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July 27 – Whose side are you on, anyway?

“Joshua went to him and said to him, ‘Are you for us, or for our adversaries?’ And he said, ‘No; but I am the commander of the army of the LORD. Now I have come.’” – Joshua 5:13b, 14a

Scripture reading: Joshua 5:13-15

The night before the conquest of Jericho, Joshua was alone, and at a certain moment, he was startled by a man standing before him, with his drawn sword in his hand. Joshua asked him, Are you for us, or for our adversaries?

The man said, No. It’s a strange answer. He is obviously ready to fight. So he must be for Israel or for Jericho. One or the other. But he says, No; in other words, I’m not on either side. I am the commander of the army of the LORD. It will become very clear that this man is the LORD Himself, and Israel is His people, and they were there to take possession of the land that He had promised them. So why didn’t he say, “I’m on your side, Joshua?”

Maybe it sounds strange to say it this way, but we always have to remember that the LORD isn’t on our side. The Bible says in lots of places that God is with us and for us. But, He’s not on our side, in the sense that He takes up our agenda, that He’ll always make sure things always work out the way we want them to. God is sovereign, and He’s working on His agenda. And that’s good news, because His agenda is infinitely more wonderful than ours. He has decided to glorify Himself not by doing what we want Him to do, but by saving us from our sin by grace through faith in Christ.

Suggestions for prayer

Glorify God for taking you up in His sovereign purpose, so that you receive the indescribable blessing as He vindicates the honor of His Name.

This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Dick Wynia is the pastor of the Vineyard Canadian Reformed Church in Beamsville, Ontario.

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