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Ther is a God - And You are Not Him

An Army sergeant tried for 25 years to quit smoking. After multiple failed attempts, he went in for his annual medical exam with an Army doctor. The physician told him that his health was being severely harmed by smoking and that he should stop. The sergeant confessed he knew he should stop and, in a tone of despair, related his multiple attempts to stop smoking over many years. The physician looked at him and said, "What are these two bars on my lapel?" The sergeant replied, "They mean you are a captain." "Yes," said the captain, "And they also mean I outrank you, and I am giving you a direct order to stop smoking."  The sergeant went home and never smoked another cigarette. He could not quit on his own, even after years of trying. But he could quit when he understood the power of a direct order from a superior officer. He was thoroughly indoctrinated by the United States Army and was not willing to violate an order.

In the fifth chapter of the book of Joshua, we are introduced to another Superior Officer who pulls rank.  When Joshua was over by Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing there with his sword drawn in his hand.  Joshua went up to him and said, “Whose side are you on—ours or our enemies’?” “Neither,” the man said.  Then the Man tells Joshua who he is—the Commander of the Army of the Lord.  Joshua knew the Lord.  He had been in conversation with him earlier.  But he had no idea that he would have a personal encounter with Him that day.

Joshua had the discernment to realize that the Commander of the Army of the Lord had come, not to supplement his military activities, but to replace him as leader.  He came to pull rank on him. The Lord came not to help, but to control. 

There’s a lesson for us here.  We must never think of our Lord merely as our co-pilot; someone who is not in charge but is available to help out when we need it.  Jesus is the Commander.  He is the Captain of the airplane.  He will accept no other role.

When you’ve been in a top leadership position, it’s not easy to be displaced in favor of another.  But Joshua’s concern was with the welfare of the nation and the conquering of Jericho—not with his own prestige.  Had he refused to submit to the new Commander, he would be left to his own resources, which were totally inadequate.  So he willingly accepted the transfer of authority to the Supreme Commander. 

Jesus doesn’t come to pull rank on you to punish you or to humiliate you.  He pulls rank on us so that we can know that there is a God—and you are not Him.