Thursday, July 4, 2019

The Key to Leadership

"The commander of the LORD’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so" (Joshua 5:15).

After Israel crossed the Jordan into the Promised Land, God commanded that the entire army be circumcised because they had not practiced circumcision in the wilderness (Joshua 5). This event put the army in a vulnerable position for several days, right under the nose of Jericho (compare Genesis 34:25). It took enormous faith to obey God on this occasion.

Immediately after crossing into the kingdom, both literally and ritually, Israel celebrated the Passover in the new land (Joshua 5:10–12). During the Passover, they ate the food of the Promised Land for the first time, and on that day the manna stopped.

Joshua went out to look at Jericho and there he encountered a “man” girded for war with a drawn sword in his hand. Being strong and courageous, Joshua went up to him and asked him whose side he was on. The man replied that this was the wrong question and that in fact, He had come as commander of the Lord’s army. Joshua instantly recognized that this was no man and no created angel. This was the Angel of the Lord who had promised to lead Israel to victory (Exodus 23:20–23).

Joshua fell down and worshipped him and asked for his orders. The Lord told him to take off his sandals because he was on holy ground. Moses removed his shoes at the burning bush (Exodus 3:5). 

Similarly, we know that the priests went barefoot in the tabernacle, because Exodus 28 and 39 describe the holy garments of the priests, and there were no holy sandals for them. Just so, Joshua removed his sandals in the presence of God.

Here is the key to victory. Joshua recognized that being commander of the army did not give him the right to do as he pleased. He was merely the lieutenant of the Greater Commander, and he readily submitted his plans to those of the Lord. Moreover, Joshua recognized that the key to victory is worship. He welcomed the opportunity to come onto holy ground and worship the Lord, who was his source of strength and wisdom.

God’s army had been “baptized” (crossing the river and circumcision) and fed at the Lord’s Table (Passover). Now they were ready to go forth and conquer.

In worship, we confess our sins and enter the kingdom. We hear God’s marching orders and we have communion with Him. Then at the end of worship, we are sent on our mission of world conquest. Follow the captain of the Lord’s host today, submitting your plans to His.