My warmest wishes to all of you for health and blessing in 2018. Let’s continue our study in Joshua, shall we?
A few short months ago, a complete Solar Eclipse across the United States of America captured our attention. For the first time in many years, the path of the moon’s shadow passed through the entire Continental United States. It was a scene of unimaginable beauty as the Moon completely blocked the Sun and daytime turned into twilight and the Sun’s corona shimmered in the darkened sky.
An even greater feat is recorded in the book of Joshua, The Day The Sun Stood Still. This is one of the greatest miracles God performed.
I trust you remember from last week’s lesson that the city of Gibeon was under siege from five Kings of the surrounding area, kings who had full knowledge of what Israel had done to Jericho and Ai. As the battles continued and Israel pressed her way into the land of Canaan, these kings became aware that the Gibeonites had made an alliance with Joshua. Since Gibeon was a great city, they decided they should take it to keep Joshua and the Israelites out of their midst. Therefore the Gibeonites developed a deceptive plan to ‘save their own hides’ out of fear of Joshua and the Israelites.
Remember that Joshua and the elders made covenant with the Gibeonites without asking God – a big mistake. God could have responded to this situation in one of two ways: God could have allowed the Gibeonites to fight this battle all by themselves to punish them for deceiving Joshua and the Israelites. Or He could have told Joshua: “You got yourself into this mess, now you can get yourself out,” But being the gracious and compassionate God that He is, He did neither. Do you know that God can take our dumbest mistakes, our most foolish decisions, and our ill-advised plans and work them out in ways that bring Glory and Honor to Him?
Facing their dilemma the men of Gibeah appealed to Joshua for assistance. The Lord encouraged Joshua and Israel to fight this battle. He exhorted them not to fear, and promised them victory.
Joshua realized it was the will of God for him to have victory in the battle and sure enough, God intervened. The day was just beginning to dawn when they swiftly launched their attack. The enemy was taken totally by surprise and frantically began to flee.
Not only was it a miracle that the gigantic hailstones fell on the enemy, it was also a miracle that the hailstones DID NOT FALL on the children of Israel. Thus, Joshua and his soldiers were dramatically reminded of God’s great concern for them. They were prevailing over their enemies because of the mighty intervention of God on their behalf – but they were running out of daylight. Joshua was convinced he needed to finish the job while the momentum was so greatly in his favor.
Joshua cried out to God, asking that the sun stand still – and God again demonstrated his concern for Joshua and his men by granting that request. God made the Sun stand still for about one day. So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day. “And there has been no day like that, before it or after it that the Lord heeded the voice of a man, for the LORD fought for Israel.”
We know that the earth orbits around the sun not the other way around but Joshua did not understand that during his day and age. So what exactly happened that day?
What are the laws of nature? They are simply processes which God has set into motion — and because he is Sovereign he can ALTER – SUSPEND – REVERSE – CIRCUMVENT – OR EVEN CANCEL THOSE PROCESSES ANYTIME HE SO DESIRES.
That’s what a MIRACLE is – it is when some usual pattern of nature is changed or interrupted due to God’s personal intervention. It is not reasonable to think God would allow himself to be a prisoner of the very processes which He, himself, has created.
Hailstorms were about to get in league with Joshua. The Sun stopping in its tracks was about to take place. The Moon altered its pattern for God’s plan. All of these things in themselves could be touted as natural disasters but God used nature to work out His purposes in His time frame.
What looked like a storm was deliverance and what looked like the world stopping was actually a victory. God is never on our time frame!
Is there anything too hard for God? The answer is an unequivocal ‘NO’. If what you need or what you are praying for is LESS radical than changing the orbit of the earth, you can be assured that God is well able and willing to be to you a ‘very present help in trouble.’
He has never failed anyone and He won’t start with you!