God miraculously stopped the flow of the swollen Jordan River so the sons of Israel could cross over into the promised land. Imagine experiencing that wonder! Soon they would see battles fought with the armies of the LORD on their side.
“Now it came about when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing 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?’ And he said, ‘No, rather I indeed come now as captain of the host of the LORD.’ And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and bowed down, and said to him, ‘What has my lord to say to his servant?’ And the captain of the LORD’s host said to Joshua, ‘Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.’ And Joshua did so.” ~ Joshua 5:13-15 (NASB)
This was not just a man or an angel. This was God Himself appearing to Joshua. In Joshua 6:2, it is told to us that the LORD was speaking. But how else can we know?
When God appeared to Moses in the burning bush, He spoke similar words. “Then He said, ‘Do not come near here; remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.'” ~ Exodus 3:5 (NASB)
Joshua “fell on his face to the earth, and bowed down”. He was not admonished for his act of worship. We have several examples in the Bible when a man bowed before a man or an angel and he was corrected.
“And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped [him]. But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man.” ~ Acts 10:25-26 (KJV)
“And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See [thou do it] not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” ~ Revelation 19:10 (KJV)
“And I John saw these things, and heard [them]. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things. Then saith he unto me, See [thou do it] not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.” ~ Revelation 22:8-9 (KJV)
Please note: We are not to worship angels. Ever. Worship God only.
There are many verses throughout the Bible that refer to “the angel of the LORD”. In most cases, it is actually God Himself. Always make sure to read the Bible in context. Is the person allowed to worship? Is the angel speaking as if He is God, or does he identify himself as a messenger?
Angels were created to serve God. They minister, deliver messages, and are the warriors of heaven. We can be thankful for them, for they are constantly fighting a spiritual battle around us. But ultimately we should give the glory and thanks to God for His provision and protection. Angels are His instruments, like we also should be, fellow servants of the Most High God. But we have the added distinction of being created in His own image! (Genesis 1:27)
Back to Joshua~ God introduced Himself as the “captain of the host of the LORD”. God is the commander-in-chief of the army of heaven. We can rest in the knowledge that all of our battles belong to Him and His warriors. And no one, and no thing, can stand against Him!
“The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.” ~ Exodus 14:14 (KJV)
“Ye shall not fear them: for the LORD your God he shall fight for you.” ~ Deuteronomy 3:22 (KJV)
“For the LORD your God [is] he that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.” ~ Deuteronomy 20:4 (KJV)
“O sing unto the LORD a new song; for he hath done marvellous things: his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory.” ~ Psalm 98:1 (KJV)
“What shall we then say to these things? If God [be] for us, who [can be] against us?” ~ Romans 8:31 (KJV)