Here’s an admission: I am a twenty-five-year-old girl, who totally fulfills the stereotype of knowing absolutely nothing about cars and being totally stuck when anything goes wrong with mine. There have been two particular cases when this has become painfully evident: one involved my engine giving up while on the second lane in on the M25 late at night (that’s a story for another day); and the other was the time when I left my house at 8am to go to work, looked at the ground and saw glass in front of my car, thought “ah, I’d better be careful when I leave, I don’t want that to give me a puncture”; and then looked up and realized that the glass was from my car window, which had been smashed in overnight. I had left a bag on the back seat when I got home late the night before, and my car, along with three others around the corner, had been a victim of the opportunist who was walking around, looking for treasures.
I immediately showed my strength as an independent, capable young woman (I didn’t; I called my Dad and stress-cried at him); and I called the insurance company to find out what to do next – only to find out that that kind of incident was not covered on my insurance. Wonderful; into the savings pot we go, and a day later I’ve got a new car window and a bruised bank budget, along with a stolen laptop and bag full of sentimental things.
But, obviously, this was the day when God showed up and showered me with His provision, in the little things and the big things. He was there in the phone call with my Dad, who realized there was nothing he could practically do to help, so decided to make me laugh instead. He was there in the flowers that were on my desk when I arrived into work, and the hugs from kind colleagues. He was there as I prayed for the cost of a new window to go down, and in the moments of celebration when a cheaper quote came through. And He was there – ridiculously and abundantly – when a week later, a tax rebate came through the post that covered every penny that I had lost. He is the God of the little things and the big things.
In our study of the book of Joshua, we have hit a transition point: in chapter five, Joshua and his men stop to look back at the things that God has already done for them; God knows that some of the army have been disobedient to the command that he has given them to be circumcised, and so they pause there for some time while the younger generation are circumcised and they prepare to go forward.
In verse 13, we see Joshua have this crazy encounter with a mysterious warrior, who he looks up to see standing in front of him – the warrior turns out to be the angelic commander of God’s armies. Joshua asks the warrior: “are you for us, or for our enemies” (Joshua 4:13); and the man replies: “neither”. The real question here is not whether the warriors that are with Joshua are on the right side of the battle; but rather, if Joshua is on God’s side. This is God’s battle, and Israel play the role of the supporters of God’s plan.
Because really, this battle did not belong to Joshua and the men who were fighting it at all; it was God’s battle, and they were just participants. Verse 1 shows us that everyone who looked on could see clearly that it was God who was fighting this battle:
“Now when the Amorite kings west of the Jordan and all the Canaanite kings along the coast heard of how the Lord dried up the Jordan before the Israelites until they had crossed over, their hearts sank and they no longer had the courage to fight the Israelites” (Joshua 5:1)
The drying of the Jordan was a wonder that nobody could deny was a miracle of God – it was not something that could have been achieved by man, and even just knowing that it was God who had caused it was enough to scare the enemies away. Their hearts sank; God literally took away their courage and they were not able to face the Israelites. That is, when our lives are surrendered to God and it really is Him at work, this will be so evident to the people around us, and this is enough to scare the enemy. Our only job is to step into all that God is doing, and to not fear in the midst of that.
God had provided Joshua and his men with the land that they were now in, and it was His. When Joshua encountered the angel of the Lord, the warrior told him to take off his shoes, for he was standing on holy land. Our response to God’s provision should always be praise, and a reverence to who He is. The state of our lives and the things that we possess say more about who He is than how worthy we are; we should be pointing the glory straight to Him.
The Purpose of God’s Provision, is to Point to Who He Is
God stopped the flowing river, so that Joshua and his men could cross over on dry land. This was an incredible miracle; and it points to a God who can make everything else stop for us. It points to a God who is fighting our battles for us and asks only that we be still. It points to a God who knows the whole plan before we even take the first step, and is working the whole way to protect us and keep us.
The appearance of the angel of the Lord was a great encouragement to Joshua, and very impressive for us to see; but it points to a God who is greater than any battle that we are facing. It points to a God who does not ask to get involved with the battles that we have taken on, but who asks that we join in His battles, and get on His side.
God poured every penny back in when my car window was smashed – and that was an amazing testimony for me. But really, it points to a God who is not distant but is a caring Father; and God who is in the details and is able to do more than we could ask or imagine. It points to a God who wants to be involved in the small moments of sadness and frustration, who can handle our sadness if we speak about it with Him.
And when we do see the goodness of God in our lives, let us use it as a giant foam finger that points to Him in all of it, and gives the glory to Him.