What Does My Lord Say?

“When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua said to him, ‘Are you for us, or for our adversaries?’ 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?’  And the commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua, ‘Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.’ And Joshua did so.” Joshua 5:13-15

“Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light… And Peter said to Jesus, ‘Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.’  He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.’ When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were terrified. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, ‘Rise, and have no fear.’  And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.” Matthew 17:1-2,4-8

Joshua had just begun his conquest of Canaan, and God intended to conquer his mindset and strategies first. He’d been anointed as Moses’s successor, but the Lord Himself would lead Israel’s armies, not he. When confronted, Joshua got it- his line of questioning was not germane to the Lord’s appearance and command. Peter had to be told to shush, as his verbal stream of consciousness ran full throttle. For him, chosen and taught by Jesus, there were impulses that needed restraint and discipline. Both men were earnestly ‘all in’ with their Lord, but riddled with snippets of pride, misunderstanding, and self-interest that had to be eliminated for God to fully have His way. (Deuteronomy 34:9; Joshua 1:1-9; Matthew 4:18-20)

In each case, a fall on the face, silent and listening, was the avenue to rectifying well-intended but wrong attitudes. Joshua’s attempt at discerning Israel’s defenses would be inverted, and Peter’s ‘it is good that we are here’ was actually true, but not for the reasons he thought. When God is in command, He persists to set our hearts and thinking aright. Once these men learned to know who was God and they were not, they were used in mighty ways. (Joshua 6:1-27; Acts 2:14-41)

Where has my eagerness to lead, drive, or serve run ahead of the Lord? Has any hint of thinking too highly of myself stained a clear understanding of Who’s in control and leading the charge? When I put my feet down every morning, do I claim that land as mine, or bow because it is God’s? What will I implement to listen more and speak less? (Romans 12:2-3)

LORD, remind me You have appointed my work and interactions, and You alone do I serve on holy ground . Unless You lead, build, and fight, my labor is in vain. (Psalm 127:1-2)

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