Do you ever get frustrated when someone doesn’t answer a simple question?
Instead of an easy answer, rabbit trails and unneeded facts that do not even pertain to the original question is the response. Along with that comes embarrassing, cringing TMI (too much information) of details of things that . . . let’s just say needs to forever remain unmentioned —or worse yet, the one word answer does not make sense.
While we are patiently listening to this person respond we are being led captive into a sometime long dissertation, we endure each word and phrase, waiting for the correct reply, and we are thinking, … “What does THIS have to do with the question I asked?”
“Just answer the question!” we might want to scream, especially if we are in a hurry, but we politely nod, as if we are paying attention and continue to wait, hoping to get the prize at the end … the answer to the question. Or we might be left puzzled at the one word answer.
We are all a little guilty
What makes us bypass a clear directive in communication and share unneeded information? Are we really that needy? Apparently we are. How is it that two people can use the same language, precise level of volume, speak clearly and enunciate perfectly, yet confusion is the outcome and inefficiency of comprehension is the end result? In other words there is more confusion after that encounter than when the question was originally asked.
Such is so with humans, however with God and heavenly creatures representing God, answering a simple question becomes a unique situation. It is different, distinct, higher and holy.
In Joshua, one of the historical Old Testament books, we see the migration of the Jewish people from the great journey from Egypt to the promise land of which God has spoken to them years earlier. Moses was the forerunner that led the people most of the way and now Joshua, who was trained as Moses’ assistant, will take the reins, carrying that mantle of holy responsibility.
Joshua, whose name means “Yahweh is Salvation,” was the hand-chosen leader that God picked to complete the trek. The main task was to lead the Israelites into the final leg of the race into the promise land.
When Joshua is commission in this position, God has encouraged him with great confidence, saying four times in chapter one alone, “Be strong and courageous.”
After being accepted by the Israeli people, Joshua begins to strategize militarily for the next move for freedom in the new Promised Land. Commanding the tribes of west and east of the Jordan with the faith of Rahab and the spies, he miraculously leads his people crossing the Jordan into the Promised Land.
The big question
“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 enemies?’”
I often wondered what Joshua was thinking at this point. First of all he is one brave soul, to approach a man with his hand on his sword ready to draw it and the text says that Joshua went to him (no mention of Joshua having a weapon) and asked a question instead.
He just led the people from Acacia Grove to the miraculous crossing of the Jordan. The people were in the mindset of the military format of conquering, then a celebratory mindset of their victory achievements with the observance of Passover and other foods provided by God.
Perhaps Joshua was thinking, “Just answer the question oh mysterious one that appeared out of nowhere. Who are you and what do you have to do with my people, our plans and me? And by the way, why are you here approaching my camp at this particular time when the Israelite men are at their weakest state having been circumcised now physically unable to fight? And what would be your motive to come into our camp while we are in the middle of partying, giving great glory to God because He keeps His promise to His people? My people are too full of wine, food and lightheartedness to transition back into a place of military preparedness for battle. Who are you to come in my camp drawing a sword?”
The response of this stranger … this holy warrior representing God, was this, “He said, ‘No; rather I indeed come now as captain of the Lord’s army.’”
So the answer to a question that gives two choices, “Are you on our side or our enemies’ side?” Comes an answer that doesn’t seem to make sense at all. When humans are confined to either one way or another when it comes to our reasoning, you can easily see with the Lord that He is higher than a possible two-answer response to a human question.
Joshua, by the way, got it. The mysterious warrior, who had drawn his sword, wasn’t for them or their enemies; he was representing God. God is his master and God had appointed him captain of His army.
“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?’ The captain of the Lord’s now said to Joshua, ‘Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.’ And Joshua did so.”
When humans are confined to either one way or another when it comes to our reasoning, you can easily see with the Lord that He is higher than a possible two-answer response to a human question.
God in His holiness, righteousness and omnipotence challenges and invites us to see things from His perspective.
His thoughts are higher.
He is higher than a two-answer question.
He is greater than our enemies or us.
There is a higher priority than what a human brain can fathom.
There is a holy priority that reflects the heart of God and His great priority and purpose.
Do you have any questions for God?
Ask Him, and then be ready for a holy response that may not be what you expected. Rest assured that He will answer your questions directly, honestly and holy according to His pure righteous character. So ask Him and He will be faithful to answer. He will answer your questions through His word, the Holy Bible.
Scripture reference: Joshua 5:13-15
About the author
Simone Lake is a pastor’s wife and full-time minister, serving in various areas. Her primary areas include Bible teacher and conference speaker (both in the U.S. and internationally). In addition, she writes devotional articles in several publications, is a short-term missionary, author, prayer leader, Bible mentor and chaplain. She holds a master’s degree in Theological Studies (MTS) and attends Church on Randall Place where she serves in various capacities alongside her pastor husband.
Simone and her husband enjoy outdoor activities such as kayaking, hiking the Grand Canyon, mountain bike riding and walking their Border collie dog, Scout.
For more information, visit www.simonelake.com, http://www.simonelake.blogspot.com or www.facebook.com/SimoneLake.