For Us Or Against Us?

sideBob Goff (author of LOVE DOES) wrote an interesting article last week about picking fights and making a difference. Bob referenced a bible story I’d never heard.

I know that shocks you.

In Joshua 5:13-15, Joshua is checking out Jericho prior to the big day when he encounters an angel with his sword drawn. You can imagine this was a somewhat intimidating sight, and Joshua asks an understandable question.

“Whose side are you on?”

Makes sense to me. Joshua’s about to lead his men in conquest of this strange land, and he wants a little reassurance. I’ll bet he didn’t expect the answer he received.

The angel tells Joshua he commands God’s army and…he’s not on either side!

Since I wasn’t familiar with this story, I read a bunch about it. I found lots of really deep thoughts and interpretations of the precise identity and prophetic implications of the angel’s appearance. But the angel’s response carried a clear, unmistakable message:

God’s army isn’t “for” anyone. Its sole purpose is to accomplish God’s will.

For me, the lesson is crystal clear. No matter how hard I pray, God’s not going to show up to wear my team jersey, advance my political agenda, or carry my flag. Put another way:

The question isn’t whether God’s on my team but whether I’m on His team.

It’s pretty easy to invoke God’s blessing on our cause. We assume He’s on our side because we’re “obviously” more right than the other side. He can’t possibly be for them, so He got to be for us…doesn’t He?

But the angel’s response makes it clear: God doesn’t choose sides. Instead, He invites us to choose His side.

And as I said last time, there’s a lot more to being on the team than simply wearing the jersey.

When we choose His side, God offers the opportunity to actually participate, engage, and play for the team to accomplish His will.

Learn to do right; seek justice.
Defend the oppressed.
Take up the cause of the fatherless;
plead the case of the widow. (Isaiah 1:17)

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Copyright 2008-2013 by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.

Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:

Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

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