The Commander of the Army of the Lord

“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 facedown 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.” (Joshua 5: 15 NIV)

Imagine if you are willing that there is no chapter division at this point in your Bible. Suppose that the beginning of chapter 6 flowed from the ending of chapter 5. If that were the case the following scripture instructing Joshua in the method of the attack on Jericho would be coming from the commander of the Lord’s army as Joshua bowed in reverential awe before Him:

“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. March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.’” (Joshua 6: 1 – 5 NIV)

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Rivers of Living Water

“Jesus said, `I am with you for only a short time, and then I am going to the one who sent me. You will look for me, but you will not find me; and where I am, you cannot come.’

“The Jews said to one another, `Where does this man intend to go that we cannot find him? Will he go where our people live scattered among the Greeks, and teach the Greeks? What did he mean when he said, `You will look for me, but you will not find me,’ and `Where I am, you cannot come’?

“On the last and the greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, `Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.’ By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.” (John 7: 33 – 39 NIV)

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Caring for the Sheep

“`For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness. I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land. I will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in all the settlements in the land.’” (Ezekiel 34: 11 – 13 NIV)

“`I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice.’” (Ezekiel 34: 16 NIV)

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Pay Taxes to Caesar

“Keeping a close watch on him, they sent spies, who pretended to be sincere. They hoped to catch Jesus in something he said, so that they might hand him over to the power and authority of the governor. So the spies questioned him: `Teacher, we know that you speak and teach what is right, and that you do not show partiality but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?’

“He saw through their duplicity and said to them, `Show me a denarius. Whose image and inscription are on it?’

“`Caesar’s,’ they replied.

“He said to them, `Then give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.’

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