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God Answers Bold Prayers

Joshua: Faith & Fear  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  25:40
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Introduction

Last week we discussed the Gibeonites and Israel’s covenant to protect them. Of course there was deception involved, but Joshua acted with integrity and honored his promise to the Gibeonites.

I. Joshua Fulfills His Covenant With Gibeon -

I. Joshua Fulfills His Covenant With Gibeon -

Joshua 10:3-4
Joshua 10:3–4 NASB95
3 Therefore Adoni-zedek king of Jerusalem sent word to Hoham king of Hebron and to Piram king of Jarmuth and to Japhia king of Lachish and to Debir king of Eglon, saying, 4 “Come up to me and help me, and let us attack Gibeon, for it has made peace with Joshua and with the sons of Israel.”
You just knew it had to happen. The Gibeonites had betrayed the other kingdoms of Canaan so it was just a matter of time before the five-king coalition came to exact their revenge. And of course the Gibeonites called for Israel to honor their word...
Joshua 10:6–8 NASB95
6 Then the men of Gibeon sent word to Joshua to the camp at Gilgal, saying, “Do not abandon your servants; come up to us quickly and save us and help us, for all the kings of the Amorites that live in the hill country have assembled against us.” 7 So Joshua went up from Gilgal, he and all the people of war with him and all the valiant warriors. 8 The Lord said to Joshua, “Do not fear them, for I have given them into your hands; not one of them shall stand before you.”
Joshua 10:
And with God on your side, how could you possibly lose...

II. God Fights Our Battles For Us -

And that’s exactly what God did for Israel...
Joshua 10:10–11 NASB95
10 And the Lord confounded them before Israel, and He slew them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, and pursued them by the way of the ascent of Beth-horon and struck them as far as Azekah and Makkedah. 11 As they fled from before Israel, while they were at the descent of Beth-horon, the Lord threw large stones from heaven on them as far as Azekah, and they died; there were more who died from the hailstones than those whom the sons of Israel killed with the sword.
Joshua 10:10-
God showed up so big here that He hurled oversized hailstones at the enemy. But that’s not even the biggest part of the events that happened during this battle. We’ll get to that in just a moment. But first there’s a life principle that I want you to see here...
PRINCIPLE When our purposes are aligned with God’s purposes, He loves to show up in a big way.
Israel’s purposes here were completely in alignment with God’s purposes. Again they were just a small part of what God was doing.
God has been bold here in showing up for Israel by hurling hailstones at the enemy. But God’s boldness pales in comparison to Joshua’s bold request...

III. God Answers Bold Prayers -

Here in verse 12 & 13, after God and the army of Israel has the army of the five-king coalition (the Amorites) on the run, Joshua prays perhaps the boldest prayer in the Bible… maybe even the boldest prayer in history...
Joshua 10:12–14 NASB95
12 Then Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, “O sun, stand still at Gibeon, And O moon in the valley of Aijalon.” 13 So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, Until the nation avenged themselves of their enemies. Is it not written in the book of Jashar? And the sun stopped in the middle of the sky and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day. 14 There was no day like that before it or after it, when the Lord listened to the voice of a man; for the Lord fought for Israel.
Joshua 10:12
to wait in place
The text here actually says that the sun stopped moving through the sky...
stopped or stayed
The text here actually says that the sun stopped moving through the sky.
…and the moon took its place (or stood still).
There has been a lot of research, speculation, and even false news about this event in history. But I’m not going to get bogged down in a scientific analysis that questions God’s miracle.
In spite of different interpretations and takes on this, the easiest understanding of this passage is that the Earth stopped rotating for a period of time. As miraculous (or impossible) as that sounds, that is what the Bible says.
Our lesson today is not in the miracle. The Bible says that the miracle happened, that’s enough for me. I’ll let the scholars battle it out how it happened. In fact, miracles can withstand the analysis of science. In the end, scientists are dumbfounded and astounded all the time when a miracle takes place. That they cannot explain away a miracle is not my problem.
It’s enough for me to say that God put the Earth, the Sun, and the Moon in motion, He can stop that motion and restart it whenever He wants to.
Now Joshua could have just asked God to repeat the huge hailstone storm that He had just sent to route the army of the five-king coalition.
But Joshua goes bigger… WAY bigger...
Joshua actually asks the God of time and space to stop time itself so that the Israelites could continue pursuing their enemy and win the battle. And God actually granted his request.
I believe that the much bigger lesson here is not in the study of the miracle itself. The real lesson here is on Joshua’s audacity to make such a request of God. Apparently Joshua had faith enough to believe that God could and would do what was asked.
Our lesson today is not in the miracle. The Bible says that the miracle happened, that’s enough for me. I’ll let the scholars battle it out how it happened. It’s enough for me to say that God put the Earth, the Sun, and the Moon in motion, He can stop that motion and restart it whenever He wants to.
The real lesson here is on Joshua’s audacity to make such a request of God. Apparently Joshua had faith enough to believe that God could and would do what was asked.
PRINCIPLE Bold prayers require a bold faith in God.
Jesus Believed in a Bold Faith - Mark 11:23
Mark 11:23 NASB95
23 “Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him.
Jesus clearly taught boldness. In fact Christianity is all about boldness...
Peter and John Prayed Boldly - Acts 4:29-31
When Peter and John were arrested and questioned by the temple guards for preaching the resurrection of Jesus Christ, they preached the gospel message to the saduccees, the High Priest and the religious elite there as they were being questioned.
After being questioned and warned not to continue preaching the gospel message, Peter and John returned to the other disciples. After they reported the events, this prayer was prayed:
Acts 4:29–30 NASB95
29 “And now, Lord, take note of their threats, and grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence, 30 while You extend Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy servant Jesus.”
Their prayer was not “Lord, protect us from their threats.” But, “Lord, hear these threats, and make us more bold in preaching the gospel!”
And God responsed:
Acts 4:31 NASB95
31 And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness.
Why are so many Christians timid in their faith and timid before God?
We can see example after example of bold faith in the Bible, but we are just analytical enough to doubt that God will truly show up for us in the here and now that we live in today.
Part of the problem is that we’ve mixed up our faith with magic pixie dust. We can’t just sprinkle a little God over something to make things go our way. THAT’s what we think prayer is! Magic pixie dust!
Bold Prayer Is NOT
Bold Prayer is NOT...
1. Making Declarations/Claims before God
I have friends that buy into the Name it/Claim it brand of Prosperity Gospel teaching. They have been taught that they have the right to force God to perform at their command, as long as they have enough faith.
This is faulty thinking. There is not a shred of biblical evidence that this is how God works.
God is not a vending machine.
God works according to His purposes and when He answers our prayers it is because it pleases Him to do so and because our prayers are closely aligned with His purposes.
2. Telling God what to do
We have no right to tell God to do anything. We have every right to ask Him, even beg Him. But we do this with an attitude that is completely submitted to His will.
God is not a waiter in a restaurant.
3. Refusing to take NO for an answer
I have a bad habit of pestering God about things. This is probably because I am not very patient in waiting for God to bring His will around to matching up with mine.
Repeating the same prayer (that is outside of God’s will) many times will not:
change God’s purpose
make our request line up with His purpose
make God’s plan move any more quickly
God does not change on our whims.
4. Wishful thinking
Some people’s prayer life is something like this...
“God I wish you would do this...”
“God make me rich.”
“God give me a child.”
“God make my husband stop cheating on me.”
These are weak prayers that exhibit a lack of maturity, a lack of dependence upon God, a poor understanding of how God moves and what His purposes are.
God is not a magic genie in a bottle.
So now that we know how not to pray boldly… Let’s look at what we need to know...
What You Need to Know About Praying Boldly
1. God hears bold prayers -
Micah 7:7 NASB95
7 But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me.
Micah 7:7 NASB95
7 But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me.
2. Bold prayers make a difference -
James 5:16 NASB95
16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.
James 5:16 NASB95
16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.
3. We can pray boldly when our will aligns with God’s will -
1 John 5:14–15 NASB95
14 This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.
Proverbs 15:9 NASB95
9 The way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, But He loves one who pursues righteousness.
1 John 5:14–15 NASB95
14 This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.
4. When we follow God’s word, expect God’s response -
Psalm 119:173 NASB95
173 Let Your hand be ready to help me, For I have chosen Your precepts.
Psalm 119:173
Psalm 119:173 NASB95
173 Let Your hand be ready to help me, For I have chosen Your precepts.
5. God’s Word tells us to pray boldly -
Ephesians 6:18 NASB95
18 With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,
Ephesians 6:18 NASB95
18 With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,
Eph
6. God can exceed our bold prayers -
Ephesians 3:20–21 NASB95
20 Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, 21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.
7. Bold prayers are specific prayers -
Look back at Joshua’s prayer:
Joshua 10:12–13 NASB95
12 Then Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, “O sun, stand still at Gibeon, And O moon in the valley of Aijalon.” 13 So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, Until the nation avenged themselves of their enemies. Is it not written in the book of Jashar? And the sun stopped in the middle of the sky and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day.
Joshua 10:12-
God answers bold prayers. In fact, I’m convinced that God is sometimes waiting for a bold prayer before He answers us because He knows that bold prayers display a complete dependence upon Him and in the end bold prayers bring great honor and glory to His name.
He answered it… in His time and in His way, He answered Her prayer in a bold and miraculous way.
I won’t tell you the story… It’s her story to tell and, honestly, she tells it better than I do.
God answers bold prayers. In fact, I’m convinced that God is sometimes waiting for a bold prayer before He answers us because He knows that bold prayers display a complete dependence upon Him and in the end bold prayers bring great honor and glory to His name.

IV. God CAN and DOES say “No.”

There are certainly times that God answers our prayers negatively.
Ephesians 3:20–21 NASB95
20 Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, 21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.
And God Said No!
1. God hears bold prayers -
And God Said No!

And God Said No!

2. Bold prayers make a difference -
by Claudia Minden Weisz
3. We can pray boldly when our will aligns with God’s will -
I asked God to take away my pride, and God said "NO". He said it was not for Him to take away, but for me to give up.
I asked God to make my handicapped child whole, and God said "NO". He said her spirit is whole, her body is only temporary.
I asked God to take away my pride, and God said "NO". He said it was not for Him to take away, but for me to give up. I asked God to make my handicapped child whole, and God said "NO". He said her spirit is whole, her body is only temporary.
4. When we follow God’s word, expect God’s response -
I asked God to grant me patience, and God said "NO". He said that patience is a by-product of tribulation, it isn't granted, it's earned.
I asked God to give me happiness, and God said "NO". He said He gives blessings, happiness is up to me.
I asked God to spare me pain, and God said "NO". He said suffering draws you apart from worldly cares and brings yo closer to me.
I asked God to make my spirit grow, and He said "NO". He said I must grow on my own, but He will prune me to make me fruitful.
I asked God to help me love others as much as He loves me, And God said "Ah, finally you have the idea"!
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5. God’s Word tells us to pray boldly -
6. God can exceed our bold prayers -
God says “no” when:
1. Our requests do not line up with His will
2. We need to grow spiritually
3. When He is protecting us from our own desires
4. When there is unconfessed sin in our lives
5. When the timing is not right
How Should We Respond When God Says No?
We should...
1. Examine ourselves for unconfessed sin
2. Realign our will with God’s will
3. Understand how God is working
4. Rest in the Lord
5. Embrace Spiritual Growth
PRINCIPLE When God says no to your prayer, don’t give up. Just pray for the Lord to reveal His will and His way to you.

Conclusion

We, as believers, MUST have bold prayer and bold faith in our lives!
In fact our belief is actually founded upon a bold prayer...
We pray to God asking Him to save us from our sins based upon our belief in His son, Jesus Christ. We have bold faith when we put our trust in the fact that Jesus Christ died on a cross in order to take our sins away from us.
And God is bold to respond to us by forgiving our sins (no matter how bad they are). And we are able to claim Him as our God and walk in that forgiveness to partner with Him here on this earth.
Maybe you are in a position to make that choice today… that choice to follow Jesus and ask God to forgive your sins.
Maybe you just haven’t been living the bold Christian life and need to turn your life back to Jesus and begin living boldly for Him again.
I’d invite you in a moment to come down and speak to me when we sing.
Joshua went on to destroy the five-king coalition and soon after conquered northern and southern Palestine. Canaan was conquered and the nation of Israel had a homeland.
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