Joshua 5-8, Psalm 66
George Mueller is quoted as saying, “Nine-tenths of the difficulties are overcome when our hearts are ready to do the Lord’s will, whatever it may be.” The modern equivalent to today’s readings would be the Israelites going to battle against New York City (Jericho) and Old Bridge (Ai). The difference in the strength of their opponents was laughable. But there lies the problem. When we size up the problem in our own strength, we make the mistake of deciding when we need God to help us as opposed to when we can rely on our own strength, our own ingenuity, our own strategy.
In the battle of Jericho, Joshua relied entirely on the Commander of the army of the Lord, a theophany or a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus (can not be an angel, for He allows worship of Himself). We read in Joshua 5:13-15, “And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, 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?” Then the Commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua, “Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.” And Joshua did so.” Total obedience to Him resulted in total victory for Israel. In Joshua 7:2-5, we read, “Now Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai,…,and spoke to them saying, “Go up and spy out the country.” …And they returned to Joshua and said to Him, “Do not let all the people go up, but let about two or three thousand men go up and attack Ai. Do not weary all the people there, for the people of Ai are few”. So about three thousand men went up there from the people, but they fled before the men of Ai. And the men of Ai struck down thirty-six men, for they chased them from before the gate as far as Shechem, and struck them down on the descent; therefore the hearts of the people melted and became like water.” We see Joshua taking charge with no mention of prayer or bringing the matter before the Lord. Lack of obedience resulted in failure.
In John 15:5, Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches, He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing”. Every day we will face many kinds of obstacles. We have the power within us (The Holy Spirit), to overcome anything. The question rests in what source are we relying on, ourselves or Him.
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: