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Have you ever had a real encounter with God? The kind of encounter that you never forget; a time when you met with God in such a way that it seemed as though He stood before you. You heard Him speak to you clearly and you left feeling like you had been standing on holy ground.
In today’s reading, Joshua had that kind of meeting with the Lord’s Commander. Although we don’t know for sure who this was, many believe this was a theophany—an appearance of God Himself. It’s safe to say this encounter made a profound impact on Joshua. He goes on to win a decisive victory over Jericho in the first battle he leads while in charge in the very next chapter.
Joshua is one of my favorite Bible characters. I love and respect his profound leadership ability. I often look to this book, bearing his name, for nuggets of leadership wisdom.
What proceeded Joshua’s meeting with God face-to-face? Obedience! Moses had just died. God instructed him to lead the Israelites across the Jordan river to claim their land. God had dried up the river allowing them to cross during flood stage. Now what? They were sitting ducks in a foreign land. Peoples around them were afraid of them, but likely to engage them and try to defeat them quickly.
What does God tell him to do? Circumcise all the fighting males that were born during the 40-year wilderness experience. Now? Wouldn’t that make them more vulnerable? God didn’t care. He was the One who was going to win the battle for them anyway. He wanted their full obedience. So Joshua unswervingly obeyed the Lord. Then God appeared with His next orders.
Do you want to have a real encounter with God? Many Christians never do. They live their lives in a shadow of what God wants for them. They never experience God as they could. They never feel the power of His breath or hear His clear instructions for their lives. They never witness Him move a mountain or dry up a river in their lives. Are you okay to be like that or do you want to encounter the living God for real?
If so, the key ingredient is the same for you and I as it was for Joshua: full obedience.
- What area or areas are you not obeying God in? (You know: it’s the first thing that came to your mind when I asked).
- Is ______________ (fill in the blank with your sin) worth not seeing God like Joshua did?
- What are you going to do about it?
By: Tim Parsons