THURSDAY, JAN 3
SCRIPTURE: Joshua 10
BY: Joe Ligon
The news of the destruction of Ai and the unexpected treaty with Gibeon spread rapidly. The king of Jerusalem which would have been about five miles south of Gibeon gathered up some help from some other kings in the area. And together they sat out to destroy Gibeon. Gibeon sent to Joshua for help.
It is a curious thing why Joshua decided to help the Gibeonites. If he had not helped them and they had been destroyed, he would have been rid of the evidence of a bad deal he had made. There is no reference in chapter nine that the treaty with Gibeon included a mutual defense clause which simply means that Israel was under no obligation to help. Yet, Joshua seems to have made a pretty quick decision to head off to help the besieged people of Gibeon.
There are a couple of things that undoubtedly led to this decision. The greater reason had to have been that God encouraged Joshua not to be afraid and promised to deliver those Canaanite armies to him. God even promised that none of those armies would be able to stand before the army of Israel. That was obviously a great motivation. But the other reason may well have been that Joshua saw an opportunity to strike several armies at once which should have sped up his campaign to take all of the Promised Land.
Regardless of why it happened, it happened. The army of Israel attacked before dawn and all the enemy armies fled in confusion. Israel’s army was able to kill a bunch of the bad guys but then God got involved and killed even more with giant hailstones that he dropped on them from heaven. You know it is a bad day when although you have escaped the sword you get killed with a hailstone.
Then a most amazing thing happened. Joshua asked for the sun to stop and the moon to stop. The reason he asked for this was so he could have additional daylight to defeat the rest of the enemy armies they were fighting.
Of course this episode throws unbelievers into a tizzy. They often point to the fact that it is not the sun and the moon that are moving but instead the earth is rotating. That is a flimsy argument because even today we talk about the sunrise and the sunset. The bigger deal is that God in all of His omnipotence slowed the rotation of the earth for an entire day. God who spoke everything into existence still had and still has complete control over His creation.
Another interesting aspect of this sun and moon thing that you might not think about is the fact that the sun and the moon were considered gods by the Canaanites. So this incredible miracle demonstrated the fact that the one, true God was much more powerful than the made up gods of those heathen. We really do serve a mighty God!
One last thing for today… as you read through this chapter you might notice that Joshua and his army did not attack Jerusalem. There is really not a reason given for this. We just know it didn’t happen. The result of this was the people of Jerusalem were a pain in the neck of Israel for a long time after that. In fact, it was not until David was king that Jerusalem was defeated. The lesson? Finish what you start. Regardless of how much success you may have had or how tired you might be: finish what you start.