“And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, ‘Are You for us or for our adversaries?’ So He said, ‘No [sometimes translated as ‘neither’], but as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.’ And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, ‘What does my Lord say to His servant?’” Joshua 5:13-14
As I read this passage this morning I was struck by the question Joshua asked the angel of the Lord. In context it was not a profound question, but what struck me is the fact it is often a typical question we all voice to God when we pray. I believe this question we often bring to God about His being on our side or the side of our enemy comes from our self-centered nature and its way of looking at life. Joshua is just expressing a human view of life in its most raw form – the view that either things in my life are going my way or they are not. But, the angel is not phased by this question, and instead he answers in such a way that opens a new and third option for Joshua and us. An option that Joshua had not conceived and a way we tend to not conceive in our own minds either when we are faced with having to look at something with a critical eye. The way I am speaking about, is the Lord’s way.
For us or against us is not the critical question we must present to God, because God does not pick sides. He doesn’t have to, instead the job of picking sides is one His word says over and over again is what we are to do. We can either decide to pick God’s side or His adversary’s side. Those sides do not change. The only thing that is dynamic in this struggle between good and evil is the side we choose to be on.
As you can see Joshua turned his thinking quick and again questioned the angel asking for a word from the Lord, making the choice to be on the side of the Lord and taking a humble stance of a servant before the commander of the Lord’s army. We too need to follow that example when we find ourselves confronted with our faulty self-centered thinking. We need to make the choice to follow God and trust that He is for us and not against us even though at times all of the things He is doing in our life or allowing to come into our life seems more like He is playing the role of our adversary.