Daybreak: Joshua 10:1- 43
“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.” (Joshua 10:12)
Before she passed on to her reward, for many years my mother kept a notebook recording her various prayer requests. With many of these requests there was an added note, detailing how the Lord had answered. (A few of those prayers are still bottled up in Heaven, hopefully to be answered within the lifetimes of those prayed for.)
None of Mother’s requests were as big as that of Joshua — that the sun would stand still. God answered Joshua’s prayer by causing the sun to remain where it was, so it did not set for almost 24 hours. Some of Mother’s prayers were as simple as asking that she might be healed of a common cold. There, perhaps, is a key to her success in prayer. Most of us would pray if faced with a life-threatening illness, yet few of us ever get healed of a common cold or sore throat. Is it simply because we do not take these “minor” problems seriously to the Lord? In living a close daily walk with the Lord, Mother found it normal to take everything to Him in prayer — big or small.
Can one go too far with “small” requests? I think so. Our pastor once told about a man who supposedly asked the Lord which dish he should wash first when cleaning up after supper. As our pastor told us, “Just wash them!” But if something is big enough to fret or worry about, it is big enough to pray about. I certainly think I should have prayed more sincerely before purchasing a certain used van that we owned for a time. It looked like a good deal, but it turned out to give us nothing but grief until we finally were able to sell it. Hopefully, I learned from that experience.
It is interesting to note that Joshua in effect commanded God in this matter, and God commended him for it. We know that the primary hallmark of a Christian is submission to God and death to self. Yet in the matter of prayer — concerning those requests that are within His will — we can step out in faith. God wants us to put our heart into our prayers. He is happy to answer those kinds of requests.
As noted in the previous chapter, Israel had made a covenant in error with the Gibeonites. So when they needed help, God told Joshua to go to battle. In spite of Israel’s mistake, God worked this battle to their advantage by giving them victory over a coalition of enemies, rather than having to fight with each enemy individually.
This chapter recounts one instance after another in which the Lord fought for the Children of Israel and gave them victory over their enemies. In many cases, they won by fighting hard, using the conventional warfare of the time. For example, Joshua took his army from Gilgal to Gibeon at night. This was a distance of about twenty miles uphill that resulted in a 3300-foot change in elevation. Yet in verse 11 we read how God sent great hailstones and actually defeated more of the enemy by this means than by the hands of the Israelite soldiers. That God was fighting for Israel was clear to both the Israelites and their enemies, especially since only the enemy soldiers were killed in the storm.
At times, various scholars have tried to explain away the miracle of the extended day. Others have tried to determine exactly how God performed the phenomenon. The important factor, of course, is to recognize and believe that God indeed performed a notable miracle. God the Creator certainly possesses the power to control what He created, and stretching a day is not difficult for Him.
When Joshua called for his captains of war to place their foot on the necks of the captive kings (Joshua 10:24), it was more than the usual practice symbolizing a military victory and superiority. This action was intended to encourage the Israelite warriors that if they would follow God, He would win the victory for them.
While the duration of this particular campaign is unsure, the text implies that these cities in southern Canaan fell quickly after the initial long day of battle: “And all these kings and their land did Joshua take at one time” (verse 42). The key, of course, was the latter part of that verse — the Lord fought for them.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines – Used by permission per WORDsearch)
I. The land contested
B. The history of the conquest
2. The southern campaign (10:1-43)
a. The defeat of Adoni-zedec’s confederacy (10:1-27)
(1) The attack upon Gibeon (10:1-5)
(2) The destruction of the confederacy (10:6-15)
(a) The destruction by hailstones (10:6-11)
(b) The duration of the day (10:12-15)
(3) The annihilation of the kings (10:16-27)
(a) Their discovery at Makkedah (10:16-21)
(b) Their death (10:22-27)
b. The conquest of the southern area (10:28-43)
(1) The capture of Makkedah (10:28)
(2) The capture of Libnah (10:29-30)
(3) The capture of Lachish (10:31-32)
(4) The capture of the King of Gezer (10:33)
(5) The capture of Eglon (10:34-35)
(6) The capture of Hebron (10:36-37)
(7) The capture of Debir (10:38-39)
(8) Summary (10:40-43)
A Closer Look
- How did Joshua defeat the five kings themselves?
- Israel could trust God because they knew they were following His directions. How do you determine whether a request is within God’s will?
- Look back in your life. Has God ever worked for you? What actions on your part might make it possible for God to intervene in your life?
What needs are you taking to God in prayer today? Perhaps they seem small, but God wants to work for you. Obey Him and then trust Him to help you.