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July 24, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“When Joshua was near the town of Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with sword in hand. Joshua went up to him and demanded, ‘Are you friend or foe?’ ‘Neither one,’ he replied. ‘I am the commander of the Lord’s army.’ At this, Joshua fell with his face to the ground in reverence. ‘I am at your command,’ Joshua said. ‘What do you want your servant to do?’”—Joshua 5:13–14 (NLT)
In this passage, Joshua has an undercover boss moment as he encounters a man before the battle of Jericho. He has no idea in that moment whose presence he is in, no idea who is standing in front of him. So naturally he asks, “Are you friend or foe?” And then, the figure says, “I am the commander of the Lord’s army.”
This is what we call a Christophany, a physical manifestation of Jesus Christ in the Old Testament. Many times, but not always, this manifestation came in human form. Here’s what Theologian Matthew Henry had to say about this moment, “We read not of any appearance of God's glory to Joshua till now. There appeared to him as a man to be noticed. This Man was the Son of God, the eternal Word. Joshua gave him Divine honors . . . He received them, which a created angel would not have done, and he is called Jehovah (Joshua 6:2).”
Can you imagine being Joshua in this moment, coming face-to-face with the Lord Almighty in the flesh? What an indescribable feeling this must have been. What a world-rocking, life-changing moment! And what did he do when he when realized whose presence he was in? The only thing he could do; the only thing we can all do when we come face-to-face with the glorious Christ: “Joshua fell with his face to the ground in reverence.” And then he said the only thing one should ever say to the Lord of lords: “I am at your command . . . What do you want your servant to do?”
Now, I want you to see something here that shouldn’t be overlooked . . . Consider the manner in which Jesus came here because it’s a powerful lesson for us: Jesus will always be whatever our faith needs to accomplish His will and great purposes. To Hagar, the Lord came as a helper, to Abraham as a traveler, to Jacob as a contender, to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego as a protector, to Joshua as a commander. The point I’m trying to make is that He is exactly what we need to press on and He will always make an appearance in our lives at precisely the right time.
For your life, you may not always know what you need in order to press on and walk with perseverance. You may not know what form your faith needs Him to take on, but He does, and He will always come through. I pray we recognize Christ’s work when He shows up in our lives and we show Him the same humility Joshua did.
DIG: Why did Jesus appear to Joshua in this moment? Why did Joshua need this encounter?
DISCOVER: Have you ever had a spiritual encounter with the Lord where He refreshed your spirit and filled you with what you needed to accomplish His will and work?
DO: Pray today for the Lord’s presence and for a fresh filling of your faith and His Spirit in your life.
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.