@robertkwendt || lead pastor
Have you ever had high expectations for something or someone?
As a fan of the Detroit Tigers (Major League Baseball team), I can get excited when Miguel Cabrera comes to bat. Watching him play in the past, I've seen him come through in some of the most critical of circumstances. My experiences of his past success dictate much of my expectations of him now.
A similar (but even more honest) expectation can be put on our God. We've seen Him deliver in the past, so we can be expectant that He'll deliver for us in the future.
The story of Joshua, Gibeon, the kings of the Amorites, and God reveals to us that expectant faith approaches God expectantly.
Here are some things that we see in Joshua 10:1-14 that can guide us as we continue to seek God in our lives—as we seek God through our struggles, pains, and storms.
1. we face overwhelming odds.
Gibeon, a city neighboring Israel thousands of years ago, was up against 5 other kings and their armies. Even with the backup of Joshua and the army of Israel, the odds were still humanly stacked against them. It was 5 against 2.
I've played a lot of basketball in my life. I've even played with some very good athletes. However, I can tell you that no matter how good two athletes may be, it is nearly impossible for even them to beat five opposing players in a game.
Oftentimes, life feels this way. We feel like we have 5 against 2 odds. We may have all the mental and physical fortitude in the world, but the odds are frankly just against us.
When left to our own human strengths and abilities, these odds are seemingly impossible.
Overwhelming odds can be described as moments that seem virtually impossible.
If left to faith in ourselves, these storms, moments, and situations can be so overwhelming. However, when we have expectant faith, we can approach God expectantly.
2. we have a strong god who fights with us.
Joshua was not just bringing the army of Israel with him, but he was also bringing his God!
There is an important addition to the equation that cannot be factored out...GOD. Joshua 10:11 says, "There were more who died because of the hailstones than the sons of Israel killed with the sword."
No matter how much strength, fortitude, or mental capactity that we bring (or others bring), God always has more! He is stronger than anyone or anything. Not only that, but He is a God who fights with us, not against us. The key is that we need to be reliant on Him.
I love the following quote from C.S. Lewis:
The thing is to rely on God. The time will come when you will regard all this misery as a small price to pay for having been brought to dependence. Meanwhile, the trouble is that relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing has yet been done." C.S. Lewis, Letters to Malcolm
3. god listens.
Joshua 10:14 says, "The Lord heeded the voice of a man, for the Lord fought for Israel." Did you catch that? The Lord heeded the voice of a man. To heed means to pay attention to or take notice of. God not only took notice, but He paid attention.
As He paid attention to Joshua, God pays attention to us! He not only listens, but He heeds our voice. We can talk with Him!
What I find most interesting about our passage is what God listened to.
Often when we pray, we go to God asking for 'just enough.' We ask Him to bring comfort or peace while not being very specific. Even when we are specific, often we are afraid to be bold in our prayers. Expectant faith approaches God expectantly. This means we can be bold when we talk with Him. Look at the words of Joshua in Joshua 10:12-13:
"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.' And the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, until the nation took vengeance on their enemies."
Joshua, in front of the people of Israel, boldly went to God and called for the sun to stand still. There isn't a question mark. The statement ends with a period. He had that kind of confidence in God.
God wants to make the sun and moon stand still in our lives too. He wants us to go to Him with bold prayers. He wants to do amazing, life-transforming, big things. He wants to be glorified through how He works in and through us.
Go to God with your struggles. Go to Him with your storms. He wants to calm them.
After all, expectant faith approaches God expectantly.