Take a peek into Joshua chapter 5 with me, starting with verse 11. I’d like to share the nuggets of treasure I’ve found.
The Israelites have just miraculously crossed over the Jordan. Not a creek, a river-a swollen overflowing river.
God has instructed that the men should be circumcised. And the Manna they had been eating for 40 years in the wilderness has gone away as they’ve eaten for the first time the fruit of the land.
Now Joshua walked out some distance, looking toward Jericho. Maybe he was thinking of military strategy, or the fact that the Manna had ceased to yield provision. Surely, the responsibilities of being the new leader were weighing on his shoulders. But as his eyes looked up toward the horizon, in front of him, he saw a Man. A Man with His sword drawn.
It was right after the Manna had ceased that this interesting occurence took place. Joshua walks to the Man with the drawn sword, (Joshua 5:13) and he asks if He is for them or against them.
The Man gives a reply much like the Man in the New Testament often gives. He answers a question that really doesn’t matter, with an answer that does. You see, who this Man was for wasn’t the real question. He answers with, “No, but I have now come. I am the Commander of the Lord’s army.” What’s important is who He is. And who He is requires bowing and worship.
In the OT when you see the “Angel of the Lord” and the “A” is capitalized it is referring to Jesus PreIncarnate. If your version doesn’t capitalize the “A” a good way to tell if it is Jesus (before He came as flesh =PreIncarnate) is He is the only Angel that accepts sacrifices (like with Gideon) and allows worship. Other angels always made men get up and stop bowing at their feet.
Imagine this…Joshua is possibly fretting, wondering if the loss of Manna is going to cause a riot from panic and then He sees this Man, who didn’t come up behind him, but was already steps ahead of Joshua. He was waiting on him! This Commander who has already saved them before. Watch.
“And the Angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud went from before them and stood behind them.” Exodus 14:19
“In all their affliction He was afflicted, And the Angel of His Presence saved them; In His love and in His pity He redeemed them; And He bore them and carried them all the days of old.” Isaiah 63:9
“…and the Angel of the LORD took His stand in the way as an adversary against him. And he was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him. 23 Now the donkey saw the Angel of the LORD standing in the way with His drawn sword in His hand, and the donkey turned aside out of the way and went into the field. So Balaam struck the donkey to turn her back onto the road.” Numbers 22:22-23
Jesus fought for His beloved. He knew where He was needed most-sometimes in the front but when necessary holding off the enemy from the back. Whatever it took to protect His own He did. Anyone who stood in His people’s way, became an adversary to Him. He felt what they felt and loved them too much to ever relent. A true Man of War.
“The LORD is a man of war;The LORD is His name.” Exodus 15:3
Luke 2: 13 says, “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God…”
He still fights on your behalf today, even though the real battle was won on the cross at Calvary. And one day, The Bread of Heaven will be tangible again. We will see Him come out of the heavens in all His glory.
Can you picture it? An army of white horses with riders. The only sound that can be heard are the clicking of boots and a swish of a robe as it brushes the ground while the Commander walks to His horse at the front. He lays a strong but gentle hand on His steed and the great horse paws and blows a blast of hot air from his nose. The Commander doesn’t need to climb up in stirrups, the horse kneels before the Glorious one. He sits upon the horse and whispers into its ear, “Let’s go get our Bride.” The horse raises up and the sound of a unified army rings throughout the heavens. The Commander raises His sword and a sonic boom brings Him into the atmosphere.
And we meet Him in the sky. His promise fulfilled. He will take us to be with Him forever.