(Joshua Chapter 10)
Have you ever felt like the odds were stacked against you? That whatever it was you were attempting to do seemed more likely to fail than succeed? But at the same time...you knew that it was something you were supposed to do?
Let's look at a moment when Joshua was staring this feeling in the face, and how his response can be an encouragement to us, today.
No sooner than things seemed to be settling down a bit, Joshua received some news. 5 kings decided they were going to combine their forces and come after the people of Gibeon. (The Gibeonites were the people that had become the "woodcutters & water carriers" for the Israelites) As you might imagine, the people of Gibeon freaked out. They ran to Joshua and begged him for help. And in typical Joshua fashion, here was his response...
"Don't give them a second thought. I've put them under your thumb - not one of them will stand up to you."
Uhhh...easier to say chill, than feel it. At least that's what I imagine the Gibeonites reaction must have been. And then Joshua does something that might be easy to gloss over, but is a must that we pick up on.
"Joshua marched all night from Gilgal and took them by total surprise."
(Bold and italics mine)
Just because Joshua displayed confidence through his words, didn't mean he would stop walking in obedience with his feet.
There was work to be done, so that they could experience the promise they'd been given. And the reality is, the numbers weren't exactly in the Israelites favor. 5 kings, remember? All of their soldiers...ganging up on Gibeon and the Israelites.
Watch what happens once Joshua forges ahead despite the odds.
"God threw them into total confusion before Israel, a major victory at Gibeon...As they ran from the people of Israel...God pitched huge stones on them out of the sky and many died. More died from hailstones than the People of Israel killed with the sword."
Think about that for a moment.
Their victory had very little to do with their combat skills.
Their victory was the result of...you might say...a Hail Mary!
Let's bring this into what we are dealing with. Today's terms.
We have no problem lobbing up the Hail Mary prayer. BUT...we often, if we are truly being honest, proceed to sit and wait for the answer. I think we need to learn from the Israelites here. We need to "march all night". We need to go to the front lines, and trust that God will act on our behalf.
God didn't throw the hail stones until the Israelites showed up for work.
God isn't going to step in and act on our behalf either, until we show up for whatever it is He has called us to do.
Show up and ask for forgiveness.
Show up and spend time with our kids.
Show up and put in extra hours at work.
Show up and put in the work at the gym.
Show up and serve someone before we keep for ourselves.
Show up and...
When Joshua shows up he receives more than just hail stones, too. As he's continuing on, he realizes that the promise God made to him looks unlikely to happen. And the reason might seem simple. God's reaction is anything but.
Joshua and the Israelites were running out of daylight. (simple) So Joshua asks God to literally stop the sun and the moon. (not so simple) A simple man like Joshua challenges the God of the universe to do something never done before, and that has never been repeated, so that he could complete the task.
And God did it.
He stopped the sun.
He stopped the moon.
The day stood still.
The night stood still.
Joshua finished the work.
It was over.
How do hail stones and a hail mary prayer translate to our world, today?
When I was studying this part of the story, something jumped out to me. I think it's the reason we don't experience "hail stones" in our life.
We spend so much time fighting with one another, that we don't have the energy/focus left to hear from God about what he wants to fight for us on.
Let that really sink in.
Can you imagine if Joshua had spent time arguing with the Israelites about what God said/didn't say, instead of just acting? What if Joshua had stood there and told God that he was wrong? Or what if Joshua looked at his circumstances, and instead of trusting in what God had instructed, decided to deal with the situation how he saw fit?
In the simplest of terms, it's this...
We do 3 things...
We fight with one another.
We fight with God.
We fight off our circumstances.
Instead of this 1 thing...
Experience God fight FOR US.
The odds that are stacked against us today aren't insurmountable. But the way over them, through him, or around them will only be found in God dealing with them. The reason it feels like our efforts will fail is that, well...on our own, apart from God...they likely will. But neither stacked odds, or long odds...nor the feeling of being outmatched, is a reason to quit...when we are walking out the call of God on our lives.
Look around and ask yourself a few questions...
Am I allowing God to fight for me, as I walk obediently?
Am I spending my time doing HIS work, or fighting with others on how to do it?
Am I trusting that if God has called me to it, He will bring me through it?
Am I trusting the process He has promised, or the situation as I currently see it?
When we stop fighting with one another, with God, and against our circumstances...
we open our current reality to the only answer we need.
Like the Israelites.
Like the Gibeonites.
Experience God fight for you today.
Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.
Leave the hail stones up to God.
They are too heavy for us to lift anyway.
Stick with the hail mary prayers, and the obedient feet.
They are all we are called to lift.
Just one PERSPECTIVE POINT today.
It's enough to chew on for now.
FIGHTING WITH vs. FIGHTING FOR. (*30)
Are you fighting with one another?
Are you fighting against God?
Are you trying to fight off your circumstances?
Are you "marching all night" trusting God will show up and act on your behalf...where He has called you to go?
The end of Joshua 10 shares something very important. Remember the 5 kings that were trying to come after the Gibeonites in the beginning of the chapter? Here is the ending. Like any epic story that you start to sense the momentum shifting in. The ending we all want to happen...happens.
"Joshua took all these kings and their land in a single campaign because God, the God of Israel, fought for Israel."
When life gets hard...
Let God fight for you, too.
30. Are you fighting with one another? What area of your life do you need to set your verbal sword down, and stop swinging at each other with your words? Are you fighting with God? Where are you telling God all the reasons in your life why it won't, or can't work? When are you going to stop fighting against God's call on your life? Are you trying to fight off your circumstances by being clever in your own strength? When will you stop fighting in your own strength?
When are you going to let God fight for you?
About the book
Brett W. Gould
Author. Speaker. Teacher. Coach.