Summary: God Listens to prayer, is able to respond to prayer, and moves when we pray "Thy Will be done" from Joshua 12 and the account of the sun standing still.
Sermon for Sunday, November 15, 2020
God listens to your prayers
Have you ever had God answer a prayer? And not just a vague prayer where you said to yourself, “God, please don’t let it rain tomorrow?” and it didn’t? Well perhaps God answered that prayer for you, or perhaps it wasn’t supposed to rain anyways. I’m talking about an intentional prayer of faith, a prayer for something that, unless God intervened, it wouldn’t happen?
Perhaps the healing of a loved one, or the reconciliation of a relationship. Perhaps for money to make it for the rest of the month, or the salvation of a loved one.
Dr. Helen Roseveare, missionary to Zaire, told the following story. "A mother at our mission station died after giving birth to a premature baby. We tried to improvise an incubator to keep the infant alive, but the only hot water bottle we had was beyond repair. So we asked the children to pray for the baby and for her sister. One of the girls responded, 'Dear God, please send a hot water bottle today. Tomorrow will be too late because by then the baby will be dead. And dear Lord, send a doll for the sister so she won't feel so lonely.'
That afternoon a large package arrived from England. The children watched eagerly as we opened it. Much to their surprise, under some clothing was a hot water bottle! Immediately the girl who had prayed so earnestly started to dig deeper, exclaiming, 'If God sent that, I'm sure He also sent a doll!' And she was right! The heavenly Father knew in advance of that child's sincere requests, and 5 months earlier He had led a ladies' group to include both of those specific articles."
Think for a moment – perhaps even write it down on your bulletin. When was the last time you prayed a specific prayer and God answered? Was it this week? Has it been this month? This year? Are some of you having a difficult time coming up with an answer perhaps? Josh 10:12-15
12 At that time Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord gave the Amorites over to the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel,“Sun, stand still at Gibeon, and moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.”
13 And the sun stood still, and the moon stopped,
until the nation took vengeance on their enemies.
Is this not written in the Book of Jashar? The sun stopped in the midst of heaven and did not hurry to set for about a whole day.
14 There has been no day like it before or since, when the Lord heeded the voice of a man, for the Lord fought for Israel.
15 So Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, to the camp at Gilgal.
God listens to prayers
12 At that time Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord gave the Amorites over to the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel,
“Sun, stand still at Gibeon, and moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.”
Can you imagine going to church and someone was in the parking lot commanding the sun and the moon to stand still? We’d probably think they were looney tunes, wouldn’t we? And yet, that’s what Joshua did in this spoken prayer.
The backdrop is that the battle wasn’t finished. One of the commands given to Joshua by the Lord was to eliminate the enemy entirely. And that wasn’t yet done. Look back a few verses at verse 10 –
10 And the Lord threw them into a panic before Israel, who struck them with a great blow at Gibeon and chased them by the way of the ascent of Beth-horon and struck them as far as Azekah and Makkedah.
And this wasn’t a little army. This was the combined army under 5 separate kings which had come against another city which Israel was bound to protect. So we had many thousands of soldiers here that were fleeing before Israel. And if they got away, they would regroup and attack again. // Joshua was confident in his prayer, because God had already told him back in verse 8,
8 And the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not fear them, for I have given them into your hands. Not a man of them shall stand before you.”
So Joshua had every right and confidence to expect God’s word to Him would be fulfilled. In accordance to that word, He simply prayed for more daylight to get it done. Now, many have tried to explain this Scripture as perhaps an eclipse, or just what felt like a really long day, or even a cloudy day without heat so that Joshua’s men could fight an extra long time. But none of this makes sense when we look at our text, which says in verse 14,