No, No, You’ve Got This, God
I need to make an apology because I’ve ruined the, “Yeah, Yeah” phrase. I heard from so many people about how much they heard it. Sorry about that. We thought we should have some fun with it and hence the title of the message is, “No, No, You got this God.” It’s great because it works with the passage. For those of you who weren’t here last week, the message was entitled, “Yeah, yeah, I got this God.” Israel took control of events and didn’t inquire of God to see what He thought they should do. Today’s passage is the complete opposite. It’s really a story of what it looks like when God’s people let Him “have it” and even call out to Him to “Get It! Take it!”
Verses 1-5: Amorites: Five Kings Join Forces:
The story picks up with five Amorite kings forming an alliance to wipe out the Gibeonites for their betrayal. Up on the screen you’ll see the map of Israel. The first map is to show the conquest of the Land. Israel came up from the south and at the Jordan River right above the Dead sea they crossed the Jordan and quickly conquered Jericho, Ai, and Gibeon. Can you see how their move into the country divided the country into north and south. Chapter 10 and part of 11 is about the southern land being conquered. A more detailed map shows how close all of these cities are to each other. Jerusalem is less than 10 miles from Gibeon. All these cities in verses 1-5 are relatively close to each other.
Verse 6: Gibionites: Help! Appeal to Treaty – Covenant:
The Gibeonites, surrounded by the Ammorites, get word out to Joshua. There are three key words they used, “Help, servants, abandon.” Help is obvious. But the reference to being their servants and using the word abandon is an appeal to the treaty or covenant they made with Israel. Now we know the covenant with Gibeon meant Israel would not ever attack the Gibeonites or destroy them. We also know the covenant meant that the Gibeonites would serve the Isrealites. What we didn’t know until now is that this covenant was also a promise of protection. Israel was bound to fight for the safety of the Gibeonites. Israel would now risk their lives for a people that were once enemies because they gave their word.
Verse 7: March:
The very next verse Joshua marches. Two thoughts here: Joshua didn’t need to consult God because he already knew what needed to be done. Israel needed to honor the covenant. But this is craziness because before it was fighting one tribe at a time. Now this was five tribes assembled together. They controlled the ground and the place of attack. Militarily speaking this was not good. Humanly speaking this wasn’t good because Israel was facing the potential of serious casualties in this battle.
Verse 8: The Lord:
It’s into these conditions that the Lord speaks. It’s the theme of Joshua. Do not be afraid. Was Joshua afraid, mmmmight have been thinking about it. Was Israel afraid? Mmmmmight have been seriously considering it. It was shaping up to be one huge battle. Here’s what I love, Israel is being faithful to their covenant to Gibeon, even though they have a bad taste in their mouth on how it all went down. They are still faithful to it. Then God comes along, and God is faithful to His covenant. Remember chapter 1:1-8. If Israel can be faithful then certainly God can be MORE faithful. I love this moment though. It’s like God came whispered to him, “I got this.” Do not be afraid. I will give them into your hand. Not one of them will be able to stand against you.”
But in the face of our worst fears it’s not that easy is it? In the face of the impossible odds, where everything is stacked against you. Once that anxiety starts coursing through our veins it feels virtually impossible to stop. Afraid? Overwhelmed?
Verses 8-9: The Lord:
Can you imagine following Joshua? The guy literally set out as soon as he heard the news. Marching all night long. About 12 miles. The Amorites weren’t expecting that. Who would expect that. It’s inconvenient. It’s difficult. It’s leading men to push through sleep and discomfort and resentment all of which are very difficult to do.
And God started to move when they showed up. He threw the five armies into confusion. It was a rout that eventually turned into a chaotic fearful retreat of them running back towards their cities to hide in the walls. The retreat is about 10 mile stretch that is mostly uphilll the whole way to Beth Horan. Then at Beth Horan there is a rapid descent where you can see for miles upon miles. It’s here that God sent these massive hailstones that killed more soldiers than Israel had with the sword. Imagine getting to Beth Horan as a soldier and looking down and seeing all these dead bodies laying everywhere with massive hailstones all over the place. It’s a moment I don’t think any of these soldiers ever forgot. It’s one thing to know God has it, but an entirely different thing to see Him do it. And they saw Him do it. And as if that wasn’t a big enough demonstration, look at verses 12-14.
Verses 12-14: The Sun Stood Still: Controversy
I have to confess this past week I ran into a buzz saw. Apparently, this is a very controversial passage. I had no clue. The book of Bashar is a collection of poems about the famous heroes of Israel, Joshua being one of them. The author quotes the book of Bashar which had the prayer that Joshua had prayed. Verse 13 goes on to say that the sun stopped at its height and stayed there lasting up in the sky a full day.
There’s all kinds of theories out there about what really happened. Many atheists point to this passage as evidence that the Bible is full of fantasy and fictional stories. Scientifically speaking, if the sun stopped in the sky that would mean the earth had stopped rotating and gravity would stop and then everyone would float off the planet. There was a study by one famous professor from famous college here in the states who, according to his research, claims that there is a day missing in the earth’s calendar. Proving that this day really did happen. There’s some solid Christians who aren’t totally convinced his argument is ironclad. Some say God could have tilted the earth to create a longer day like what happens in Alaska in the summer where the Sun never goes down. There’s then Christians who say, “The Bible says it so I believe it.”
What’s the proper way to view this? First, this passage does not attempt to explain the how this works with time and space. We can be open to attempts to explain it. But we’re not out to please the scientific community and satisfy the naturalistic postmodern mind where there is no truth or absolute. If someone wants to argue this passage I personally would call “Timeout.” Before I would ever talk about this passage I would go back to Genesis and the origins of the universe. Have that conversation first because how one answers the question of how this all came to be, and the existence of Good and Evil and Love, or the meaning of Life, clarifies how they will view the rest of the Bible. Point being, any discussion over this is pointless if that isn’t addressed first.
What’s really ironic is that hardly any thought is given to the hailstones wiping out the soldiers. As if we’re okay with miracles that we can explain from the natural realm. Oh, well, that happens in the real world without God. We can explain that. A Biblical world view starts with a creator God who spoke this world into being. Given who God is, it’s not a stretch to think God could extend a day or could wipe out an army with large hailstones. I have no problem believing this happened because of what I understand and believe about God and how nature itself yeilds to Him.
Verses 12-14: Prayer:
Last week Joshua and the leaders thought they had it taken care of and didn’t need to inquire of God, “We got this, God.” This week, the leaders are noticeably absent and silent and not sampling the signs. Instead, the Lord, the lord, the Lord, the Lord, the Lord, the Lord, the Lord – seven times! It’s the Lord talking. The Lord acting. The Lord moving. The Lord being consulted. But this all starts when God came before the victory, before the hailstones, before the panic, before the all night march, before Joshua gave the command – it all starts when God reminds Joshua of His covenant promise. “Do not fear, I have given them into your hands.”
And then Joshua in the middle of the moment prays like He’s never prayed before. It’s in this moment right here where Joshua gets it. He sees the power of God and calls upon His power to fulfill His promise. And He comes before God and calls out to God, “I need you to get this!” He prays such a prayer of faith as to have the Sun stand still so Israel can defeat all five armies in one day. God, make the sun stand still.
“One litmus test of spiritual maturity is whether you dreams are getting bigger or smaller. The older you get, the more faith you should have because you’ve experienced more of God’s faithfulness.” Circle Maker pg44
Is our faith in God bigger? It’s not that God gets bigger, it’s that we see Him as bigger. Just how much can God get when He says, “I got this”?
Verse 14: No Day Like It or Since:
There is something else in these verses that I personally struggled with this past week. It’s this phrase at the end, “There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the Lord listened to a man.” Well that’s really cool for Joshua and them but a real bummer for us. Apparently God’s not going to listen to us. That’s how it reads, right? Don’t even think of trying to ask God for anything because He’s all done. That was it. So is God really done listening. Like He had his fill? But God wasn’t done listening and moving. Look at the miracles with Sampson, Gideon, Elisha, Elijah, David, all of the prophets, and then in the NT and the apostles and Christians throughout the centuries that God listened to and acted on behalf of their prayers. No, the point of the text is hyperbole. It’s overstating it to make a point that this miracle was huge! God listened to Joshua and did this on behalf of Joshua and Israel. This is a BIG DEAL! Christ actually comes and teaches us to “ask the Father whatever we wish, and if it’s according to His will, he will hear us and do it!” Ask me.” This promise Jesus made is part of the New Covenant. If God said, “I got you”, He’s got you. If God said He’ll lead you, He’ll lead you. If God said it. He’ll do it. If He said, “Ask me! Cry Out! Call Out!” He wants us to ask Him and cry out.
Circle Maker: Mark Batterson writes in his book about a couple Wayne and Diane. They were expecting their first baby so they started praying for their unborn baby. He would read the promises of scripture over his wife’s pregnant stomach. Claiming Christ’s promises over His children. They even started praying for their baby’s future spouse before they even knew the gender of their own baby. It was in that time of prayer in October of 1983 that they got a name, “Jessica.” They decided to wait until their baby was born to find out their baby’s gender. Then in December they got a boys name, “Timothy.” They started to pray for Timothy too. Not sure why God would give them two names. In May of 1984 their son Timothy was born. They kept praying for Timothy’s future spouse. On May 19th, 2006 their son Timothy’s bride walked down the aisle. Her name? Jessica. They never told their son about God giving them the name Jessica until he was engaged to her. And yes, the parents allowed him to date girls not named Jessica.
God’s got this. He’s got you. He’s got your biggest dreams. What parent here doesn’t worry about their kids. Call out to Him. I need you to get this. Any prodigal sons or daughters? Call Out to God. It may not be for the sun stand to stand still but whatever you’re facing, God is right there saying, Ask me to move. Just ask me. Call out to me. Ask me to get it. Ask me to do it. If it’s according to my will, I will do it.
And something that is important to remember is that this is the last miracle recorded in the book of Joshua. This one right here. I think God is making his point. I got you. And I got this. Do not be afraid. Instead let me move. Ask me to move. Don’t forget how I can move. I got this. I got you.