Week of Monday, April 15 – 21
Submission – Man as Chaplain

When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the Lord. Now I have come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him, “What does my lord say to his servant?” And the commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua, “Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so. - Joshua 5:13-15 ESV

In his 
Second Inaugural Address in 1865, President Abraham Lincoln reflected on why the bloody Civil War continued between the Union and the Confederacy even though “Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other.” He concluded, “The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes.” On another occasion, when a clergyman said he hoped that “the Lord is on our [the Union’s] side,” Lincoln replied: “[T]he Lord is always on the side of the right. But it is my constant anxiety and prayer that I and this nation should be on the Lord’s side.”

When he spoke these words, Lincoln may have been thinking about Joshua’s encounter with the commander of the Lord’s armies. I can almost picture how the scene played out. Joshua is puzzling over the problem of how to take the great walled city of Jericho. So, he goes out on recon, picking his way down a path, but then he suddenly senses that he is not alone. He stops and sees this warrior with a drawn sword. So, Joshua’s breathing increases, adrenaline rushes, and pulse pounds. Instinctively, his hand grabs the hilt of his sword at his side, and he’s ready for a fight. But he senses that this is no ordinary warrior, so he pauses to ask in verse 13, “Are you a friend or a foe? Are you for us or against us? Are you on our side or on their side?” And the strange answer he gets in verse 14 is essentially “Neither.” The bottom line is that this heavenly warrior is saying, “I’m not on your side or their side. I’ve not come to take sides. I’ve come to take over!”

How we need to hear that, men. God hasn’t come to take sides; He has come to take over. Listen, if you want victory in your life, stop trying to get God on your side. Get on God’s side! Stop trying to get Him to bless your mess. Let Him take over. That’s what Joshua did. He laid his sword at the feet of the commander of the Lord’s heavenly hosts and bowed down to the ground in reverence. And this heavenly commander said, “Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua took off his sandals, just like Moses did at the burning bush in the presence of God (see Exodus 3:5). Many biblical scholars believe this heavenly commander to be none other than a pre-incarnation appearance of Jesus Christ (a theophany), since said commander does not refuse Joshua’s worship.

Joshua had been problem-conscious and, through this experience, he became God-conscious. He lay flat on his face on the ground before the heavenly messenger of God Himself, no longer thinking about why Jericho was a problem that he couldn’t solve, that conquering Jerico couldn’t be done. He realized that it would be done because God had things under control!

Listen, you will never know victory—and your Jericho will never fall—until you do as Joshua did and lay your sword down and kneel before God. When you do that, Jericho will no longer your problem; it will become God’s problem, and for God, it is no problem at all. That makes all the difference in the world, doesn’t it? When you can turn over that Jericho to the One who has not come to take side, but who’s come to take over?

Do you want to conquer your circumstances? Do you want to be a victorious man like Joshua? If you would be a conqueror, you must first be conquered. That’s what happened to Joshua. The commander of the armies of Israel submitted himself to the authority of the Supreme Commander of the armies of God. A new Commander-in-Chief took over that day. Has that happened to you? Have you bowed before Him in submission? Have you given everything to the Lord Jesus? If you haven’t, no wonder your Jericho is still there. Submit yourself to the Commander of the Angel Armies and experience His victory!

- Have you experienced a life-changing encounter with the living God? If you have not already, bow before Jesus as Lord, turn from your sin, put your trust in Him, and then surrender to Him as Lord. When that happens, everything will begin to change (2 Cor. 5:17).

- Do you aspire to be the spiritual leader of your home, the chaplain, the priest of the family or the group God has entrusted to you? It not only starts but also continues and ends with surrender. Lay your “sword” down and kneel before Him. Remain in that posture of spiritual surrender.
- Pray for Heaven’s help with the challenges of leading others spiritually. Joshua couldn’t truly lead until he surrendered. Neither can you.