"Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?” “Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” Then Joshua fell face down to the ground in reverence, and asked him, “What message does my Lord have for his servant?” The commander of the Lord’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so. Now the gates of Jericho were securely barred because of the Israelites. No one went out and no one came in. Then the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men." Joshua 5:13-6:2
This interesting but almost incidental account of Joshua's encounter with this mysterious sword wielding man occupies just a few verse of this story but captured my curiosity.
It is natural to wonder who this fellow was. He could have been an angel. He could have been a theophony - a preincarnate appearance of Christ.
No one knows. But whoever he was he had Joshua's full attention and respect because:
1) Joshua removed his sandals and bowed low before him.
2) Joshua received the message given him by this man as a word from God.
We can add this to the list of unanswered questions we can ask Jesus when we get to Heaven.
Rather than speculate on the unknown, I would like to takeaway a truth from the story that I believe will bless you. Here is that truth: You need someone like this in your life to help you knock down your walls.
Let's begin with what we know about this man. He had a sword in his hand. And He had a word from God on his lips.
What does the sword represent?
It is a symbol of battle. It shows a warrior ready to do battle in defense of his cause.
And the word he spoke represents the Word of God that gives guidance and direction.
So my takeaway from this encounter is this, in your life you need someone to protect you and someone to direct you. That could be one person or it could be two but if you need to bring down walls in your life, you will greatly benefit by having someone to protect you and someone to direct you.
I have benefited from having both in my life. God has helped me to bring down some walls over my years of knowing Him and serving Him. Most of those walls were inner walls of shame, insecurity, self-doubt, shyness, low expectations and lack of self-confidence.
At crucial periods in my life, just like Joshua, God was faithful to intersect my path with men who could protect me, and defend me not so much physically but emotionally and spiritually. In those times my walls could have been reinforced by bullies or negative and abusive voices in my ear.
I hope you have someone like that in your life, too. Someone to defend you and protect you and guard your heart and mind. While I know you can count on Jesus to do that, you need someone with "skin on".
I hope that you will find as Joshua did and as I have, that God knows just who you need and when you need them for the walls that He wants you to destroy.
If you have no one like that I am willing to be that person for you.
Also, like Joshua, God has been faithful to bring people into my life to give me direction. I have had a few missteps along my journey but not many. That is a testimony to the goodness of God providing me with wise people to give me direction.
God will do that for you if you ask Him. He promises to direct your path through His Word but also through wise and godly people He will place strategically in your life.
There will be walls to be overcome in your life. Some will be inner walls while others will be outer walls. But I want to encourage your from Joshua's example and from my experience that God is faithful to place those you need to protect you and to direct you until those walls crumble in your path!