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The Warrior

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
June 19, 2021 12:01 am

The Warrior

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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June 19, 2021 12:01 am

God mobilizes heaven and earth to accomplish His purpose for His people. Today, R.C. Sproul describes Joshua's unexpected encounter with the commander of the Lord's army on the field of battle.

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I was moved to teach on the doxology and the benedictions first of all because of what they mean to me in my own devotional life. I turned to them in my own private meditations for refocus for worship for self-examination for building up of faith and then as a result of that, I've been looking for opportunities to teach them to our church because I believe they aid to people of God in looking up and seeing the greatness of God in the succinct statements of blessing and/or doxology that are memorable and meaningful. We take them for granted but they are there for blessing, blessing and praise by HB Charles Junior visit Lincoln here.org/teaching series to learn more structure was considering the attack upon Jericho. He sees this warrior who obviously appears to Joshua as a formidable figure and he standing as it were blocking the path of Joshua with his sword drawn, it would be enough to get anyone's attention when Joshua wants to know who this warrior is, he proclaimed something that causes Joshua to plan his face in the ground today on Renewing Your Mind, Dr. RC Sproul Texas to one of the most famous encounters in the Bible that culminates with the question, are you for us or against us today as we continue our study Joshua were going to look at a passage that we've already looked at in another series. Some of you will remember, the series that we did called face-to-face with Jesus wherein we examined various incidents, particularly in the New Testament where individuals met Christ, and we looked at the way in which Christ interacted with these particular persons within that serious. I gave a kind of unusual twist to one of those encounters calling attention to the episode found in the book of Joshua where Joshua meets up with the captain of the Lord of hosts, and some of you recall that as a matter of speculation. Some have drawn the conclusion from that text that that encounter Joshua had was with Christ. To allegedly appeared in Old Testament terms and in Old Testament situations over and look at that again but this time in context with the rest of the book of Joshua and now we turn to the fifth chapter of Joshua. Beginning at verse third. He and it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a man stood opposite him with his sword drawn in his hand and Joshua went to him and said to him, are you for us or for our adversaries. Now in this incident that is recorded in the book of Joshua.

The event is taking place in a transition period between two other significant events. It is prior to the famous Battle of Jericho that will look at separately and after the crossing of the Jordan River which we've already examined not in between the crossing of the Jordan River and the battle of Jericho and before this meeting takes place with the strange wire.

Something else had transpired and that was this that at Gil go after the memorial stones taken from the Jordan and been established. God commanded that the children of Israel, who had passed over submit to circumcision and we see from this that during the period of the wilderness wandering those who were the original people who left Egypt were not able to cross into the promised land.

They had been circumcised, but their sons had not been circumcised and only those of the next generation who were able to enter now into the promised land where those who would receive the promise of the covenant of the promised land. And so before the actual conquest takes place. God commands that the male sons of Israel be circumcised. So we read this passage that involves a massive act of circumcision of the children of Israel to other things took place in this interim. Following the circumcision, the Jewish people prior to the conquest celebrated the Passover and that is significant in that the Passover feast took place with the crossing over the Jordan so fresh in their mind they were celebrating the Passover that had taken place earlier with the original Exodus and now they have a second Passover, as it were, the crossing over of the Jordan to remind them of God's act of deliverance from the vengeful angel or the angel of the Lord came to smite the Egyptians. So now we have the memory refreshed. Here of the Passover scene from the book of Exodus, where the one who passed over was the angel sent from God as the avenger of the pagans I say that for a reason.

Before we go into the story of the captain of the Lord of hosts.

Now the only other thing that I want to mention in terms of this transition period was. You recall that during the wilderness experience God miraculously provided food for his people. In terms of the manner that came from heaven, but as soon as they crossed into the promised land. The manner ceased and all of these things. The celebration of the Passover, the cessation of the giving of the manna in the circumcision of the males sons of Israel altogether call attention to God's fulfilling his promise that he had given centuries earlier to Abraham and to the patriarchs of the covenant which covenant included land promised land.

The land that would flow with milk and honey. So Israel is on a religious high as it were a time of refreshment and of and experience of covenant renewal and the reminder that God would go before them. So now was there preparing for their first battle with all of this religious action having been completed suddenly as we just read in the text. This warrior appears whose identity is on known to Joshua. Let's look back again at chapter 5 in verse 13: Joshua was by Jericho. He lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a man stood opposite him with his sword drawn in his hand currently out of nowhere this Joshua was considering the attack upon Jericho. He sees this warrior who obviously appears to Joshua as a formidable figure and he standing as it were blocking the path of Joshua with his sword drawn in his hand, which may be viewed as a hostile act or at least an action of battle readiness.

Now if we can speculate a little bit here. Joshua was rushing through the catalog in his mind he's trying to see if he recognizes this fellow you would think that a formidable warrior like this would be known to the general of the Army. If there is an outstanding soldier in his midst because remember that the Army that Joshua is commanding here is kind of a grassroots militia. It is not a professional army made up of seasoned veterans of warfare. This arm is made up of the rank-and-file of the people who have just crossed over the Jordan River and now all of a sudden Joshua sees one who is clearly at first glance, a seasoned warrior, one who is an expert and obviously trained in warfare and so Joshua addresses him and asks in this question. Are you for us or for our adversaries. I don't know about you fellows out there listening who engaged in sports in your lifetime, but I can remember playing basketball or football when I was in high school and the pregame assessment that took place when the other team's players would come out on the court or out on the field that you would look at them.

I can remember baseball games just watching the other team warm-up I would look at the way the players would be throwing the ball back and forth to each other and you can always tell by the manner in the style that certain fellows had in throwing a baseball that they were accomplished athletes you could sort of pick out in advance who was going to be a star on the other team and would watch the other players come out on the football field and Mary are looking at the size of these guys and somehow the other team always seemed to look bigger than our own thing and also with basketball players you see the other teams always dollars but it's a male thing that your sizing up the strengths of your opponent and then a new kid comes and you will know you come to our school are you going to the opponent school you see somebody this very talented and you want to know is he friend or foe. Is he going to be a competitor or is he going to be a comrade in whatever struggle. And that's what's going on in Josh response he sees this obvious specimen of military strength standing there with the sword drawn in front of him and the first thing he wants to know is is he coming to join my army or is he advanced scout for the armies of Jericho.

So yes, are you for us or for our adversaries in the warrior answered no, I don't know about you but that that's kind of an evasive answer at first, I think about the times when I fool around with waitresses and the restaurant when the outcome with the villanelle site is this cash or charge. Also, yes it may look at milligram out another one of these get possible and it is one of the other and that's kind of what this soldier says to Joshua Justices are you for us or for our adversaries what to say no that's not the answer that Josh was looking for. So what's he mean when he says no, what he saying is you have presented us with the.

There is another alternative.

Joshua is not a question of whether I've come to fight for you, or to fight for your adversaries.

I'm doing neither. You can imagine the consternation that Josh would would experience when he gets a response like this we mean doing neither bullets listen to the rest of the reply Joshua said are you for us or for our adversaries in verse 14 we hear the full answer so he said no but as commander of the Army of the Lord I have now, other translations refer to to simply the commander of the Army of the Lord, but the captain of the Lord of hosts, notes the irony here.

Again, remember what Joshua Astin are you for us or for our adversaries in the commander said neither what he saying to Joshua is Joshua.

I didn't come here to fight for you, I came here to take charge. It's not that I'm going to fight for you, Joshua.

You are going to fight for me and so Joshua instantly realizes that he is now face-to-face. Not with an ordinary or even an extraordinary human warrior but he is dealing with one who is been sent from God from heaven Mel commander of the Army of the Lord or Capt. of the Lord of hosts can have different references. We know for example that the word host in Scripture we remember in the Christmas story, behold, there was with the angel heavenly host and the word host. Here is a word that functions as a synonym, not just for a great number of people were huge stronger congregation of persons, but the word host serves as a synonym for the term Army and we are told in the Scriptures that God is attended in his presence in heaven. In his throne. Daily by myriads of angels who make up what is called the heavenly host and it's not just a heavenly throng, but it is a heavenly army which Army is always subject to their commander-in-chief who is God himself. This reminds us of the episode that Took Pl., Indocin with Elisha and his servant to remember that occasion where the king and his forces had set out to ambush Elisha because Elisha kept telling the secret war plans that this enemy king was making against the troops of Israel. Elisha would then inform the king of Israel of the plans of the enemy and so finally the enemy king said of Delaware were going to destroy the Israelites as we can get rid of this prophet, so he sends out a full Army to this little village of Dowson to surround the city just to take one man prisoner. Remember the stories of delightful story out in the morning when Elisha servant wakes up and he looks out the front door and he sees all his chariots of the enemy army in front of him. He runs the back door and there there you go to the side window both sides of the sea city surrounded by chariots and he runs in his panic and he rouses Elisha from his sleep and he said, my Lord, Elisha wake up were surrounded by the enemy and what did Elisha say researcher don't worry about it. Those that are with us, or more than those who were against us. And now, the servant thinks Elisha's lost his mind. You don't understand this, thousands of soldiers there were surrounded whereupon Elisha prayed. Oh God open his face that he may see what I say in the Scriptures tell us, behold the eyes of the servant were opened, and behold, multitudes of Angels round about Elisha and this heavenly host. This heavenly army put the enemy to flight and destroying them, preserving the life of Elisha now that incident, but we read in the Old Testament speaks of the invisible realm that human beings cannot see that is not like that. There's a guardian angel singular out there for each individual, but that there is this multitude of the heavenly host and Army of these ministering spirits under the command of God who are prepared to minister to God's people in times of crises and now we see the commander of this heavenly host, the captain of the Lord of host saying to Joshua now you are going to fight for me because I taking over what's Joshua's response to this and Joshua fell on his face to the years and worshiped, and said to him what does my Lord say to his servant in the commander of the Lord's army said to Josh would take your sandal off your foot for the place where you stand is holy, and Joshua did so now in the earlier series that we did on face-to-face with Jesus. I mentioned that there is an ongoing debate about the identity of this captain of the Lord of hosts, I would say most Old Testament scholars would say that what we have here is the appearance of an angel.

Perhaps the Archangel Gabriel, the chief angel that is in charge of the whole angelic community in heaven and that we don't need to look beyond that to speculate that what we have is a Christoph innate and Old Testament manifestation of the presence of Christ himself. But there is precedent in the Old Testament for Old Testament manifestations of Christ most clearly is in Isaiah chapter 6 when Isaiah sees the Lord high and lifted up on the throne the New Testament in John's gospel that is claimed to have been a vision of Christ. So we do have precedents for the manifestation of Christ in the Old Testament. The thing that inclines me to think that perhaps this is a Christoph innate the manifestation of Christ to Joshua is Joshua's response of worship no other times in Scripture, will people do fall down and worship angels are not supposed to do that angels are not to be venerated in the sense of being given worship Joshua worships this one who speaks to him and secondly the words of this messenger are so reminiscent of the encounter that Moses had with God in the Midianite wilderness when he said to Moses, take off your shoes from off your feet for the ground were on doll stands is holy ground. One thing is clear whether through an angelic appearance or through a pre-incarnate manifestation of Christ we have here Joshua meeting presence of God, and it is a moment that is Joshua's leadership of the nation has just begun. He hasn't fought the battle of Jericho.

Yet he hasn't brought the people in the promised land, but this encounter sets the stage for what's to come.

The warrior of the Lord fighting for God's glory. Listening to Renewing Your Mind. Lively web and if you'd like to continue your study. We like to send you all 10 messages from Dr. Sproles teaching series on the book of Joshua will send it to you on the MP3 CD. When you give a donation of any amount to look at her ministries find us online at Renewing Your Mind out of work or you can call us with your gift at 800-435-4343. When you get to this ministry. You not only make this program available online on the air and on our free app that you also provide the funds for ongoing translation efforts to make these materials accessible to people around the world.

Your gifts matter, and we thank you.

I think the application of this narrative that we've looked at today really is quite simple that God mobilizes heaven and earth to accomplish his purposes for his people. I really think that we have radically underestimated the important reality of the angels of God in many many ways, not only in the New Testament teaching that we are to be careful how we deal with strangers because we may be entertaining angels unaware, but also the biblical injunctions of the care we are to give in worship, realizing that when we enter into worship when we come into the presence of God. We are in the presence of the whole host of and here on this day on the outskirts of Jericho. The hosts of heaven became visible in this one who spoke to Joshua to encourage him that God had mobilized the armies of heaven to go before him to the promise land and I hope you make plans to join us next Saturday.

We will discover how the Israelites employer rather bizarre military strategy. They march around the city of Jericho, stomping their feet and blasting trumpets will be reminded of how with God all things are possible as next week here on Renewing Your Mind


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