This is one of my favorite parts of the Old Testament:
Joshua 5:13 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?” 14 And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the LORD. Now I have come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him, “What does my lord say to his servant?”
Are you for us or against us? Can you imagine the glory and majesty of this person that Joshua, who had hundreds of thousands of warriors behind him, would make him pause and ask who this one person who he was going to fight for. I say this is God, pre-incarnate Jesus, because who else would command the armies of Heaven but God? Imagine the glory that Joshua was standing in.
So Joshua sees God standing there and wants to know who’s side is He on. You have to love God’s answer to this question. He says, “No. I am on my side.” What an answer!
How many times do we ask God to bless us and to fight for us without asking what His position is? I can’t even begin to count the number of times that there was some battle that I was going through and I would hold my position because that is what I wanted and of course that is what God wanted as well. I would beat my head in frustration because the struggle was great. I have gotten angry with God during these times and have had my heart broken many times, because God wasn’t moving in my life.
Little did I realize that He was moving in my life, just not in the direction I wanted. I was so sure I knew what He wanted me to do, that I never asked Him what He wanted me to do. It is a hard lesson to learn. I have seen people whose life has become paralyzed because of this. They refuse to make a move in any direction until God tells them what to do. This isn’t the right position to take either.
Joshua knew that God wanted Israel to destroy Jericho, but he didn’t know how. He knew what God wanted, so he moved in that direction. Even though he knew what God wanted, he still asked God for the how. God rarely does what He does the way we expect Him to do it. I will drop the walls for you and it will be completely by My power. Who would have seen that coming? That is what God does though. He moves in ways that will glorify him, not us. We can know what we are supposed to do, but not always how God wants it done. If we don’t know the how of God, we will often miss that mark by relying on our own power.
So Joshua knew how God was going to give them victory but he was still lacking the what, where and the when of God’s plan. God supplied all of those answers to Joshua, but the information doesn’t always come to us at the same time. What do I, Israel in this example do? You march around the city. Men of war at first, then the ark, followed by the priests. Where did God want Israel, around the city. Without the when, it wouldn’t have worked, because Joshua would have been outside of God’s timing.
Before God gave Joshua the information, He first gave him the promise.
Joshua 6:2 And the LORD said to Joshua, “See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and mighty men of valor.
Joshua’s faith in the promise of God allowed him to move forward in God’s plan.
Notice through out this process, Joshua never asks why. He never asks why God is doing something. I used to spend a lot of time focusing on that question with little to no movement in my life from God. Once I let go of that control on my life, I started moving again.