"THE DAY THE SUN STOOD STILL."
Intro. Last week we saw how Joshua and the men of Israel were deceived into making a treaty with the men of Gibeon because they sized things up by appearance and did not inquire of the Lord. Now we see how soon this treaty began to get them into trouble.
I. THE CONFEDERACY THAT WAS FORMED AGAINST GIBEON.
A. The king of Jerusalem called on four other kings to join him in a battle against Gibeon because of the covenant they had made with Israel.
1. They came with their armies and set siege against Gibeon.
2. The men of Gibeon sent messengers to Joshua calling on him to honor the treaty and help fight against these five kings of the Amorites.
3. Ungodly alliances have a way of getting you into trouble.
4. The yoke with an unbeliever is always unequal, for you play by different sets of rules.
a. You believe in honesty, they feel free to tell lies.
b. You believe in integrity, they do not mind cheating.
c. You believe in keeping your promises, they do not mind breaking their promises.
d. You feel bound to do what is right, they do not care if what they do is wrong.
e. Had Israel been attacked, I doubt if Gibeon would have come to their aid.
B. So Joshua and the men of war came up from Gilgal to fight against this confederation of kings.
1. It is interesting how that God does not require us to make vows, but if we make a vow, He requires us to keep it.
2. Jesus said, "let your yes be a yes, and your no be a no." We are to keep our word.
II. JOSHUA RECEIVED ASSURANCE FROM THE LORD.
A. I love the way the word of the Lord can give us assurance when we are faced with problems and difficulties.
1. God said to Joshua, "Fear them not."
2. As you are facing your battles today, God is saying to you, "Fear not."
3. There was a time in the history of Israel when Elisha was a prophet that the King of Syria was planning to set an ambush against the king of Israel, but Elisha warned the king against the planned ambush. Not only once but many times until the King of Syria called his generals together and declared that one of them was for their enemies. They all denied the charges and told the king about the prophet in Israel that was informing the King of Israel of every plot. They said that he could not even tell his wife things after they had gone to bed, but that he did not know it. The king said spy out where he is and capture him. They said he is in Dothan. So the king ordered the city of Dothan to be taken and the prophet captured. So the Syrians came by night with their army and the horses and chariots and surrounded the city of Dothan. When the servant of the prophet went out in the morning to chop wood, he saw that the city was surrounded by the Syrian army and he panicked. He ran in and woke up the
prophet with the words, "Alas we have had it, we are surrounded by the Syrian army." Elisha answered him, "There are more that be with us than that be with them." He then prayed that the Lord would open the eyes of the servant, and the servant saw the angels of God surrounding the Syrians.
a. This is much like the promise that we have, "Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world."
b. As we look at our problems, we are often prone to say, "Alas, I've had it." Oh may God help us to realize His power to help is greater than all the problems that we might be facing.
4. The Lord told Joshua not to fear for the Lord would deliver the Amorite kings into his hand, that they would not be able to stand before Joshua.
a. Strengthened by these assurances, Joshua led the men of Israel into the battle.
b. They enter into the battle with confidence because of the promises of the Lord.
c. In the spiritual battles that we face, we always should enter with the great assurance of victory.
d. The victory is assured, for our Captain, Jesus Christ has already won the victory.
e. Paul wrote, "He has spoiled those principalities, and powers, that are against us, as He triumphed over them on the cross."
5. Joshua's men traveled all night and came upon the Amorites in the morning.
a. The Amorites began to flee with Joshua and his men in pursuit.
b. The Lord began to fight with Joshua against them and sent great hailstones down upon them.
c. More were killed with the hailstones than by the men of Joshua.
d. We often read of hail storms in the Midwest or in Texas, for everything is bigger in Texas, of hailstones the size of baseballs. These can do a lot of damage.
e. In the book of Revelation, we read of a time when God is going to send hailstones that weigh 90 pounds.
6. It was now in the early afternoon and Joshua had the enemy on the run, but he realized that he did not have enough time for a complete victory before darkness fell, so Joshua cried in the sight of Israel, "Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon." And the sun stood still and the moon stayed.
III. THIS IS THE PART OF THE STORY THAT STUMBLES MANY PEOPLE.
A. If this stumbles you and you have a hard time believing it, it is because your concept of God is too small.
1. If the heavens are the work of His fingers, if He stretched them out as a curtain, then stopping the earth from spinning on its axis for a day, and then beginning it spinning again would be no big deal.
2. It is very interesting how that man has to always try to invent some naturalistic way by which God has done the things attributed to Him in the scriptures.
3. With the Jordan stopping its flow at flood time long enough to allow the children of Israel to cross into the land, people imagine that upstream there was probably a cave in of one of the steep banks of the Jordan River that caused an earth dam to stop the flow of the water for a period of time.
a. Yes, I suppose God could have done it that way, but He could have also just said, "Jordan stop flowing," and it would have stopped.
b. If God could say, "Let their be light and their was light." If Jesus could say to the raging winds, "Peace, be still." and immediately there was a great calm. All it takes is a word from God and it is done. You do not need some natural explanation.
4. With the walls of Jericho falling outward, people explain, it was probably an earthquake that came at that precise time. Yes, that is possible, but on the other hand God could have just said, "Walls fall." And they would have fallen.
5. When we get to the sun standing still and the moon, this is hard to come up with some kind of a naturalistic explanation. This is the kind of story that separates the men from the boys, the sheep from the goats. Explain to me that an earthquake could have caused an earthslide to dam the Jordan, and I can accept the story, that an aftershock felled the walls of Jericho. Oh, I see.
6. You ask, "Do you really think that the sun and the moon stood still for about a day?" I surely do. That is, I believe that the earth stopped spinning on its axis for that length of time.
7. You ask, "How could that possibly be?" My answer is God. How did He do it, I do not know, that He did it, I am completely convinced.
B. You say that if the earth suddenly stopped spinning everyone would have flown several hundred feet.
1. Who said that it suddenly stopped? God could have just put on the brakes and brought it to a gentle stop over the period of a half an hour to keep people from flying around.
C. You say that if such a thing did happen, there would surely be recorded in the annals of other people around the world.
1. When Columbus and Cortez arrived in America, they found literate people with books of their own. Most of those books were burned in the 16th century by the Dominican monks. A few are preserved in the libraries of Paris and the Vatican. They are called codici.
2. The Mexican annals of Cuauhtitlan, which records the history of the empire of Culhaucan and Mexico. These were written in the 16th century but they tell how in the remote past, the night did not end for a long time.
3. In the Mexican annals, it declares that the earth was deprived of the sun for a fourfold night.
4. The Midrashim, the book of ancient traditions, speaks of the sun and moon standing still for thirty-six itim, or 18 hours.
5. Around the world in the stories and lore of the various countries, you will find accounts of long mornings, or evenings or nights according to their relationship to Israel at the time of Joshua.
6. The Indians over here probably wondered why the sun did not come up as it should for several hours. Little did they know that on the other side of the world, Joshua was needing more daylight time to complete his victory over the Amorite kings. And had cried "Sun stand still."
7. Jesus said:
For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.
D. Imagine the power of God, able to stop the rotation of the earth on its axis, and able to start it up again.
E. Imagine the power of God available to the man who is fully in touch with God.
1. Here is Joshua saying to the sun and moon, "stand still," and they do.
2. I take great delight in knowing the power of God.
3. I take great delight in knowing the extent that God is willing to go to help His people when they are in need.
4. The Bible often uses the argument from the greater to the lesser.
a. If God spared not His own Son but freely delivered up for us all, how much more shall He not freely give us all things.
b. If God is big enough to stop the world for a day for Joshua's victory over his enemies, how much more shall He not take care of the little things in our lives.
c. I dare say, though your problems may seem great to you today, even overwhelming, they really are nothing for God. Surely your problems are not so great as to necessitate the world standing still for a day. If they are, God can do it again.