Today is Memorial Day in the United States. (Since many of us have a three day weekend, look for Happy Monday on Tuesday this week.) While I’m not suggesting Memorial Day is a religious holiday, there is definitely a biblical basis for memorial. Continue reading
When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And 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.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him, “What does my lord say to his servant?”
(Joshua 5:13-14 ESV)
First, notice that the angel Joshua encounters is not a beautiful woman in a choir robe. Armor-clad soldiers is one of the things History’s The Bible got right.
Secondly, notice he doesn’t say he is on Joshua’s side. He is the commander of the army of the LORD, and Joshua is his servant. Where do we get the idea that God is ever on our side? We don’t even have a side. If you recall, it is later Joshua who says to the nation of Israel “Chose this day whom you will serve… But as for me and my house we will serve the LORD.”
“God is on my side.” Consider for a moment the arrogance of that statement. We’ve all said it, and probably didn’t mean to infer anything by it. But the implication is that we have a position, a plan for victory, and that God chooses to support our position. The truth is, we don’t even have a side.
Of all the children in a large family, Joseph was the favorite of his father Jacob. (As in Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, also known as Israel.) Joseph was also favored by God. When his brothers plotted to kill him, a band of merchants just happened by and one suggested there was no profit in killing him but he could be sold as a slave. That would get rid of him and they could make a little something on the side. Joseph was carried down to Egypt, which was of course all part of God’s plan. Perhaps that traveling merchant caravan didn’t just “happen by” after all. Continue reading