"Once when Joshua was by Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing before him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went to him and said to him, "Are you one of us, or one of our adversaries?" He replied, "Neither, but as commander of the army of the LORD I have now come." And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and he said to him, "What do you command your servant, my lord?" The commander of the army of the LORD said to Joshua, "Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you stand is holy." And Joshua did so." (Joshua 5:13-15).
Thinking about the ruthless attacks of the Russian soldiers of fortune in Ukraine and the even more devastating destruction of Mosul and all it stands for in terms of the survival of Christianity in the Middle East, Joshua's vision came to mind, the encouragement he received as he prepared to lay siege to Jericho and begin the conquest of the Land promised to Israel by God. As convinced as I am, that if it be His Will, God will save the Christian presence in its cradle lands even without a 3rd millennium edition of the Crusades, I would not be adverse to hearing news that "The commander of the army of the LORD" had made his appearance. Maybe it is enough to say that there is something terribly wrong about the world standing idly by to the tune of another genocide. You might say that I keep waiting for another parting of the waves.
Preach against this so called caliphate or against Putin's horde I cannot nor will I. Somehow announcing that trust in the LORD is our salvation seems just too enigmatic. Nonetheless, I would be wrong if I did not confess all the marvels I have witnessed over the last months in Ukraine. I can wish that others would share in my hope for victory over oppression. I suspect that we owe more to the LORD of all, that our worship cannot match Joshua's, that we are not prompt enough in obeying His command to remove our shoes in His Presence.
Lest it all sound too Old Testament, too warrior-like, let me close by confessing faith in the Blood of Christ's Cross, sufficient once and for all to save us from sin and everlasting death. Let us all take refuge in the Saviour's outstretched arms, for indeed His mercy will not fail us.
PROPERANTES ADVENTUM DIEI DEI
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