“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.”
I few years back I served as chaplain for one of the local high school football teams. It was an honor to get to speak to the team and pray with them before each game and stand on the sideline with the coaches and the players during the game. Each week as I prepared and when I got ready to speak to the guys I felt an expectation, real or imagined, that they wanted me to be the good luck charm, the lightning rod that would attract God’s blessing in the form of one in the win column. What I really wanted to say was, “Guys, it’s just a game. Go have fun, play hard and let’s just pray that nobody gets a broken neck.”
There’s nothing wrong with being swept up in what you’re doing, what you’re passionate about. But sometimes we can lose perspective. Our thing can become all encompassing, to the point that we want God to just come in a tip the scales a bit.
But as Joshua quickly realized, our thing is never as important as God’s thing. It’s not that Joshua’s focus of defeating Jericho was a bad thing, in fact it was a part of God’s thing. But God wanted Joshua to understand, He doesn’t join our team, we join His.
We’ve all been there, so wrapped up in what we’re doing that we give it far more importance than it deserves when weighed against ultimate and eternal things – what Jesus called, the Kingdom of God. Jesus said, when you put my Kingdom first, everything else falls into place. Sometimes we need to take a step back and regain the proper perspective.
Use the HEAR method as you spend time with today’s passage
Highlight – what words or phrases jump out at you?
Explain – what does the passage mean?
Apply – how does the passage intersect with your life today?
Respond – how is God leading you to respond?
Jon Price, Associate Pastor