6 The Sun and The Moon Stood Still
Joshua 10: 1-14
In the land of Canaan, the king of Jerusalem was filled with alarm. He knew that the Israelites had destroyed Jericho, and he was sure that his city would be next because it was near Jericho. He had been counting heavily on help from the city of Gibeon, but when he learned that the Gibeonites had made a peace treaty with the leaders of Israel, he became angry and sent word to four other kings. He said, “Come and help me destroy Gibeon, for they have made peace with Joshua and the leaders of Israel. So they gathered their armies together and marched across the hills and valleys toward the place where the Gibeonites lived.
When the Gibeonites heard that great army was coming to fight against them, they were afraid. They sent a messenger to the camp at Gilgal and asked Joshua to come with his soldiers to help them.
Maybe Joshua was afraid when he heard how these five mighty kings and their armies were preparing to fight Israel and the Gibeonites, but this time Joshua did not fail to ask God what to do. The Lord told Joshua to go to the aid of the Gibeonites at once. “Don’t be afraid of the Amorite kings,” the Lord said to Joshua, “for they are already defeated! I have given them into your hand, and not a single one of them will be able to stand up to you.”
Joshua started quickly with his army. All night they marched from Gilgal, and when they arrived at Gibeon the five kings were greatly surprised to see the Israelites coming out to fight against them with the Gibeonites. Their soldiers from Jerusalem and from the other four cities had heard about God’s power at Jericho, and they were afraid. Yet they fought, but soon they turned to run away. Then God sent hailstones from the sky and they fell upon the frightened men who were running, and the hailstones killed many more men than had been killed in the battle. The five kings found a cave in the mountains and they ran into it to hide, but someone saw them, and sent word to Joshua. Joshua commanded that heavy stones should be rolled before the door of the cave and that soldiers should watch to see that the kings did not escape from this cave. Then the Israelite soldiers chased their enemies over the hills and through the valleys of Canaan. They did not want to let one of them get away.
When Joshua saw that the people were scattering everywhere, he thought many of the enemies might hide in the woods when night came on. Then they could come again and fight against the Israelites. Joshua believed God wanted him and his soldiers to completely destroy these enemies and not give them another chance to fight. He knew the day would not be long enough to destroy them all; therefore Joshua began to pray, not just for Israel, but for the honor of his God.
Then Joshua stood in the presence of his army and said: “Sun, stand thou still over Gibeon; Moon, stand in your place over the valley of Aij’alon. And while the sun and the moon stood still, the Israelites fought and gained a great victory.
We are overwhelmed with awe when we realize that God stopped the sun in the middle of the sky and delayed its going down just so his people could win the battle! Surely the Lord fought for His people! This should have been enough to convince the Canaanites that the Lord is the only true and living God.
What a great God is our God! There is none to compare with Him. No wonder we who know God love to sing “How Great Thou Art.”
After this great victory the five kings were taken out of the cave and killed. News of this battle soon reached the other cities of Canaan, and everywhere the people were afraid of the Israelites. Joshua took the cities of Canaan one by one until he had destroyed thirty-one kings and had taken the cities and places where they ruled. Then the Israelites rested from war in their camp at Gilgal.
In the book of Matthew, chapter 10, we read “and even the very hairs of your head are numbered.” (Matt.10:30) and we know that all events are governed by God’s secret plan.
We see by the miracle of the sun standing still for two days that it is God alone who makes the sun daily rise and set and not by nature or “Mother Nature” as we so often hear. God is all-powerful and He regulates all things so that nothing takes place without His approval. That’s why believers can comfort themselves that nothing comes into their lives except by God’s command. A God who is great enough to control the sun and moon can surely control this life of mine.
Sins like stealing, lying, disobeying, and hatred…Did you know that it was for these very sins that Jesus died on the cross? Because of Jesus’ payment on the cross, God the Father can declare sinners like you and me to be right with Him. The good news is that He can treat us as if we had never committed these sins because of Jesus’ sacrifice. Have you ever thanked the Father for sending the Son to die in this way? If not, you can do this today.
Joshua was victor over the enemies of Israel because he trusted the Lord God to give him the victory, and we can overcome Satan only through trusting God. Jesus came, died, was buried, went back to heaven, and sent the Holy Spirit to live in Christians. Scripture tells us that “Greater is He that is in Christians than Satan who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)
The spiritual lesson of these five kings illustrates how God wants Christians to deal with secret sins in our lives. We read this statement: “The five kings fled, and hid themselves in a cave.” Just as those hidden enemies could be dangerous for Joshua, even so hidden sins in our lives will show up later. For instance, it is not easy for someone else to know if we have bitterness or jealousy toward another person. These sins can be in our hearts but well hidden. But God has given us a method for dealing with them:
When the Lord Jesus reveals to Christians a sin in their lives, He wants them to pray, “Lord, help me to turn from this sin.” The Holy Spirit gives power to Christians to overcome sin.
Israel was never allowed to suppose that they had won the victory in their own strength. It was GOD who conquered the enemy and presented the land to the people, and it is GOD who conquers sin in our lives as we call upon Him each day.
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