Worship is Submission to God

Joshua 5:13-15
We join God; God does not join us.
God is the Victor
We Submit to God
God is the Victor

Joshua 5:13-14a, NKJV
And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and
looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand.
And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, “Are You for us or for our adversaries?”
So He said, “No, but as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now

And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped…”
The three things that are important in the selling of property are location, location,
and location. Where a property is located dictates the amount of money that is going to be
charged for it around the world. Location is important in expounding on the passage of
Scripture since where Joshua was at the time spiritually and physically is as crucial as
what was said and done between him and the Commander of the Lord’s army. It was
“…when Joshua was by Jericho…” that he saw the Man standing opposite him.

The Israelites had crossed the Jordan as God had commanded them and were now
in the Promised Land God had given to them (Joshua 3:1-17). As the leader, Joshua
separated himself from the camp and went to survey the city God called them to conquer
first in their conquest of the Promised Land. The challenges they faced were greater than
the physical skills and resources they had as a nation. They were a nomadic nation for
the last several years and slaves in Egypt over the last several hundred years before that.
Now they were going to face the greatest challenge since leaving Egypt.
Joshua knew better than anyone what God set before them was greater than they
could ever hope to achieve. His time alone was not of strategizing but more likely seeking
how God was going to accomplish such an impossible thing. Joshua was not back in the
camp ignoring the reality of what awaited them in the coming days; he took time to
separate himself out to be alone with God. Joshua knew the promises of God when it
came to the fight they were about to engage in and sought to understand what God was
calling them to do.

God had informed the people after giving them the law on Mt. Sinai about the
conquering of the Promised Land and it would be done by the Lord and not in the
strength of the people. God proclaimed:

27 “I will send My fear before you, I will cause confusion among all the
people to whom you come, and will make all your enemies turn their backs to
28 And I will send hornets before you, which shall drive out the Hivite,
the Canaanite, and the Hittite from before you.
29 I will not drive them out
from before you in one year, lest the land become desolate and the beasts of
the field become too numerous for you.
30 Little by little I will drive them out
from before you, until you have increased, and you inherit the land.
31 And I will set your bounds from the Red Sea to the sea, Philistia, and from the
desert to the River. For I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your
hand, and you shall drive them out before you. (Exodus 23:27-31, NKJV)

The Lord caused the people of Canaan to have fear of His people when they were in
human terms nothing more than nomadic slaves who escaped their slavery in Egypt.
There was no real reason for anyone to be afraid of them, especially a great walled city
such as Jericho. The people of Jericho were not so much afraid of the people, but the God
of the people of Israel who was among them. It was the fear of God the people of Canaan
felt. The creation around them turned against the people of Canaan as the hornet was
directed by God to drive the people from the land.

Joshua understood the true victory was going to belong to the Lord which is why he
was seeking the direction of God as he stood by the city of Jericho. He was coming before
the Lord in prayer. It is recorded that “…he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold a Man
stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand”. His location was being alone with
God in private; his posture was bowing before God who was going to supply the victory to
them against Jericho and the entire land of Canaan.

Being alone in solitude is good, but it is important that it is God’s direction that is
sought in those secluded times. Courage, strength, determination, and endurance are all
good things that people need to endure this life. These things are limited and fleeting if
they come from within the person or motivation by some goal. It is only when courage is
in the faithfulness of God’s promises that it is able to see a person through any challenge
they encounter. Strength is nothing if a person is empowered by anything other than
God’s Spirit within them. Determination and endurance are weak and helpless to aid the
one in need if they are working against or outside of the will of God.

Time must be taken to know the will of God and make sure that His will is the
center where everything else in life receives its meaning and purpose from. There is no
victory over sin, death, and the grave without God having provided the means of
salvation and reconciliation through Christ. Hebrews 10:19-25 records,
19 Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of
20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the
veil, that is, His flesh,
21 and having a High Priest over the house of God,
22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our
hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure
23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He
who promised is faithful.
24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up
love and good works,
25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as
is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as
you see the Day approaching” (NKJV).
There is no guarantee or hope of our salvation without the Spirit of God indwelling
the hearts of His people as assurance of their confession of Christ as Lord. Apostle Paul
explained it like this,
9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of
God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not
10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is
life because of righteousness.
11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus
from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also
give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. (Romans
8:9-11, NKJV)
5 Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test
yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless
indeed you are disqualified.
6 But I trust that you will know that we are not
disqualified. (2 Corinthians 13:5-6, NKJV).

The praise for any success that is realized in life belongs to God. The Lord
establishes every nation and allows them to see greatness to serve His purposes because
He is sovereign over all powers. Even the evil nations of the world unwittingly do the will
of God in His timing and they are crushed when they do not glorify Him. The greatest
example of this in Scripture is King Melchizedek and King Nebuchadnezzar.
King Melchizedek was the priest-king over Salem which would later be called
Jerusalem during the time Abram rescued Lot and his family. Melchizedek was a priest of
God Most High before the Lord had ordained the priesthood of Aaron and his sons
(Genesis 14:18-20). This king is referred in the inspired writing of Hebrews as a
forerunner of Jesus the Christ who was from the tribe of Judah which was not associated
with the priestly family of Aaron (Hebrews 7:14-17). God had raised up a priestly king
before He established His nation through the descendants of Abram. Melchizedek’s
leadership was established by God and he honored and worshiped God even though he is
merely mentioned as intersecting with the plan of God’s salvation for the world through
Christ who would come into the world by the off spring of Abram.

God had also established King Nebuchadnezzar who did not give God glory nor
worship Him because of the power the Lord granted him and the nation he ruled over.
The Lord made it clear to Nebuchadnezzar that He was sovereign over all kingdoms no
matter how powerful they appeared to be in mankind’s estimation. Nebuchadnezzar was
warned to give God glory but when he refused the Lord said to him,
31 …“King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: the kingdom has departed
from you!
32 And they shall drive you from men, and your dwelling shall be
with the beasts of the field. They shall make you eat grass like oxen; and
seven times shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules in
the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses.” (Daniel 4:31-32,

God’s Word makes it clear that He is the Victor. Joshua and the people were
helpless before the Canaanite’s who lived in the land. The people of God could never
conquer the Promised Land if they attempted to do it in their own strength. This was
painfully proven to them when they attempted to go up against the city of Ai due to
Achan’s sin in Jericho (Joshua 7:1-26). Jesus also made it just as clear that no one can do
anything for the kingdom of God apart from Him (John 15:5).

The notion of God being on anyone’s side is completely against the teaching of
God’s Word. The Lord is the side people must choose to be part of because God does not
choose sides; God comes to win the victory over all His enemies and the enemies of His
people. This is exactly how the Angel of the Lord’s army replied to Joshua’s question of
who’s side He was on the way He did, “…as Commander of the army of the Lord I have
now come.” The victory is always God’s and never ours. As His creation it is crucial that
we submit to Him. It is we who must join the Lord in submission which is the act of
worship before God.

We Submit to God

Joshua 5:14b-15, NKJV
…and said to Him, “What does my Lord say to His servant?”
Then the Commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua, “Take your sandal
off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.” And Joshua did so.
Obedience is simply compliance but it is one of the most difficult things people do
in their lives. This is especially true when what is to be submitted to is contrary to what a
person desires to do. Here we see that Joshua fell down in worship before the
Commander of the Lord’s army in submission. The authenticity of his worship was
confirmed in two things: (1) Joshua sought the will of His Lord, and (2) Joshua did as he
was commanded.

Worship as submission is revealed in action. The words of worship spoken with
praise, adoration, and even confession are only words unless they are followed up by
action. Joshua’s bowed posture would have only been an appearance of worship if there
was no action taken in confirmation of the gesture of worship. This is something that the
people of Israel and Judah were convicted of doing before God throughout the centuries.
Unfortunately, those of the church have been just as guilty of paying lip service to God
instead of genuinely worshiping Him in spirit and truth as He has called us to do through
Christ Jesus (John 4:21-24). Two of the greatest examples of this are found and recorded
in the inspired writings of the Prophet Isaiah and the Prophet Malachi.

The Lord addresses the people’s failure to worship Him from their hearts and only
appeared to worship Him in their life during His times of conviction about how they
conducted themselves when they practiced fasting. Isaiah 29:11-13 records God’s
conviction of His people giving the appearance of worship without genuine action to
support their outward claims,

11 The whole vision has become to you like the words of a book that is sealed,
which men deliver to one who is literate, saying, “Read this, please.”
And he says, “I cannot, for it is sealed.”
12 Then the book is delivered to one who is illiterate, saying, “Read this,
And he says, “I am not literate.”
13 Therefore the Lord said:
“Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths
And honor Me with their lips,
But have removed their hearts far from Me,
And their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men, (NKJV)

The people were honoring God with their words but their lifestyles and attitudes of
their hearts did not match what they said. They were being taught to fear God by those
who did not fear God themselves. That is what God meant when He said, “…their fear
toward Me is taught by the command of men”. The priesthood and the office of prophet of
God had become corrupted by those who did not know God and refused to submit to His
will over their own.

Malachi was inspired to record God’s accusations of His people in this way,
13 “Your words have been harsh against Me,”
Says the Lord,
“Yet you say,
‘What have we spoken against You?’
14 You have said,
‘It is useless to serve God;
What profit is it that we have kept His ordinance,
And that we have walked as mourners
Before the Lord of hosts?
15 So now we call the proud blessed,
For those who do wickedness are raised up;
They even tempt God and go free.’ ”
16 Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another,
And the Lord listened and heard them;
So a book of remembrance was written before Him
For those who fear the Lord
And who meditate on His name.
17 “They shall be Mine,” says the Lord of hosts,
“On the day that I make them My jewels.
And I will spare them
As a man spares his own son who serves him.”
18 Then you shall again discern
Between the righteous and the wicked,
Between one who serves God
And one who does not serve Him. (Malachi 3:13-18, NKJV)

The people went through the motions of worship but only outwardly. They spoke
great things about the majesty of God, but sought the help of other nations for protection
and the assistance of false gods for guidance to satisfy their fleshly desires. The one who
worships God must submit to His commands and authority over their life in every area.
There is no compartmentalizing in the life of God’s children. Everything about them must
be sanctified before the Father so that in everything God’s Spirit has complete supremacy
over all they do, say, and think.

Joshua seeking to know what the Lord wanted of him declared he was not the one
leading the way, but it was the Commander of the Lord’s army. This is Christ appearing
in history before the Incarnation. The request of Joshua was the first thing Moses was
told when He encountered the living God in the wilderness at the burning bush (Exodus
3:1-5). It is customary in many cultures to remove the shoes before entering into
someone’s home as a sign of respect like it used to be in America of removing hats when
coming inside a home. Joshua and Moses were both outside when they were commanded
to remove their shoes because they were in the Divine Presence.
The sign of respect for God’s presence in the life of His children is genuinely
worshiping the Lord in submission to His commands. Joshua asked what it was the Lord
wanted of Him. The Commander of the Lord’s army was clear in instructing Joshua to
remove his sandals because the ground was holy. The holiness was due to God’s presence
and had nothing to do with the physical land where he stood.

As children of God we take nothing off to show our worship and acknowledgement
of God’s presence but seek His will and do what He desires. Joshua obeyed without
hesitation which is also the way the children of God ought to obey the Spirit of God
within their hearts. When God lays upon our hearts to speak, the servant of God as an
act of worship must speak whatever they are given to say. When God instructs a person
to hold their tongue, the servant of God as an act of worship should hold their tongue.
The perfect illustration of continual worship of God in all things is the life of Christ.

Jesus said,
19 Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you,
the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for
whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. (John 5:19, NKJV)
The lifestyle of obedience and worship of Christ is the same the children of God
should have in their life. The perfection of Christ will be certainly beyond reach for even
the regenerated heart will still struggle with sin as long as they live in this world.
Submission to God makes everything an act of worship to Him when the child of God
complies with the will of the Father in all decisions. This is why everything can be and
should be an act of worship for the children of God.

This submission to God in all things can seem overwhelming at first. It makes it
easier when we remember that Jesus made the entire law of God easy to understand in
statements like, “…whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the
Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12, NKJV) and the Apostle Paul summarizes God’s
law in this way, “Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves
another has fulfilled the law” (Romans 13:8, NKJV). This applies to personal and
business dealings with people, relationships between family, friends, and strangers, and
gives guidance in all decisions whether great or small.

God desires us to worship Him in this manner. Worship is submission to God.
Worship is words, attitudes, and actions all speaking in agreement that God alone is
sovereign. Worship also helps us to deal with feelings of hurt, bitterness, sorrow, joy,
happiness, anger, and every other emotion mankind is capable of experiencing in order to
express them in a God honoring way.

Let it be clearly known that God is worshiped in these lives He has redeemed by
the blood of His Son, Jesus. Let us worship the Lord through the submission of our
schedules, emotions, words, actions, and thoughts so all that is done is a testimony to
Him and demonstration of worship of God.

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