For Us or Against Us?

When Joshua was near the town of Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with sword in hand. Joshua went up to him and demanded, “Are you friend or foe?” “Neither one,” he replied. “I am the commander of the LORD’s army.” At this, Joshua fell with his face to the ground in reverence. “I am at your command,” Joshua said. “What do you want Your servant to do?” The commander of the LORD’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did as he was told. (Joshua 5:13-15 NLT) The challenges ahead are increasing. You are approaching Jericho. God knows that you need encouragement and strength.

No More Manna

No manna appeared on the day they first ate from the crops of the land, and it was never seen again. So from that time on the Israelites ate from the crops of Canaan. (Joshua 5:12 NLT) Few Israelites were old enough to remember the days when they did not eat manna. For the most part, it was the generation that died in the wilderness that had moaned and grumbled, “If only the LORD had killed us back in Egypt…. There we sat around pots filled with meat and ate all the bread we wanted. But now you have brought us into this wilderness to starve us all to death” (Ex 16:3). God had responded to the complaints of His people and provided them in an extraordinary way with manna.

Prepared to Possess

“Go through the camp and tell the people to get their provisions ready. In three days you will cross the Jordan River and take possession of the land the LORD your God is giving you.” (Joshua 1:11) The Israelites had been camped on the plains of Moab on the east side of the Jordan River for many months. During that time Moses wrote the book of Deuteronomy, he was taken up onto Mt. Nebo to see the land that the Israelites would inhabit, he died, and God made Joshua their new leader. The Israelites had planted crops and were augmenting their meals of manna with fresh produce from the land. They had begun to put down modest roots. As a matter of fact, the tribes of Reuben, Gad and Manasseh had petitioned Moses to make their permanent dwelling place on this side of the Jordan, and God had permitted them to do so. So when Joshua sent out word that they were leaving in three days, it was very short notice for a move of that magnitude. Sure, they knew that the day would one day arrive, but until that moment they had no idea that it was only three days away.

Is that fleece really necessary?

Then Gideon asked for a sign to confirm that this was truly a word from the LORD. …The angel of the LORD touched the meat and bread with the tip of the staff in his hand, and fire flamed up from the rock and consumed all [of the offering Gideon] had brought (Judg 6:21). And Gideon knew that he had seen the angel of the LORD and heard the word of God.

Soon afterward the armies of Midian, Amalek, and the people of the east formed an alliance against Israel and crossed the Jordan, camping in the valley of Jezreel. Then the Spirit of the LORD took possession of Gideon. He blew a ram’s horn as a call to arms, and the men of the clan of Abiezer came to him. He also sent messengers throughout Manasseh, Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali, summoning their warriors, and all of them responded (Judg 6:33-35).