The real story of Joshua
You’ll remember the story of Jericho, and how Joshua marched the people around its walls until they came tumbling down. Remember that Jericho was a major city and people had been fending off invaders for 7,000 years. Conquering Jericho was never going to be a picnic. And the Israelites didn’t need to be polite: Joshua had 40,000 battle-hardened men with recent victories over Moab and Midian. The Israelites were on a roll and, as their commander, Joshua had ‘GOD IS ON MY SIDE’ printed on his T-shirt.
But instead of sending the boys in to tidy Jericho up, Joshua asked everyone to simply walk around the target. Together. In silence. For seven days. While the townsfolk yelled at them and threw stones. You can imagine the soldiers’ frustration and humiliation. Why did Joshua do this? It was a waste of time, bad for morale, and he risked becoming a laughing stock.
On the morning before they reached Jericho, Joshua had been out for a stroll in his ‘GOD IS ON MY SIDE’ T-shirt. He saw a man he didn’t recognize standing before him with a drawn sword. Joshua challenged the man, “Whose side are you on?”. The man simply said, “I’m not on anyone’s side. I’m the commander of the LORD’s army.”
I suspect that Joshua felt sick at that moment. He fell to the ground and stayed there. He was being reminded that he, Joshua, was not the commander of the LORD’s army and it was really a question of whose side Joshua was on. Joshua was told to take his sandals off for the very ground he was on was holy. The clear message was, “This is God’s patch. Don’t mess with God”.
And only then did God speak into the humbled and, I imagine, fearful heart of Joshua. “This is my show, not yours, and this is how the script will run.” And it did.
You don’t win battles, God does. And God doesn’t choose sides, you do.
Written by a friend and shared with permission.