Joshua 5:1-15; Luke 14:25-35; Psalms 81:1-7; Proverbs 19:24-25
OT: “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 replied. “I have now come as commander of the Lord’s army.” Then Joshua bowed with his face to the ground in homage 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 that.” (Joshua 5:13-15 CSB)
I imagine that there was a lot on Joshua’s mind. They had crossed the Jordan river and were now fully committed to the task of inhabiting the land. The manna that had sustained them for 40 years suddenly stopped appearing, so their only sustenance was in the land they now had to conquer. Moses had died and now he was the leader of this great nation. Would God be present with him and lead him as He had done with Moses? Then Joshua looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in His hand. That probably freaked Joshua out even more. So Joshua asked Him the most pertinent question… “Are you for us or against us… Are you our friend or our enemy?” This man was no mere man. He was the pre-incarnate Son of God, the Lord of Hosts, and Commander of the Lord’s army. His answer to Joshua is quite telling. He said that He was neither for them nor for their enemies. He was not there to accomplish Israel’s will, nor was He there to accomplish their enemies’ will. He was there in the name of the Lord to accomplish the Lord’s purposes. Then Joshua did the most rational thing he could do… he bowed down in worship and submission to the Lord. So many times, we want to do our thing while Jesus blesses it. We want Jesus to help us with our our purposes and our agenda. The Lord is not committed to our desires and agenda. He is committed to His word, His will, and His ways. The Lord doesn’t come to be on our side. We must bow down before Him and join His side. Joshua’s concerns were settled when he bowed his face to the ground, removed his sandals, and worshipped the Lord.
NT: “Now great crowds were traveling with him. So he turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters — yes, and even his own life — he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, wanting to build a tower, doesn’t first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? …Or what king, going to war against another king, will not first sit down and decide if he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand? …Now, salt is good, but if salt should lose its taste, how will it be made salty? It isn’t fit for the soil or for the manure pile; they throw it out. Let anyone who has ears to hear listen.”” (Luke 14:25-28, 31, 34-35 CSB)
Jesus’ ministry had so impacted the region that great crowds were following Him as He made His way to Jerusalem. Most in the crowd were probably following Him for what they hoped they could get out of Him. Most were probably not willing to pay the cost of being a true disciple. Truly following Jesus requires complete commitment. It requires loving Him, His word, and His ways so much that the love that you have for your family looks like hatred in comparison. That means that earthly ties are not strong enough to sever your allegiance to Him. Being a true disciple of Jesus requires dying to your desires and agenda and committing completely to His desires and agenda. The Lord is the builder of the church, and He will not build His church on half-hearted, fair weather followers that simply want their needs met. The Lord is the King who is at war, and He will not go to battle with unfaithful soldiers who are not willing to lay down their lives for His kingdom. We are salt that remains salty by abiding in Jesus through faith and loving obedience.