© Pavel Kann – Fotolia.com
I’m up to Joshua in my daily readings through the Bible, and this morning I read Joshua 5. Verses 1-8 tells of the circumcision of the new generation of “the sons of Israel,” and then they celebrate Passover in the Promised Land. All of this is in preparation for the military invasion of Canaan. I thought the passage was already dripping with vivid symbolism (ritual cleanliness, atonement) but then I hit verse 13-15. Joshua meets someone he did not expect.
“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?” And the commander of the LORD’s army said to Joshua, “Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.”
I’m no expert in Christophanies, but that sure looks like one. The “commander of the army of the LORD” is surely Jesus. Joshua’s reaction is to worship him, and then the commander tells him to remove his sandals because “the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Sound familiar? Yep. Exodus 3:5, when Moses meets God in the burning bush. Jesus was fighting for the Israelites with Joshua. Jesus was with God’s people back in Joshua’s time, just as he is now.