The mature bride is at the performing stage of teamwork with Jehovah Sabaoth
The children of Israel had come through the first three stages, forming (in Eyypt), storming (in the desert wilderness), norming (at the crossing of the Jordan), and are now at the threshold of taking possession of the land where it is imperative that they perform. Fear kept their ancestors out, but now, with Joshua’s leadership, they believed it would happen. But how? Would it be in their own strength or that of Jehovah Sabaoth [Lord of hosts].
After crossing the Jordan, their conquest started with the shedding of blood—by the circumcision of all males of the new generation. They also celebrated Passover, where the blood of the Lamb was swiped over their doorposts before leaving bondage in Egypt, all pointing to the blood of Jesus shed for them. On that special day when they stopped to worship and renew their covenant with God—putting first things first—the manna stopped as they ate of the produce of the land (see Joshua 5:11).
Their conquest continued as they neared Jericho surrounded with high stone walls. Joshua saw a man with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua did not know who he was because he said,
“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 5:14-15
The commander of the army of the Lord, responded to the obedience of the people and received divine adoration from Joshua, telling him he was on holy ground, and now it was like He was saying, “I will take it from here. I will bring down those walls.”
The Ark of the Covenant the priests carried across the Jordan, led the way. In fact, it was the Lord of hosts who brought them over Jordan and who will do the same for us.
How do we know it is Jehovah Sabaoth who leads the way?
After David became king, he wanted the Ark of the Covenant moved to Jerusalem where it belonged. The ark was a chest overlaid with gold with two gold cherubim on the top “atonement” cover where blood of sacrificial animals was sprinkled. The blood symbolized God’s forgiveness of sin—pointing to Jesus the Lamb of God. It was carried through the wilderness by the priests and later captured by the Philistines. David gathered thirty thousand men to bring the ark back. Samuel, now a grown man and a prophet of God, records that the ark was “called by the Name, the very name of the Lord of hosts who is enthroned above the cherubim” (2 Sam. 6:2 NASB).
The ark represented the presence of the Lord; everywhere it went the people prospered. Hebrews tells us that the temple, the Holy of Holies, all sacred items dedicated for worship, including the Ark of the Covenant, are copies of heavenly things.
For Christ did not enter a man made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself now to appear for us in God’s presence. Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own . . . Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.—Hebrews 9:24-28 (emphasis mine)
Jesus entered the Most Holy Place and sprinkled his very own blood on the ark as our High Priest and sat down at the right hand of the Father. He stepped in first, just as the Israelite priests did who carried that ark across Jordan. He is stepping in now and going before us just as He did for the children of Israel. It is His responsibility and His battle to bring us into the land, ours to follow and obey, to believe and expect the walls to come down.
Let Jehovah Sabaoth lead the way
If it is Jehovah Sabaoth’s responsibility to get us in the land and help us possess it, why did not the first generation get across? We remind ourselves it was because their hearts melted with discouragement from their brothers about the giants in the land. The devil’s purpose, as accuser of the brethren, is to steal our joy, thus, our energy needed to put faith into action. It is the joy of the Lord that is our strength (see Neh. 8:10 NASB). Without joy all resolve to fight is gone.
We may be the head goose, shielding the way for others, strength drained, feeling like we cannot flap those wings one more minute. But, we know we cannot let up in this sacred service of the Lord. It is so important and the weight of the whole world may seem to be on our shoulders, yet, the only way we will enter the land is to fall back and allow another to take the lead—Jehovah Sabaoth, the Lord of hosts.
When we do, it is like His hand moves into our glove and he works where we do not have to work; we see His hand at work all around us, signs and wonders we never saw before. He anoints our obedience; He uses our availability, not any ability we thought we may have had in the first place. And we discover our availability means we needed to be toughened by hardship in the wilderness in order to endure the battles we face in following Him, yet there is no obstacle we cannot overcome because He is our guide. We find the only easy day was yesterday as we enter unmapped territory. When we position ourselves so we can see the Lord of hosts, and get our eyes fixed on Him alone—nothing between—He imparts His intelligence and we have His mind through His Word more than we ever dreamed possible.
The Lord of hosts told Joshua to keep His Word, to do according to all the law and commandments and to not allow the Word to depart from his lips (see Joshua 1:7-8). One soldier, even Joshua, cannot fight a whole battle on his own; he must be able to trust his comrades, and he must be trustworthy. Our fight is not with flesh and blood as in the Old Testament, but with powers and evil forces of this present darkness. The only way we can fight them is to “be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might” (Eph. 6:10 NASB), and by putting on His armor and wielding the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God (see Eph. 6:16-17).
Jehovah Sabaoth [Lord of hosts] undergirds us by the wind of His Spirit
The mature military bride knows it will take the whole army to complete the mission of the Lord of hosts. Therefore, her battle is to trust Him to bring down the walls between individuals who make up all denominations in Christ’s body—the Church.
It is His orchestra, and He has given each of us in His service a trumpet—our mouth of praise speaking forth His Word—along with other instruments He has gifted us with. He knows who will fill each seat, what part they will play—and when. He has worked the impossible in transforming us from a lone eagle separated for private lessons to a member of the large team of geese. Unity will come when each has his or her eyes on the Conductor—and Him alone. He will bring that unity through our availability and beautiful music will result. What a grand concert it will be!
Thy words were found and I ate them, And thy words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart; For I have been called by Thy name, O Lord God of hosts. Jeremiah 15:16 NASB