Is God really on your side? Have you ever wondered about that? It is a thought-provoking question, isn’t it? I know we’d all like to believe that He is.
Recently my good friend and ministry coach, Dick Gascho and I discussed this question. Dick is a veteran missionary who serves with Greater Europe Mission. He’s been a great source of encouragement to me over the last several years. You can learn more about Dick, and his coaching ministry at leaderlifecoaching.com.
At first blush it seems like a slam dunk.
If you are in Christ, you can be confident that God is for you. In fact, Paul states in Romans,
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? (Romans 8:31, 32 ESV) So yes, we can say God is for us. Nothing can come between us.
But when Joshua asked this question of the commander of the Lord’s Army, he responded differently. Commentators of the Bible believe the commander of the Lord’s Army refers to the pre-incarnate Christ.
“When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, ‘Are you for us, or for our adversaries?’” (Joshua 5:13 ESV)
Do you ever wonder if God is for you or for those that are against you? That is Joshua’s question.
Then notice how God answers. “And he said, ‘No; but I am the commander of the army of the Lord. Now I have come.‘” (Joshua 5:14 ESV) Can you believe that God says no to Josh? In effect the Lord says, “No, I’m not on either side.” How can the Lord say this to Joshua?
The sense here is that God will not follow Joshua’s agenda. The pre-incarnate seeks to encourage Joshua, but He also makes it clear that he needs to get on board with God and follow Him. He needs to make sure he, and the people he is leading are on God’s side. If you read the entire book of Joshua you will learn that the Israelites didn’t win all their battles. They made mistakes. They didn’t always follow well.
Maybe the question about whether God is for us is not entirely the right question to ask?
But Joshua does have a wonderful response. His response is to worship.
“And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him, ‘What does my lord say to his servant?’ And the commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua, ‘Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.’ And Joshua did so.” (Joshua 5:14-15 ESV)
We have confidence that if we are in Christ, nothing will separate us from the love of Christ. Yet don’t ask God to follow your agenda, follow Him. Worship Him. That is the response He is looking for.
In His Grip, Dave
P.S. Keep praying for our upcoming ESL training that will begin this Friday, March 23rd. We just found out there is an issue with the electricity in the place we are holding the training this weekend.