I indeed come now as captain of the host of the LORD. – Joshua 5:14
13 When Joshua was near the town of Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with sword in hand. Joshua went up to him and demanded, “Are you friend or foe?”
14 “Neither one,” he replied. “I am the commander of the LORD’s army.” At this, Joshua fell with his face to the ground in reverence. “I am at your command,” Joshua said. “What do you want your servant to do?”
15 The commander of the LORD’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did as he was told.
In 1966, the movie “Cast a Giant Shadow,” was released. It focused on Israel’s fight for survival as a newborn nation in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. There was tremendous disunity and lack of organization between the various and the loosely knit, paramilitary groups of Israelis who fought for Israel.
David Daniel “Mickey” Marcus, a United States Army colonel, was recruited to become modern Israel’s first general. He commanded all the diverse military units of the fledgling Israeli Defense Forces (IDF).
His role was played by Kirk Douglas. The Haganah gave him a false passport with the alias “Michael Stone.” Thus he was known as Aluf Stone. The IDF was facing insurmountable odds being outnumbered 50-1 by combined the Arab armies. The Arabs were determined to totally destroy every living Jew. The Arabs had modern military weapons: fighter aircraft, tanks, artillery, and guns. The Israelis had almost nothing. Yet Aluf Stone led the nascent IDF to victory.
The Hebrew term aluf referred to a tribal chief, captain, head, ruler, leader, in modern English general. It specifically referred to the leader, chief of a thousand.
It is derived from the Hebrew noun elep – thousand. It came to mean a leader over many, and ultimately commander-in-chief.
1 Chronicles 13:1 Then David consulted with the captains of the thousands and the hundreds, even with every leader.
In modern Hebrew, aluf literally means a “champion.” In the present day Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), the military rank of major general is aluf.
Children of the King, also have a great leader, a champion, the commander of the LORD’s army. The Lord Jesus Christ is our commander-in-chief.
Hebrews 12:2 Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.
REFLECT & PRAY
The Lord Jesus Christ is not only responsible for beginning the process, but also completing it. He gets the job done.
Father enable me to fix my eyes more completely on the Lord Jesus Christ and follow His leadership. May I continually reflect upon Him moment by moment in the same way that I instinctively breathe moment by moment.
Throughout the millennia, children of the King have lived successful lives of faith, confidence, consistency, and trust. The eleventh chapter of the book of Hebrews recalls their stories. By faiththey diligently sought to walk with Him. Many are listed by name starting with Abel and Noah and ending with David, Samuel, and the prophets (Hebrews 11:4-32). They lived and died by faith. They are the heroes of the faith from Old Testament times. Their stories are meant to inspire us to live as they lived. It as though they are watching us from above and cheering us on to victory.
Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.
The Father has entered each of His children into a race, the race of life. His goal is victory for each of us. He is cheering for us us to win! Athletic competitors running in a race mentally and if possible, visually, focus on the finish line. In the same way, we focus our attention on the Lord Jesus Christ, turning away from all distractions.
1 Corinthians 9:24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.
But how are we to do it?
The book of Hebrews outlines a strategy, a game plan for success. We are to strip off whatever slows us down or whatever trips us up. In particular, our reoccurring sins. We are then able to run with termination and endurance to win.
But there is a specific key to success. It is an open secret for all to see yet is so easily forgotten.
Hebrews 12:2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.
The Greek word translated fixing our eyes or keeping our eyes is aphorao. Aphorao literally means to look away from all else. It has the sense of looking at something without distraction or being diverted. It means “giving attention to one thing to the exclusion of all else.
We are to focus on the Lord Jesus Christ. We should be “constantly thinking about Jesus” (UBS). When our minds are not actively engaged in other activities, they automatically return to a steady-state centered in the Lord Jesus Christ.
He is our champion, our aluf. The Greek word which is translated author, pioneer, founder, leader, or initiator is archegos. Archegos has the sense of one who is a trailblazer. In the old West, he is like a scout sent on ahead. In football, he would be a blocker who prepares the way for a running back.
The strategy and game plan are simple, He leads, we follow.
But there is more.
The Greek word translated perfecter is teleiotes. Teleiotes refers to a person who brings something to completion without defect or blemish. In baseball, a closer is a relief pitcher who comes in towards the end of the game to get the final outs and achieve victory. He gets the job done.
The Lord Jesus Christ is not only responsible for beginning the process, but also completing it. He is the creator, sustainer, and finisher of faith for the children of the King. He makes faith possible; He calls us to the faith. He inspires us in the faith, and He sees to it that we complete the tasks that the Father has set for each of our lives.
1 Corinthians 15:57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!
Jeremiah 20:11 the LORD is with me like a dread champion.
The apostle John simply put it like this: The Lord Jesus Christ is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end (Revelation 21:6).