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Summary: Let me begin this morning by asking you a few questions-how big is your God? How big is your faith? How big is the biggest prayer you have ever prayed? These three questions are very tightly connected. The size of your God will determine the size of you

“The Secret to Joshua’s Success”

Joshua 10:1-14 LB

JB Phillips wrote a classic little book in 1952 titled your God is too small. The idea behind the book is very simple. All of us have created an image of God in our minds and that image is simply not adequate. It’s not big enough.

Some see God as being like our parents. Some of us were even told as we were growing up, God is like your father. And that image works well for those who grew up with a loving, solid relationship with their earthly father.

Others choose to put labels on God to say He is this or that; He can do this but He can’t do that. In a sense they put God in a box of sorts and have confined him and limited his ability.

His book gives about 15 common images we have of God and then he tells us why none of them are adequate. The simple truth is that we have failed to think big enough when we think of God-the God we have created in our minds is simply too small.

So let me begin this morning by asking you a few questions-how big is your God? How big is your faith? How big is the biggest prayer you have ever prayed? These three questions are very tightly connected. The size of your God will determine the size of your faith which will determine the size of your prayer life.

Now we have been walking with Joshua for 9 weeks. And one thing is for sure, Joshua was remarkable person. As a young man he grew up and he saw firsthand as Israel was delivered from Egypt. As a young man he would have worked as a slave in Egypt. But there was something unique about him and God spoke to Moses through the Holy Spirit. Joshua had already learned the importance of obedience. He then became the right-hand man to Moses so it is not surprising that before Moses died, he appointed Joshua as his successor. He was 1 of 12 men who traveled to spy out Canaan/Promised land. He and Caleb returned with a good report; the other said, “No the people are too big, the area is too large and we are like grasshoppers.” I haven’t mentioned that of the 12, Joshua and Caleb were the only two who survived. A plague fell on the other 10 and they all died because they brought back a negative report. But Joshua plowed ahead even though all the Israelites were not completely on board. All of their arguing and the fear they had, kept them wandering in the desert for 40 years. But Joshua still kept his faith.

At Jordan, Joshua placed his feet in the water and God honored his faith by stopping the floodwaters. Joshua was able to do things even Moses could not accomplish. Joshua was able to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land. Moses never got to make that journey. In this passage today we find the secret to Joshua’s strength. We read here in chapter 10 that five of the armies were planning to attack the Israelites so Joshua went directly to them during the night so they could “surprise attack” them at dawn the next morning. The distance by the way, for their travel was 24 miles, about the distance from here to Springhill. Kind of a long walk but they made it in one night and were able to take them completely by surprise.

Once they charged in, the enemy ran toward the Valley and the Bible says the Lord hurled down large hailstones from the sky... In fact so many of them the Bible says more of them died from the hailstones than were killed by their swords. Chpt. 10:11

As the sun was setting later that day Joshua knew that his time was up because once it got dark, the enemy could slip away. So Joshua spoke what I would call an outrageous prayer-he made an outrageous request, one that had never been heard before or since... Listen:

oh son, standstill over Gibeon.

Oh moon standstill over the Valley. Verse 12.

And he didn’t pray it privately, he prayed publicly for all to hear. And much to our surprise and perhaps to His as well, God answers it. And he answered it immediately.

There are three things this passage can teach us about prayer. {1}There is a time for all of us when we should stand up and pray a God-sized prayer. This is what pastor Bill Hybels refers to is making the “big ask.” Leaders must learn to do this of course. My wife and I prayed for vision, for insight and God says go start a new church. So we did. Along the way we then ask people to join us. We asked people to become Bible teachers. To sing. To play an instrument. And we also ask you for your hard earned money to support the vision. We do not apologize for asking but the same time it is not always easy to ask. So when I ask people to do something big… when I ask a question of this magnitude, then I am always thrilled when someone says yes. Because I realize what James says in the Scripture, “you have not because you ask not.” So where would we be as a church if I failed to ask you the big questions? Questions that challenge you. When was the last time you ask God for something big? A miracle perhaps? To heal someone of a terrible disease? To save someone who refuses to listen to the gospel? To move you out of a financial disaster? We should never be afraid to make these big requests of God.

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