“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 approached Him and asked, ‘Are You for us or for our enemies?’ ‘Neither,’ He relied. ‘I have now come as commander of the Lord’s army.’ Then Joshua bowed with his face to the ground in worship and asked Him, ‘What does my Lord want to say to His servant?’ The commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua, ‘Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.’ And Joshua did so.” Joshua 5:13-15.
A manifestation of God, likely a pre-incarnate Christ, appeared to Joshua. Joshua’s response was to ask if he was with him or his enemies. God answered that He was on neither side. The question was not whether God was on Joshua’s side but if Joshua was on God’s side. Joshua recognized the man as God and fell down and worshipped Him and made the appropriate response asking what God wanted his servant to do. Joshua went on to listen to the instructions from God and apply them exactly as instructed which led to a miraculous victory over Jericho. However, shortly thereafter Joshua went up against Ai without fully consulting God, and dealing with sin in his camp, and was initially defeated.
This is instructive to us as Christians in this day and age where many leaders devise various schemes to get more people in Church, to prevent young people from leaving the Church, to become more relevant to society, etc. This is an important reminder that there is only one side we need to be on and concerned with and that is God’s side. We need to listen to the leading of God through the Holy Spirit and follow his instructions, including always preaching the truth of the Word no matter how society receives it and even if it is offended by it and turns away from it. God will produce the results. “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.” II Timothy 4:2.