The media is filled with accounts of Islamic terrorism. Hard-core jihadists are absolutely convinced they are serving Allah—and that He is on their side. Christians are equally convinced they have the truth, and therefore God must be on their side. But does Scripture actually present a different perspective?
As Joshua, newly in command of the Israelite forces, stood at the doorstep to the Promised Land, he contemplated the task before him. “Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, ‘Are you for us or for our enemies?’ ‘Neither,’ he replied, ‘but as commander of the army of the LORD I have now come.’ Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, ‘What message does my Lord have for his servant?’ The commander of the LORD’s army replied, ‘Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.’ And Joshua did so” Joshua 5:13-15.
God is Sovereign. Ultimately God is not on any man’s side. He alone is in command, and He calls us to align ourselves with Him. God does not belong to any religion, people group, community or individual.
Joshua asks, “Are you for us or for our enemies?” God responds, “Neither.” Joshua is asking the wrong question. God is the Commander. He does not exist to serve us, but rather the opposite. Even Israel, God’s chosen people, could not claim God as their private possession.
God is holy. Joshua, recognizing His Commander, falls on his face in reverence and asks, “What message do you have for me?” He probably expected an order of battle, some strategic instructions that would ensure victory when the army marched on Jericho. But God’s responds, “Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground.” The Sovereign Commander calls us to acknowledge His holiness above all.
The vast majority of Muslims watch our media productions and see Westerners as profligate, immoral, selfish, arrogant, godless infidels. We may feel hurt and misjudged, but do we live significantly differently than how our society is portrayed on screen? God calls us to live in ways that accurately reflect His holiness to a watching world.
God is universal. He is the Commander not just of one small segment of humanity, but of all Creation. He will eventually bring righteous judgment on the wicked. Those who terrorize others will meet with a holy terror, a God who will finally vindicate His people and His own exalted name. Until that day Peter reminds us, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise … He is patient . . . not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” 2 Peter 3:9. We live in an increasingly multi-cultural society. The peoples of the world are now on our doorstep, including many from people groups who have never had the opportunity to hear the Good News. Our responsibility is to reach out to them, invest time in getting to know and understand them and then introduce them to the God who is in command of our lives.
Lord, help me to care more about your Truth being known than about proving myself right to anyone else. Please give me a heart for the lost and show me how to reach out to those around me who do not know you. Please take me out of my comfort zone and bring people from other countries and people groups into my life that I might have the privilege of introducing them to you. In Jesus’ Name and for His glory I pray. Amen.
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