The Best Battle Plan

Lysa TerKeurst

Day: 5 | Plan: Joshua-Judges

Today’s Reading: Joshua 5

Joshua 5:13 (NIV) “Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, ‘Are you for us or for our enemies?’”

If ever someone might feel overwhelmed at a situation totally out of their control, Joshua’s experience facing Jericho was it.

Not only did the wall surrounding Jericho look invincible, but there was also the issue of Israel’s army lacking the proper weapons for tackling such an impressively guarded city. You can’t exactly pull down walls with arrows and spears. That’s a job for battering rams and catapults – items noticeably missing from their arsenal. 

But they had come too far to turn back. And the people of Israel were counting on him to lead them into this land promised by God.

With all of these facts and details weighing on him, Joshua is suddenly confronted by a man with a drawn sword. Scripture reveals that this is no mere human. This is the commander of the Lord’s army — God’s presence in human form. And this is no everyday occurrence either. It is an incredible encounter.

Seeing that the man is ready for battle, Joshua asks, “Are you for us or for our enemies?” (Joshua 5:13)

Wrapped in this honest question we discover hesitancy in Joshua — a peek inside his thought life — a need for reassurance. Such an honest question, but one that makes me believe Joshua isn’t walking in complete confidence and assurance. If he were, he wouldn’t have asked. But he did.

This is where we assume that, of course, God’s presence will answer, “Joshua, I am with you, for you and on your side!”

But we would assume wrong.

When asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?” the presence of God replies, “Neither, but as commander of the army of the LORD I have come.” (Joshua 5:14) Joshua falls face down in humility and reverence – asking what message the Lord has for him, His servant. (Joshua 5:14)

I can’t help but wonder what kind of message Joshua was expecting, even longing for. Perhaps one overflowing with war strategy and tactics. But instead of detailed plans, Joshua receives a call to worship. He is told to remove his sandals, for the place he is standing is holy. (Joshua 5:15)

It is an invitation and a reminder for Joshua to worship the One who is not only big enough to handle the battle before Joshua, but also loving enough to address the doubt, fear and insecurity running through his mind. And as Joshua slips his sandals from his feet, I am reminded of what I need in the face of my own seemingly insurmountable situations: I need to worry less and worship more …

When I’m desperate for God to give me all of the details …

When I’m wishing He would give me even the tiniest peek at His plans …

When I’m starting to wonder if He’s for me or if He’s against me …

I need to pause, lift my eyes to the One willing to meet me in the midst of my fears and worship Him. Worshiping not only because it honors Him, but because it changes me.

Worship may not be the first thing that comes to mind when we feel overwhelmed, but it truly is powerful. It reminds our trembling hearts and shaky knees that our God is mighty, our God is loving, and our God is a more than able God. It both quiets us and strengthens us – perfectly preparing our hearts and minds for whatever battles lie ahead.

I don’t know what “walls” you are facing in your life right now, friend. I don’t know how overwhelming and daunting they may seem. But I do know the perfect battle plan for each and every one of us.

Worry less. Worship more. And trust our God to lead us into victory.

Prayer: Father God, thank You for knowing exactly what I need. I think I need details and battle plans for the difficult situations before me. But You tell me what I really need is to fix my eyes on You. You remind me that the best way to prepare my heart and mind for battle is to simply and humbly worship You. So today, as I lay my fears down at Your feet, I lift my hands up to You in worship. You are worthy of my trust. You are worthy of my praise. Today and every day. In Jesus’ name, amen. 

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