Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Men of Faith #4: Joshua Man of Submission Joshua 5:13-6:15

Men of Faith #4: Joshua Man of Submission
Text: Joshua 5:13-6:15

On some air bases the Air Force is on one side of the field and civilian aircraft use the other side of the field, with the control tower in the middle.  One day on just such a field the tower received a call from an aircraft asking, "What time is it?"

The tower responded, "Who is calling?"

The aircraft replied, "What difference does it make?"

The tower replied "It makes a lot of difference.  If it is an American Airlines Flight, it is 3 o'clock.  If it is an Air Force flight, it is 1500 hours.  If it is a Navy aircraft, it is 6 bells.  If it is an Army aircraft, the big hand is on the 12 and the little hand is on the 3.  If it is a Marine Corps aircraft, it's Thursday afternoon.  If it's National Guard, it's still a couple of hours until quitting time."

The air traffic director in the tower knew that who you are talking to makes all the difference. As we continue our series on Men of Faith, in our passage today Joshua is going to learn who he is talking to when he goes out of the camp to survey and plan the upcoming battle for the city of Jericho, one of the oldest and best defended cities in all of Canaan.

We can imagine the scene as Joshua, at the beginning of chapter 5, having reaffirmed the covenant by having all the uncircumcised males that had come out of Egypt or been born in the wilderness circumcised and the army needing time to recuperate, so Joshua the leader of the Israel takes a day to plan.  He goes outside the camp, perhaps on a hill and looks upon Jericho, some say it was the oldest city in all the earth. Archeologist Kathleen Kenyon in the 1950s found a city that dated back to 9250 BC. With stone walls and ramparts the armies of Israel had no real way to take the city. Perhaps to think this through, perhaps to pray Joshua goes outside the camp and look at Jericho, but then instead of finding a battle plan he finds the Captain of the Lord’s host. 

Walking With God

Joshua 5:13-6:5 13  And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?  And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant?  15  And the captain of the LORD'S host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.
Joshua 6:1-5  1  Now Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in. 2  And the LORD said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour.  3  And ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days.  4  And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams' horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets.  5  And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram's horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him. 

Victory in Submission

Joshua is confronted by an armed man just a short distance away from the enemy city he would soon be fighting. The man stands before Joshua with a drawn sword, the Bible says against him, this means the armed man was standing in challenge to Joshua and Joshua approaches and asks the question, Are you for us or for our enemies? The man instead of answer tells Joshua he is asking the wrong question. He says, “No, but as Captain of the Host of the LORD am I now come. The word LORD you will notice is in capital letters in your KJV showing that the word this man used was the personal name of God, the name that Moses had heard at the burning bush, the name that meant I AM. The man who stands before Joshua says I am the Captain of the army of Jehovah. 


When Joshua hears this, he falls on his face in worship and tells his captain, “What is your command to me?” The Captain tells him to remove his shoe for the place you stand is holy and Joshua does as the Captain tells him. 


Who exactly is this captain and why does Joshua show him such honor? What do we know about him from these two verses?


We know that he is the Captain of the Army of God. We know that Joshua falls before him and that the Captain does not tell him not to do so. We know that Joshua is told to remove his shoes for the ground he stand upon is holy. 


When we look in out Bible we find that only one person fits the events described here. In revelation we read that Jesus mounted on a white horse will one day lead the host of heaven to destroy the army of the Anti-Christ with the sword of his Word. We know that the Captain received worship from Joshua and that only God is worthy of worship and that when John in Revelation fell at the feet of an angel he was told, “See that thou do it not.” Finally, the greatest element of knowing who this truly is lays in the first command given to Joshua, “Take off your shoe for the place you stand is holy.” This is the exact command that was given to Moses as he stood before the burning bush and was commissioned by God to go and free His people from Egypt. It should not be hard for us then to realize that this is not just and angel, not just a supernatural warrior, not just a special messenger from God but that this is Jesus, the Son of God, very God of very God, God in the flesh. Here he appears to Joshua in a pre-incarnate theophany as the Captain of the Army of Jehovah. 


Joshua then listens as his Captain, his Savior, his God tells him how Jericho is going to be taken. 


Victory in Kneeling

I see a tremendous lesson, an application for our own lives that we must comprehend if we are to find victory in the battles of our life. Just like Joshua before we can have victory we must truly know who Jesus is and we must bow ourselves before Him and listen as He gives us the victory. 


The 3 R's of Submission

Relationship - Do we really know God "face to face?"

Only a personal knowledge of God will create the patience, the trust and the love needed to wait on God's victory. You will not be able to obey or trust one who you do not know. Faith, God’s word says, comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. You better know when you hear Him who speaks to you from the Word of God. 


Reverence - After our relationship comes our reverence, our worship of God. Where do you find yourself in the stages of worshipping God?

Are you just seeing God, as Joshua did when he was confronted by Captain with the drawn sword? And believe me if you are really seeing Jesus then Jesus will always stand to confront you. It might be to confront your unbelief, or to confront your stubbornness, or even your pain and sorrow but Jesus always stand waiting for us to give up something to Him.

After seeing then we must hear God, especially at times of challenge in our life. Like Daniel, Moses, Elijah, Elisha, Peter or any of the great heroes of scripture, God speaks to us in the times of our greatest challenges but we must be willing to hear.

Once we hear God then we must bow before Him. No other action can be contemplated nor given once we know God’s voice, once we hear His command we must submit. We must bow our will, our plans, our future and give ourselves to him. Like Joshua we must say, “What saith My Lord to His servant?”

Then and only then, after submitting will we experience the Holiness of God. After Joshua had submitting himself, then Jesus said, “the place you stand is holy.” If you would truly know the power of the holiness of God then you must give yourself wholly to God. 


Response - The final aspect of real worship, of truly meeting with God is in our response- If meeting with God does not set you on a course of action, does not change us and move us in a different direction, does not drive us to repentance, then have we really met with God at all?

Until we see him, hear him, bow before him and experience Him in his holiness we will find the full victory of God in our lives.

Isn’t that what God himself says in Psalms 46:10-11 Be still and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.



I don’t want to be like the Hebrews the base of Mt. Zion who refused to come close enough to the mountain to even hear the Word of God but stood at a distance hearing the thunder and lightning but filled with fear instead of longing to worship and meet with their God. No, I want to be like Moses who ascended the heights and begged of God Almighty, “I beseech thee, show me thy glory.” I then want to hear Him say to me as he did to Moses, “Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock:..” Exodus 33:21


Transition: that rock is Jesus Christ and through Him I can behold the glory of God. Joshua experienced Jesus as the Captain of the Army of Jehovah and in the experience he was able to wait for God to bring the victory.

Waiting For God Joshua 6:10-6:14

10  And Joshua had commanded the people, saying, Ye shall not shout, nor make any noise with your voice, neither shall any word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I bid you shout; then shall ye shout.  11  So the ark of the LORD compassed the city, going about it once: and they came into the camp, and lodged in the camp. 12  And Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests took up the ark of the LORD. 13  And seven priests bearing seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark of the LORD went on continually, and blew with the trumpets: and the armed men went before them; but the rereward came after the ark of the LORD, the priests going on, and blowing with the trumpets. 14  And the second day they compassed the city once, and returned into the camp: so they did six days.

Waiting To Win

Jesus had given very specific instruction to Joshua and he relayed them to the Hebrews, Six days exactly of marching and trumpets. There was to be no shouting until the seventh day and on the seventh day they were to truly shout. For on the seventh day and only on the seventh would the walls fall if they had done as they were commanded. To change the time frame, to chang e the order of the march, to change when to shout or how many times to march around the city, would have meant failure, ridicule and shame.

The army of Israel had to learn to wait on God if they were to have victory over the enemies of God in the promised land. 


Waiting or Stalling

I once knew a missionary who never went on deputation. He went to Bible college. He told us he was called, but he never went to the Lord’s churches sharing that call and burden. He would tell me.  “I’m waiting on God for the right time.”  That kind of waiting on God is not what we see happening in Joshua chapter 6. If we are not careful we can be those Christians who spend their entire existence sitting on their comfortable pews, in their comfortable churches, supported by their comfortable jobs because they’re “waiting on God.” That’s not waiting on God that is stalling instead of serving God.


Listen, waiting on God never means inactivity. Waiting on God means active involvement in doing that which God has commanded us to do. God’s Word is filled with actions that we should be doing in his service. When we wait on the Lord, we wait for the victory but not for the fight. We fight until we see the victory God has promised and will provide. 


Isaiah 40:31 They that wait upon the lord will renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not grow weary they shall walk and not faint.


I know some of you are saying “Yes, but it’s hard to fly with the eagles when you surrounded by turkeys.”  (No don’t look around.) Well this morning God says “Get your eyes off the turkeys and put them on Me!


You want to know the secret of waiting on God? The secret or the ability to wait upon the Lord is found when we realize that through Him the victory is already ours. It is not something we are going achieve in our own power but something we will see through the eyes of faith accomplished by the power of God. 


Illustration: Knowing the Victory is Ours

There was a Glasgow professor named MacDonald who, along with a Scottish chaplain, had bailed out of an airplane behind German lines. They were put in a prison camp. A high wire fence separated the Americans from the British, and the Germans made it next to impossible for the two sides to communicate. MacDonald was put in the American barracks and the chaplain was housed with the Brits.

Every day the two men would meet at the fence and exchange a greeting. Unknown to the guards, the Americans had a little homemade radio and were able to get news from the outside, something more precious than food in a prison camp. Every day, MacDonald would take a headline or two to the fence and share it with the chaplain in the ancient Gaelic language, indecipherable to the Germans.

One day, news came over the little radio that the German High Command had surrendered and the war was over. MacDonald took the news to his friend, then stood and watched him disappear into the British barracks. A moment later, a roar of celebration came from the barracks.

Life in that camp was transformed. Men walked around singing and shouting, waving at the guards, even laughing at the dogs. When the German guards finally heard the news three nights later, they fled into the dark, leaving the gates unlocked. The next morning, Brits and Americans walked out as free men. Yet they had truly been set free three days earlier by the news that the war was over.

With Christ as our Captain, he has already won the battles of our life.  The battles with finances, won! The battle with sinful habits, won! The battle with this world stealing our children won! Whatever the battle is it is won already in the power of Christ and now wait not for our own power to win battles that are already over but we simply wait to see victory declared. We need to be like these POWs and start acting living in victory until we see the gates flung open wide.


We have seen Joshua walk with God, we have watched as he waited for God those seven days of marching and now go to verse 15 of Joshua 6 and see as Joshua wins by God. 


Winning By God Joshua 6:15-16

15  And it came to pass on the seventh day, that they rose early about the dawning of the day, and compassed the city after the same manner seven times: only on that day they compassed the city seven times.  16  And it came to pass at the seventh time, when the priests blew with the trumpets, Joshua said unto the people, Shout; for the LORD hath given you the city.

Not the Army but God

It was God that had prepared the enemies hearts. It was God who had protected the spies through his providence of a harlot name Rahab. It was God the son, Jesus, the Capain of Jehovah’s army that had planned the attack. And finally, it was God that paved the way into Jericho with a fallen wall, turning their greatest obstacle into their greatest opportunity.


Not Us But Him

One final application I wish to make this morning, when it comes to our battles, our obstacles, our faults and our failures, if we are to ever win against these things then we must believe that it is not by us that victory will come but it will be by Him. 


If we are experience victory over Satan and this world then we must follow our Captains commands. Too often we fail because we start to march around our Jerichos but then quit before the 7th day, or we shout when we are to be silent or we forget to blow the trumpets, or for some they refuse to march at all. The victory that is promised to us in God’s power is turned to defeat because we didn’t fight as God has commanded.


Sometimes we miss victory because we are fighting in our own power and not His. We only want God to open the Gates of Jericho so we can finish the battle or we only want God to give us a boost over the wall instead of waiting for him to knock the walls down flat. We claim to be fighting for God but we do it in our own power and seek our own glory, not His. We need to learn that God will not be a member of your supporting staff. He is not on our advisory council of life. He is the Captain who plans the battle, leads the charge and then plants the conquering flag in the heart of the defeated city. 


We need to find God’s power and God’s victories in our life this morning. How many ancient defended cities of Jericho have fallen in your life by the God's power? Has that well defended sinful habit been conquered? Has that impregnable broken relationship been healed? Has your walled and hardened heart towards others been changed? 


If you are not able to count victories in your life, on your job, in your home, in your relationships and in your church, Why not? Can God be defeated? Has He not made great and precious promises to us as his children in His Word?  Then where are the promised victories? Perhaps you have been fighting without truly seeing him, hearing him, submitting to him and experiencing Him. Perhaps you have been stalling instead of truly waiting. Perhaps you have not found his power but have been depending on your own strength therefore you have also not found His victory.


Psalms 20:7 -8 Some trust in horses and some in chariots but we will remember the name of the LORD our God. They are brought down and fallen: but we are risen and stand upright.


We want to be in the latter group that remember the name of the LORD or God. We want to rise and stand upright in the victories that submitting to God brings. 


The Pastor and the prisoners

Colin Chapman, in the book, “The Case for Christianity,” quotes Ugandan pastor Festo Kivengere's account of the 1973 execution by firing squad of three men from his diocese: 


February 10 began as a sad day for us in Kabale. People were commanded to come to the stadium and witness the execution. Death permeated the atmosphere. A silent crowd of about three thousand was there to watch. I had permission from the authorities to speak to the men before they died, and two of my fellow ministers were with me. 


They brought the men in a truck and unloaded them. They were handcuffed, and their feet were chained. The firing squad stood at attention. As we walked into the center of the stadium, I was wondering what to say. How do you give the gospel to doomed men who are probably seething with rage? 


We approached them from behind, and as they turned to look at us, what a sight! Their faces were all alight with an unmistakable glow and radiance. 


Before we could say anything, one of them burst out: "Brother, thank you for coming! I wanted to tell you. The day I was arrested, in my prison cell, I asked the Lord Jesus to come into my heart. He came in and forgave me all my sins! Heaven is now open, and there is nothing between me and my God! Please tell my wife and children that I am going to be with Jesus. Ask them to accept him into their lives as I did." The other two men told similar stories, excitedly raising their hands which rattled their handcuffs. 


I felt that what I needed to do was to talk to the soldiers, not to the condemned. So I translated what the men had said into a language the soldiers understood. The military men were standing there with guns cocked and bewilderment on their faces. They were so dumbfounded that they forgot to put the hoods over the men's faces! The three faced the firing squad standing close together. They looked toward the people and began to wave, handcuffs and all. The people waved back. Then shots were fired, and the three were with Jesus. 


We stood in front of them, our own hearts throbbing with joy, mingled with tears. It was a day never to be forgotten. Though dead, the men spoke loudly to all of Kigezi District and beyond, so that there was an upsurge of life in Christ, which challenges death and then defeats it.



Who is your Captain today?   Have you stood like Joshua facing the challenges of life and heard the voice of Jesus?  Have you spoken to Him?  Have you bowed before Him?

It could begin right here with your response to His always present challenge, with sword drawn Jesus stands before and says, “As Captain of the Hosts of Jehovah, I am come” How will you answer his challenge? Will you stand with your sword drawn in defiance to God or will you fall on your face and put off your self and experience the holiness of God?