The biggest L I ever took was at the 2012 Nationals Bible Bowl tournament.
I was sixteen. We were down to the last two Senior Youth teams. The entire room had just erupted when my team eked out the victory in the second to last round. All we had to do was do that one more time.
Was it possible? Sure. Did I believe that? Absolutely not. Or, at least, I couldn’t let myself believe it. Something in my head told me, there’s no way you’ll win. And like a self-fulfilling prophecy, we didn’t!
When pressed for an explanation by my family, I called it a fluke, but the truth is, when it comes to certain obstacles, my default is doubt. Something about telling myself I can succeed feels like unearned hubris, so I prepare for the worst.
But what if I didn’t have to? What if none of us had to?
In Joshua chapter 10, the Israelites didn’t have to. They literally kept winning. Of the twelve enemies that the Israelites, led by Joshua, face in this chapter, they defeat 100% of them. All that land, all of those cities, now belongs to the Israelites.
So what’s their secret?
Pulling out all the stops
Well, the Israelites’ land is called the “Promised Land”. God promised it to them! So who, but God, could have given it to them?
And lest any overzealous Israelite or skeptical reader begin to think that the Israelites were just really well-trained military professionals and that’s all, God makes it clear…
By making the sun stand still in the sky!!
Can you imagine that? Can you imagine looking at your phone and being like, “Cool, it’s 12 noon”, and then looking again 4 hours later and seeing that it’s still 12 noon?! And then feeling tired when it’s supposed to be bedtime, only it’s still 12 noon??? And then getting up in the “morning”, but instead of it being morning, it’s still 12 noon?
I would absolutely lose it, but for the Israelites, it’s a gift. It’s a supernatural miracle, wrapped up with a bow, that not only gives them the time they need to defeat their enemies, but also the assurance that they will defeat their enemies because God is with them.
It’s groundbreaking. So much so that the author of this book pauses to let us all know that “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!” (verse 14, emphasis mine)
Clearly, this book was written before God did almost the exact same miracle for Hezekiah, but the point remains – this was unequivocally God’s doing, not a man’s.
But the fun didn’t end there.
Over and over again, God sends help after help, strength upon strength, to Joshua and the people of Israel. He gives them victory over the cities of Libnah, Lachish, Eglon, and more. He answers prayers. He fortifies armies. He even suits up alongside the armies of Israel, literally throwing down hail on their enemies (verse 11)!
Imagine that. Really imagine that. It must have been terrifying yet incredible to be in the presence of God’s power and know it was on your side.
We must be serving a totally different God today.
“I want you to be confident because of who I AM.”
Because look at us.
Doubting anything will ever change.
Unsure about our choices.
Lukewarm in our faith.
Embarrassed to believe in a god in 2021.
Maybe if our God was the fairytale we’re told He is, then this would make sense. But He isn’t. So it doesn’t.
We have to look like some of the most unintelligent beings around right now – claiming to believe in an all-powerful God, but living as if the only power we have is our own.
Thankfully, our God isn’t just powerful, He’s loving and understanding and merciful. He doesn’t laugh at us or resent us. He simply waits for us. But He never stops reminding us.
“I have all power in heaven and in earth.”
“There is nothing impossible for me.”
“You can face any obstacle with me by your side.”
“You are more than a conqueror because you’re my child.”
This means that there is only one thing that really stands in the way of our victory over sin and fear and loneliness and any other obstacle that threatens us.
It’s our belief.
Do you believe in God? Do I believe in God? Do we believe that He loves us? Do we believe that He keeps His promises? Do we believe that what He calls sin is sin and should be destroyed from our lives? Do we believe that He died for us? Do we believe that He’s coming back to save us forever?
If so, then we can walk with confidence.
We can leave doubt behind.
We can live like people who have a Friend who will do anything, even raining down hailstones and freezing time, to save the people He loves.
We can live like people who will never lose again.
What do you think? What holds you back from being confident in Jesus?