When Joshua was by Jericho... behold a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand.
Joshua was all pumped up in readiness for the battle to capture Jericho, when the Israelites would cross the Jordan river. But what a surprise he got when all of a sudden a warrior with a drawn sword appeared in front of him! Joshua had never seen him before. Who could he be? "Is he one of our men or is he our enemy come into our camp?" Joshua wondered.
Joshua's biggest surprise came when this newly arrived soldier said to him: "I am the commander of the army of the Lord." (Joshua 5:14) What could this mean? The commander said to Joshua: "Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy. And Joshua did so." (v15) Here was one of those special visits of the eternal Son of God before he came to be born in Bethlehem. He came at that critical time to show Joshua that the battle he was going to fight was really God's battle against the evil heathenism of Jericho and the other tribes in Canaan.
The Commander of the Lord's army was going to battle against evil then, just as the Lord's army is still fighting the forces of evil in our day. Joshua too had to fight against the evil enemy he could see, just as we have to fight against evil as we see it. But Paul reminds us that there are spiritual forces of evil in the unseen world too strong for us to handle — the Lord's army fights against these. (See Ephesians 6:10-13)
Dear Lord, we need your help to fight against evil. Help us we pray. Amen.