Those two images…
The first: a man, standing there in front of Joshua with drawn sword (Joshua 5:13) as he approached the city of Jericho. Joshua asks him, “Are you for us or for our adversaries?”
The second image, of the king of Israel, Saul. He stands near the sacrifice as it burns, and he watches the prophet approach him (1 Samuel 13). Samuel the prophet, asks the King, “What have you done?”
Isn’t this the question we all struggle with though? Is God for us or for our adversaries? In other words, is God on our side? To be completely honest, our knee jerk answer may be yes! Come on, I’m in church every Sunday, I’m giving, I’m serving, I’m actually reading my Bible! Yet are we coming at the whole thing like Saul or like Joshua?
Saul was doing what he thought necessary in order to win God’s favour and bring him on board. Saul was thinking that God was there to help him, to help Saul’s army, to serve Saul’s country and achieve Saul’s victory.
Yet the man Joshua encountered, the commander of the armies of the Lord, the man with the drawn sword ready for battle; he had some light to shed on the issue. His response to Joshua’s question was startling. “I am not on either side.”
And this is really the truth of it. God is not on our side.
So what do you do with a revelation like that? Look inside and ask, what is the quality of my kind of religion? Is it like Saul’s? Do I generally seek God for the things he can give me? Or is it more like Joshua… do I seek after God for the sake of knowing God?
Joshua’s response the man with the sword was to bow down and simply ask, what does the Lord command?
For the last week or so Rhonda and I have been trying to take this idea to heart. We spent some time thinking about the way we fill up our day and the stuff we fill it with. What I found was that I was standing in Saul’s shoes. I have been well intentioned in my spiritual activities but the only real time I was talking with God was to get him on board with helping me through my to do list. Seeking Jesus simply to know him more was something I just felt I didn’t have time for. I think the part that scared me most was that I never realized how my heart was yearning for God to say that he was on my side.
So we began to pray… regularly… The craziest thing has been happening though, I have slowly (and not consistently either) stopped demanding God get on my side. He has brought me on to his!
Like Daren said, I realized that our call is to be faithful in our submission to God. Not to attempt to put God in our debt but rather by going deep with God and going deep with people. Investing everything we are and everything we have in waking up to Jesus and inviting our neighbors into his light.
So, is God on your side? NO! but, If you’re faithful, you are on HIS.