As followers of Christ do we need some kind of explanation for miracles like this? (Old NASA Rumor) Slowing of Earth’s rotation? Earth wobbling on it’s axis? Some form of bending light? Did we require a explanation for God parting the Jordan river… or for that matter the Red Sea? Perhaps nothing physically changed yet God made everyone in the area He divided out see the sun and moon stand still…
We’re not going to learn how this miracle happened…we will learn some other things. We will learn about sacrificial integrity, displayed by Joshua. We will learn how doing the right thing puts you into partnership with God. What that looks like is believing what God tells you SO MUCH that you ask Him to do something only HE can do. This moment of partnership between God and Joshua is unparalleled / unprecedented.
As His people we are all called to that kind of partnership, not on this scale, but in ways that can have eternal impact. Our integrity and obedience opens our eyes to what God is doing all around HIM! Then it is partnership time, true partnership with God! To HIS glory!
Now Adoni-Zedek king of Jerusalem heard that Joshua had taken Ai and totally destroyed it, doing to Ai and its king as he had done to Jericho and its king, and that the people of Gibeon had made a treaty of peace with Israel and had become their allies. 2 He and his people were very much alarmed at this, because Gibeon was an important city, like one of the royal cities; it was larger than Ai, and all its men were good fighters.
- Word travels fast in the land of Canaan
- The alliance that was formed just weeks ago is called into action
- Notice that the guy who leads this fight is The King of Jerusalem
- Jerusalem is closest to Gibeon (driven by fear)
3 So Adoni-Zedek king of Jerusalem appealed to Hoham king of Hebron, Piram king of Jarmuth, Japhia king of Lachish and Debir king of Eglon. 4 “Come up and help me attack Gibeon,” he said, “because it has made peace with Joshua and the Israelites.” 5 Then the five kings of the Amorites—the kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish and Eglon—joined forces. They moved up with all their troops and took up positions against Gibeon and attacked it.
- This King calls himself: ‘Lord of Righteousness’
- The word ‘Gibeonite’ means ‘Good Fighter’ V2 (Provide a local advantage)
- Better to eliminate them before they can help the Israelites
- They basically laid siege to the city, surrounded it
- It is to the Israelites advantage to get them all out in the open country
- This is God working… He is always at work
6 The Gibeonites then sent word to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal: “Do not abandon your servants. Come up to us quickly and save us! Help us, because all the Amorite kings from the hill country have joined forces against us.” 7 So Joshua marched up from Gilgal with his entire army, including all the best fighting men. 8 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.”
- Joshua could have said: ‘This will take care of my Gibeonite problem’
- His honoring his oath, his integrity, was not dependent on what the others did
- Honoring His oath was not determined based on what the outcome would be
- He got the army ready to go and his integrity is rewarded with partnership
- God tells Him what HE is going to do: HE will eliminate them ALL
9 After an all-night march from Gilgal, Joshua took them by surprise. 10 The Lord threw them into confusion before Israel, so Joshua and the Israelites defeated them completely at Gibeon. Israel pursued them along the road going up to Beth Horon and cut them down all the way to Azekah and Makkedah.
- 15 miles from Gilgal to Gibeon, march at about 3 miles and hour (5 hour march)
- They show up at 3am and it is mass confusion
- The Amorites are routed and begin to retreat, they don’t retreat to Jerusalem
- They go west then south through the valley
- The route described covers about 20 miles!
11 As they fled before Israel on the road down from Beth Horon to Azekah, the Lord hurled large hailstones down on them, and more of them died from the hail than were killed by the swords of the Israelites.
- All 5 Kings and their men retreat down a thoroughfare
- As they run away the Amorites are pelted with big hail (softball size?)
12 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.”
- Time sequence: Joshua likely said this as the pursuit began
- The Amorites worshiped the Sun and the Moon as Gods
- Joshua (& Yahweh) wanted to display HIS power over their deities
- ‘The Ultimate Demoralizer’
13 So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, until 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.
- Gibeon is sworn ally so in essence the 5 Kings attacked Israel (avenged)
- Book of Jashar (Book of The Just Ones) Citing another source that recorded it
- If God wanted us to have this book He would have preserved it
- Net effect: another day (12 hours) of light by which to mop up the Amorites
- The Israelites were partners, not just servants. God fought for AND with them
14 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! 15 Then Joshua returned with all Israel to the camp at Gilgal.
- This is how Joshua was allowed by God to perceive the event
- Human perspective, divinely guided to communicate exactly what God wants
The Book Experiencing God: How I started living 22 years ago
Love relationship > Obedience > God Speaks > Join Him (adjustment in your life)
“Miracles rest on testimony, not on scientific analyses. While it is interesting to speculate on how God might have performed any particular Biblical miracle, including Joshua’s long day, ultimately those claiming to be disciples of Jesus Christ (who authenticated the divine record of the Bible) must accept them, by faith.” ~ Russell Grigg
Joshua is an example to us in how He honors his word displaying ‘Non-Situation Driven Integrity’: Doing the right thing no matter what!
God was at work getting the Amorite Kings to attack, Joshua’s obedience puts him in a place to work hand in hand with God, a place of joining God where He is working as His partner.
The miracles recorded here do not require an explanation for those who have surrendered their lives to Jesus Christ. The ‘Self Existent’ All-Sovereign Lord of The Universe can manipulate, create, replicate, impersonate or make anyone see, hear and think whatever HE wants…If HE is who Scripture says HE is.
There is a place of partnership with God that we can experience through our integrity and obedience where we are so in-sync with God that HIS will becomes ours: ‘Flow’.
Joshua asked God to do exactly what God want to do: ‘He listened to a human’.
Do you believe in ‘Situational Ethics’? If so how does that ‘World View’ correspond to the message of Scripture in general and today’s passage in particular?
Where might God be working around YOU? Is there something you need to change in your life in order to join HIM in that work?
How comfortable are you with the idea that miracles are left unexplained? Are you waiting on an explanation before you really believe?
VISION & PRACTICE: General
‘Practical Principles’ are found in the proper reading of Scripture. We use those to develop ‘Practical Patterns’ of lifestyle that consist of specific ‘Practical Practices’ we do, not just talk about.
VISION & PRACTICE: Today
As Christ’s Body, when we walk with God in obedience and integrity, it puts us in a position to join HIM in HIS work. This means practicing basic, daily things that Scripture clearly calls us to do and be; developing a lifestyle of doing the right thing no matter the situation.