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Seeds of the Kingdom

Whose Side Are You On?

by Philip Asselin

14 October 2014

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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`
Joshua 5:13-14a

Joshua had led the children of Israel across the river Jordan as God parted the waves of the river in full flood. He had taken over from Moses as God’s chosen leader, and tomorrow he was to lead them into battle against the heavily fortified city of Jericho. As I read Joshua 5 I see Joshua unable to sleep, restless, concerned. He knew in his heart that God had promised victory, but in his mind he was weighing up the possibilities of success and failure. These are the inevitable ‘what if’ scenarios that cause us to lose sleep if we take our focus off God.

So we find Joshua outside his tent, late at night on the eve of battle. As he walks around the camp of sleeping men and women he encounters a striking figure, standing ready for battle with sword drawn. Joshua didn’t run, or call for help, or even try to fight. He finds himself approaching this person with a single question. He asks, "whose side are you on?" (desperately hoping he is on the side of Israel!). The man`s response is a disarming one. He states that he`s on God`s side.

I find myself challenged by those words. So often I want God to do what I want Him to do, to be on my side in every situation I`m faced with. It`s about getting God to rubber stamp my plans, to follow my ideas. Joshua saw things in stark terms – if you`re not for us you have to be against us. But God is showing Joshua that He`s looking at things the wrong way round. It has to be whether we`re on God`s side, following His plans or not. The man was declaring that God was going to do what He planned to do, and Joshua and the children of Israel had to choose to be on that side or not.

So, today I need to realign my plans, hopes and aspirations. I need to turn away from trying to get God on my side and being concerned if He isn`t or doesn`t seem to be. I need to start saying, ‘Lord I want to be on Your side in whatever situation I am facing`. I need to realise it`s not about me. It`s always about Him.

Prayer: Dear Lord, please forgive me for often trying to get You on my side; in work situations, church situations, relationships, problems and in my hopes and plans. Please show me what You`re wanting to do in every situation, and then help me, by Your Holy Spirit, to align myself that way. In doing so I know I`ll be taking Your side, and can rest in the knowledge that it`s the safest place to be. Amen.

Philip Asselin Philip is on the associate ministry and teaching teams at Glyndley Manor. He, and his wife Gillian, attended the second Healing Retreat at Glyndley Manor in 1992, and were greatly helped. They have two grown-up children, a daughter living locally and a son in California. They have two young grandchildren and one step-granddaughter. Their desire is to see people set free to serve God.

 

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