They had been moaning and complaining to Moses all that time until they all died out. It was time for the next generation to emerge and take the land that God had promised their forefathers.
God had chosen Joshua to take Moses’s place and he is ready to go; young, keen and impetuous and up for the challenge. But just before he launches into battle, God has a lesson for him in case he is in doubt who is really in charge.
This story can be found in Joshua 5:13-6:5
Suddenly, in front of Joshua, appears a man with a drawn sword in his hand. Just to be sure, Joshua asks him if he is friend or foe.
“No” the man replies “but I am commander of the Lord’s army.” It must have been immediately obvious to Joshua that this was no ordinary man, because he falls on his face before him.
The man standing before Joshua was none other than Jesus himself, God in the flesh. This appearance in the Old Testament is called a Theophany or Christophany where Jesus appears in human form, before His full incarnation as a baby in Bethlehem.
It is clear that it is not an angel standing before Joshua because an angel would never accept worship. To make it even clearer, Jesus tells him to take off his sandals because He is standing on Holy ground (the immediate presence of God himself).
Jesus then demonstrates His authority by giving Joshua precise instructions of how he is to lead the people in the defeat of the city of Jericho.
The strategy of marching round a city numerous times, blowing trumpets and shouting would have seemed extremely odd to Joshua, but I think that Jesus was testing Joshua’s obedience. Would he follow, to the letter, some seemingly foolish instructions or would he trust in his own power and that of his soldiers and storm the city in the tried and tested military way?
It is clear that Joshua made the right choice.
How about you. Has Jesus asked you to do anything you don’t understand or comprehend?
Obedience, mixed with faith, is a very powerful tool in the ranks of Jesus’s army.