Greetings in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
On the day the Lord gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the Lord in the presence of Israel:
“Sun, stand still over Gibeon,
and you, moon, over the Valley of Aijalon.”
So the sun stood still,
and the moon stopped,
till the nation avenged itself on its enemies,
as it is written in the Book of Jashar.
The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. 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! (Joshua 10:12-15)
Five Amorite kings heard about a news that Joshua and the Israelites conquered neighboring countries, and the Gibeonite king, one of the strong neighboring kings, made peace treaty with Israel. Then the kings combined their armies for a united attack. They moved all their troops into place and attacked Gibeon. The men of Gibeon, who quickly sent messengers to Joshua at his camp in Gilgal, and pleaded. “Come at once! Save us! Help us! For all the Amorite kings who live in the hill country have joined forces to attack us.” So Joshua and his entire army, including his best warriors, left Gilgal and set out for Gibeon.
God appeared to Joshua, and said to him. “Do not be afraid of them, for I have given you victory over them. Not a single one of them will be able to stand up to you.” With the faith in God, Joshua traveled all night from Gilgal and took the Amorites armies by surprise. The LORD threw them into a panic, and the Israelites started slaughtering greater numbers of them. The great battle went on, and Joshua prayed to God to stop the sun and the moon while the battle was going. What a prayer it was out of an absolute faith! The sun stood still over Gibeon and the moon stayed over the Valley of Aijalon while the Israelites were fighting. (Two cities are circled in the middle of the map: one on right [east] and one left [west]).
It was a truly supernatural phenomenon that could not be explained by our human knowledge. God’s supernatural power did stop the sun and the moon. It was just one time that God did for the Israelites to fulfill His Will. Bible tells that “there has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the Lord listened to a human being.” Praise the Lord! One who is omnipotent, and the creator of the universe, listened a prayer of a lowly human being.
Bible continues: God also sent a huge hailstorm from heaven to the retreating Amorites armies, and which continued until they reached Azekah (the 2nd city from the bottom city circled.) The hail killed more of the enemy than the Israelites killed with the sword. Then the Israelites chased down to Makkedah, and utterly destroyed the enemy.
This is the miracle initiated by a prayer of Joshua, who was faithful to God, and his heart to help the Gibeonites, who made a peace treaty with the Israelites. Joshua did not delay and set out to the city of Gibeon by traveling all night although he knew he had to confront with the five kings’ armies. He prayed what a human being could have ever asked. He had an absolute faith on God, who would listened to his prayer, and answered his prayer. God stopped the sun and the moon in heaven. What a faith Joshua had!
Joshua’s prayer was not an accidental one. He was one of the twelve spies of Israel sent by Moses. Moses led the six hundred thousand Israel people out of the Egypt, and Moses and the Israelites arrived at Canaan, the promised land. Before entering the land, Moses sent twelve spies to explore the land of Canaan. The twelve spies spent forty days, and they returned. They reported:
“We entered the land you sent us to explore, and it is indeed a bountiful country—a land flowing with milk and honey. Here is the kind of fruit it produces. But the people living there are powerful, and their towns are large and fortified. We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak! (Numbers 13:27-28)
Upon the report, a severe fear fall on the Israelites. They started blaming at Moses and God, and complained:
“Why is the LORD taking us to this country only to have us die in battle? Our wives and our little ones will become a prey. Would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt?” And they said to one another, “Let us choose a leader and go back to Egypt.” (Numbers 14:3-4)
“The land, which we passed through to spy it out, is an exceedingly good land. If the LORD delights in us, he will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land that flows with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. (Numbers 14:7-9)
What a statement was out of a true faith in God! Despite of this statement in faith, the Israelites did not follow God. They tried to stone Joshua and Caleb. The fear of the world was exceedingly greater than the promise of God. Instead they had to returned to the wilderness for the next forty years till all of the faithless died. Only are Joshua and Caleb were able enter the promised land as they believed. By faith, Joshua did not fix his eyes on what’s happening in the world, but the God’s promise without any doubt. God loved his faith, and granted His promise to Joshua. The rest of six hundred thousand people had to perish due to their unbelief.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)
Let’s pray before God to ask His forgiveness of our lack of faith in Him. We have been swayed by what we see rather than the promise of God. We are not much different from the Israelites who rebelled against God. The Israelites saw the obstacle not the promise, and let their heart were consumed by the obstacle. Oh, God, who are compassionate and full of mercy, increase our faith and grant your peace in our hearts before any danger and threats so that we can see your hand – not stop working for us behind the scene. Then make us continue growing in you so that you are becoming more real every day. Give thanks to God, who hears our humble prayers!
And his mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
he has brought down the mighty from their thrones