Songs and Praise
   

 
 
 

Less 175 THE SUN AND THE MOON STAND STILL

 
Joshua 10:1-27;

Lesson 175 Senior Lessons

MEMORY VERSE:  "But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased" (Psalm 115:3).

I Five Against One

The news that Gibeon had made peace with Israel caused consterna¬tion to the Canaanites, Joshua 10:1-3 Five kings decided to war against Gibeon, Joshua 10:4, The men of Gibeon sent to Joshua for help, Joshua 10:6; Isaiah 33:22

II The God of Battles

Joshua went to Gibeon's rescue with God's promise of help, Joshua 10:7, 8; Judges 4:14; Psalm 27:1, 2; Romans 8:3 Israel marched all night and successfully surprised the enemy, Joshua 10:9,10; II Timothy 2:3; 4: God cast hailstones upon the enemy to complete the rout, Joshua 10:11; Job 38:22, 23; Isaiah 30:30; Revelation 16:21

III The Longest Day in History

Joshua spoke to the Lord, then commanded the sun and moon to stand still, Joshua 10:12, 13; Isaiah 38:8; Habakkuk 3:11  The Bible records that there .has never been another day like that day, Joshua 10:14

IV The Defeated Kings

The five kings, hiding in a cave, were found by Israel, Joshua 10:15-17; Isaiah 2:10-12, 19-21; Revelation 6:15-17 Great stones were rolled against the cave and Israel pursued the enemy, Joshua 10:18, 19 The victory was complete for the Israelites, Joshua 10:20, 21; Psalm 2:8, 9 Joshua and the men of Israel returned to deal justice to the five kings, Joshua 10:22-27; Psalm 18:40; 110:1, 5; Isaiah 26:5, 6; Romans 16:20

NOTES

Consternation Among the Enemy

The league that the men of Gibeon had sought and secured from the Children of Israel had an alarming effect upon the remaining inhabitants of Canaan. Gibeon was a great city and the men of Gibeon were mighty men. The Canaanites had not only lost an important ally, but Israel had gained the army that Canaan lost. Another cause for concern to the Canaanitish kings was the fact that the city of Gibeon was so situated that it was literally the key to central Palestine.


The enemy kings reasoned that only one course lay open before them. Gibeon had to be conquered and its inhabitants slain because they had made peace with Israel. What an unexpected turn of events for the Gibeonites! They had obtained a league with Israel to save themselves alive; now they faced death from the very people who had once been their friends. People who turn to God will soon find that this world is no friend to grace; but that is no proof that a covenant with God is not of infinite value.

Waiting on God

The Gibeonites sent a message to Joshua, saying that the kings of the Amorites had gathered themselves together to battle against Gibeon. They desired that Israel would come to help them and save them out of the hands of their enemies.


Israel was still at their encampment at Gilgal, the same camp that had been first pitched when they crossed Jordan (Joshua 4:19). From this camp they had conducted the successful campaigns against Jericho and Ai.


One might wonder why Israel was not more aggressive in taking more of the land of Canaan at this time. There may have been some in the camp who could not understand the delay, but Joshua was following the Lord. Joshua had seen his Captain and heard Him speak those gracious words: 'As captain of the host of the LORD am I now come' (Joshua 5:13, 14). He had purposed in his heart to follow that Captain and to do what He bade — nothing less or nothing more. That was Joshua's secret of success, and it is the only hope of success for the Christian today. Jesus is Captain of the Lord's hosts; and to have any degree of success in serving Him, we must be willing to follow where He leads, when He leads, and howsoever He leads. Jesus leads! He will never require His disciple to go anywhere that He Himself will not go.

'If God Be For Us'

About the time that Joshua heard the plight of the Gibeonites, the Lord said: 'Fear them not: for I have delivered them into thine hand; there shall not a man of them stand before thee' (Joshua 10:8). That was all the encouragement the Children of Israel needed. They launched im¬mediately upon a military operation that has seldom been equaled to this day. They covered the distance from Gilgal to Gibeon (approximately 40 miles) in one night. The battle was put in array in the early morning hours and continued for a period of nearly 24 hours without stopping. How could Israel stand up under such a long strain? Isaiah tells us: 'They that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint' (Isaiah 40:31). Israel had been waiting upon God, therefore they could claim the promise. Another promise that Israel could lean upon was: 'As thy days, so shall thy strength be' (Deuteronomy 33: 25). Here was a very unusual day, but Israel found that God granted the unusual strength to see that day through to the successful conclusion.

God's Arsenal

The battle did not progress very far until God began to discomfit the enemy before Israel. The enemy began to flee, with Israel in swift pursuit. It was then that God opened His arsenal in Heaven and cast hail stones upon the fleeing enemy. Never was a bombing raid more effective. Every hailstone found its mark and took its toll. Further proof that God directed this timely assault upon Israel's enemies is that not one Israelite was struck by a hailstone while the Canaanites suffered greater casualty from the hail than they did from Israel's army.

A Miraculous Intervention

In spite of the fact that God had put the enemy to rout before Israel and had sent the hailstones to destroy many of the Amorites, Joshua could see that there would never be time enough before night and darkness to complete satisfactorily the victory. Under cover of the darkness the enemy might be able to retreat into the fortified cities and there make a prolonged stand against Israel. Joshua went to the Lord in prayer about the matter. The result of that prayer was that God inspired Joshua to command the sun and moon to stand still, that the day might be prolonged beyond its usual length. 'So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day. And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the LORD hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the LORD fought for Israel' (Joshua 10:13,14).

Joshua's Success

Observe the success of Joshua in that memorable day. God had de¬livered the enemy into Israel's hand. Without doubt Joshua was a very busy general, directing the intricate movements of his army in hot pursuit of the enemy; yet Joshua found time to pray. It is not difficult to take time to pray when adversities are encountered, but how different when all is going well and a man thinks himself too busy to take the time to call upon God. What would have been the outcome had Joshua waited until darkness and night to seek God's counsel? There would have been no miraculous intervention, no lengthening of the day, and only a partial victory. It is lamentably true that too often God's soldiers gain only partial victories because they do not pray at the time the Spirit of God calls them to pray. Perhaps they are extremely busy at that moment, and they decide to wait until a more convenient time; but when they do get around to pray, the blessing is gone that God intended they should have. Take time to be holy!

That Long Day

God must have inspired Joshua to make that request for the sun and moon to stand still — to remain in their relative position to Gibeon for a longer period of time than was customary. Joshua would never have asked such a miraculous display on his own initiative or for his own glory; had he done so, the Lord would not have answered his prayer (James 4:3). However, when God inspires a person to a work or gives a commission to duty, and that person goes forth in simple faith in God, the Lord will move mountains, cause the sun to stand still, or do whatever is necessary to see the completion of that work. The failure of a mission never lies with God; it can always be traced to the lack of faith or lack of obedience to God on the part of the human instrument.


Some people find it difficult to believe that God could cause the sun to remain in the midst of heaven for an extra space of time. Men of science tell us that the world is so perfectly timed that it never varies the hundredth part of a second in its yearly journey around the sun. The daily rotation of the earth is kept on the same plane of accuracy by an unseen hand. How did the Lord stem all this natural law in order to bring about this miracle of the long day?

Only Believe

We may not be able to explain how God brought about the miracle; it is enough to believe that He did the miracle. A miracle is an event wrought by the immediate power of God, and is possible because God created all things, controls, and guides all things. The creation is subject to the Creator. It is, not hard for a child of God to believe that his heavenly Father is able to do anything. We can say, with Jeremiah: 'Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee' (Jeremiah 32:17).
Another remarkable fact about this long day is that it left its record for all time. Students of astronomy have found that a period of 24 hours has been inexplicably lost out of time—unexplained, that is, without referring to the Bible. There the answer is supplied to the unprejudiced heart. Joshua tells us that the sun 'hasted not to go down about a whole day.' Turning to Isaiah, we read that the Lord brought the sun Mack ten degrees on the sundial of Ahaz as a sign to Hezekiah: 'So the sun returned ten degrees, by which degrees it was gone down' (Isaiah 38:8). These combined incidents will account for the total of 24 hours that the astronomer declares is missing out of time.

The Conqueror's Display

By the time the long day had ended, Israel had completely vanquished his foe. This proved to be the most important battle that Israel had to fight for possession of Canaan. Israel won the battle, 'for the LORD fought for Israel.'


When all Israel had returned to the camp at Makkedah, Joshua commanded that the five kings be brought forth out of the cave for judgment. An unusual thing took place. Joshua had all the captains of his army put their feet upon the necks of these kings. Thus were these kings, who thought they would be death unto Israel, brought unto death. Does not this act of Joshua, who is a type of Christ, show us the great mission of the Son of God to earth? 'For he [Christ] must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death'
(I Corinthians 15:25, 26).

QUESTIONS

1 Why were the kings of Canaan so worried when they heard that the Gibeonites had made peace with Israel?
2 What did these kings determine to do about this matter?
3 How did the Gibeonites react toward these proceedings?
4 Tell what the army of Israel did when they heard about the activity of the Amoritish kings.
5 Who helped Israel in this warfare with the heathen?
6 Name at least two ways in which this help was given.
7 Joshua prayed to God in the midst of the battle. Tell what happened as a result of that prayer.
8 Who won the battle? Why?
9 Tell what happened to the enemy kings.
10 What enemy will the Christian gain the victory over, through the promise of God?

 
   
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