The Captain Of The Host, Pastor Phil Sessa

Joshua 5:13-15, “13 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, “ Are You for us or for our adversaries?” 14 So He said, “No, but as Commander of the army of the LORD I have now come.”And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, “What does my Lord say to His servant?” 15 Then the Commander of the LORD’s army said to Joshua, “Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.” And Joshua did so.”

On the night of Israel’s attack on Jericho, Joshua personally surveyed the area surrounding the city, inspecting the fortress walls. As the military leader of Israel, Joshua was strategizing by examining up the situation set before him. The words “he looked up” convey that Joshua was surprised. “A man” is what Joshua thought he was seeing, but subsequent events reveal that it was no ordinary man.
The man’s “drawn sword” was symbolic of God’s participation in the coming battle. When he saw the man standing there ready for combat it provoked Joshua to inquire whether he was friend or foe. Joshua needed to find out whose side this man was on, could he be trusted; would he help or hinder Joshua’s military operation? These were important questions that he needed answers for.

The stranger’s response put everything in proper perspective. God is the sovereign leader. It is never a question whether God is on our side but whether we are on God’s side. This is a perspective to take into each of our situation. Do not try to fit God in your will, but pray “Thy will be done” and in doing so “My will be gone.” The stranger came as “captain of the host of the LORD “; Joshua therefore was to be subservient to him.

Though he does not reappear in the story of the conquest, the stranger was a heavenly being who fought behind the scenes in the spiritual realm. His presence showed a sign that the Lord was the real military leader of the Conquest. Many identify this person as the angel of the Lord, while others cannot distinguish him from the Lord himself (as in Exodus 3:2-4:17; Judges 6:11-23) this captain of the host was the leader of the army (host) of heaven. He didn’t say that he was a captain, but THE CAPTAIN! I don’t know about you but that sounds to me like the words of my Jesus. Why do I say this?, because the name of Jesus is significant, as the Grecized (Greek) form of “Joshua” is “Jesus.” Joshua was perhaps in charge, militarily of the army of Israel, but the Captain of the host was leader of the entire angelic host. Stay with me now. This reminds me of what Jesus said in Matthew 25:53 in the context of Jesus talking about power when Peter cut off the ear of the soldier. Jesus then makes the statement “Do you not think that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? “A full Roman legion was six thousand men, and Jesus perhaps was conveying that he could call to His assistance. Perhaps one legion for Jesus and one for each of the eleven disciples if He so chose to. But Jesus was fighting a spiritual battle not a physical one. This was more than the eyes of faith seeing help as in 2Kings 6:17 but the knowledge that help was available, yet He refused to use it, unlike perhaps most of us would have done, because He was laying His life down for final victory (John 10:18).

Though “Joshua fell facedown,” we cannot be sure that he realized he was in the presence of a supernatural being. In that culture, a persons would prostrate themselves before anyone in authority. Moreover, when Joshua said “Lord,” he used the Hebrew word ‘Adoni which was used to address human beings. He did not use the divine name “Yahweh,” which is translated “LORD” in English, written with small capitals. This encounter was not to impart commands but to inspire Joshua with humility and reverence and to instill in him the confidence that God was with him and He was really in control of the battle. So many times we try to be the captain of the battle, and yet we cannot just sit on our hands, but the real captain is Jesus, The Captain of the hosts.

Application: Do you seek to be in the presence of the Captain, or are you trying to fight life’s battles with your own physical power. Remember spiritual battles cannot be won by physical means. Blessings Pastor Phil

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