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Mighty Warrior--Meet Your C.O.

     One thing I love about the military is its chain of command. Everyone is accountable to someone. Each soldier takes his orders from someone above him. A private must answer to a sergeant, yet this same sergeant must answer to a lieutenant. No matter what your rank, you always have a commanding officer over you. A good soldier always does what his C.O. tells him to do. If he tells you to jump, you always answer “How High, Sir!!”


     Having a C.O. insures that no soldier will ever overstep his boundaries. He can’t abuse his fellow soldiers. He can’t give an illegal order. He can’t even become proud about the power he wields because he knows he can only do what his C.O. commands. If he oversteps his boundaries, he knows his butt belongs to his commanding officer. There is almost a sense of security in this system.


     The good news for us as soldiers in God’s army is that we have this same sense of security. We, too, have a commanding officer to Whom we answer directly. When He gives an order, our answer needs to be “Yes, Sir!”


     There is no room for disobedience or insubordination in God’s army. As we return to our study of Joshua and the Israelite’s venture into enemy territory, we will learn exactly Who our C.O. is and what He expects from us.


Ten Hut!!


     In the last seven chapters, we have seen Joshua go from a scared, intimidated man to a strong, respected, and feared leader. He was a man who terrified his enemies while being held in awe by his people. Joshua was on the cusp of military greatness as he prepared for the conquest of the Promised Land. However, before he could begin the attack, he had one more lesson to learn. This lesson was not only key to Joshua’s victory over the Canaanites, but it is also important to us as we begin gaining the victory over our enemies.


     What is this lesson? Joshua needed to learn that he was in no way responsible for the great success he was enjoying. The credit for the victory could only go to his Commanding Officer. In order to understand what I am talking about, we need to re-examine part of the passage from the last chapter.


13 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.


     We read here that Joshua had gone off by himself to analyze the city of Jericho, which was the first city to be attacked. Jericho was known as an undefeatable city. It was fortified by a massive wall. The wall was so thick that houses were built on top of it. I am sure Joshua was stumped about how to go about defeating this formidable city. As he stood there deep in thought, he suddenly became aware that a man had approached him. Not only that, but he came at Joshua with weapons drawn. Joshua, a true warrior at heart, jumped into action and confronted the man.


And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, “Are You for us or for our adversaries?”


     Joshua asked the man the logical question, “Are you on my side or their side?” However, as we look at the man’s response, we see that Joshua’s simple question received an unexpected answer.


So He said, “No,"


     Joshua, expecting an answer of “I am on your side” or “I am the enemy” received the answer “no.” It wasn’t really a yes or no question. What was going on? As we continue on, we see the explanation for the answer of “no”.


but as Commander of the army of the LORD I have now come.”


     How’s that for an introduction! This was no ordinary foot soldier standing in front of Joshua. It was Jesus in the flesh! Realizing that He was standing face to face with his Commanding Officer, Joshua does what any soldier does. He snapped to attention. However, instead of saluting as a soldier normally would do, Joshua does what a godly soldier does before his C.O.


And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, “What does my Lord say to His servant?”


     Joshua fell to his knees in reverence. He realized he was in the presence of One much greater than Him. He then asks his C.O. what message He has for him. Notice the words he uses.


And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, “What does my Lord say to His servant?”


     Joshua’s perspective has changed. His initial question was if the Man fought for him. However, after hearing his C.O.’s introduction, his focus is back where it should be. Joshua now knows that He fights for God, not the other way around. Any successes or victories he has experienced were a result of God’s power, not his. The same will be true in the future. Any victories he may gain are only because he fights for God. God is the C.O.; Joshua is simply an obedient soldier.


     Jesus is obviously pleased with Joshua’s humble response, for He answers Joshua in a positive way.


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.


     Jesus tells Joshua to remove his shoes in recognition of being on holy ground. Joshua immediately did so. While this may seem an odd event, it was greatly significant to Joshua. It was a flashback to the time when God spoke to Moses out of a burning bush.


     God told Moses He would use him to lead the people out of slavery. As Moses stood talking to God, he was told to remove his shoes because he was standing on holy ground. God then went on to give Moses his marching orders. Moses was told by God that the people of Israel would be set free by God’s power. All Moses had to do was follow God’s orders. Now, over fifty years later, God does the same thing for Joshua.


     Joshua now knew that if he obeyed God’s orders and did exactly what he is told, then the nation of Israel would be able to defeat their enemies. It could only be done by the power of God. While it would appear that Joshua was the military genius, He now knew that nothing he did could ever be done without God’s Help.


     In the next chapter, we will see the rest of God’s message to Joshua, but for now I want to concentrate on this passage. As we begin to engage our enemies, it will be very easy for us to become impressed with ourselves. We will see the power we have through Jesus and will begin to think nothing can stop us. We need to be on our guard at this time so that we don’t fall into a trap of pride. Remember, the reason Satan became God’s enemy in the first place is because he became very impressed with himself. He didn’t give God the proper reverence He deserved as his Commanding Officer.


      We cannot fall into this trap. We must always keep in the front of our minds that any victories we gain are only possible because of Jesus’ work on the cross. He deserves all the glory and praise, not us.


     Another thing I want us to look at is the humble, submissive attitude Joshua had. He knew his place in God’s army. God was the 4-star General, and any orders given by Him must be followed. The same is true for us.


     God is our 4-star General. When He gives the orders, we have no choice but to obey. He may allow us to question the order, but in the end we have no choice but to do what God says. Not doing what God asks is disobedience and sin which causes separation between us and God.


     If you are a real follower of God, this is not as hard as it sounds. You will learn to submit your will to God. I am not going to lie to you...at first it will be hard. Our sinful nature doesn’t like to be told what to do. After all, we as humans have a natural rebellious streak a mile wide. However, the more we intentionally submit our will and desires to God’s will, the easier it gets. Eventually, we reach the point where it will feel unnatural to disobey God.


     The concept of submitting my will to God’s will has been an ongoing struggle for me. I am a strong-willed man by nature. However, this is not a character trait that is beneficial to my Christian walk. Many times God has forced me to learn to submit to His will. There have been times that God has allowed my body to be injured in order to get me to bend my will to His will. Eventually, I learned that His way is the best, and that true happiness is only available when I bend to what He wants. As I submitted more and more, it became easier. Now I have come to the place where I seek God’s will on everything, even small things like what clothing style He wants me to wear. I have learned that God’s way is always better than mine, so I want to do what He wants. You need to do this as well.


Decision Time


     As we bring this chapter to an end, we have to once again make some decisions. Will we, as soldiers in God’s army, be willing to humbly give God the praise for any and all victories we experience in battle?


     Will we be man enough to admit we are too weak to do it alone?


    Will we humbly surrender our strong will to God and do whatever He asks?


    Will we jump when God says jump and go where He says to go?


    Will we do this in with a humble and grateful attitude? Unless and until you make these decisions, you cannot take the fight to the enemy and gain the victory. However, if you choose to do these things, you can confidently follow God’s orders into battle, knowing that He will give you the victory. I have made my decision. You need to do the same.


War Drills


1. Every morning begin your day by telling God you want to surrender your will to His will today. Ask Him to make clear to you what His will is for you. Then do it.


2. Make a list of all the times you can remember not submitting to God’s will for you and ask Him to forgive you. Be specific.

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