July 12, 2020

The mighty LORD is just and gracious

Passage: Joshua 5:13-6:27
Service Type:

Theme: The mighty LORD destroys his enemies and shows grace to his people; trust him and obey him as you look forward to the final trumpet

Who is the commander of the army of the LORD?
The commander is the Divine Warrior who defeats Israel’s enemies (Joshua 21:44; Exodus 15:3). His appearance with a sword in his hand suggests that he can be associated also with the angel of the LORD (Numbers 22:23, 31 and 1 Chronicles 21:16). By falling with his face to the ground Joshua shows the appropriate respect that an inferior should pay to a superior (Ruth 2:10; 2 Samuel 9:6; 14:22; 2 Chronicles 20:18) though it is not clear that he actually worshipped him. The word translated as 'worship (5:14) can also simply mean 'bow down.' The fact that the stranger does not rebuke him for his actions suggests that he is worthy of worship (cf. Acts 14:12-15; Revelation 19:10) and the call to take his sandals from his feet is a clear parallel to Moses' meeting with the LORD in the burning bush (Exodus 3).
Historically, Christians have understood the mysterious angel of the LORD to be the preincarnate Jesus Christ, due in part to the fact that an angel by this title ceases to appear after the incarnation of Jesus. The identity however cannot be established with certainty. It is best to see the angel as a self-manifestation of the LORD in a form that would communicate his immanence and direct concern to those to whom he ministered. This self revelation of God anticipated Christ in a typological manner.