We're still on Joshua here. I know; I can't help it! It's just that good!
Let's turn to Joshua 5 :) The Israelites have just stepped into the Jordan, crossed it, and taken up their Stones of Remembrance. Joshua circumcised the Israelites, they healed & rested, and then they celebrated the Passover.
13 Now 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 went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?”
14 “Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the LORD I have now come.” Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, “What message does my Lord have for his servant?”
15 The commander of the LORD’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.
Many commentators on this passage believe that the commander of the army of the LORD was Jesus Himself. Joshua worshipped Him & referred to Him as "my Lord". Prior to this time, God had been speaking directly to Joshua, over & over. He had not bodily appeared to Joshua, nor had an angel visited him.
Why, then, did Joshua need God Himself to come speak to him face to face?
I can't help but wonder if he was possibly discouraged.
Notice that Joshua was near his obstacle when the above happened. What he was thinking about? Was he staring at the obstacle, wondering how they could ever overcome it? Had he forgotten all the Lord has already done? I imagine him standing there, trying to remind himself of who his deliverer was. In that moment, the ESV translation says that Joshua "lifted up his eyes."
The commander of the Lord's army, whoever he was, reminded Joshua to consecrate Himself to the Lord and to press on.
6:1 Now the gates of Jericho were securely barred because of the Israelites. No one went out and no one came in.
2 Then the LORD said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands.
Huh? That doesn't even make sense. To the natural eye, Jericho was shut up, snug as a bug in a rug, with high walls and no way in. No one was even coming or going. But God said to Joshua, "Look at this with my eyes. I have already delivered this city into your hands."
I have had a series of challenging events in my life recently. It'd be quite easy to get discouraged based on the circumstances I see around me.
The truth about life for us all is that it'd be easy to find things to be rip courage out of us, and it's much more difficult to find things to deposit courage into us.
But the reality of following Jesus is you & I have already been set free from the laws of sin and death. In fact, you've already been set free from that thing that just came to mind as you doubted the truth of my last sentence. That situation you are looking at, the one that seems perfectly hopeless, God is saying, "Consecrate yourself to me. I already have a plan to be glorified. I will deliver you from that thing that has you bound. I can do the miraculous in the midst of that hopeless situation. Look at this with my eyes."
Are you speaking truth to yourself concerning your troubling situation, the obstacles facing you? Are you placing your hope in all the ways you have possibly conjured up to fix it, or all the possible outcomes you've imagined? Or are you hoping in the power of God, the same God who parted the Jordan, and as we read on, brought down the mighty walls of Jericho?
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
What we see, our struggles, our circumstances, our burdens, are not only light & momentary, but they are temporary. Read that again: this is temporary.
We have a choice: stare at the walls of Jericho, or look into the eyes of our great God.
In Joshua's moment of discouragement, he chose to look to His Creator, the Lover of his soul, His Deliverer. And in that moment, it seems as if God replied, "Because you chose to look to me, I am about to do something amazing."