Joshua had been surveying the insurmountable wall of Jericho. Taking this city appeared totally impossible.
Then Joshua looked up. If he had studied only the problem, he would have gone home discouraged. In Joshua's upward look, he caught a vision of the Commander of God's armies with His sword drawn prepared to fight. We now know He was seeing Christ, but perhaps not realizing that supernatural help was before him, Joshua asked, "Are you for us or for our enemies?"
The Man answered, "Neither," or simply, "No," in the Hebrew.
The question, then, was really to Joshua, "Whose side are you on?" God comes to accomplish His sovereign purposes, not our agendas.
"I used to ask God to help me," Hudson Taylor said. "Then I asked God if I might help Him. I ended up by asking Him to do His work through me." This is what Joshua was learning. The Commander was not there to help Joshua fight his battle; Joshua must see the battle as God's and be willing to allow God to be in charge.
Joshua humbly begged, "What message does my Lord have for His servant?" Surely the Lord was about to give some important strategic details. But, no. First, Joshua must worship.
"Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy." Before we can allow God to use us to fight His battles, we must stand in His presence. We recognize that we are in His presence - right where we are! Anywhere we acknowledge His nearness is holy ground.
"This is a spiritual battle, Joshua, and you are not ready for it until you stand in the presence of a holy God."
Dear Lord, allow us to see the difference between asking You to fight our battles and trusting You to fight Your battles through us.
"Anyone who enters God's rest also rests from his own work" (Hebrews 4:10).