Summary: Consider Joshua's motivation - pray boldly to see that God's will is done. Consider his commitment - work hard to see that God's work is finished.
Joshua made an audacious prayer. It was a prayer for the impossible. The fact that he even thought of it surprises everyone.
• Today we want to look at his motivation behind that prayer, and his commitment to fulfilling God’s will.
The chapter opens with 5 opposing Amorite armies planning an attack on the Gibeonites.
• Let’s look at the map and get a feel of the situation. These nations are situated at the Southern part of Canaan.
• They joined forces to attack the Gibeonites, unhappy that they had made a treaty with Israel and wanting to weaken this new threat.
Joshua responded to the Gibeonites’ call for help. He took his army and marched from Gilgal to Gibeon, geographically it is an uphill journey and some 40 km away.
• It’s like walking from here to Changi Airport and back. And they did it in one night! (10:9)
The Lord spoke 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.” (10:8)
• He was given the assurance that God is behind him on this.
Arriving after an all-night march (10:9), the Israelites unleashed a surprise attack.
• The enemy lines broke and they fled into the valley, down South-West to the valley, to Azekah and Makkedah (10:10).
• Joshua’s men gave chase and then we see God intervening. He rained down large hailstones on the enemies.
• It was so massive that more died from the hailstones than by the swords of the Israelites.
The battle dragged on and Joshua knew he needed more time. It was desperate.
• And so in that curcial moment, he made a daring plea: “O sun, stand still over Gibeon, O moon, over the Valley of Aijalon.” (10:12)
• In short, LORD, STOP THE SUN! (That’s using human language of observation, because the sun does not move actually.)
• Joshua was not addressing the sun. He was speaking to God about the sun! 10:12 “Joshua said to the Lord in the presence of Israel…”
If you think this prayer was incredible, God actually answered him! And promptly.
• 10:13-14 “13SO 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 (poetic songs honouring Israel’s leaders). The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. 14There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the LORD listened to a man. Surely the LORD was fighting for Israel!”
• Joshua prayed with faith and God answered him. He did not figure out the HOW. He simply cry out in desperation.
We saw God intervening TWICE in this battle. The first one, the hailstones (v.11) and now the earth slowed down in its spin (v.12). That is, the sun delayed going down about a full day.
• God did the first on His own accord, and second in response to a man’s cry.
• God fights for Joshua, as He has promised. Joshua’s bold prayer was based on the promise of God had made to him.