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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Whose side are you on?

When Joshua approaches Jericho, the first city the Israelites must conquer to possess the land they had left for 400 years as slaves, he looks up and sees a Man with a sword.  And in Joshua's mind, the important question is:  are you for us, or for our adversaries?  I can understand that kind of thinking.  When you spend your days bumping up against broken things, pushing for what seems to be the Kingdom, grieving when hard decisions seem to be made in hurtful ways by others . . well, Joshua and I tend to want to divide the world into "people on my side" and "people who aren't".  

But the Man answers:  No, but as Commander of the army of the LORD I have now come.  Not on any person's side, but working for God.

This is a sobering glimpse of unseen reality.  God has HIS OWN SIDE.  And it is not contained by any particular mission, country, church, denomination, family, or tribe.  As much as we want to claim to speak for Him, He remains outside of us, independent.  But not uninvolved.  The Man is, after all, carrying a sword.  

Since I'm reading through the Bible in several places at once, Joshua 6 got juxtaposed with Luke 12, which also "happened" to be the text for our chaplain's talk at CSB yesterday afternoon!  Verse 5:  FEAR HIM, because that sword-wielding commander has eternal power.  Verse 7:  DO NOT FEAR, because that awesome being also knows every hair on our head, every stumble you take, every need.  So while the Commander of the army of the LORD will not be taking orders from me, He WILL be involved to the tiniest detail to give that which is more than life itself.

Instead of figuring out whose side others are on, we are called to throw our full treasure, our total lot, in with the only side that will survive.  On a day when problems seem large, may we see by faith the the Commander controls the battle.

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