The longest Day
Joshua 10:12-13 “Then spake Joshua to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, moon, in the valley of Avalon.
The sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasten not to go down about a whole day.”
A little background is necessary:
Israel was in the five year process of fighting the different sections of Canaan, to inherit the land God had given them.
Five kings got together to come against Gibeon, which Israel had made a league with. Gibeon was a great city, and the men were mighty. (Joshua 10:2)
So these kings thought if they all came together to destroy Gibeon, then the Israelites would be no match for them all.
But in this process, they did not take into account, Israel’s God.
Israel had made a league with Gibeon, and God honored the league.
(Actually, it was wrong to make this league. Joshua and the rulers of the tribes “looked” to what the Gibeonites wanted them to see, when they lied to Joshua; instead of asking counsel of God. Joshua 9:9-11, 14-15)
But their mistake did not annul the league. And God said they had to honor it.
The Gibeonites had been made servants of God’s house, and they believed in the Lord God of Israel.
So when Gibeon was attacked, word was sent to Joshua and the Israelites, to come and help.
Joshua 10:6 “And the men of Gibeon sent unto Joshua to the camp of Gilgal, saying, Slack not thy hand from thy servants; come up to us quickly, and save us, and help us for all the kings of the Amorites that dwell in the mountains are gathered together against us.
When they got the word, Joshua and his army took a forced march of 20 some miles at night, to get there; so they could fight five kings and their large armies! (Whew!)
Thankfully they heard from God about the march and battle.
Joshua 10:8-9 “And the Lord said unto Joshua, Fear them not: for I have delivered them into thy hand; there shall not a man of them stand before thee.
Joshua therefore came unto them suddenly, and went up from Gilgal all night.”
Now I want to add a word of our Great Shepherd here:
John 10:4 “And when He putteth forth His own sheep, He goeth before them, and the sheep follow Him: for they know His voice.”
He goes before….
God has a plan and a way; even when we fail. He is ever ready to lead us into the right way.
Joshua 10:10-11 “And the Lord discomforted them before Israel, and slew them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, and chased them along the way…
And it came to pass, as they fled before Israel, and were in the going down to Beth-horon, that the Lord cast down great stones from heaven upon them unto Azekah, and they died: there were more which died with hailstones than they whom the children of Israel slew with a sword.”
The Lord “discomforted”them. If you look at other scriptures that this word is in, for battle, it means: the Lord sent thunder and lightening, scaring the horses. And then, He sent hailstones! (These, God had reserved for the day of battle. Job 38:22-23)
God had said, “Fear not,…I have delivered them into your hands”. But the day was waning. It would soon be sunset.
So Joshua asked for help. He would need more time, so he asked for it.
He did it publicly, in front of his men, to encourage them in their faith. God was with them, now. He did not guide from a distance; but was in charge in the battle, now.
Joshua 10:12-14 “Then spake Joshua to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said 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, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies….So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hastened not to go down about a whole day.
And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the Lord harkened to the voice of a man: for the Lord fought for Israel.”
The sun stayed up for an extra day, so that the enemy could not escape. It was to stand still over Gibeon, where they were fighting.
(Some believe that God’s might was shown so strongly here, because these city-kings were sun worshippers.)
God was showing them that He was greater than the sun above them. That the sun was at His command. And could do nothing but what He said.
The battle continued the extra day. “For the Lord God of Israel fought for Israel.”
The territory they took in this battle was about a 30 mile radius! More than they had taken so far. “For the Lord fought for Israel”
We often fail. Can God get “good” from our failures?
Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.”
But it is for God’s good, God’s glory.
But we can learn the lesson our failure teaches us; to go on to trust and rely on God alone.
Notice that in this battle: Israel fought, but God really won the victory. The “discomfort” of the thunder and lightening. The hailstones. And the sun standing still.
God did it, and He did it for “failures”.
(I very much dislike this word. I hear it applied to people too many times. In the truest sense: we are all “failures”. We are all sinners: saved sinners or lost sinners. Thank God for our Savior, Jesus Christ, Who loves us, and enables us sinners, to know what we should do, and empowers us to do His Will.)
The longest day, was a day of power. God’s power to guide, and deliver those who trust in Him.