After Pentecost Devotional - Day 59

'Neither,' he answered. 'I am here because I am the commander of the LORD’s army.'
Joshua fell to his knees and bowed down to the ground. 'I am your servant,' he said. 'Tell me what to do.'” Joshua 5:14

We like to think of God being on our side when we should be thinking of our being on God's side, instead. It's more than semantics, it's about purpose, direction, and priorities. We want God to back up our plans, our purposes, our dreams, and our ambitions. We consider that we want what is best and are able to envision what God must want. Whether we recognize it or not, we want God to serve us like a jinn in a lamp. We want God to get us out of each tight spot and resolve our all of difficulties. We want God to obey our wishes and designs.

In the process, we lose sight of our claims regarding the identity and character of God. It is the Almighty of Hosts, Yahweh, whom we want to bow to our understanding and purposes. We would instruct this same Yahweh on what needs to be done, how we want it done, and when we want it accomplished. We don't really pause to consider the wisdom of instructing God. We don't really think through how ludicrous it must sound when we take it upon ourselves to have a wisdom that exceeds that of God. We don't stop long enough to reflect on there being an alternate perspective from our own.

Joshua encountered Yahweh's messenger with sword in hand. His question was whether the messenger were on the side of the Hebrews or the side of their enemies. The response, however, should have taken Joshua aback. “Neither. I am the commander of Yahweh's army.”

Should that not have meant that the messenger was on the side of the Hebrews? It is what we would normally expect. That perspective, however, misses the larger point. It was not God's place to take up the cause of the Hebrew people. It was the place of the Hebrews to take up Yahweh's cause.

Joshua's response is telling and should be matched by our own. He did not attempt to contradict the messenger, the commander of Yahweh's army. He did not attempt to offer guidance, direction, or otherwise influence this messenger. Instead, he simply bowed, placing his life and the future of the Hebrews in service to Yahweh's instructions, will, and purposes.

It is true that Yahweh wanted to hand the land over to the Hebrews. It is true that such was the plan and purpose of Yahweh. It is true that the land and its bounty had been promised to them as the descendants of Abraham. At the same time, there was more in Yahweh's purposes than simply handing the land over to a new people. This larger plan was not to be placed in subservience to the desires of the Hebrews.

While Yahweh may desire to bless us and provide for us, that is not the complete picture of God's purposes. After all, we are called to be the servants of Yahweh, not the other way around. It is by submitting our will, designs, and plans to Yahweh that we may actually enter the redemption of God's plan, rather than our own.

Take the time to consider that God's plan for your life may not be your own.


"Lord, help me remember my place as your servant, fulfilling your purposes."

©Copyright 2016, Christopher B. Harbin
http://www.sermonsearch.com/contributors/104427/ 
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