“Take off your shoes!” If you were a player in a game and your coach said that to you, wouldn’t you think it was a crazy request? How could you be expected to play well without shoes? Yet, in Joshua 5:15, God commands Joshua to do just that. Why? Because this is where true faith wins the victory over the enemy.
Here are 3 reasons why I think it important for Joshua, and for each of us, to remove our spiritual shoes once in a while:
1) It is God’s battle and not ours: In vs. 13 Joshua was looking at Jericho and probably saying to himself, “How on earth can an untrained army, with no real weapons, take on one of the strongest walled cities in the region?” Just then God showed up in the form of the “commander of the Lord’s army,” (many think this is the pre-incarnate Jesus).
Notice when Joshua asks “whose side are you on?” The “Commander” with the drawn sword says “neither.” Meaning He was not there to take sides but to take over.
2) God wants you to know His presence and provision is all you need to overcome the enemy. The victory wouldn’t come through great feats of men with all the right weapons, rather the enemy would be defeated by the living presence of God and His heavenly army.
3) Victory starts with reverent submission to the will of the true Savior. When Joshua realized he was in the presence of God “he fell face to the ground” and asked, “What message does my Lord have for His servant?” (vs. 14)
God’s response was “take off your sandals for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did, (vs.15), he took off his sandals AND victory was won. It was won before it happened. It was won with the act of full surrender to the will of God.
Lately, I find myself spending too much time focusing on my Jericho. AND, with that I become just a little bit anxious at the over-sized walls and its laughing enemies that taunt my weakness. How this story brings me back to the truth that it has nothing to do with my shoes. In fact, He wants me to take them off and behold the Holy One declaring that the battle belongs to Him; His presence and provision are all I need. I surrender to His plan for victory.
Will you join me this week in taking off your shoes and looking away from your Jericho, so that you can fix your eyes on the True Commander and Chief, Jesus Christ. (Hebrew 12:2) It is through this act of true faith that our victory over the enemy can be won.