I took this photo of an old bank barn several years ago in Berks County Pennsylvania. Bank barns are common throughout Pennsylvania with the typical uneven terrain. The design allows direct access to both levels.
“This Is The Captain Speaking”
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“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 adversaries?’ He said, ‘No; rather I indeed come now as captain of the host of the Lord.’ 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 host said to Joshua, ‘Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.’ And Joshua did so” (Joshua 5:13-15).
One of the most assuring voices is “This is the Captain speaking”. We recall a flight home to Massachusetts after visiting my folks in the Kansas City area about twenty years ago. It was very windy on the landing into Chicago for the connection and the pilot was working hard to keep the plane level as we approached the landing.
However just before we should have touched down he sort of skimmed what seemed like several hundred feet over the runway and ascended again. I wondered what was going on! How reassuring when the intercom came on and we heard, “This is the captain speaking”. In a calm, confident voice he explained, “There was another plane near the runway and to be on the safe side we going around again”.
“Captain” is not an uncommon title found in the Bible. (There are 237 references in the KJV). It usually refers to a human title such as this reference concerning Potiphar, “Now Joseph had been brought down to Egypt, and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the guard, an Egyptian, had bought him from the Ishmaelites who had brought him down there” (Genesis 39:1).
In the US military the rank of captain denotes different levels of primacy depending on the service branch. In the Army and Air Force it’s a relatively lower office rank. But in the Navy it’s very high such as the captain of the ship.
In my study I found only two places in Scripture where “captain” is used to refer to God or a spiritual being. Today let’s consider the first reference which brought a reassuring word to Joshua after they had crossed the Jordan River and before he led the people of Israel into the Promised Land.
Joshua must have been greatly encouraged to hear the message from one who self-identified as “the captain of the Lord’s host” (whom many believe was the preincarnate Christ). However it might also have been an angelic being. The Israelites had just crossed the Jordan and were preparing to conquer Jericho. This special messenger brought a word of counsel and reminder (although not really what we would expect). He directed Joshua, “Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” Moses had a similar experience at the burning bush.
The Lord of hosts assigned this visit to Joshua reminding him of the power and holiness of God. That is something we all need to be reminded of. When we read these accounts in Scripture we too are reminded of the holiness and almighty power of God.
Joshua had an amazing encounter in which he met the “captain of the host of the Lord”. Bible teacher Warren Wiersbe notes that “this is the ‘battle’ title of the Lord; it speaks of His supreme command of the hosts (armies) of Israel and of heaven”. What an assurance to Joshua as he prepared to lead the people into battle. We can also have an assurance today that our “Captain” is present. He is not unmindful of our circumstances but stands ready to go before us and fight our enemies.
Our faith is not that of the deist, who maintains that God is the great clockmaker who made the clock, wound up it up, let it go and is no longer involved in the universe. Scriptures teaches otherwise with the recurring theme that God watches over us. “But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen you, and protect you from the evil one” (2 Thessalonians 3:3).
Today we want to remind you that our Captain has spoken. As we face many uncertainties in our own personal lives, that of our family, our work, church, nation or world look to the Scriptures and tune Your heart and mind to hear the Captain of the Lord’s army speak these reassuring words, “This is the Captain speaking”. His Word is eternally true and reliable, His works are undeniable. He has a message of loving assurance for each of us today and every day. Let’s be careful to listen!
Be encouraged today.
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, by sending the captain of the angelic host to visit Joshua You reinforced his role as the new Israelite leader. He obediently led the Israelites across the Jordan and was now entering enemy territory. There were many new experiences and territorial challenges that might overwhelm Joshua and the Israelites had they not been reminded that You, as Captain, were present and in charge of their future plans. We also need to be reminded that You are with us, watching over us, protecting us, and guiding us in all that we undertake. So, as we submit to Jesus, our Captain of Salvation, we must look to Your Word, lean on Your promises, and walk in accordance to that which You have commanded us. Keep us faithful in doing so. Amen.
Note: Tomorrow’s message will be based on this text: “For it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings” (Hebrews 2:10).
We surely don’t appreciate the unhealthy and addictive nature of tobacco but it sure makes for some interesting photos. Yesterday afternoon, returning from our chaplain duties in Lebanon County, we came up behind this load near our home as a truck pulling two wagons hauling tobacco drove through the Amtrak underpass.
After pastoring for twenty-five years we moved from New England to Lancaster County in early 2001 to begin our corporate chaplaincy ministry. Since that time we’ve had four pastors and appreciate the input each gave to us and have sought to be receptive, even as we desire that from others when we’re leading in ministry. Our first three pastors were our peers in age (or close).
However, as is the case for all who live long enough, there comes a time when your pastor will be younger than you. Our present pastor, Beau Eckert, is about twenty years younger than us but we are appreciating his solid exposition of God’s Word. Sunday’s message especially touched us and he concluded with a moving prayer. The church places the service up on YouTube if you care to watch.
“Never Once” This past Sunday our choir led out in this beautiful song. Its text and tune have really stayed with us over the past week. If you want a reminder of God’s faithfulness listen to these lyrics, especially the words, “You are faithful, God, You are faithful.”
Closing remarks I place this up for those who may have limited time but want to hear the part of the message that especially touched our hearts.