There was no day like that before it or after it, when the LORD listened to the voice of a man; for the LORD fought for Israel. Joshua captured all these kings and their lands at one time, because the LORD, the God of Israel, fought for Israel. (Joshua 10.14, 42)
Joshua went virtually undefeated against Palestinian opponents. His one loss was at Ai where Achan threw the game with his selfish shenanigans (Josh 8). After erasing all of traces of Achan from history that loss was quickly avenged in a rematch.
As Joshua advanced virtually untested through the land he was quick to attribute any and all success to God. Sure, it was Hebrew hands that wielded swords, Hebrew hands that gripped shields, Hebrew feet that marched forward, Hebrew minds that strategized attacks. But, it was God who fought.
Attribution, however, is an afterthought. Joshua not only attributed success, but expected it from his God—that’s forethought. It’s easy to look back and say as we limp back to base, “Whew! That was a close one. I’m sure glad God saw me through.” It’s more difficult to say as we march on enemy lines, “Charge! God will prosper us!” We hear God say, “Do not fear or be dismayed, tomorrow will be the same as today. I will fight for you.” So we clean our swords of yesterday’s blood, shine our shields from yesterday’s flaming arrows, and re-lace our boots after yesterday’s trek. God fought for us yesterday and will do so again today.
We melancholics of the world cower from our sin. We reek of Achan’s ashes, assuming he still haunts the barracks. Therefore, we peek, sneak and leak our way through what we think is the battlefield, but it’s merely the confines of a prison camp. Yet, as surely as Joshua left a stone-pile diary of Achan God has done away with our sin in Christ. I need not sneak through this day hoping sin will not find me. I find it. When I do I brandish my glory-polished sword and thrust it through with God-given pride (cf. Rom 8.13). Sanctification is not the process of licking wounds. Jesus already bled to death by our wounds and by them are we healed, not defeated.
I was impressed by a certain Morning Collect, which I’ve adapted for militant grace: “O Lord, our heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who has safely brought us to the beginning of this day; Defend us in the same with your mighty power; and grant that this day we fall by no sin, neither be conquered any kind of danger; but that all our doings may be ordered by your governance, to do always what is righteous in your sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”
Is that Reveille I hear?