoration is the goal.
So, whose side are you on? For many followers of Christ we tend to align ourselves with a political party, a government institution, or a regional identification. We have become more about our race, our wealth, or our borders than we have about being on the Lord’s side. When we align ourselves with the Lord, instead of demanding He align Himself with us, we find we have no space for hate or discord in our lives. We have no room to see race over humanity. We must love as Christ loved. Jesus was not permissive, but He looked past the externals of the world and loved the person.
He still loves today. He works His love in us so that He can work His love through us. When you find yourself walking in unforgiveness, hate, disharmony, ungodly anger, pride, or sin, you can know this: you are not on the Lord’s side. Walk on His side: peace, hope, and love are there.