In Joshua 5, Israel prepared to go to battle against Jericho. God instructed Joshua to circumcise the new generation, before they entered into the promised land. “And the Lord said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” And so the name of that place is called Gilgal to this day” (Joshua 5:9). When Joshua was by Jericho, he saw a man with a sword drawn and he questioned the man. “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” The angel told Joshua that he was the commander of the army of the Lord. While Joshua commanded the physical army, the angel commanded the invisible army of angels.
The instructions given to Joshua was to march around Jericho in silence, for seven days. On the seventh day, the Priests blew the ram’s horn, the trumpet and then shouted unto God. Once the people did as God instructed, the walls of Jericho fell flat so that they went in and took the city. The city and all that was in it was devoted to the Lord for destruction. It was not the shout from the people which caused the walls to fall, but the commander of the Lord’s army of angels, manifested the power of God, to give his people victory.
We also saw the army of the Lord surrounding Elisha, when the King of Syria sent a great army with chariots to arrest him. We are not told that the angels went into action, but that Elisha prayed and the soldiers were struck with blindness. He led them into Samaria and then prayed for the Lord to open their eyes. Elisha did not allow the King to strike them down, but fed them and then let them go. This served as a warning as the Syrians never came back to bother Isreal again (2 Kings 6). Later in 2 Kings 18 and 19, the King of Assyria came up against Isreal when Hezekiah was king. He sought the Lord and was reassured by the prophet Isaiah about the Lord’s help.
“And that night the angel of the Lord went out and struck down 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians. And when people arose early in the morning, behold, these were all dead bodies” (2 Kings 19:35). That must have been a sight for Isreal to see so many dead bodies. Imagine that these 185,000 men were killed by one angel of the Lord. The Lord is a mighty man of war and a mighty God of battle. He comes to the defence of his children and we do not have to fight when we put our trust in God. It’s tempting to try to fight our battles in our own strength and to try to defend ourselves against attacks. We can save our strength, while we worship God in prayer and watch him fight for us.
“Who is this King of glory? The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord, mighty in battle” (Psalm 24:8)!