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, at 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. They failed here.
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, who was now an ally to Israel, was attacked by the five kings,…….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.”
This was a mighty force…..not only a huge army….but warriors of superior status!
(“Gathered together against”…..how many times have we, as His Church, had a mighty force come 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 honor the league, and then started to fight the five kings and their large armies!
Thankfully they heard from God about the march and the 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.
To me, this is amazing faith…..(faith always sees God)….for Joshua asked God, for what God wanted….and promised…..the defeat of these five kings.
But what did Joshua ask for? Light and time….to see the job done.
(And we too, can ask for the light we need, to fight our battles,….to see them done. For the Lord wants to fight for us.)
He did it publicly, in front of his men, to encourage them in their faith.
God was with them.
He did not guide from a distance; but was in charge in the battle.
So he asked for the sun to stand still, for twenty-four hours.
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 here, so strongly, 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 large!……More than they had taken so far. “For the Lord fought for Israel”
We often fail. Israel had failed in making a league with the Gibeonites.
Can God get “good” from our failures? Yes. All things work together for good…..it is God’s good…and God’s glory….and isn’t that what we want?
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.”
This showed the Israelites a new power of God in them, and for them….and taught them the faithfulness of God to His people.
It showed them that they are to honor the word they speak to others.
And it showed the Gibeonites that the God they began to believe in, was worthy of their trust and subjection.
Yes. We can learn the lesson our failure teaches us; that to rely on God alone, is true victory…..and then be obedient, honoring Him in it,…..and He will honor us.
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.
Yet Israel had to hear the call for help, march all night, fight, and keep fighting till the victory was won…..throughout the longest day.
The longest day, was a day of power….God’s power above all,….and the power of obedience to His Word….in them, and by them.
We can learn a lot from this story.
How many times we fail or fall; yet God forgives and restores us to victory,…..by His power, light, and faithfulness.
And He calls us to “Fear not,”…..but trust Him, and be obedient.