Joshua 5:13-15 (KJV)
13 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?
14 And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant?
15 And the captain of the LORD'S host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.
Sometimes because we know the end of the story, it desensitizes us to the actual emotions of the story. I try to remind myself that these characters that we revere and honor were just ordinary people with very much the same makeup that we have. Times and customs may change, but the essence of the human heart is the same!
Joshua was going through a tough time. He was the leader of all the Israelites. If you have had any leadership experiences you know how difficult it can be to lead a group of 15-20 people, must less millions of people.
The Israelites were on a journey that was to foster their obedience and faith in God. This wasn't always easy. (Remember, when we read the accounts we usually are quick to judge their failings or lack of faith...because we know the outcome of the story. But how many times do we fail at the same points in our own lives, due to a lack of faith on our part?)
Beginning with Joshua chapter one, we see the pilgrimage of the Israelites. It seems that when they were "comfortable" in their setting, God would say time to move on. Then when they were anxious to move on, God would say time to stay. After experiencing victory, they were ready to conquer the world, and yet God said time for circumcision. This all sounds a bit frustrating, doesn't it?
Not only the people were experiencing varied emotions, I'm sure Joshua was struggling in his own heart at times.
Take some time to read through those few chapters in Joshua...read it like it's the first time you've read it. Try to understand how Joshua was feeling and what he was up against. This will prepare you for the impact of the principles that are mentioned in our text today.