228.  Take your shoes off

A plan of action is a positive thought.  It is good to make a decision and then put together a few plans to implement the decision.  Is implies control over future events.  It is human.  We want to make sure things go smoothly.  It is strategic and anticipatory thinking – valuable in any workplace or personal challenge.

But then the big questions or issues of life hit hard and suddenly all the carefully laid plans are clouded in a smoke of mystery and confusion.  Under the curse of a broken, sinful earth we are confronted with a seemingly endless  series of disappointments, disease, failures and evil.  The attack on our souls by our spiritual enemy is unexpected, fast, furious, and cruel. 

We know where our help comes from, and we flee under the Wing of the Almighty who never sleeps nor slumbers.  (Psalms 121,91) In study of the Word and prayer from the passion of our brokenness and need, comes the anointing on our “ears” and “eyes” to see into the unseen with our Father with Whom we sit in heavenly places in the Secret Place of Most High. (Ephesians 2:6)

Spiritual insight (revelation knowledge) is the gold quarts of our painful trial-trail.

It is not always instant solutions that follow passion-filled cries to our Lord.  The crisis, or disappointment or illness drags on. Often it is a struggle, and we have to fight.  We learn how to bend a bow of bronze (Psalm 18:35) to make war.

It is a winding trail, often in the mist, at times in the darkness.  In our darkest hours we find God in the thick darkness.  (Psalms 18:28; Exodus 20:21)

Shall Your wonders be known in the dark?
And Your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?
  (Psalms 88:12)

When His lamp shone upon my head,
And when by His light I walked through darkness
; (Job 29:3)

We always associate God  with light, but there is no place where He is NOT.  (Psalms  139:7,8)

And…  that  is exactly the point – to see God.  We want to see Jesus – always and everywhere.  Why do we live this Kingdom-life?  To be transformed, changed into Christ’s likeness.  (Philippians 3:10,11, Amplified)

We have a glorious promise that Jesus will reveal himself to us.  In the deepest of crisis, the fiercest of struggle and the burning pain of disease we long for the divine Touch of anointing.

Joshua camps outside Jericho.  Jericho was one of the most prominent of ancient cities at the time.  The city was built on a hill with wide, stone walls surrounding it, so wide that chariots could race on top of the wall.  Archeologists found proof of full jars of wheat that confirmed the short time frame of the siege.  It confirms  the Biblical record of the destruction of Jericho after the Passover by the time the harvest was gathered.  Archeologists speculate that only an earthquake could make the walls fall like it did, forming a bridge of rubble for the Israelites to easily climb over and invade the city.

High walls, and earthquake at the exact moment?  Sounds like a fairy tale, does it not?  The struggle that you are in at the moment is not known or written with your role mapped out for easy reference.  Joshua sat the night before the siege started with all the fears and uncertainties that such a daunting task could generate.  He was alone when he saw a Man standing in with him.

The Man was not recognizable, dressed in full battle regalia and a drawn sword.  Read with me:

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?”

14 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?”

15 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.  (Joshua 5:13-15)

What a meeting!  A man with a ready sword and clearly prepared for battle – not an ordinary man – the Commander  of the Lord’s army!  The Lord’s army under command of Jesus himself to fight the battle for God’s people.

Joshua fell down and worshipped.

The Bible often mentions the Angel of the Lord, written with a capital letter while all the other references to angels are written lower case. The word angel means messenger.

The Angel of the Lord with a capital letter refer to the pre-incarnate Jesus, who was with the Father for all ages and times, that revealed himself to the people of the Old Testament.  No ordinary angel would accept worship.  John was corrected in Revelation 22 when the majesty and glory of the messenger overwhelmed him so that he went on his knees.

Then he said to me, “See that you do not do that. For I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.”  (Revelation 22:9)

Worship God alone, as Jesus said to satan.  (Matthew 4:10)  The Man appearing to Joshua accepted and encouraged Joshua’s worship.

Before Joshua was the biggest test as leader of Israel.  He had to lay siege to the formidable Jericho as the first battle to “take” the land that God promised from the nations that inhabited the territory illegally.  It was promised to Abraham when there was nobody.  Slavery “took” their land, just as sin-slavery steals our lives.  Now they were ready to take it back.

Jesus is there to command the battle.  He does not give Joshua instructions.  He speaks the most important words for battle-strategy in the face of impossibilities.

“Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.”   The Presence of Jesus makes your battlefield holy.  Jesus comes to sanctify your trial-trail.  All your rebellion, resistance, complaining and even anger because things are not what you would like them to be, fade in the light of the Anointed One, the Angel of the Lord.  

These events are wondrous.  Centuries later I cling to the image of Jesus in battledress and my holy ground, my trial-trail is submitted to worship.  Praise is my garment, the Word my sword, the Cross my strength,  the peace that surpasses all understanding my sustenance.  

Oh, may I walk fearlessly into the darkness of uncertainty…there where God is.

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