Joshua 5:1 tells us that after the nation of Israel crossed the Jordan, the Kings of the land heard about the waters of the Jordan drying up until Israel crossed over and “their heart melted; and there was no spirit in them any longer because of the children of Israel.” When your enemies see that you truly trust in God, that He is with you, and that you are willing to obey faithfully, the victory will be yours because the battle belongs to God. Remember, If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)
Joshua and Israel must continue to be faithful. In Joshua 5:2-8 we see the circumcision of Israel at Gilgal. There was no obedience to the law while Israel was in the wilderness, but to proceed Israel must uphold their portion of the covenant. The older unfaithful generation who did not obey God and take possession of the promised land have passed away. If this new generation is to replace the unbelieving generation, they must step out in faithful obedience and identifying themselves as God’s people. This is a picture of turning from the flesh to die to self and live for God.
Circumcising the entire fighting force in enemy land was a great act of obedience and faith. Recall how Genesis 34:24-25 describes Simeon and Levi killing Hamor, Shechem and all the men in their city after tricking them into getting circumcised and attacking them when they were in pain and unable to fight. Why would God incapacitate the army of Israel for several days? It is a test of faith that God will protect them for their obedience. Israel did as God commanded because they trusted God, and His directions, instead of their own wisdom. God had just shown his power and authority in the crossing of the Jordan, and they know they must be obedient, even if it looked unreasonable to them.
As a result of their obedience, God tells Joshua, "This day I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you." They will finally stop wanting to go back into slavery in Egypt because of their faith, trust and obedience to God.
In Joshua 5:10-11 the Passover is celebrated on the plains of Jericho. The celebration of the sacrificial lamb that represents Jesus Christ is a clear picture of who has shepherded them into this new land. The next day the nation eats the produce of the land. Manna ends and they eat the solid food of the land, as we are to grow to eat the solid food of God’s word in our new life.
In Joshua 5:13-15 Joshua meets with the Commander of the army of the LORD; the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ. Joshua personally approaches this mysterious Man who has a drawn sword. Joshua asks Man: “Are you for us or for our adversaries?” The response is "No”, which does not seem to fit the question. The Man then announces who He is: Commander of the army of the LORD. (Therefore, the question is not whether He is on your side, but whether you are on His side.) Joshua falls down and worships Him, knowing that this is God. Joshua refers to the angel as “my LORD”. In addition, he is commanded to remove his sandals as was Moses in the presence of God at the burning bush.
Jesus appearing before the human birth in Bethlehem is throughout the Old Testament. He has been and ever shall be, and the entire Bible is about him, so it is not odd that we should find him here, in a book all about entering the faithful Christian life. Once you step in and act in faith, you may just come face to face with Him. He will give direction on how to overcome the enemy that looks unconquerable. He does this for us to this day by His Word.