And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho . . . 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, 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) When Moses pointed Israel to the Lord for battle, he was teaching God's people to live by grace (which involves God at work on behalf of His people). "The LORD your God is He who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you" (Deuteronomy 20:4). Joshua demonstrated this same truth, when he led the people in God's victory.
Before the first battle at Jericho, God gave Joshua the opportunity to commit to the Lord as the Commander of the army of Israel. "And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho . . . 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? " The Lord appeared in the form of an armed soldier. Joshua asked if the man was for Israel or against them. The Lord responded that it was not a matter of being for or against Israel, but that He was in charge of Israel. "'No, but as Commander of the army of the LORD I have now come.' And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped. 'What does my LORD say to His servant'?" At this point Joshua fully yielded to the Lord as the leader of God's army. Any victories would have to be supplied by this divine Commander.
At Jericho, this divine Commander would cause the walls to fall down, as His people would humbly trust Him, obediently marching around the city. "And it happened when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat" (Joshua 6:20). At Ai, the Commander gave Joshua a two-pronged ambush strategy. "We will flee before them. Then you shall rise from the ambush and seize the city, for the LORD your God will deliver it into your hand" (Joshua 8:6-7). Against the Amorite kings, large hailstones and an extended day were used by the Commander to bring a mighty victory. "The LORD cast down large hailstones from heaven . . . So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day" (Joshua 10:11, 13). Whether by perplexing marching orders, by understandable strategy, by "natural phenomenon," or by miraculously extended time, the Commander brought victory.
Mighty God of Israel, I look to You to be the one who is in charge of my battles, the one who fights for me. Lord, help me to allow You to bring forth victory by any means You desire - whether perplexing, understandable, "natural," or miraculous, Amen.