“When Joshua was near the town of Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with sword in hand. Joshua went up to him and demanded, ‘Are you friend or foe?’


‘Neither one,’ he replied. ‘I am the commander of the Lord’s army.’


At this, Joshua fell with his face to the ground in reverence. ‘I am at your command,’ Joshua said. ‘What do you want your servant to do?’


The commander of the Lord’s army replied, ‘Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.’ And Joshua did as he was told.” Joshua 5:13-15 (NLT)




Joshua was about to lead the Israelites into one of the key battles as they entered the Promised Land. This first battle would set the tone for the Israelites. Yet, before they moved ahead, Joshua encountered a warrior. His questioning of this stranger makes it apparent that Joshua did not recognize him. The commander of God’s army came to deliver a specific word. His first instructions were for Joshua to take off his sandals in worship. In that moment, it would be hard for Joshua not to remember Moses recounting his experience meeting God in the burning bush. The instructions were similar to Moses in Exodus 3:5 (NLT). It says, “‘Do not come any closer,’ the Lord warned. ‘Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground’.” God told Moses to go to Egypt and tell Pharaoh, a powerful ruler, to let the Israelites go, and God did it in an unconventional way by sending plagues to the Egyptians. Joshua, working as Moses’ assistant later on, would have remembered Moses’ story and recognized this moment with the commander of the Lord’s army as holy. Joshua knew that a great battle was before them as they would try to take over a fortified city. Yet, as Joshua knelt in reverence, God’s presence was there. In the same way that Moses’ burning bush encounter with God moved him in a new direction, Joshua’s encounter with God’s presence caused him to follow God and an unconventional military strategy. God told Joshua to march around the city for seven days and march seven times on the seventh day, shout, and the walls of Jericho would fall. Joshua did exactly as God had instructed, because spending time in God’s presence caused him to believe God in a whole new way.


Embarking on new challenges or new seasons in our lives requires us to lean into the Lord. The uncertainty, unfamiliarity, and uncharted territory reminds us of our need for God’s direction. Yet, our hearts can be so set on having a laid out plan with instructions that we seek the answer more than the One who holds the answers. If you had God’s direction without being transformed by His presence, it’s likely that you wouldn’t follow the directions. Only when our heart has knelt before God can we willingly obey His leading. We don’t need more answers. We need God’s presence where we have to lay down our own agenda in reverence. Create a place in your life to meet with God. As you do, you may remember a similar moment when God met with you in the past. God is consistent yet creative in how He works. Spending time with Him will open your heart to follow wherever He may lead.


Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved. 

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About Hona Amer

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