Mesmerized. That’s how I describe my fascination with Joshua, the son of Nun.
This man was encouraged time and time again by God to be courageous and without fear.
“Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” Joshua 1:9.
“And the LORD said unto Joshua, Fear not, neither be thou dismayed…” Joshua 8:1.
Armed with that kind of courage, Joshua gathered forces to help the people of Gibeon in Joshua 10. The Gibeonites had made a treaty with Israel, and because of that alliance, when the kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish and Eglon joined forces to attack Gibeon, Gibeon sent word to Joshua for help.
Joshua didn’t just send a token group of fighting men. He marched with his entire army to defeat the five kings. “The Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid of them; I have given them into your hand. Not one of them will be able to withstand you.”
The Message version takes a little liberty here, but I like the possibilities. “God told him, “Don’t give them a second thought. I’ve put them under your thumb—not one of them will stand up to you.”
Joshua was able to take them by surprise because the Lord brought confusion to the enemy. As they were running away from the Israelites the Bible says, “…the Lord hurled large hailstones down on them, and more of them died from the hail than were killed by the swords of the Israelites.”
But it’s the next part that is so unbelievable it had to be God.
“On the day the Lord gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the Lord in the presence of Israel: ‘Sun, stand still over Gibeon, and you, moon, over the Valley of Aijalon.’ So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies, as it is written in the Book of Jashar.” Joshua 10:12, 13.
The sun and the moon stood still! “The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the LORD listened to a human being. Surely the Lord was fighting for Israel!”
The Israelites were winning the battle, but more time was needed to completely defeat the enemy. If they didn’t conquer them before dark, the opposing forces could possibly regroup and come back to attack the Israelites again the next day.
We won’t go into HOW it happened. Yes, we understand the EARTH is what does the orbiting, not the sun or the moon. Even today, however, we say the sun rises and sets so it is not necessarily out of order for Joshua to address the sun and moon instead of the earth itself.
So, what can we take away from this miraculous event?
Joshua was given his courage by Almighty God. Yahweh, Jehovah, the Maker of the Universe told Joshua on many occasions not to be afraid, that He was always with him and He would fight his battles.
When Joshua realized he needed a miracle, he not only was without fear, he knew where his strength came from and where his backup forces would be. God had told him that none of the enemy would escape, so with that confidence, Joshua didn’t hesitate to tell God just what he needed to finish the battle.
And God answered his fearless prayer.
Just when you think it cannot get any better than the sun and moon standing still, flip over to the tenth chapter of Joshua. Here we discover that he has learned much from his faithful God; enough to pass it on to others… “And Joshua said unto them, Fear not, nor be dismayed, be strong and of good courage: for thus shall the LORD do to all your enemies against whom ye fight.” Joshua 10:25.
Do those words sound familiar? Joshua is now encouraging the people with the same words that the Lord had used to give him strength and courage! He had seen Him do the impossible on more than one occasion; God was faithful in every battle. Now, with boldness, he could tell the people that he was chosen to lead to put their trust in this God who never fails.
What kind of enemy are you facing today? Does it seem impossible for God to even show up? Do you feel as if you need more resources, more time, or more courage to take up the fight? Friend, you don’t have to! God wants to fight the battle for you, and in the midst of the battle, He wants you to be without fear. The God of Israel is fighting for you so don’t give “them” a second thought. Be strong and courageous!