Joshua 10:9, 14: So Joshua came upon them suddenly, having marched up all night from Gilgal. …There has been no day like it before or since, when the LORD heeded the voice of a man, for the LORD fought for Israel.
God assured Joshua that regardless of the strength of the opposition, He was going to give Israel victory (verse 8). Nevertheless in verse 9, we see Joshua matching the army of Israel all night long to alight on the camp of the enemy suddenly, catching them unawares and starting a series of miracles through which the enemy was thoroughly routed. The promise of victory did not cause Joshua to relax, but to put in extra effort, making the army of Israel match all night.
That extra effort from Israel resulted in an extra effort by God, who helped them to crush the enemy with large hailstones from heaven, and making the sun and moon both standing still for close to a day, to “create” more time to thoroughly deal with the enemy (verse 11-14).
The promises of God and assurances of everlasting life should not result into a lackadaisical attitude on the part of Christians, but as Paul preached: work out your salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12). It takes some effort to pray, fast, read and study the bible, and to act in line with what God wants.
And Paul testified about himself that God’s grace on him was not in vain because he excelled in labour, meaning he put in the extra effort to become an outstanding Apostle, standing shoulder to shoulder with the best of the rest (1Corinthians 15:9-10). You owe God your best effort of commitment, devotion and sacrifice because he showed nothing less on your behalf in the sacrifice of his Son (Romans 12:1).
It was a big effort for the whole army of Israel to match for hours and at night too. Think of it: how easy would it be for you to walk for several hours? Remember what they did was not a stroll in the park of a hike along uncharted territories but brisk walking for hours to confront the enemy all on the back of a promise from God. This shows that because God promised you something does not mean you should stay put but you should match in the direction of the promise in prayer, preparation and participation.
What would it take you to pray all night? (Yes, I sprung that on you!). That would be your own all match, but in a spiritual sense.
Paul said to Timothy, wage war with the prophecies proclaimed over you, not seat on them (1Timothy 1:18). And one way warfare is expressed is in prayer (Ephesians 6:10-12, 18). How desperate do you want the promises of God fulfilled? Even Jesus had to pray all-night sometime (Luke 6:12). The extra effort is to break away from your comfort zone and like a soldier, endure hardness (2Timothy 2:3-7). I don’t care what you do for your all-night extra-effort; maybe it is singing songs of praise, worship or proclamation to God, speaking in tongues, listing scriptural verses and biblical promises to pray with or a combination of all of those. Whatever you do, being with God all-night is an extra effort for anybody and that delivers the extra effort from God.
For the widow in Luke 21:1-3, throwing all her money into the offering basket was an extra effort that brought an extra commendation from Jesus, she became distinguished. The extra effort would distinguish you, just as the man diligent (with due attention and effort, excellence, commitment, faithfulness, investment and monitoring) in his work, would not stand before kings (Proverbs 22:29) as the extra effort distinguish Israel at the end of that military event (Joshua 10:21) and went on with that momentum to crush city after city. Get some fire under your rocket, some wind under your sail, some passion in your soul, some determination in your pursuits and some force in your bite.
Prophecy: when the extra effort is in place from your own side, the Spirit moves to ensure that your act of faith becomes a creative force; what you give then becomes multiplied back to you.
Question: where do you stand on the extra effort scale of one to ten?
Prayer activity: Pray that God will bless you with such wisdom that your efforts will always be made in the right direction.
Tomorrow’s topic: The Lord is your inheritance.