Joshua 5 records a divine encounter that is instructive to us as the political campaign season has drawn to a close. After 40 years in the wilderness, Joshua and the people of Israel have crossed the Jordan River on dry ground and set up camp in Gilgal, just east of Jericho — the first stop in their conquest of the Promised Land. Then the following takes place:
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 approached Him and asked, “Are You for us or for our enemies?”
“Neither,” He replied. “I have now come as commander of the Lord’s army.” Then Joshua bowed with his face to the ground in worship and asked Him, “What does my Lord want to say to His servant?”
The most amazing part of this whole encounter to me is that when Joshua, the appointed leader of God’s chosen people, asked the sword-wielding man in front of him whose side He was on, He didn’t simply say, “Yours, of course. After all, I chose all of you, and you’ll be my tool to judge the Canaanites.” Instead, He said, “Neither.” In other words, “I’m not for you or for your enemies.” Once Joshua realized who was before him, he recognized that he had the question backwards. The real question was whether Joshua and the people of Israel were for the Lord — whose side were they on? After Joshua humbly affirmed his allegiance, the Lord proceeded to give precise instructions to Joshua for how He would use Israel to defeat Jericho.
As I write this, Americans across our country are still casting their votes for President of the United States. But by the time you read this, the outcome of the election should already be known. I’ve heard plenty of discussion over the past year about who God wants in the White House, but as people of faith, we must constantly check our motives and make sure we’re instead asking who is on God’s side. And, according to God’s Word, the only way to be on God’s side is through humble submission to Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord.
The people of Israel were never going to defeat anyone based on their numbers or strength. What was true for them millennia ago holds true for God’s people throughout history: our victory always comes from the Lord. And ultimately, our Savior has promised to come from the sky, not through the ballot box. Let us never forget that we will always be on the right side of history as long as we stay on God’s side.
So as you process the election results, whether you’re relieved or disheartened, I want to encourage you to “set your minds on what is above, not on what is on the earth” (Col. 3:2). As your family and neighbors look at your reaction, express how deeply you care about your country, but, more importantly, demonstrate how sincerely you trust in God’s goodness and sovereignty and how committed you are to seeking His kingdom above all others.