“As Commander of the Army
of the Lord
I Have Now Come”
Like so many of us in these days, I have been praying very much for our nation’s political situation. As I’ve prayed, however, I’ve been reminded that the purpose of prayer is not for us to try to force our will upon God, but for God to impress His will upon us. The Lord Himself, by His own example in the most difficult prayer ever prayed, gave us this principle when He told the Father, “Not My will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42)
This in turn reminded me of a pamphlet by Watchman Nee that has always convicted me, “Worshipping the Ways of God.” In this pamphlet he states that only when we meet God, by His revelation, can we truly bow before Him. He then says, however, that as Christians we must not only know God Himself; we must also learn the ways of God. And to learn God’s ways requires us to be subject to Him.
Brother Nee then goes on to give several examples of people in the Scriptures who learned to worship God, not only for who He is in Himself, but for His way of dealing with them. For example, he recounts the story of Hannah, who worshipped God as she offered her son Samuel to the Lord (1 Sam. 1:28).
What I was especially considering, however, was the example of Joshua, and how the Lord appeared to him outside the city of Jericho. Joshua looked up and saw a man standing before him “with a sword drawn in His hand.” When Joshua approached and asked Him, “Are You for us or for our adversaries?,” the Lord replied
“No, but as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.”
— Joshua 5:14
When Joshua heard this, he fell on his face and worshipped. I appreciate so much Brother Nee’s comments on this incident:
The question here is not one of receiving help, but of accepting leadership. [The Lord] has not come to offer assistance, but to demand subjection….
God does not stand in the midst of the conflict giving a little help here or there. He is in command of the forces, and He requires our submission. In the face of so many foes, for God to help us would not answer the need. But for us to submit to Him will solve the whole problem.
The issue is one of submission to His leadership. When He is in command, all is well. The trouble today among God’s children is that so many of us want everything to circle around us and everything to serve our interests. God will not have it so. When the question of capitulation to Him is settled, all other questions vanish. You do not know God if you think He can occupy a subordinate position in the battle. It is His place to lead; it is your place to submit. When you are in your right place under His command you will know what it means to worship, and you will know what it means to have the drawn sword wielded on your behalf.
May the Lord gain so many of us in these days who truly submit to Him as our Commander, that He may then lead us in the battle!
When we come to the New Testament we see how this applied in the experience of the early church. Luke tells us that the Lord was:
…Taken up, after He had given commandments to the Apostles whom He had chosen.
— Acts 1:2
Why did the Lord “give commandments” to the first disciples? Because, very simply, they were a group of believers who truly were under His command!
In fact, every time the Lord’s work begins anew, it is because the Lord has found such ones, that is, a group of saints who are willing to live their lives under His authority. And if that is true of us, then it will soon be said in our time, just as it was of the early disciples:
…These people have turned the world upside down!
— Acts 17:6