Joshua 9:1-12:24 (Feb. 21, 2019)
…As the battle was going on, it was soon going to get dark. But there were still many enemies that were alive. On the day the LORD gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the LORD in the presence of Israel: “O sun, stand still over Gibeon, O moon, over the Valley of Aijalon.” The sun and moon obviously did not hear Joshua’s voice from where they were in the universe because they do not have any ears or senses. But Joshua was not bothered by this kind of thing. He did not calculate or think it was crazy to go against what was already set in the natural laws. Instead, when God was giving him victory, he refused to have a casual attitude and wait until the next day to finish the job. He wanted to get it all done and over with, so he commanded the sun and moon to just stop in their tracks. The whole solar system stopped for a day and everyone else around the world must have wondered what in the world literally was going on. Not only did Joshua have such a zealous spirit to offer this bold prayer topic, but he also had faith that God would hear him, accept him, and answer him.
From this I learn that I cannot live by the given situation or the reality. If I do so, then I will be limited all the time by what I see and how things naturally go. But in serving God, I cannot tell the Creator of the universe, the One who created something from nothing, that it is impossible for me to teach many Bible Studies and to raise up disciples. Joshua did not calculate and think that it was completely crazy to offer this kind of prayer topic. Instead, when he had faith, he believed that this kind of completely crazy thing was absolutely possible, and so he cried out to God in the hearing of the other Israelites.
When I catch a cold, I can get really sick. A long time ago, I was very congested but did not want to cancel or re-schedule Bible Study with the sheep that I was meeting every week at a set time – Saturday mornings at 9 AM. Even though my flesh was so tired and congested, I cried out to God that somehow He would strengthen me and help me teach this student. Then in the middle of the Bible Study, amazingly I felt my nasal passages suddenly open up and all the mucus drain out. It was a miracle that I experienced in my physical body, and I was so thankful that God heard my cry for help.
After Lydia was born, what was really difficult to embrace was the lack of sleep I was getting. She woke up every 2-3 hours around the clock. When I looked up online how long it would take for babies to sleep through the night and found out that it would be around 3 months because their bodies still had to produce melatonin, I thought, “Whaaaat?! Nnoooooo!” For some reason, even though I hadn’t watched the movie Sleeping Beauty in years, I remembered the scene where the fairy godmothers sprinkled some dust on the people so that they all went to sleep soundly. So during the first week after Lydia was born, I prayed, “Lord, please sprinkle some sleeping dust on Lydia.” Then during the 2ndweek after she was born, I prayed, “Lord, please pour your sleeping dust on her.” Then during the 3rdweek when I felt like I couldn’t take it any longer, I cried out to God, praying, “Lord, dump out bucket loads of sleeping dust on her and be with her physical body so that she may be a good, deep, sound, long, frequent, and heavy sleeper.” Then starting from the 3rdweek, Lydia became a very good sleeper and eventually slept 10 to 12.5 hours throughout the night without waking up.
With my cold and Lydia’s sleeping habits, it seems like there is a set course based on the natural way of how a virus works in a person’s body and how melatonin has to be produced in an infant. But when God intervenes, this set course is completely changed and miracles happen. I see that I need to cry out to God desperately in prayer so that I too may be used to mobilize and raise up an army of disciples for God’s Kingdom work.
At our prayer meeting this week, I was encouraged by the Daily Bread passage on Ezekiel 37 where God raised up a valley of dry bones so that they came to came to life and stood up on their feet as a vast army. These bones, the sun, and the moon do not have any physical senses, but when God’s servants spoke to them by faith, such wonderful miracles happened. Even though I do not have as much time as I used to, I cannot limit myself in what I can do for God. I see that I need to cry out to God for His help and mercy so that I may fan into flame the gift of God and pick up a zealous, fighting spirit. Then I too may be able to have this kind of bold prayer topic, like how Joshua did. I need to pray for the wall of Jericho to come crashing down in the hearts of students, and that God may use me to shepherd over many new sheep and raise them up. God does not want me to think that this is only something that could happen one time in history and only to Joshua. Instead God encourages me to pick up faith and a warrior’s spirit so that even I in this modern generation can be bold for His Kingdom purpose.
Joshua told the Israelite army commanders to put their feet on the necks of the five kings, saying, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Be strong and courageous.” This was the exact message that God gave to Joshua, and Joshua grasped why it was so important to accept it in carrying out the conquest. I need to remember and hold on to these words each day so that I may not be overtaken by my fears, worries, doubts, and fatalism, but instead fight courageously in the spiritual battle alongside my commanding officer Jesus, living as a faithful soldier for Him.
The rest of chapters 10-12 describe how the Israelites conquered over the southern and northern cities so that in 2 major campaigns, the majority of the Promised Land was taken. Even though the enemies were as numerous as the sand on the seashore, Joshua relied on God for help, strength, wisdom, and guidance. God also gave him the direction to hamstring the enemies’ horses and to burn their chariots. Horses and chariots represented strength, power, and advanced technology, but God did not want His people to rely on those things to have victory. Instead, they needed to depend on Him in serving His conquest. Jesus said that those who have faith will do even greater things than He did. My enemies may look as numerous as the sand on the seashore, but with God, disciples as numerous as the sand on the seashore will also be raised up.
One Word: Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Instead, pray and be strong and courageous.