1. Application

The LORD Listens to the Prayers of His People

Joshua 10:1–43 (ESV)

1 As soon as Adoni-zedek, king of Jerusalem, heard how Joshua had captured Ai and had devoted it to destruction, doing to Ai and its king as he had done to Jericho and its king, and how the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel and were among them,

Despite the fact that the Lord performs a miracle, causing the sun and moon to stand still (Joshua 10:12–13), sending hailstones to destroy the Amorite kings (Joshua 10:11), and causing them to flee in panic (Joshua 10:10), the focus of the first section of Joshua 10 is found in Joshua 10:14. The author of Joshua marvels at the fact that the Lord heeded the voice of a man.

Previously, when we’ve seen big miracles in the book of Joshua, the author has always focused our attention on what these miracles testify about God. With the crossing of the Red Sea, we learned that the Lord rules over the waters and not the pagan god Baal (Joshua 3:1–4:24). With the walls of Jericho falling down, we saw that the Lord is the Divine Warrior who fights on Israel’s behalf (Joshua 6:1–27). The miracles that take place here in Joshua 10 also affirm God’s sovereignty over creation as well as his fighting on behalf of Israel. But now, instead of drawing our attention to what the miracles testify about God’s power, the author of Joshua wants us to focus on what the miracles mean with regards to the Lord’s concern for his people.

According to Scripture, the Lord God is the most majestic and glorious being who exists. He is eternal (Psalm 90:2), he has no beginning and no end. He is incomprehensible (Romans 11:33); no one can understand him. He is invisible (Colossians 1:15; 1 Timothy 6:16), he cannot be seen, he is unchangeable (James 1:17), he does what he says he will do. He is infinite (1 Kings 8:27; Jeremiah 23:24) and almighty (Genesis 17:1; Matthew 19:26; Revelation 1:8). God simply has to speak and Creation comes into existence. He is completely wise (Romans 16:27), he is completely just (Romans 3:25–26 ; Romans 9:14; Revelation 16:5, Revelation 16:7), he is good (Matthew 19:17), he is the overflowing source of all good (James 1:17). The Lord is the most glorious and majestic being who exists.

Compared to the Lord God, we are nothing (Isaiah 40:17; Daniel 4:35). We are created beings, dust of the earth (Genesis 2:7). We owe our existence to God (Acts 17:28). We owe our intelligence to God; our health, our wealth—all that we have—is a gift from him. But we also have the audacity to rebel against him, to ignore his commandments, to live in his world as if it belongs to us.

Yet the Lord Jesus Christ teaches us that we can begin our prayers with these words: Our Father in heaven (Matthew 6:9). We can speak to the Lord God as a child speaks to his father. Despite the chasm that exists between us and God, despite our sins and failures, through faith in Jesus Christ we can have the assurance of knowing that the Lord God hears our prayers. Our fathers may refuse to give us earthly things, but our heavenly Father will not deny us what we ask of him in faith (see Heidelberg Catechism, Lord's Day 46).

As Christians we can have the confidence that God, the creator of heaven and earth (Psalm 121:2), hears, because our greater Joshua, Jesus Christ, has opened a new and living way to God through his blood (Hebrews 10:19–25). The wrath and rejection that we deserve has been paid by him so that we can have the confidence to approach God in prayer, the same confidence a child has in approaching a loving father.

What a wonderful truth we have in Joshua 10:14: the Lord God listened to the prayer of Joshua. The Lord obeyed the voice of a man. The Creator of heaven and earth is not distant and uninvolved in our world, he is concerned for his people. He listens to prayer.