I’ve been rereading this passage where Joshua is asking the wrong question: “Are you for us or for our enemies?”

Too often we’re just like Joshua – reducing the challenges we face into “us” versus “them.”  Division is tearing us apart.

We need to stop asking the wrong question.

This scene first jumped off the page two years ago during BSF’s People of the Promised Land study.

Ever since, it’s become a filter not only for what I write and what I say, but also how I pray.

Let’s begin by recognizing the wrong question, rooted in Joshua’s poor memory of God’s faithfulness.

Joshua is near Jericho, the scene for the Israelites’ next battle, when he sees a man with a drawn sword.  {Who do I see with drawn swords? Perhaps using fighting words or fighting about words? How often is this me?}

Joshua begins by asking the wrong question: “Are you for us or for our enemies?”

Joshua’s question reveals his poor memory of God’s faithfulness: God just used Rahab, a non-Israelite, to save the spies sent into the Promised Land. God repeatedly used Israel’s enemies to rescue His chosen people.

Jesus’ example and that of the early church in Acts shows me that nearly every division defined by man can be overcome by the truth and power of the gospel.

The first apostles argued amongst themselves on a lot of issues, but they found common ground by recognizing both Jew and Gentile received the Holy Spirit.

The gospel story woven from Genesis to Revelation demonstrates how the gospel welcomes God’s enemies to become children of God.

Just as Joshua’s question reveals his humanity, the answer he receives illuminates God’s divinity.

“Neither, but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.”

God’s army doesn’t take any side but His.

Humbled by the rebuke, Joshua immediately seeks God’s guidance and is told, “the place you’re standing is holy.”

Friends, the places we find ourselves most divided right now are among the most sacred spaces: our homes, families, and churches.

We must stop.  Not next month, not next year.  Today.

We cannot afford to tear apart the relationships we need most.

For those of us who, like Joshua, know the Lord, perhaps we need to hear the rebuke: God’s army doesn’t take any side but His.

Personally, this has meant making “every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” (Eph 4:3) Less opinion and argument, more prayer and peace.

For those of you who don’t believe what I believe, I’m so sorry you’re witnessing an epic family food fight in the middle of a public restaurant.  There’s no excuse, so I’m not going to make one.

But I will share how this passage has caused me to examine my own heart and my life:

Where am I asking the wrong question because I’m too focused on me and my opinions? How can I seek God’s truth and His perspective – perhaps listening more than I speak?

What spaces or relationships feel stretched, broken, or fragile? Where has my attitude allowed bitterness, resentment, disillusionment, or despair to take root? How can I protect these spaces – likely by cultivating humility rather than clinging to pride?

The division, disdain, and distrust evident in America’s churches right now is evidence of our great need for God’s grace.

While life around me feels difficult, I am so grateful for God’s amazing grace and so very aware how much I need it.  He’s offered it to you, too.  I hope you’ll accept it and extend it to those around you.