And the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not fear them, for I have delivered them into your hand; not a man of them shall stand before you.” Joshua therefore came upon them suddenly, having marched all night from Gilgal…Then Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel: “Sun, stand still over Gibeon; And Moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.” Joshua 10:8-9, 12
First Things First
Joshua made a mistake. In the last chapter, Israel, after being deceived by their enemy, made a covenant with the Gibeonites. Discovering the deception, Joshua put his mistake to work. Oh he kept his vow as the Lord requires every vow-maker to do, but he made his error his slave; the Gibeonites would forever be servants of the Tabernacle as fetchers of wood and water.
God recognized the mistake too, but He chose to honor Joshua’s commitment–blessings would rise form the ashes of a bad decision. What our Father did with Joshua and Israel, He does with us as well—we have the same assurance from God that our errors can work towards some good thing despite the fact that we might not see it initially.
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28
In the text today, Joshua provides for us a four-part outline illustrating dynamic Christian faith in action. His example awards us the four basic components of spirited faith; one that bestows honor, glory, and praise to the faith Giver.
It really can’t get any less basic than that. God told Joshua, “Do not fear them, for I have delivered (the enemy) into your hand.” Joshua took God at His word. He heard the word and he believed the word he heard. Do you believe God’s word?
So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17
He Gave His Best Effort
The passage does not imply that Joshua performed perfectly, but strongly suggests he worked as quickly and as efficiently as he could to do God’s will, “Marching all night,” until the first leg of the task was completed. God did not tell him to do that, Joshua chose to do that. The fact of the matter is that the work was finished, just like Christ’s work was finished on the cross. Remember, God said, “I have delivered,” the enemy. In willing obedience, Joshua took it upon himself to complete the mission as best he could.
Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. James 2:17
He Called on the Lord
Joshua takes nothing for granted, probably learning that lesson from his bitter defeat at Ai. We aren’t privy to their conversation, but the passage hints that they must have been discussing some pretty powerful stuff. Contextually speaking, we know that it would have been impossible for Joshua to do what was done without God’s direct support, authority, and power.
…Without Me you can do nothing. John 15:5b
He Acted Boldly
Joshua could not have made the proclamation he made if a) he did not believe, b), he had not been working out his faith, and c) wasn’t checking in with the Father periodically. The kind of boldness Joshua displayed can only be manifest when the first three elements of our faith are in place. That’s not to say a person can’t ever speak boldly, but without God’s power and authority, that person operates in his flesh alone.
It’s sad to say that many Christians, having accomplished the first three steps, arrive at this same place, but shy away from the opportunity to take the wonderful leap. Why? Plain and simple: fear—the very opposite of faith. While it is true we have the ability to put our faith on the shelf, we often forget that by that same faith we have the power of God to destroy trepidation. Our Lord is gracious and merciful and He will let us wallow in this condition if we so choose—our salvation is not in jeopardy. But then again, someone might say to you and I, “Why buy a car if you’re never going to drive it?”
…And for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel… Ephesians 6:19