Day 13: Joshua 10:1-15
The Sun Stands Still
Other than the resurrection of Jesus I’m not sure there is a more controversial and contested passage of scripture than the account here in Joshua of the sun standing still. I certainly can’t explain exactly what happened, or how, but I do know we follow a supernatural God who created the heavens and the earth and that he can do anything – however impossible it seems.
The five Assyrian kings of the south joined forces and were intent on destroying Gibeon. Gibeon sends a plea for help to Joshua. We read that Joshua acted honourably and at once gathered his army and marched up from Gilgal to fight with them. Going into battle against one Assyrian army would have been a daunting prospect but this alliance would have been overwhelming and frankly terrifying. Joshua, however, sought the Lord who gave an instruction and a promise.
The LORD said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid of them; I have given them into your hand. Not one of them will be able to withstand you.” (verse 8)
Fear takes away our ability to fight battles effectively, to move forward and bring in the Kingdom of God in our lives and in the lives of those around us. Fear is an unwillingness to believe what God promises when the battle we face appears overwhelming. God gives Joshua the command ‘Do not be afraid’ but also gives a promise of victory. Like Joshua we need to be obedient and chose faith over fear. To do that we need to seek and hold onto the promises that God gives.
With the word of the Lord ringing in their ears the army marched through the night – over 20 miles up hill. When we receive a prophetic word, a calling or direction from God we can set out with passion and determination and a huge expectation about what God is going to do. An overnight march in full battle gear, no problem! In order to surprise the attacking armies they took no rest but weary, with aching limbs they went straight into battle. I have observed that the fiercest battles and greatest victories can come when we are weary. Sometimes after receiving a word from God we may have quite a journey before we and the circumstances around us are positioned and ready to see the victory God promises. When we are weary everything within us wants to withdraw and put our feet up. It is good to rest along the way but these times often present the greatest opportunity for victory and for God to be glorified.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Galatians 6 v 9)
Joshua does not ask the Lord to remove the battle but seeks the Lord’s help as he fights. Joshua does what he can do but with boldness requests the Lord’s miraculous help.
He is not disappointed!
First the Lord sends huge hail stones. If you have ever seen the damage done to car bonnets by a hail storm in the UK you can imagine how much damage these huge hail stones in the Middle East can do. The timing of this help, when the Israelites were at their weakest, was significant to their future victory.
Then came the act of God not seen before or since.
If, like me you are a Wimbledon fan you will have watched many epic matches (before the days of the centre court roof) willing the light to hold out long enough for your preferred player to take advantage of a lead and clinch a win. Joshua similarly knew that if they were to win the battle they needed darkness to hold off so that they could maintain their momentum and defeat their enemies.
Joshua cried out to God in the presence of Israel asking God to cause the sun and the moon to stand still. That is some faith! As a leader he would have felt pretty daft if God did not answer his prayer but Joshua was holding onto the promises of God and was learning that his powerful God was with him in the battle.
God heard his prayer that day and the battle was won.
What are you facing that feels overwhelming – illness, job loss, addiction, anxiety, parenting, a calling from God? Be intentional in holding on to God’s promises and seeking his miraculous help in the battle. What do you need him to do for you? Who knows perhaps today is the day he makes your ‘sun’ stand still.
Connect Group Leader