Close Encounters: Part 3

Well here in Mississippi we are just eight days away from the March 15th season opener of our spring turkey season. The opportunity for those priceless close encounters with the king of spring is drawing near and I don’t know if my heart can take the anticipation any longer. It doesn’t help matters either when men from church are telling me about gobblers they are seeing and hearing. This past Sunday a man told me he watched a big gobbler strut around with eight hens behind his house as he drank coffee. Then just this morning a hunting buddy of mine sent me a text telling me how good it was to hear a turkey gobble while I was working. Folks that kind of stuff will make you loose sleep at night from anticipation.

Here, as we look at this third close encounter with the King of Glory, we General Joshua: Captain of Israel’s armies have a unique meeting with Jesus: Captain of the Lord’s armies. Joshua’s nerves were all over the place anticipating the next day’s battle with the men of Jericho. He looked up to see a Man with a sword pointed straight at him. Look with me into this awesome close encounter with God and let us see what we can learn from Him.

Joshua 5:13-15; 6:2 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? 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? 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. And the LORD said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valor.

Bowing before a Greater Captain

Notice a couple of these lessons we can learn from Jesus as Joshua did.
First, we can learn:
I. A Lesson from The Lord’s Drawn Sword

*Illustration: Have you ever seen one of those pictures or murals of something that at first glance you see a certain image, but when you look closer and gaze intently into the picture you see something hidden or a completely different image altogether. Here Joshua sees this in the mysterious Man with the sword.

A. At First Glance, Joshua Saw a Threatening Source of Combat.
1. The Seen: A mighty Man of war standing ready to fight.
2. The Unseen: How many others were standing ready to fight behind the wall.
B. After Further Gazing, Joshua Saw a Tremendous Supply of Comfort.
* A drawn sword signifies a readiness for battle, Joshua being a mighty man of war would have known this.
* Notice that Jesus’ sword was unsheathed but also unswung. Jesus was not there to fight Joshua, but to fight Jericho.
1. The Seen: The Lord Himself by your side in battle.
2. The Unseen: The Lord’s innumerable host that was standing ready for battle with swords drawn.
3. The promise that the Lord had made to Joshua to be with him (Josh 1:5) became real and concrete. This was a promise reaffirmed in a personal way.
* When life does not go our way we often fight against the Lord. We often fight against the only one who can bring us help and peace in any situation. If you a child of God then Jesus Himself will be by your side is any battle you face.

Secondly, we can learn:
II. A Lesson from The Lord’s Dynamic Statements
* Think about the power of Jesus’ statements and words in the N.T. The great sermon on the mount, all of His great parables, and though they may have been few, His statements on the cross. The words of Jesus were many times simple, but always powerful!
A. The Answer to Joshua’s Question.
1. “Nay”. (5:14)
2. There is only one side to be on. That is on God’s side.
3. It’s not about good or bad, right or wrong. It’s about doing the will of God.
4. You see Jesus here did not come to take sides, but to take over.
B. The Assertion of Jesus’ Position.
1. “But as Captain of the host of the Lord am I now come.” (5:14)
* Joshua may have been Israel’s leader; however, he was still a subordinate to God. We should always kneel to the command of God.
* Joshua went from General to servant.
2. “Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy.”
* Joshua was standing in “heathen territory”, yet because God was with him, he was standing on holy ground.
* Obey the will of God, no matter where He leads and you better behave accordingly.
C. The Announcement of Jericho’s Execution.
1. “I have given into thine hand Jericho” (6:2)
* A guaranteed victory! What hope and confidence this gave Joshua and should give every believer. Jesus has won the battle for us, all we have to do is claim it and live it!

Triumph over Adversity
There are so many things in nature that is absolutely amazing. Many times scientists are mesmerized in how the smallest or the weakest critter can survive the extremes of nature. There is security and triumph of frail things that baffles man's understanding and imagination. It is a curious thing that the extremes of heat and cold seem to be most easily endured by the flimsiest of creatures. How is it that frost can split our strongest metal water-pipes, but tiny organisms like the gnat survives when larger things get frostbitten and perish. In tropical countries the tiniest insects brave the blistering midday heat which shrivels the largest plants, and drives men, birds and other animals gasping under shelter. In India a small, blue butterfly flits all day about the parched grass or sits in full blaze of the sun where metal or stone becomes so hot that it burns the hand. What heat-resisting secret resides in the minute body of that little butterfly, scarcely thicker than notepaper? Nature's power of preserving life touches the miraculous. The same God who made the natural world and put these unbelievable processes in order to take care of the smallest of insect, made us and does even more to take care of us. When we the pressures and the extremes of life affect us, the Christian is at his strongest when we admit our weakness and confess our dependence on God. We prevail in life by yielding to the Master. We triumph over adversity as the fern survives geological cataclysms and the butterfly the scorching sun. In our weakness we experience God's strength. We can experience a victorious life by surrendering to the Savior.

Joshua learned from Jesus how to be victorious in battle. If we will simply bow before Him in the midst of anything we face, we can be victorious in battle as well.

As you think about getting close to that big gobbler this spring, I pray you will spend some time with the Master and allow Him to get close to you. I cannot guarantee that the king of spring will answer your calls as you sit down by a tree. But I can guarantee that the King of Glory will answer your calls as you bow before His throne of Grace.

God Bless and Happy Hunting.

Posted by Mark Newell

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