Unity Meeting | Sun Stand Still, Book Review

Joshua was going into battle empowered by God’s promise: ‘Do not be afraid of them; I have given them into your hand. Not one of them will be able to withstand you’ (Joshua 10:8).

sun-stand-stillBut as they were in the middle of the battle the sun began to set, leaving the half defeated Amorites with ample opportunity to escape. So Joshua prayed: ‘“Sun, stand still over Gibeon, and you, moon, over the Valley of Aijalon.” So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies, as it is written in the Book of Jashar. The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the Lord listened to a human being. Surely the Lord was fighting for Israel!’ (Joshua 10:12-14)

I think this is the definition of faith. I cannot even fathom that type of boldness - to be able to stand in confidence in front of all of Israel and pray a prayer like that, a prayer that defies all the laws of nature, that is literally felt the world over. His prayer meant that he could have time to defeat every one of his enemies and fulfil the promise that God had given him. The one undeniable quality that Joshua had was trust. When God promised the Israelites “a land of milk and honey”, Joshua stood fast to that promise and kept it close to his heart.

Earlier in Joshua’s life, when the twelve spies were sent to the Promised Land, Joshua and Caleb were not afraid: ‘Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.” But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size”’ (Numbers 13:30-32). My fear is that we are like these ten spies. We are standing at the edge of the Promised Land, we can see it just beyond the horizon, but we can’t quite grasp it.

Many Christians misunderstand the Promised Land as only referring to the eternal heaven, but the Promised Land is here, it is heaven on earth. We are so close to a life of milk and honey and sweetness, but not quite there. What is holding us back? I believe it is our faith, or rather lack of it. Do we have the boldness and the faith to pray like Joshua did? Sadly, our prayers are usually far from Joshua’s. We are afraid to ask God for the seemingly impossible. Alternatively, we cover God’s back with ‘if it is Your will’, not because it is His will we truly seek but, just in case He doesn’t come through for us. God has so much more for us – indeed, we have an inheritance of His promises through Christ - but we need to pray boldly, specifically and persistently.

We have a misconceived idea that God only gives us what we need, not what we want. In the miracle of the five loaves and two fish the people were not starving, they were not fainting, but Jesus still gave, and He gave abundantly until they all had their fill. When we do pray, we are too easily satisfied with praying for the ordinary. We are called to be extraordinary: ‘I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in Me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than Me because I am going to the Father’ (John 14:12) .Can you believe that? Jesus, the greatest man that ever walked the planet is saying that we can do greater works than Him. We are limited by how we see ourselves; we fail to see how God sees us. He sees us as living temples of His Holy spirit, spiritual beings, who are vessels for all His great works. ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations’ (Jeremiah 1:5). God has already set us apart for a specific and magnificent purpose for His glory that only each of us, as individuals, can accomplish.

‘…God has not given us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and love’ (2 Timothy 1:7). It is through prayer that we can call on that power and boldness that we will surely need to accomplish whatever God intends for us. It is my fear that it is our lack of faith in prayer that is holding us back. God is not limited in any way shape or form; what limits the power of God in our lives is who we believe He is and what we believe He can accomplish. We make God too small!

References:

  • ‘Sun stand still’ by Steven Furtick
  • ‘You are made for a God size dream’ by Holly Gerth

St Mark's Coptic Orthodox Church in London is one of the oldest Coptic churches in the lands of the immigration, and one of the first to be supported and cared for by our beloved patriarch, HH the late Pope Shenouda III.

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    Allen Street, Kensington
    London W8 6UX