Wednesday, December 30, 2020
READY TO LISTEN
SCRIPTURE READING: 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.
This passage comes just before the Israelites start their conquest of the Promised Land. They have crossed the Jordan and soon will attack Jericho. The commander of the army of the Lord meets with Joshua to tell him what the plans are.
However, notice that when Joshua falls facedown to the ground in reverence that he is not chastised and told to get up. Does this mean that the commander is God? Or perhaps, God Incarnate?
During the 40 years in the wilderness, the men of Israel had not been circumcised; but now they have been. The Israelites have celebrated the Passover after crossing the Jordan and have for the first time eaten a manna-less meal. Now when the angel (or was He just an angel?) told Joshua his identity, Joshua’s first question is “What is the plan?”
Joshua is not told the plan yet. Instead, he is told to get ready – to get his mind and spirit ready by taking off his shoes, “for the place where you are standing is holy.” How many times have I, have each of us, needed to pause, to wait, to be patient, and listen for God’s voice in the silence. It is not always my first response, sad to say. We have to get ready to hear God’s voice and feel God’s touch. Figuratively, we need to take off our shoes because we have entered Holy Ground. God’s voice may not come right away so we need to pray and to listen.
PRAYER: Our God, Our Father, Our Mother – In this Advent Season, guide us to the holy place to receive your instructions. Help us to wait reverently and patiently for your voice. Help us to hear and obey. Amen.