“Then the Commander of the LORD’s army said to Joshua, ‘Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.’ And Joshua did so.” – Joshua 5:15
This second main section of Joshua emphasizes judgment, destruction and death; this troubles many modern readers. Yet, it is a section that rings out with praise to Almighty God! Yes, God is praised even in the destruction of these pagan tribes. Such judgment shocks us today only because we have lost sight of God’s holiness and the sinfulness of sin. Eternal punishment testifies to God’s holiness and how much He hates sin. We prefer a “kinder, gentler” god, one more like a soft and sweet marshmallow who wouldn’t hurt a flea. But that is not the God of Holy Scripture.
As Biblical Christians, we are to understand the judgment and destruction seen in Joshua as a foreshadowing of the LORD’s promised final judgment that awaits this earth at the end of time. We must remember how God promises to send to eternal destruction all who reject Him, while He also promises to welcome into eternal glory all who respond to Him in faith and repentance.
This is why “the Commander of the LORD’s army” reveals Himself to Joshua, to remind Joshua Who he ultimately serves. This “Commander” is none other than Jesus in pre-incarnate form. He tells Joshua, “The place where you stand is holy.” What makes a place on earth “holy,” but that this “Man” Who is standing there with Joshua is Himself holy! This reminds us that the Lord goes with us too as we go out into the world. Go in His strength and serve your holy God today.
Suggestions for prayer
Praise God for His holiness. Ask Him to reveal to you even more of your own sinfulness. Ask the Lord to help you serve Him with all your heart.