November 4 – 35 Prayers in the Bible – Joshua

Read Joshua 10:1-15

“Where were you when the sun stood still?”

Can you imagine being there on the day that such a prayer was answered?

When reading Joshua 10:1-15, it might be easy to process these verses as if it was just a story, not a historical, real-life event. Read it once more, if you need to, and really picture it as fact, not fiction! There really was a battle. There really was a prayer that “Joshua spoke to the LORD in the presence of Israel. (v. 12) ” The sun really did stand still… “stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed its setting almost a full day.” (v. 13) Can you imagine?

Even in our own lives there have been events that will perhaps be told in history books. And, when we tell our children about these times, we will tell them of these real-life events… how it impacted us and the people around us. We will speak of how God showed up during these moments. And, WOW, how God truly did show up as the Israelites battled FIVE Amorite kings!

Did you catch verse 14?

“There has been no day like it before or since, when the Lord listened to the voice of a man, because the Lord fought for Israel.”

BECAUSE the Lord fought for Israel. Notice the points in the story where it speaks of how the Lord fought for Israel. How powerful is our God! And, keep in mind. that this “peace agreement” between Israel and Gibeon, mentioned in verse 1, was not even an agreement that God had wanted the Israelites to make. How gracious is our God! Yet, let us also keep in mind that Joshua prayed this prayer in the context of having obeyed God by going into battle in the first place, as we see in verse 8. It was God who fought for the Israelites.

And so it is with us. Though our enemy, the devil, may rally against us, it is in the strength of the LORD that we stand! (Ephesians 6:10) It is on His name we call! Today, remember the strength of the Lord. How can you ask Him to fight for you today?

Beth Starkey

21 DAY PRAYER CHALLENGE

For the full challenge, go here!

Day 15: Pray for our friends

Read Proverbs 27:5-6 and John 15:12-15. Jesus tells us to love our friends as He has loved us. The most loving thing we can do when we’re worried about friends is to pray for them. Send an encouraging message to someone you prayed for and let them know they’re in your prayers!

October 25: The Fall of Jericho

Read Joshua 5:13-6:27

God’s people were back in the land He promised them.  But they weren’t alone.  In their JerichoJoshua
absence, pagan people had settled in and claimed the land.  When the people of God returned, the pagan inhabitants didn’t just say to the Israelites, “Oh, you’re back?  Nice to see you.  Here’s your land.  We’ll just mosey on and find a new place to live.”  No, they weren’t going to give up without a fight!  Or would they?

That’s the interesting thing.  We often view the tensions, trials, opposition, and challenges of life on a purely human level.  To us, they are flesh and blood realities to be countered with human strength and strategy.  But Paul reminds us that there is much more to it than meets the eye:

“…our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”  (Eph. 6:12)

Because of this unseen, spiritual dimension to our human challenges, we must draw strength from the Lord and equip ourselves with the armor that He alone makes available.

Jericho is a great example!  As a fortified and intimidating city, it must have seemed humanly impenetrable and unconquerable.  But there was more to this than met the eye.  There was a spiritual dimension to all of this.  That spiritual dimension was first of all depicted in the arrival of the commander of the Lord’s army.  (Was he an angel?  Was this an Old Testament appearance of Jesus?)  And that spiritual dimension was also depicted in the unusual “plan of attack” God gave to His people.  Marching, trumpet blowing, and shouting don’t cause walls to fall…well, not if everything has a natural, human explanation.  They do, however, if there is a supernatural dimension to the battles of life and God has given clear instruction.

Like the challenges of your life, each of the battles that the Israelites faced in their conquest of the land was unique, requiring that the people of God look to their heavenly Father for strength and instruction.  Don’t only acknowledge the natural, human dimension to life’s struggles…and don’t try to conquer them in your own might and wisdom.

“God, today, I recognize that there is an invisible, spiritual reality to the challenges I face.  I want to encounter them with the strength you provide.”

sbk

October 24: Crossing the Jordan

Read Joshua 3:1-4:24

Famine and provision…years earlier, these were the sovereign means by which God had moved His people, numbering roughly 70, from Israel to Egypt.  But now, more than 400 years later, theologians estimate that hundreds of thousands of the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob made the journey back.  There were but two things standing between them and the land God had promised them:

  1. A river…without a bridge. (Oh, did you notice that the river was at flood stage?  3:15, 4:18)
  2. Pagan inhabitants…without “welcome home” signs. (There were more “…ites” than you can shake a stick at!  3:10)

crossing_jordanThankfully, God hadn’t brought them that far, only to abandon them.  He won’t do that with you either.  As a result of their faithful response to His instruction, His people crossed dry and without harm from a land that was not theirs to a land He had given them.  I hope you realize that God will do the same with you.  He will bring you safely through the challenges of this life to the other side.

But there was much more to this river-crossing experience than merely safe passage.  Let’s close our thoughts today with three other repercussions.

  • The safe crossing served as proof that God would drive out the enemy peoples (3:9, 10). As God’s people would later face the next challenge of conquest, they were to reflect on God’s past provision at the river and understand that He would continue to deliver them.  Do you allow the evidence of God’s past faithfulness to give you confidence in God’s future faithfulness?
  • Stones from safe crossing would serve as signs of God’s power to others who were not there (4:4-7; 19-24). The stone altar they constructed would cause future generations to ask…and give those who had been there opportunity to share of God’s faithful provision.  Are you one who regularly recounts to others the stories of God’s faithful provision in your life?
  • The experience of the safe crossing established Joshua as a credible leader in the eyes of the people (4:14). Clearly, Joshua was not the one who caused the waters to part, but he did listen to God’s voice and directed people according to God’s leading.  Do you give attention to the word of God and gently but clearly share it with others?  Are you submissive to spiritual leaders in your life?

sbk

October 23: Joshua Succeeds Moses

Read Joshua 1:1-18

The Promised Land.

The people of God knew it to be their ultimate destination.  They had wandered in the desert for more than 40 years in pursuit of it.  But all that they knew about it came from stories…Stories of a promise extended to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob…Stories of a rich, fertile land flowing with milk and honey…Stories of pomegranates and figs and grape clusters that had to be carried by two people on a pole (Numbers 13).

But those weren’t the only stories.  There were also stories of intimidating giants that lived in the land.  These were all stories.  None of the people alive had actually ever been to the land.

Take that back.  There were two people who had set foot on Promised Land soil.  As part of a special ops group of twelve men, Caleb and Joshua had spent forty days in the land.  Although they had seen the opposition that inhabited the land, these two knew God to be One who would empower them to conquer.  As Moses passed, it was only logical that one of these two men of faith would fill his shoes and lead the people of God into the land God wanted them to have.  Joshua was that man.

Joshua’s success as a leader would depend on the same things that are essential for our “success” today: courage and attention to the Word of God.  Courage is key because our natural responses to unwelcome situations are either flight of fight.  Either we tuck tail and run or we put up our dukes and swing!  Courage, however, enables us to do what is unnatural.  And that’s where the Word of God comes in.  By giving attention to God’s word, we learn divinely approved responses that sometimes run contrary to what instinct tells us.

As we enter into the book of Joshua, then, we discover that a baton had been passed from Moses to Joshua.  No longer could Joshua ride on the coattails of his predecessor.  No longer was he along for the ride.  Now he was the one leading the way.  Like you and me as we head through life, he was responsible.  And like us, he had access to God’s wisdom, and he would need courage to do what God wanted.

Would you pause now to ask God for the courage to face the challenges of your day with wisdom from His word?

sbk

October 11: Can I Get A Witness?

Read Joshua 24:1-33

It was no coincidence that Joshua delivered his farewell speech here. Shechem was exactly where God had first promised to give His people the land they now possessed.

Although at the time of the promise Abram had yet to father even one child, much less a nation, God promised to make him into a great nation.

I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you (Gen. 12:1-3).

And Abram believed it. So he built an altar right there and worshipped the Lord.

Well, here that nation stood, this many years later, at the other end of that promise. Indeed, it was no coincidence.

Imagine the power of his words as Joshua recounted the ways that God the Lord had faithfully led them here. I imagine goose bumps running down their backs as he recited each promise fulfilled by the One True God Who brought them to salvation. It was no less than compelling.

So Joshua proclaimed his commitment, the commitment of his house, to follow that One True God and to serve Him alone. Then he challenged all the people to do the same.

Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve . . . (v15).

We have reached the end of our journey with Joshua. And, oh what a journey it has been! We too have seen the power of God’s promises fulfilled. The fortitude of His every word which makes it as good as done. We have seen His salvation for His people.

And you and I serve the very same God! We too can choose to follow Him in all His ways. We too have the opportunity to remember His faithfulness and move on from here.

We must not forget. For the remembering will help us to remain steadfastly-minded.
The Israelites set up a stone as a witness of the choice they made to follow Him. What will be your stone? How will you remember?

brw

October 10: Remember To Remember

Read Joshua 23:1-16

The time had come for Joshua to pass the torch. All those miles and battles and years behind him, he’d done what God had asked.

With strength and focus from God alone, Joshua had led the Israelites into the Land of Promise. Now it was time to prepare those people for the next phase. So he assembled all the leaders – the judges and elders and officials – and reminded them to not forget how they got here. And Who it was that gave it to them.

You yourselves have seen everything the Lord your God has done to all these nations for your sake; it was the Lord your God who fought for you (v3).

The Lord has driven out before you great and powerful nations . . . One of you routs a thousand, because the Lord your God fights for you, just as he promised (vv9-10).
You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed (v14).

Joshua had been commissioned by God Himself with the encouragement to remain strong and courageous. To keep the Law always before him and to never forget it, so that he would always walk in the ways of God. The only real way to walk, to lead, to ever succeed.

God had empowered Joshua with the promise of always going with him. And Joshua had seen God deliver. Promise upon promise, miracle upon miracle, battle upon battle – God never, ever let him down.

That’s why he brought the people together now. So they could reminisce together and remember that God had never, nor would He ever, fail to keep His promises. He wanted to remind them that, even after he died, the Lord would not fail to deliver.

Almighty God was their salvation. Not Joshua.

Likewise for us, we need to not forget the promises of God. He has always been faithful to deliver on His word. Even when we have failed, He has not.

What promises have you seen Him fulfill in your lifetime? Commit to remember them. Don’t ever forget. Remember to remember.

brw

October 9: Letting God Be The Judge

Read Joshua 22:1-34

They had fought together for about five years, so the comaraderies were strong among the 12 Israelite tribes. Nevertheless, having reaffirmed their inheritance on the other side of the Jordan River, it was time to send Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh back home.

So Joshua gathered them, thanked them for their faithful service, and sent them off with approved plunder from the battles.

I’ll bet they stopped at Gilgal, where they stayed that first night after they’d entered the Land of Promise. If so, they would have seen the 12-rock monument that Joshua set up to commemorate the miraculous Jordan River crossing. They would have recalled the day God held back the floodwaters for His people.

Imagine their excitement as they approached the water’s edge. Memories probably flooded their minds as they recalled the last time they’d been there. Perhaps they remembered the sound of the 40,000 foot-soldiers marching across the dried up river.

Then reality set in: people tend to forget. Generations pass on and leave vague memories of days gone by. So the tribes of Reuben and Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh decided to leave evidence of their attachment to the other nine-and-a-half tribes on this side of the Jordan. Lest their children’s children didn’t know that these two-and-a-half tribes served the same God they did. The God Who delivered them. The God Who does not forget.

Indeed, Yahweh God was their attachment to each other. So, they built a replica of the Lord’s altar there at the Jordan’s edge.

When the rest of Israel heard about it, however, they prepared for war. Thinking their brothers had already forgotten the God Who gave them all that they had, they marched over, guns-a-blazing, and accused them of heresy.

How could you turn away from the Lord and build yourselves an altar in rebellion against him now (v16)?

But God knew their intentions. So He allowed the east-side Israelites to set the record straight. And the two sides experienced unity instead of war.

How often have we done the same?A fellow Christ-follower makes a choice we wouldn’t have made, so without knowing the whole story, we stand ready to judge and attack. Oh, that we too might we be quicker with our ears than with our weapons.

brw

October 8: Perfect Provision

Read Joshua 20:1-21:45

There was still some land to be divvyed up. Places for which God had made provisions when He imparted the Law to Moses. Take care of those who would involuntarily kill another. Give the Levites, who weren’t given a region, some pasturelands and towns.

God ensured that each of His children was taken care of.

He knows the hearts of men. God knows that hurt can lead to bitterness and vengeance, even when the hurt is unintentional.

God told Moses that if a man killed someone accidentally, and God let it happen, he (was) to flee to a City of Refuge (Ex. 21:13). He graciously provided places of refuge from the avenger, so that a person accused of murder may not die before he (stood) trial (Nu. 35:12).

They were cities designed for protection. Created for mercy. Cities specifically designated by God so a victim’s family would not seek revenge for their loved one’s death.

If the perpetrator left the City of Refuge, however, and the avenger found him, the deal was off. So it was wise for the man to seek refuge in the place that God provided. The God of mercy and understanding.

The man’s sentence was over when the high priest died. Only then was he allowed to return home.

The protection God provided was exactly the protection He knew they would need. He had protected each of them throughout the conquest. Why would He stop now?

I have to wonder, though, if those who found themselves in these Cities of Refuge saw it as such. They were forced to be away from their families. God had let it happen. And yet, a life had been lost. Perhaps even the life of someone they themselves had loved.

I imagine each of them experienced emotional pain of their own. Such distress would call for a perfect kind of refuge. I believe that somehow through those Cities of Refuge, God provided exactly that.

See, He always provides perfectly for His children. He did so with the children of Israel, and He does now with those who trust Jesus Christ to be the Lord of their lives. Do you trust God to provide a perfect refuge for you?

brw

October 7: When God’s Direction Is Not So Clear

Read Joshua 18:1-19:51

The land of Canaan belonged to Israel. God had delivered on His Promise, and the land rested from war.

Now it was time for them to receive their inheritance. Because what good is a gift if it’s not received? They just needed to divide it.

There were 12 tribes within the nation of Israel. For five of those tribes, God had made the divisions easy. His law made provisions for the tribe of Levi. Their priestly service of the Lord (was) their inheritance. (18:7)

Moses’ promise to Caleb made it clear that the Judahites would inherit the large southern portion of the land. Gad, Reuben and Manasseh had made specific requests.

But now the remaining seven tribes needed their own portions. And they needed definite direction.

So the people assembled and set up the Tent of Meeting at a place called Shiloh. It was their tabernacle for the time being, where the Ark of the Covenant was housed and the glory of the Lord dwelt.

Then Joshua devised a plan.

Isn’t it refreshing to know that God’s direction was not always perfectly straightforward for Joshua? God had clearly told him when it was time to cross the Jordan River. He’d also unmistakably articulated His directions for attacking Jericho, Ai, and the rest of the land. God even spoke clearly when He told Joshua he was old!

But now, at a crucial point in history for those seven remaining tribes of Israel, His voice was seemingly not so clear.

I believe that’s why Joshua and Eleazar met at the one place they knew they could find God’s presence: the Tent of Meeting.

They needed His help as they decided what to do next. They had to trust He would somehow guide their decisions and continue to lead them just as He always had.

Just like with Joshua, sometimes God’s direction for our lives is straightforward, like in Micah 6:8 and Romans 10:9. But what about the decision to take a different job? Or move out of state? For us, just like Joshua and Eleazar, God’s clear direction involves seeking Him and then taking the next step in faith, trusting that He is in fact guiding us even in that.

brw

October 6: Participating In The Victory

Read Joshua 16:1-17:18

The Ephraimites needed more land. Joshua and Eleazar the priest had allotted them the area they’d asked for, but it wasn’t quite enough. There were a lot of them, and it was a bit too densely populated. So they approached Joshua and did what any respectable group of people might do in order to get what they want.

They whined.

After all, he was from their tribe. Surely Joshua would hook them up.

And, like I do with my kids when they don’t like the dinner I’ve prepared and want something else, he told them they could have more. Except, they’d have to get it themselves.

Joshua told them if they cleared out some land in the forest, they would have plenty of space. But the Ephraimites didn’t like that answer.

The hill country is not enough for us, and all the Canaanites who live in the plain have iron chariots. (17:16)

They didn’t want to have to work for it. They had hoped Joshua might just gift it to them.

How many times have we asked for more blessing without being willing to take part in its acquisition? We pray for a neighbor to know God. But are we willing to be the ones to tell her about Him?

We ask God to help us use our time wisely. But do we give up an hour of television in order to use the time we’re given?

We want the blessing, but don’t want to take any action.

Indeed, God had blessed the Ephraimites with many descendants. Certainly, He had blessed them with land. He was even willing to bless them with more land. But they had to take a step towards it.

Perhaps that’s why God had the Israelites fight in the battles He had already won. He could’ve easily swiped His finger over the land of Canaan and swiped all its inhabitants out to sea if He’d wanted to. But instead, He chose to let the Israelites participate in the fight. He chose to let them have a part in the victory. And in doing so, they had the privilege of claiming not only the promise of God but His victory too.

Just like them, we can claim those too: not just God’s promise but His victory for us!

brw